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Review of Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune

Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela S. Turner; 
illus. by Gareth Hinds Intermediate, Middle School    Charlesbridge    236 pp. 2/16    978-1-58089-584-2    $16.95 Turner (The Frog Scientist, rev. 9/09) is best known for her science books for children; here she delivers an excellent biography of Japan’s legendary samurai Minamoto Yoshitsune. Because he lived […]

Review of Just a Lucky So and So: The Story of Louis Armstrong

Just a Lucky So and So: The Story of Louis Armstrong by Lesa Cline-Ransome; 
illus. by James Ransome Primary    Holiday    40 pp. 4/16    978-0-8234-3428-2    $16.95 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-3598-2    $16.95 Today’s child may know Louis Armstrong only as the trumpeter of “What a Wonderful World” or as a character in an old movie; the Ransomes’ newest […]

Review of Grayling’s Song

Grayling’s Song by Karen Cushman Intermediate    Clarion    210 pp. 6/16    978-0-544-30180-1    $16.99    g Cushman’s previous works (The Midwife’s Apprentice, rev. 7/95; Will Sparrow’s Road, rev. 11/12; etc.) fall into the realm of historical fiction; this novel is historically based but a fantasy, set in a culture inspired by, but not wedded to, medieval Europe. It’s […]

Review of The Moon’s Almost Here

The Moon’s Almost Here by Patricia MacLachlan; 
illus. by Tomie dePaola Primary    McElderry    32 pp. 6/16    978-1-4814-2062-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-2063-1    $10.99 MacLachlan’s lyrical text combines with ethereal illustrations by dePaola in this simultaneously nostalgic and fresh bedtime book. A generous trim size gives dePaola ample space for the sky under which his characters, the […]

Review of Crossing Niagara: The Death-Defying Tightrope 
Adventures of the Great Blondin

Crossing Niagara: The Death-Defying Tightrope 
Adventures of the Great Blondin by Matt Tavares; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Candlewick    36 pp. 4/16    978-0-7636-6823-5    $17.99    g In 1859, Jean François Gravelet — the Great Blondin — was the world’s greatest tightrope walker. Niagara Falls, then as now one of the world’s most breathtaking natural attractions, […]

Review of Somewhere Among

Somewhere Among by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu Intermediate    Dlouhy/Atheneum    441 pp. 4/16    978-1-4814-3786-8    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-3788-2    $10.99 Japanese fifth-grader Ema and her pregnant mother must move to the other side of Toyko to stay for several months with Obaasan and Jiichan, Papa’s parents: Mom is weak with debilitating morning sickness, and Papa works long hours. No […]

Review of The Saddest Toilet in the World

The Saddest Toilet in the World by Sam Apple; illus. by Sam Ricks Preschool     Aladdin/Simon     32 pp. 6/16     978-1-4814-5122-2     $17.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4814-5123-9     $10.99 Potty training is serious business for all involved, but what of the unsung toilet? Does anyone consider its feelings? Apple and Ricks do just that in this laugh-out-loud respite from charts, […]

Review of Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharks

Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharks by Skila Brown; illus. by Bob Kolar Primary    Candlewick    32 pp. 3/16    978-0-7636-6543-2    $16.99 Brown begins this playful and illuminating collection by taking a bite out of the most infamous of these ocean predators, the great white shark: “you’re no bully, / just a big attention hog. So / move […]

Review of Summerlost

Summerlost by Ally Condie Intermediate, Middle School    Dutton    253 pp. 3/16    978-0-339-18719-3    $17.99    g A local theater festival sets the stage for YA author Condie’s (Matched and sequels) first middle-grade novel. Twelve-year-old Cedar Lee, her little brother Miles, and their mother settle into their new summer home in Iron Creek, “a small town in a […]

Review of The White Cat and the Monk: A Retelling of the Poem “Pangur Bán”

The White Cat and the Monk: A Retelling of the Poem “Pangur Bán” by Jo Ellen Bogart; 
illus. by Sydney Smith Preschool, Primary    Groundwood    32 pp. 3/16    978-1-55498-780-1    $18.95 e-book ed.  978-1-55498-781-8    $16.95 Perhaps best known to us now through Barber and Auden’s song “The Monk and His Cat” (there is also a YA novel […]