Vicky Smith

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Review of Finding Normal

Finding Normal by Stephanie FarisIntermediate, Middle School    Aladdin/Simon    288 pp.2/24    9781665938907    $17.99e-book ed.  9781665938921    $10.99After “a bunch of water ruin[s] her life,” all that our twelve-year-old protagonist wants to do is get back to normal. But what does normal look like for “Temple Baxter, flood victim”? It doesn’t look like...

Review of The Last Zookeeper

The Last Zookeeper by Aaron Becker; illus. by the authorPrimary, Intermediate    Candlewick    40 pp.3/24    9781536227680    $18.99Becker’s (The Tree and the River, rev. 3/23) latest wordless fantasy takes readers to a post-apocalyptic future. Animals in a flooded zoo huddle on exposed bits of dry land; they are tended by an enormous...

Review of A Boy, His Dog, and the Sea

A Boy, His Dog, and the Sea by Anthony Browne; illus. by the authorPrimary    Candlewick    32 pp.6/24    9781536234138    $18.99A dull day at the seaside yields to heart-pounding action. Danny’s mother suggests that her mopey son take the dog for a walk on the beach, encouraging him to: “Keep your eyes...

Review of Shigeru Ban Builds a Better World

Shigeru Ban Builds a Better World [Art for Good]by Isadoro Saturno; illus. by Stefano Di CristofaroPrimary    Tra    40 pp.9/23    9798986640631    $19.99Thoughtful book design makes a perfect container for this series entry. On heavy stock pages, Saturno and Di Cristofaro introduce young readers to a Japanese architect whose preferred medium is...

Review of Tomorrow’s Lily

Tomorrow’s Lily by Chris Raschka; illus. by the authorPreschool    Greenwillow    32 pp.2/24    9780063049376    $19.99Brushy watercolors in sunny pastel tones illustrate a meditation on change in the form of a paean to the daylily. Raschka’s big blue text (which looks hand-lettered) guides readers through the rhyme: “Monday’s lily / blooms //...

Review of Baby Be

Baby Be by Alison McGhee; illus. by Sean QuallsPreschool    Dlouhy/Atheneum    40 pp.10/23    9781534405394    $18.99e-book ed.  9781534405400    $10.99McGhee and Qualls present an exuberant celebration of dads and their babies. A recurring, multiracial cast of father-and-baby pairs enacts the fun, with McGhee’s rhythmic, rhyming text backgrounding the mood: “Give me that tie...

Review of Paul Bunyan: The Invention of an American Legend

Paul Bunyan: The Invention of an American Legend by Noah Van Sciver and Marlena Myles; illus. by the authorsIntermediate    TOON    48 pp.8/23    9781662665226    $17.99Paper ed.  9781662665233    $11.99Wait, Paul Bunyan wasn’t born in Maine and cradled in the Bay of Fundy before making his way to Minnesota’s north woods with Babe,...

Review of Penny & Pip

Penny & Pip by Candace Fleming; illus. by Eric RohmannPreschool  Dlouhy/Atheneum    40 pp.6/23    9781665913317    $18.99e-book ed.  9781665913324    $10.99Rohmann returns to the natural history museum setting of his debut, Time Flies, but this outing is far cozier than that 1995 Caldecott Honor Book. It’s just as fanciful, though. Penny, a brown-skinned...

Review of Don’t Worry, Wuddles

Don’t Worry, Wuddles by Lita Judge; illus. by the authorPreschool    Atheneum    40 pp.9/23    9781665916769    $18.99e-book ed.  9781665916776    $10.99Should Wuddles the sheep worry? Well, yes. A little yellow duckling who insists that the big, woolly sheep needn’t be concerned is literally fleecing its barnmate—with the best intentions, however. Winter is coming,...

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