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Review of Dear Substitute

Dear Substitute by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick; illus. by Chris Raschka Primary    Disney-Hyperion    40 pp. 6/18    978-1-4847-5022-3    $17.99 With her regular teacher out sick (we glimpse a feverish Mrs. Giordano on the copyright page), a little girl in brown pigtails writes a series of letters throughout her school day, beginning: “Dear Substitute, / Wow. […]

Reviews of 2018 Mind the Gap Award winners

Not all deserving books bring home ALA awards. Our annual Mind the Gap Awards pay tribute to our favorite books that didn’t win. Here’s how we reviewed our 2018 winners. Windows by Julia Denos; illus. by E. B. Goodale Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.    g 10/17    978-0-7636-9035-9    $15.99 “At the end of the day, before […]

Review of Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams

Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams by Lesa Cline-Ransome; illus. by James E. Ransome Primary, Intermediate    Wiseman/Simon    48 pp. 7/18    978-1-4814-7684-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-7685-0    $10.99 Wife-and-husband team Cline-Ransome and Ransome celebrate tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams, focusing on their formative childhoods and the way their preparation and talent fundamentally changed […]

Review of Look at the Weather

Look at the Weather by Britta Teckentrup; illus. by the author; trans. from the German and adapted by Shelley Tanaka Intermediate    Owlkids    152 pp.    g 4/18    978-1-77147-286-9    $19.95 “We have such a strong connection to weather, we can’t help but wonder about it.” Across the next 150-plus pages, Teckentrup’s words and illustrations embody this connection, […]

Review of The Party and Other Stories

The Party and Other Stories [Fox + Chick] by Sergio Ruzzier; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Chronicle    46 pp. 4/18    978-1-4521-5288-2    $14.99 In a volume with a picture book’s trim size but plenty of graphic-novel elements (simply structured panels, dialogue balloons, sound effects), Ruzzier delivers three stories well suited to both reading newcomers and […]

Review of They Say Blue

They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki; illus. by the author Primary    Abrams    40 pp. 3/18    978-1-4197-2851-8    $17.99 A girl considers the wondrousness of the world around her, prompted by the colors she encounters throughout her day. While at the beach, she gazes across the water (“They say the sea is blue…But when I hold the […]

Review of The Book of Boy

The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock; illus. by Ian Schoenherr Intermediate, Middle School    Greenwillow    278 pp. 2/18    978-0-06-268620-6    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-268622-0    $7.99 Secundus is a pilgrim. A child, known simply as Boy, is a goatherd. Together they travel, master and servant, from France to Rome in the Holy Year of 1350. Each […]

Review of A Big Mooncake for Little Star

A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp.    g 8/18    978-0-316-40448-8    $17.99 Little Star and her mother bake a mooncake, the sweet treat associated with the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. The ingredients for their super-sized mooncake cover a mammoth table, because these two make their […]

Review of Rebound

Rebound by Kwame Alexander; illus. by Dawud Anyabwile Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    414 pp. 4/18    978-0-544-86813-7    $16.99 In this prequel to Alexander’s Newbery Medal–winning The Crossover (rev. 5/14), it’s the summer of 1988, and twelve-year-old Charlie Bell would rather roller-skate with his two best friends or escape into the pages of his beloved Fantastic Four […]

Review of Water Land: Land and Water Forms 
Around the World

Water Land: Land and Water Forms 
Around the World by Christy Hale; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Porter/Roaring Brook    32 pp. 5/18    978-1-250-15244-2    $17.99 Die-cuts serve both useful and playful purpose in this introduction to Earth’s various meetings of water and landforms. A boy idyllically fishes on a small pond while a girl plays […]