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Reviews of the Week

Each week we publish four brand-new reviews of books people are — or should be — talking about. Look for recommended picture books on Mondays, fiction on Tuesdays, nonfiction on Wednesdays, and poetry and audiobooks on Thursdays.

Review of Silent Night

Silent Night illus. by Lara Hawthorne Primary    Frances Lincoln    32 pp.    g 10/18    978-1-78603-066-5    $15.99  With gouache paintings rendered into collagelike illustrations via Photoshop, Hawthorne’s version of the classic Christmas carol notably features Mary, Joseph, and Jesus as a brown-skinned family. The text includes all three verses of John Freeman Young’s English translation and is […]

Review of Chasing King’s Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassin audiobook

Chasing King’s Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassin by James L. Swanson; read by Kim Staunton Middle School, High School    Scholastic Audio 5 CDs    5.67 hrs.    978-1-338-22724-6    $29.99 With intensity and clarity, Swanson documents the lives of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and James Earl Ray — King’s assassin — and the […]

Review of Carlos Santana: Sound of the Heart, Song of the World and When Angels Sing: The Story of Rock Legend Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana: Sound of the Heart, Song of the World by Gary Golio; illus. by Rudy Gutierrez Primary    Ottaviano/Holt    40 pp. 9/18    978-1-62779-512-8    $18.99 When Angels Sing: The Story of Rock Legend Carlos Santana by Michael Mahin; illus. by Jose Ramirez Primary    Atheneum    48 pp. 9/18    978-1-5344-0413-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-0414-4    $10.99 Carlos Santana’s 1971 […]

Review of I Lost My Tooth!

I Lost My Tooth! [Unlimited Squirrels] by Mo Willems; illus. by the author Primary    Hyperion    86 pp. 10/18    978-1-368-02457-0    $12.99 Willems hands the reins of this new early reader series to fifteen cartoony squirrels, a yellow bird (a.k.a. Flappy Squirrel), and a couple of joke-telling acorns. The series is a step up in complexity from […]

Review of Kitten and the Night Watchman

Kitten and the Night Watchman by John Sullivan; illus. by Taeeun Yoo Preschool     Wiseman/Simon     32 pp. 9/18     978-1-4814-6191-7     $17.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4814-6192-4     $10.99 A night watchman spies a stray kitten one night, and they befriend each other. As the man makes his rounds of the construction site, the kitten accompanies him […]

Review of The Penderwicks at Last audiobook

The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall; read by Susan Denaker Intermediate     Listening Library     Rev. 7/18 7 CDs     8.37 hrs.     978-0-525-59559-5     $55.00 This closing volume in the beloved Penderwick series, featuring two sisters’ marriages and one’s heartbreak, is told from the point of view of eleven-year-old Lydia, the youngest Penderwick half-sister. Denaker voices […]

Review of Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist

Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist by Sylvia Acevedo Intermediate, Middle School     Clarion     311 pp. 9/18     978-1-328-80956-8     $17.99 e-book ed. 978-1-328-52690-8     $9.99 Spanish ed. 978-1-328-53481-1     $18.99 Acevedo defied expectations as a girl growing up in a working-class Mexican American family in 1960s and 1970s Las […]

Review of Harbor Me

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson Intermediate     Paulsen/Penguin     179 pp.     g 8/18     978-0-399-25252-5     $17.99One day, Ms. Laverne gathers her small class of fifth and sixth graders and walks them over to the old art room, where she invites them to talk to one another — without her. Every Friday at two o’clock, narrator Haley […]

Review of The Wall in the Middle of the Book

The Wall in the Middle of the Book by Jon Agee; illus. by the author Preschool     Dial     48 pp. 10/18     978-0-525-55545-2     $17.99 Unlike Richard Byrne’s This Book Just Ate My Dog! (rev. 1/15), wherein the book’s gutter did service as a chasm to be negotiated by the characters, here it is […]

Review of Rebound audiobook

Rebound by Kwame Alexander; read by Ron Butler Intermediate, Middle School    Recorded Books    Rev. 7/18 3 CDs    3.5 hrs.    978-1-5019-4909-8    $30.75 In this prequel to Alexander’s The Crossover (rev. 5/14), twelve-year-old Charlie Bell (future father of the first book’s twin protagonists) is sent to stay with his grandparents for the summer after his own father’s […]