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Review of My Grandfather’s Coat

My Grandfather’s Coat retold by Jim Aylesworth; 
illus. by Barbara McClintock Preschool, Primary    Scholastic    32 pp. 11/14    978-0-439-92545-7    $17.99 Revisiting the Yiddish folksong celebrated in Simms Taback’s Caldecott-winning Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, Aylesworth extends its events over four generations, affording McClintock the opportunity to sample dress and households from the early twentieth century to […]

Review of Murilla Gorilla and the Hammock Problem

Murilla Gorilla and the Hammock Problem by Jennifer Lloyd; illus. by Jacqui Lee Primary     Simply Read     41 pp. 8/14     978-1-927018-47-7     $9.95 This light and easy mystery, told in six chapters, will be just the thing to boost new readers’ confidence and tickle their funny bones. A gorilla named Murilla lives in the rainforest of an […]

Review of What There Is Before There Is Anything There: A Scary Story

What There Is Before 
There Is Anything There: A Scary Story by Liniers; illus. by the author; trans. from the Spanish by Elisa Amado Primary    Groundwood    24 pp. 9/14    978-1-55498-385-8    $18.95 Argentinian cartoonist Liniers’s (The 
Big Wet Balloon, rev. 9/13) bravely existential picture book eschews cute monsters in closets to capture the true reality of […]

Review of The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant; illus. by Melissa Sweet Primary    Eerdmans    48 pp. 9/14    978-0-8028-5385-1    $17.50 Apt language and ingenious imagery combine to tell the life story of Peter Mark Roget, creator of the thesaurus. A solitary, though not unhappy, child, Roget spends his time keeping lists and ordering the […]

Review of Gracefully Grayson

Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky Intermediate, Middle School    Hyperion    247 pp. 11/14    978-1-4231-8527-7    $16.99 Grayson, a sixth grader at Porter Middle School, passes the time doodling and daydreaming about what it would be like to go through life as a girl, despite being seen by everyone else as male. Struggling with the total isolation that […]

Holiday High Notes 2014

Joy to the world…it’s time for our annual selection 
of new holiday books, with reviews 
written by the Horn Book staff. Frankenstein’s Fright 
Before Christmas by Ludworst Bemonster; story by 
Rick Walton; illus. by Nathan Hale Primary    Feiwel    32 pp. 10/14    978-0-312-55367-8    $16.99 The team behind Frankenstein: A Monstrous Parody — a spoof of Madeline […]

Review of Flora and the Penguin

Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Chronicle    48 pp. 9/14    978-1-4521-2891-7    $16.99 Having mastered the art of the dahhnce in Flora and the Flamingo (rev. 7/13), the same little-girl protagonist takes up figure skating. While lacing up her skates, she spies an orange beak peeking out of a […]

Review of Little Melba and 
Her Big Trombone

Little Melba and 
Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown; 
illus. by Frank Morrison Primary    Lee & Low    40 pp. 7/14    978-1-60060-898-8    $18.95    g From the time she was a little girl, Melba Liston loved music, especially the jazz music that surrounded her while she was growing up, first in Kansas City and then in Los […]

Review of Nuts to You

Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins; illus. by the author Intermediate    Greenwillow    260 pp. 8/14    978-0-06-009275-7    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-226220-2    $8.99 Jed the squirrel’s odyssey begins dramatically when he is captured by a hawk and carried far away from his community. Using an “ancient squirrel defensive martial art,” he escapes and so begins his […]

Review of A Perfectly Messed-Up Story

A Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnell; 
illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp. 10/14    978-0-316-22258-7    $17.00 “No pages were harmed in the making of this book.” This cheeky copyright page disclaimer is undoubtedly true, but the very realistic-looking messes inside — and on the cover—make it hard to believe. For Louie, […]