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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 on Thursdays.

Review of Very, Very, Very Dreadful: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918

Very, Very, Very Dreadful: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918 by Albert Marrin Middle School, High School    Knopf    198 pp. 1/18    978-1-101-93146-2    $21.99 Library ed.  978-1-101-93147-9    $24.99 e-book ed.  978-1-101-93148-6    $11.99 Between 1918 and 1920, three waves of a very aggressive influenza virus swept around the globe, killing tens of millions of people. World War I […]

Review of The Poet X

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo High School    HarperTeen    361 pp.    g 3/18    978-0-06-266280-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-266282-8    $9.99 Fifteen-year-old Xiomara, whose name means “one who is ready for war,” has been fighting her whole life. The self-described “brown and big and angry” Dominican girl from Harlem furiously confronts catcalling boys, chafes under her Catholic […]

Review of The Little Red Fort

The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier; 
illus. by Sonia Sánchez Primary    Scholastic    40 pp.    g 3/18    978-0-545-85919-6    $17.99 Young Ruby (whose “mind was always full of ideas”) decides to build a fort in her yard. She asks her brothers for help, but in true “Little Red Hen” fashion, no one agrees: “Oscar Lee pretended […]

Review of In the Past

In the Past by David Elliott; 
illus. by Matthew Trueman Primary    Candlewick    48 pp.    g 3/18    978-0-7636-6073-4    $17.99 This collection of imaginative, clever poems about ancient animals, all but one extinct, moves chronologically from trilobites in the Cambrian era to woolly mammoths from our current geologic time period (Quaternary), with good representation across dinosaur, sea, […]

Review of Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos

Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos by Monica Brown; illus. by John Parra Primary    NorthSouth    40 pp. 9/17    978-0-7358-4269-4    $17.95 Spanish ed.  978-0-7358-4292-2    $17.95 Mexican painter, feminist icon, artistic genius — to these descriptors for Frida Kahlo we should add “animal lover.” That’s the takeaway from this lovely biographical portrait (simultaneously published in a Spanish-language edition), […]

Review of Wed Wabbit

Wed Wabbit by Lissa Evans Intermediate    Fickling/Scholastic    246 pp.    g 2/18    978-1-338-18527-0    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-18528-7    $10.99 This inventive and surprising fantasy adventure begins when Fidge’s little sister Minnie runs into traffic and is seriously injured. Ten-year-old Fidge, who feels responsible for the accident, is then sucked into another world, Wimbley Land, a place that […]

Review of Vincent Comes Home

Vincent Comes Home by Jessixa Bagley and Aaron Bagley; illus. by the authors Primary    Porter/Roaring Brook    32 pp. 2/18    978-1-62672-780-9    $17.99 Vincent the orange cat lives happily on a busy oceangoing cargo ship. In all his travels, he has never been ashore. But one day he hears the crew talking about “home” and starts to […]

Review of Voices in the Air

Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners by Naomi Shihab Nye Middle School    Greenwillow    208 pp.    g 2/18    978-0-06-269184-2    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-269186-6    $9.99 Many of Nye’s ninety-four original poems speak to historical and contemporary figures, from storied poets such as Yehuda Amichai, Lucille Clifton, José Emilio Pacheco, and Walt Whitman to a trusted Honolulu […]

Review of Votes for Women!: American Suffragists and 
the Battle for the Ballot

Votes for Women!: American Suffragists and 
the Battle for the Ballot by Winifred Conkling Middle School, High School    Algonquin    310 pp.    g 2/18    978-1-61620-734-2    $18.95 This is a fascinating account of the bumpy road to women’s suffrage in the U.S., beginning in earnest with the Women’s Rights Convention in 1848 and culminating with the ratifying […]

Review of The Journey of Little Charlie

The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis Intermediate, Middle School    Scholastic    245 pp.    g 1/18    978-0-545-15666-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-16400-8    $10.99 This latest addition to Curtis’s Buxton Chronicles (Elijah of Buxton, rev. 11/07; The Madman of Piney Woods, rev. 9/14) takes place in 1858, when the Fugitive Slave Act was in force. When […]