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Review of Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen and Brave Jane Austen

Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen: The Story of Six Novels, Three Notebooks, a Writing Box, and One Clever Girl by Deborah Hopkinson; illus. by Qin Leng Primary    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    40 pp.    g 1/18    978-0-06-237330-4    $17.99 Brave Jane Austen: Reader, Writer, Author, Rebel by Lisa Pliscou; illus. by Jen Corace Primary    Ottaviano/Holt    48 pp.    g 1/18    […]

Review of The Secret of Nightingale Wood

The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange Intermediate, Middle School    Chicken House/Scholastic    288 pp. 10/17    978-1-338-15747-5    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-15749-9    $10.99 It’s 1919; the Great War is over; and twelve-year-old Hen and her family — Mama, Father, baby “Piglet,” and Nanny Jane — have just moved to an English country house where they hope […]

Review of Penguins Don’t Wear Sweaters!

Penguins Don’t Wear Sweaters! by Marikka Tamura; illus. by Daniel Rieley Preschool    Paulsen/Penguin    32 pp.    g 1/18    978-1-101-99696-6    $16.99 The book begins with a snapshot of penguin paradise: “Penguins on ice. / Penguins in the sea. Penguins love the sea!” But wait: “WHAT is this?” A ship has spilled its oil in the ocean. The cold, […]

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 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 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 […]

From The Guide: Family Matters

Julie Roach’s “BGHB at 50” column, “Amber and Essie and Vera and Me” (January/February 2018 Magazine) looks back at Vera B. Williams’s classic Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart, about “two sisters who take care of each other while missing their incarcerated father and overworked mother.” Williams offers readers an “intimate look at sisterhood,” as […]