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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 Louisiana’s Way Home

Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo Intermediate    Candlewick    230 pp.    g 10/18    978-0-7636-9463-0    $16.99 Readers first met Louisiana Elefante in Raymie Nightingale (rev. 3/16) as the orphaned daughter of famous trapeze artists and as one of the Three Rancheros, a steadfast trio of young friends who vowed to always have one another’s backs. In this […]

Review of Quiet

Quiet by Tomie dePaola; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Simon    32 pp. 10/18    978-1-4814-7754-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-7755-0    $10.99 A grandfather, a girl, a boy, and their dog out for a walk notice the busyness of the natural world around them: the bees buzz, the birds fly fast, a dragonfly zooms, all “busy as […]

Review of Friends and Foes: Poems About Us All

Friends and Foes: Poems About Us All by Douglas Florian; illus. by the author Primary    Beach Lane/Simon    48 pp. 7/18    978-1-4424-8795-6    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4424-8796-3    $10.99 This collection of twenty-five poems teases out many of friendship’s fundamentals, as well as its more nuanced complexities. Along with jealousy, bullies, and new and imaginary friends, the punchy […]

Review of Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide

Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide by Isabel Quintero; illus. by Zeke Peña Middle School, High School    Getty    96 pp. 3/18    978-1-947440-00-5    $19.95 This 2018 Boston Globe–Horn Book Nonfiction Award–winning biography introduces readers to “an icon. Orgullo mexicano. Maestra.” Photographer Graciela Iturbide’s (b. 1942) story is told in comic-panel format, with striking black-and-white illustrations, high-quality […]

Review of Dragons in a Bag

Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott; illus. by Geneva B Primary, Intermediate    Random    154 pp.    g 10/18    978-1-5247-7045-7    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-5247-7046-4    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-7047-1    $10.99 There are two things you should never do when dealing with dragons. First, do not let them out of the bag; and second, do not feed them […]

Review of A Home in the Barn

A Home in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown; illus. by Jerry Pinkney Preschool, Primary    Harper/HarperCollins    32 pp. 9/18    978-0-06-623787-9    $17.99 This cozy (previously unpublished) story from the late, legendary Margaret Wise Brown opens and closes with the same playful rhyme: “Here is the barn / Hear the wind rattle / Open the door / And see all […]

Review of Vivid: Poems & Notes About Color

Vivid: Poems & Notes About Color by Julie Paschkis; illus. by the author Primary    Godwin/Holt    32 pp. 7/18    978-1-250-12229-2    $17.99 Fourteen color poems pair with vibrant gouache illustrations, beginning with the color yellow: “Loudly, rowdy / daffodils yell hello. / Hot yellow.” The poem, set inside a bright sun, blazes above butterflies, birds, flowers, and a bee, […]

Review of Unpunished Murder: Massacre at Colfax and the Quest for Justice

Unpunished Murder: Massacre at Colfax and the Quest for Justice by Lawrence Goldstone Middle School, High School   Scholastic Focus/Scholastic    266 pp.    g 8/18    978-1-338-23945-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-23948-5    $17.99 In 1873, a mob of armed white men massacred more than one hundred black “freedmen” in the town of Colfax in central Louisiana. Setting the stage […]

Review of Zora and Me: The Cursed Ground

Zora and Me: The Cursed Ground by T. R. Simon Intermediate, Middle School    Candlewick    261 pp.    g 9/18    978-0-7636-4301-0    $16.99 This second novel featuring a young Zora Neale Hurston and her friend Carrie Brown is once again set in the girls’ hometown of Eatonville, Florida, in 1903, less than forty years after the end of […]

Review of Lena’s Shoes Are Nervous: A First-Day-of-School Dilemma

Lena’s Shoes Are Nervous: A First-Day-of-School Dilemma by Keith Calabrese; illus. by Juana Medina Preschool, Primary    Atheneum    40 pp. 7/18    978-1-5344-0894-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-0895-1    $10.99 Young Lena is totally prepared, and excited to start kindergarten. She’s not nervous…but her shoes are. Lena enlists her headband (who is “friends with everybody” and “a good listener”) […]