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Review of A Gift from Abuela

A Gift from Abuela by Cecilia Ruiz; illus. by the author Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.    g 8/18    978-0-7636-9267-4    $15.99 Ruiz elevates a standard tale about the loving bond between a grandmother and granddaughter with historically significant and culturally relevant detail (the book is set in 1980s Mexico City). The beauty of Abuela and Niña’s quotidian […]

Review of A House That Once Was

A House That Once Was by Julie Fogliano; illus. by Lane Smith Primary    Roaring Brook    48 pp. 5/18    978-1-62672-314-6    $18.99 “Deep in the woods / is a house / just a house / that once was / but now isn’t / a home.” So begins Fogliano’s rhythmic, read-aloud-perfect tale of two children who discover a mysterious abandoned house. As they […]

Review of Samurai Scarecrow: A Very Ninja Halloween

Samurai Scarecrow: A Very Ninja Halloween by Rubin Pingk; illus. by the author Primary    Simon    48 pp. 7/18    978-1-4814-3059-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-3060-9    $10.99 In his second holiday-themed adventure (Samurai Santa, rev. 11/15), young ninja Yukio faces a familiar Halloween-night dilemma: how to handle a tagalong sibling. Doting little sis Kashi emulates all of Yukio’s […]

Review of We Don’t Eat Our Classmates

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Disney-Hyperion    48 pp. 6/18    978-1-368-00355-1    $17.99 The first day of school is tough enough; imagine you’re a wee Tyrannosaurus rex and it turns out that your classmates are, of all things, human. Penelope Rex does what any nervous dino would […]

Review of A Parade of Elephants

A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes; illus. by the author Preschool    Greenwillow    40 pp.    g 9/18    978-0-06-266827-1    $18.99 Library ed.  978-0-06-266828-8    $19.89 “Look! Elephants! / One, two, three, four, five. / Five elephants. / Marching. / A parade of elephants!” The sturdy walkers, each rendered in a pastel color with a thick brown outline, stay in the same […]

Review of The Squirrels’ Busy Year

The Squirrels’ Busy Year [A First Science Storybook] by Martin Jenkins; illus. by Richard Jones Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.    g 7/18    978-0-7636-9600-9    $16.99 A pair of squirrels and other residents of their pond-side community interact through four distinct seasons. In winter, the sleeping squirrels pop out quickly for acorns under the watchful eye of […]

Review of Quiet

Quiet by Tomie dePaola; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Simon    32 pp. 10/18    978-1-4814-7754-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-7755-0    $10.99 A grandfather, a girl, a boy, and their dog out for a walk notice the busyness of the natural world around them: the bees buzz, the birds fly fast, a dragonfly zooms, all “busy as […]

Creative concepts

Crafting a fresh concept book is no easy task, but the creators of these new picture books introduce fundamental topics in imaginative ways. “Look! Elephants! / One, two, three, four, five…” Five elephants, each rendered in a different pastel color with a thick brown outline, march across the pages of A Parade of Elephants. Counting […]

Review of A Home in the Barn

A Home in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown; illus. by Jerry Pinkney Preschool, Primary    Harper/HarperCollins    32 pp. 9/18    978-0-06-623787-9    $17.99 This cozy (previously unpublished) story from the late, legendary Margaret Wise Brown opens and closes with the same playful rhyme: “Here is the barn / Hear the wind rattle / Open the door / And see all […]

Review of Lena’s Shoes Are Nervous: A First-Day-of-School Dilemma

Lena’s Shoes Are Nervous: A First-Day-of-School Dilemma by Keith Calabrese; illus. by Juana Medina Preschool, Primary    Atheneum    40 pp. 7/18    978-1-5344-0894-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-0895-1    $10.99 Young Lena is totally prepared, and excited to start kindergarten. She’s not nervous…but her shoes are. Lena enlists her headband (who is “friends with everybody” and “a good listener”) […]