Subscribe to The Horn Book

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 on Thursdays.

Review of Bird Builds a Nest

Bird Builds a Nest [A First Science Storybook] by Martin Jenkins; illus. by Richard Jones Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.    g 2/18    978-0-7636-9346-6    $16.99 Striking mixed-media illustrations, collage-like and muted with earth tones, depict a burnt-orange sun rising in the east and a bird perched on a tree branch, perfectly representing the opening sentence of […]

Review of Truly Devious

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson High School    Tegen/HarperCollins    418 pp.    g 1/18    978-0-06-233805-1    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-233807-5    $9.99 Aspiring sleuth Stevie Bell has just started her junior year at Ellingham Academy — an artsy Vermont enclave for offbeat students founded in the 1930s by eccentric philanthropist Albert Ellingham — when disaster strikes. One of her […]

Review of Buster and the Baby

Buster and the Baby by Amy Hest; illus. by Polly Dunbar Preschool    Candlewick    32 pp.    g 12/17    978-0-7636-8787-8    $15.99 In a rhythmic text and lively art, a classic friendship story plays out through an extended game of hide-and-seek between a baby and a small white dog named Buster. Buster carefully determines the best hiding places […]

Review of The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science by Joyce Sidman; 
photos by the author Intermediate    Houghton    140 pp.    g 2/18    978-0-544-71713-8    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-328-83028-9    $9.99 Sidman introduces readers to Maria Merian, a seventeenth-century German naturalist whose illustrations of the life cycles of butterflies and moths included groundbreaking scientific details, such […]

Review of A Sky Full of Stars

A Sky Full of Stars by Linda Williams Jackson Middle School    Houghton    307 pp.    g 1/18    978-0-544-80065-6    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-328-82907-8    $16.99 In this sequel to Midnight Without a Moon (rev. 1/17), thirteen-year-old Rosa Lee Carter, part of a struggling sharecropper family in segregated mid-1950s Mississippi, continues her search for self. In the first book, […]

Kate, Who Tamed the Wind

Kate, Who Tamed the Wind by Liz Garton Scanlon; illus. by Lee White Primary    Schwartz & Wade/Random    40 pp.    g 2/18    978-1-101-93479-1    $17.99 Library ed.  978-1-101-93480-7    $20.99 This ecologically friendly picture book opens quietly, but it soon pivots from its lulling beginning (“The man lived all alone in the creaky house on the tip-top of […]

Review of The United States v. Jackie Robinson

The United States v. Jackie Robinson by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen; illus. by R. Gregory Christie Primary    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    40 pp. 1/18    978-0-06-228784-7    $17.99 “Long before anyone had heard of Rosa Parks, a guy named Jack refused to move to the back of the bus.” So begins the story of baseball star Jackie Robinson…before he was […]

Review of A Skinful of Shadows

A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge Middle School, High School    Amulet/Abrams    415 pp. 10/17    978-1-4197-2572-2    $19.99 Hardinge’s (The Lie Tree, rev. 5/16) latest tour de force is set during the reign of King Charles I against the backdrop of the 1600s English Civil War and is, as unlikely as it sounds, something of a […]

Review of Grace for Gus

Grace for Gus by Harry Bliss; illus. by the author Primary    Tegen/HarperCollins    40 pp.    g 2/18    978-0-06-264410-7    $17.99 Bliss’s nearly wordless book, told mainly through panel illustrations (and “with thanks to colorist Frank Young”), is a love letter to NYC, to creative bespectacled schoolchildren, and to guinea pigs; per the dedication page, it’s based on […]

Review of Older than Dirt: A Wild but True History of Earth

Older than Dirt: A Wild but True History of Earth by Don Brown and Mike Perfit; illus. by Don Brown Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    104 pp.    g 9/17    978-0-544-80503-3    $18.99 An extended conversation between a science-savvy groundhog and a new-to-Earth’s-history worm features a comprehensive overview of the geological past of our planet. The graphic format, […]