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Review of Boy21

Boy21 by Matthew Quick High School    Little, Brown    252 pp. 3/12    978-0-316-12797-4    $17.99 When Russ moves to decrepit, race-torn, Irish-mob-ruled Bellmont after his parents’ brutal murder, the school’s basketball coach (a family friend) turns to team leader Finley to help him acclimate, but also to convince former-phenom Russ to play ball again; since the tragedy […]

Review of The President’s Stuck in the Bathtub: Poems about the Presidents

The President’s Stuck in the Bathtub: Poems about the Presidents by Susan Katz; illus. by Robert Neubecker Primary, Intermediate     Clarion     64 pp. 2/12     978-0-547-18221-6     $17.99 In forty-three poems, Katz gives each of our U.S. presidents their due. She concentrates on little-known facts (William McKinley taught his parrot “Yankee Doodle”) but often slips in […]

Review of A Bus Called Heaven

A Bus Called Heaven by Bob Graham; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    40 pp. 3/12    978-0-7636-5893-9    $16.99 “The bus brought change to Stella’s street…Stella changed, too.” It’s quiet, pale Stella who takes her thumb out of her mouth and steps onto the bus that has been abandoned outside her house, claiming it for […]

Review of Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas

Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm; illus. by Molly Bang Primary    Blue Sky/Scholastic    48 pp. 5/12    978-0-545-27322-0    $18.99    g Although it stands alone well, this book is a companion to Bang’s My Light (rev. 5/04) and Bang and Chisholm’s Living Sunlight (rev. 5/09). The authors bring a […]

Review of Show Me a Story: Why Picture Books Matter

Show Me a Story!: Why Picture Books Matter: 
Conversations with 21 of the World’s Most Celebrated Illustrators compiled and edited 
by Leonard S. Marcus Middle School, High School, Of Interest to Adults    Candlewick    310 pp. 4/12    978-0-7636-3506-0    $22.99 “For a story’s text to work, it needs to be incomprehensible. Otherwise you wouldn’t need the pictures,” […]

Review of A Confusion of Princes

A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix Middle School, High School    Harper/HarperCollins    337 pp. 5/12    978-0-06-009694-6    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-06-009695-3    $18.89    g Nix’s gaming-inspired, sci-fi fantasy is a pleasing mix of high-adventure space drama, total bunkum (e.g., “it’s functioning on the tertiary backup level, without a holo…”), and wry, boyish charm. Khemri’s coming-of-age story begins […]

Review of Animal Masquerade

Animal Masquerade by Marianne Dubuc; trans. from 
the French by Yvette Ghione; 
illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Kids Can    120 pp. 3/12    978-1-55453-782-2    $16.95 For kids who never tire of driving one joke into the ground, this is the perfect book — and for their adults, there are enough surprises to make that one […]

Review of Summer in the City

Summer in the City by Marie-Louise Gay and David Homel; illus. by Marie-Louise Gay Intermediate    Groundwood    151 pp. 4/12    978-1-55498-177-9    $15.95    g e-book ed.  978-1-55498-200-4    $15.95 Sixth grade is almost over, summer’s approaching, and Charlie’s parents haven’t revealed the family’s summer plans yet. What great adventure is in store? In the past, they’ve been caught […]

Review of Code Name Verity

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein High School    Hyperion    337 pp. 5/12    978-1-4231-5219-4    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-4231-5325-2    $16.99 Wein’s exceptional — downright sizzling — abilities as a writer of historical adventure fiction are spectacularly evident in this taut, captivating story of two young women, spy and pilot, during World War II. Wein gives us […]

Review of We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March

We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March by Cynthia Levinson Middle School, High School     Peachtree     176 pp. 2/12     978-1-56145-627-7     $19.95 Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963 was a “dismally segregated” place, from lunch counters, parks, and department-store dressing rooms to public schools. The civil rights movement led by Fred Shuttlesworth, Ralph Abernathy, and […]