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Review of A Skinful of Shadows

A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge Middle School, High School    Amulet/Abrams    415 pp. 10/17    978-1-4197-2572-2    $19.99 Hardinge’s (The Lie Tree, rev. 5/16) latest tour de force is set during the reign of King Charles I against the backdrop of the 1600s English Civil War and is, as unlikely as it sounds, something of a […]

Review of Grace for Gus

Grace for Gus by Harry Bliss; illus. by the author Primary    Tegen/HarperCollins    40 pp.    g 2/18    978-0-06-264410-7    $17.99 Bliss’s nearly wordless book, told mainly through panel illustrations (and “with thanks to colorist Frank Young”), is a love letter to NYC, to creative bespectacled schoolchildren, and to guinea pigs; per the dedication page, it’s based on […]

Review of The Librarian of Auschwitz

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe; trans. from the Spanish by Lilit Žekulin Thwaites High School    Godwin/Holt    424 pp. 10/17    978-1-62779-618-7    $19.99 January 1944: “In this life-destroying factory that is Auschwitz-Birkenau, where the ovens burn corpses day and night, Block 31 is atypical, an anomaly.” It’s where the children in camp BIIb, or the […]

Review of Ducks Away!

Ducks Away! by Mem Fox; illus. by Judy Horacek Preschool    Scholastic    32 pp.    g 1/18    978-1-338-18566-9    $16.99 Fox and Horacek (Where Is the Green Sheep?, rev. 5/04) team up again in this silly, cheerful counting book for the very youngest. When a mother duck waddles onto a bridge, she’s followed by her five ducklings — […]

Review of It’s Shoe Time!

It’s Shoe Time! [Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!] by Bryan Collier; illus. by the author; with additional illustrations by Mo Willems Primary    Hyperion    64 pp. 11/17    978-1-4847-2647-1    $9.99 Witty wordplay, snappy dialogue, and rich watercolor and collage illustrations combine in Collier’s (Knock Knock, rev. 11/13; Trombone Shorty, rev. 5/15; et al.) first early reader. The […]

Review of A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars

A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars by Seth Fishman; illus. by Isabel Greenberg Primary    Greenwillow    40 pp. 9/17    978-0-06-245578-9    $17.99 “This entire world is filled with crazy numbers, built one on top of the other, making it whole and complete.” Fishman and Greenberg engagingly highlight the wondrousness of numbers and stars, as well as just about […]

Review of Little i

Little i by Michael Hall; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Greenwillow    48 pp. 9/17    978-0-06-238300-6    $17.99 A cross between a quest story and a 
concept book, Hall’s (Red: A Crayon’s Story, rev. 1/15) latest picture book launches when Little i’s dot falls off and into the sea. Little i boards a boat appropriately shaped […]

Review of Patina

Patina [Track] by Jason Reynolds Intermediate, Middle School    Dlouhy/Atheneum    234 pp. 8/17    978-1-4814-5018-8    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-5020-1    $10.99 Back for the second leg of the Track series relay, the Defenders team has passed the baton to title character Patina, nicknamed Patty. First introduced to readers in Ghost (rev. 11/16), Patty has been forced to grow […]

Horn Book Magazine starred reviews January/February 2018

The following books will receive starred reviews in the January/February issue of The Horn Book Magazine.   Grace for Gus; written and illustrated by Harry Bliss (Tegen/HarperCollins) Ducks Away!; by Mem Fox; illustrated by Judy Horacek (Scholastic) Little i; written and illustrated by Michael Hall (Greenwillow) It’s Shoe Time!; by Bryan Collier; illustrated by Brian Collier and Mo Willems (Hyperion) […]

Review of Mama Africa!: How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope with Her Song

Mama Africa!: How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope with Her Song by Kathryn Erskine; illus. by Charly Palmer Primary, Intermediate    Farrar    48 pp. 10/17    978-0-374-30301-3    $18.99 The effects of colonialism on the continent of Africa are pernicious and vile; in every country the consequences continue to be real and raw, among them those from apartheid, the […]