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Review of The No. 1 Car Spotter

The No. 1 Car Spotter by Atinuke; illus. by Warwick Johnson Cadwell Primary, Intermediate    Kane Miller    112 pp. 9/11    Paper ed.  978-1-61067-051-7    $5.99 Oluwalase Babatunde Benson, called No. 1, is the best car spotter in his African village. His unnamed country has cities and towns with skyscrapers, hotels, offices, tap water, electricity, and televisions, but […]

Review of First Day on Earth

First Day on Earth by Cecil Castellucci Middle School, High School    Scholastic    150 pp. 11/11    978-0-545-06082-0    $17.99 “Why is the hardest question in the world to answer.” And sixteen-year-old Mal (short for Malcolm) asks why a lot: Why did his father leave? Why did his mother fall apart? Why did aliens abduct him, probe him, […]

Review of The Annotated Phantom Tollbooth

The Annotated Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster; illus. by Jules Feiffer; annotated by Leonard S. Marcus Knopf    284 pp. 10/11   978-0-375-85715-7   $29.99 Library ed. 978-0-375-95715-4   $32.99 If ever there were a twentieth-century children’s book that deserved an annotated edition, it’s Juster and Feiffer’s masterpiece, first published fifty years ago. Filled with […]

Review of Subway Story

Subway Story by Julia Sarcone-Roach; illus. by the author Primary    Knopf    40 pp. 10/11    978-0-375-85859-8    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-375-95859-5    $19.99 Sarcone-Roach displays a discipline not always seen in books about the environment; she allows her theme of reuse and recycling to emerge naturally from a fine story and lets readers draw their own conclusions without […]

Review of Bailey

Bailey by Harry Bliss; illus. by the author Primary    Scholastic    32 pp. 8/11    978-0-545-23344-6    $16.99 Bailey loves school, where he is by far the most popular student. Then again, he is the only dog at Champlain Elementary School. No one can resist a dog who hangs his head out the school bus window, willing the […]

Review of The Princess of Borscht

The Princess of Borscht by Leda Schubert; illus. by Bonnie Christensen Primary    Porter/Roaring Brook    32 pp. 11/11    978-1-59643-515-5    $17.99 Though the book opens with Ruthie and her father at the hospital visiting Ruthie’s grandmother, laid up with pneumonia, this isn’t a coping-with-death book. Bubbe’s not failing, she’s a finagler. Unsatisfied by hospital food (“a person […]

Review of Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade

At Macy’s department store, marionette maker Tony Sarg started inside and worked his way out. He designed mechanical storybook figures for Macy’s window displays before inventing the giant balloon characters that would become the signature feature of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Sweet’s whimsical mixed-media collages, embellished with little dolls she made herself out of odds and ends, reinforce the theme that, for Sarg, work was play. He loved his job just as much as the cheering crowds loved his balloons (one of Sweet’s watercolor illustrations shows open-mouthed children fairly dancing with delight).

Review of Zombie Mommy

Mrs. Gefelty, Lily’s mom — worried now that Lily has begun appearing as a book character along with her longtime adventure-series-hero friends Jasper Dash and Katie — has figured out the perfect solution to her metafictive problem. Having noticed that mothers in children’s novels tend to die or disappear, she’s decided to retreat to a safe haven — only it’s not quite as safe as she thinks…

Review of Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson; illus. by the author Intermediate     Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins     108 pp. 9/11     978-0-06-173074-0     $19.99 “Most folks my age and complexion don’t speak much about the past,” begins the unnamed narrator of this graceful and personalized overview of African American history. But […]