Fox Lake District Library · 
255 E. Grand Avenue
 · 
Fox Lake, IL 60020
USA
 ·  Phone: (847) 587- 0198
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 · Director: Harry J. Bork

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 · Mon. - Fri.  9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
 · Saturday  9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
 · Sunday  1 p.m. - 5 p.m. (Sept. thru May)
ALA Notable Books for Children
2013
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Gene Luen Yang ; color by Lark Pien.
2013
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Gene Luen Yang ; color by Lark Pien.
2013
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Rainbow Rowell.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-In this novel set in the 1980s, teenagers Eleanor and Park are outsiders; Eleanor, because she's new to the neighborhood, and Park, because he's half Asian. Although initially wary of each other, they quickly bond over their love of comics and 1980s alternative music. Eleanor's home life is difficult; her stepfather physically abuses her mother and emotionally abuses Eleanor and her siblings. At school, she is the victim of bullying, which escalates into defacement of her textbooks, her clothes, and crude displays on her locker. Although Park's mother, a Korean immigrant, is initially resistant to the strange girl due to her odd fashion choices, his father invites Eleanor to seek temporary refuge with them from her unstable home life. When Eleanor's stepfather's behavior grows even more menacing, Park assists in her escape, even though it means that they might not see each other again. The friendship between the teens is movingly believable, but the love relationship seems a bit rushed and underdeveloped. The revelation about the person behind the defacement of Eleanor's textbooks is stunning. Although the narrative points of view alternate between Eleanor and Park, the transitions are smooth. Crude language is realistic. Purchase for readers who are drawn to quirky love stories or 1980s pop culture.-Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Half-Korean sophomore Park Sheridan is getting through high school by lying low, listening to the Smiths (it's 1986), reading Alan Moore's Watchmen comics, never raising his hand in class, and avoiding the kids he grew up with. Then new girl Eleanor gets on the bus. Tall, with bright red hair and a dress code all her own, she's an instant target. Too nice not to let her sit next to him, Park is alternately resentful and guilty for not being kinder to her. When he realizes she's reading his comics over his shoulder, a silent friendship is born. And slowly, tantalizingly, something more. Adult author Rowell (Attachments), making her YA debut, has a gift for showing what Eleanor and Park, who tell the story in alternating segments, like and admire about each other. Their love is believable and thrilling, but it isn't simple: Eleanor's family is broke, and her stepfather abuses her mother. When the situation turns dangerous, Rowell keeps things surprising, and the solution-imperfect but believable-maintains the novel's delicate balance of light and dark. Ages 13-up. Agent: Christopher Schelling, Selectric Artists. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list *Starred Review* Right from the start of this tender debut, readers can almost hear the clock winding down on Eleanor and Park. After a less than auspicious start, the pair quietly builds a relationship while riding the bus to school every day, wordlessly sharing comics and eventually music on the commute. Their worlds couldn't be more different. Park's family is idyllic: his Vietnam vet father and Korean immigrant mother are genuinely loving. Meanwhile, Eleanor and her younger siblings live in poverty under the constant threat of Richie, their abusive and controlling stepfather, while their mother inexplicably caters to his whims. The couple's personal battles are also dark mirror images. Park struggles with the realities of falling for the school outcast; in one of the more subtle explorations of race and the other in recent YA fiction, he clashes with his father over the definition of manhood. Eleanor's fight is much more external, learning to trust her feelings about Park and navigating the sexual threat in Richie's watchful gaze. In rapidly alternating narrative voices, Eleanor and Park try to express their all-consuming love. You make me feel like a cannibal, Eleanor says. The pure, fear-laced, yet steadily maturing relationship they develop is urgent, moving, and, of course, heartbreaking, too.--Jones, Courtney Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2013
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Rainbow Rowell.
2013
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Rick Yancey.

Book list *Starred Review* The Monstrumologist series set a bar for YA horror nearly impossible to match. Can Yancey do the same for sci-fi? He makes a hell of an effort with this ambitious series starter set in the aftermath of a crushing alien invasion in which the aliens themselves never appeared. Seven billion humans have died in the months following the appearance of a giant mother ship. Wave 1: an electromagnetic pulse rendering all machines useless. Wave 2: tsunamis wiping out coastal cities. Wave 3: the Red Death, a deadly plague carried by birds. Wave 4: Silencers, humans who were implanted with alien intelligence as fetuses. We don't even want to know about Wave 5 do we? Monstrumologist fans will be surprised to discover that Yancey grounds his multiperspective survivalist thriller in two fairly conventional YA voices: Cassie, 16, whose grim solitary existence changes when she is rescued by hunky but mysterious Evan; and Zombie, 17, ex-sports star thrown into a brutal boot camp to train as an alien killer. Yancey's heartfelt, violent, paranoid epic, filled with big heroics and bigger surprises, is part War of the Worlds, part Starship Troopers, part Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and part The Stand, but just close enough to dystopic trends to make this a sure thing for reviewers and readers alike. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Hype has been heavy since a big preempt sale and an announced 500,000 first printing. Film rights are sold, tours are planned, ads will be omnipresent need we say more?--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Yancey makes a dramatic 180 from the intellectual horror of his Monstrumologist books to open a gripping SF trilogy about an Earth decimated by an alien invasion. The author fully embraces the genre, while resisting its more sensational tendencies (rest assured, though, there are firefights and explosions aplenty). A rare survivor of the invasion, 16-year-old Cassie, armed with an M16 rifle and her younger brother's teddy bear, is trying to reunite with her brother and escape the "Silencer" (assassin) trying to kill her. Meanwhile, 17-year-old "Zombie," an unwitting military recruit, is facing a crisis of conscience. The story's biggest twists aren't really surprises; the hints are there for readers to see. Yancey is more interested in examining how these world-shaking revelations affect characters who barely recognize what their lives have become. As in the Monstrum-ologist series, the question of what it means to be human is at the forefront-in the words of cartoonist Walt Kelly, "We have met the enemy and he is us." It's a book that targets a broad commercial audience, and Yancey's aim is every bit as good as Cassie's. Ages 14-up. Agent: Brian DeFiore, DeFiore and Co. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Cassie travels with just the essentials. First on the list: Luger, M-16, ammo, Bowie knife. Incidentals like food, water, sleeping bag, and nail clippers come further down. A nondescript 16-year-old, she is one of the very few people left alive on Earth. Aliens sent waves of destructive forces to eradicate humans: Cassie's family survived the 1st and 2nd Waves. Her mother died in the 3rd Wave (Pestilence) and her father in the 4th (Silencers). Her little brother may still be alive; he may even be safe in a military compound, as Cassie deals with the 5th Wave- a carefully orchestrated survival dance of kill or be killed. The aliens are never described in detail, and their reasons for wanting the humans gone are not clear. But they are ruthless and determined, and their methods for gaining control mean readers will never again see owls as the friendly, mail-delivering avians portrayed in the world of Harry Potter. The compelling story is told from the viewpoints of Cassie and Ben, who is now a soldier known as Zombie. Cassie crushed on Ben at school, but he never particularly noticed her. Now he has transformed from handsome high school sports star to focused paramilitary killer. Yancey's story is full of violent twists and turns, but character development continues along with nonstop action. Cassie and Ben grow out of high school self-centeredness and find leadership qualities. Cassie's interactions with an alien elevate him from a one-dimensional "bad guy" role. While the big body counts (billions die) happen largely offscreen, there are numerous more personal instances in which teens are both killers and killed. The ending has enough planned loose ends to practically guarantee a sequel.-Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2013
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Meg Rosoff.
 
2013
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Brandon Sanderson : illustrations by Ben McSweeney.
2013
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Elizabeth Wein.
2013
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Tim Federle.

Book list In this funny and insightful story, the dreams of many a small-town, theater-loving boy are reflected in the starry eyes of eighth-grader Nate. When Nate hops a Greyhound bus to travel across Pennsylvania to try out for the Broadway-bound musical based on the movie E.T., no one but his best friend, Libby, knows about it; not his athletic brother, religious father, or unhappy mother. Self-reliant, almost to an inauthentic fault, he arrives in Manhattan for the first time and finds his way into the audition with dramatic results, and when his estranged actress/waitress aunt suddenly appears, a troubled family history and a useful subplot surface. Nate's emerging sexuality is tactfully addressed in an age-appropriate manner throughout, particularly in his wonderment at the differences between his hometown and N.Y.C., a world where guys . . . can dance next to other guys who probably liked Phantom of the Opera and not get threatened or assaulted. This talented first-time author has made the classic Chorus Line theme modern and bright for the Glee generation.--Medlar, Andrew Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Federle's hilarious and heartwarming debut novel follows 13-year-old musical theater-loving Nate Foster on his meticulously choreographed overnight getaway to New York City to audition for E.T.: The Musical. Catchy chapter titles framed in marquee lights ("This'll Be Fast: You Might as Well Meet Dad, Too") and running gags, like Nate's use of Broadway flops as epithets ("Moose Murders it all to tarnation!"), add to the theatrical atmosphere as Nate breathlessly narrates his backstory and real-time adventures. Federle (who has himself worked on Broadway) combines high-stakes drama with slapstick comedy as Nate travels by Greyhound bus-dying cellphone and dollars in hand-determined to get to the audition, conceal his lack of chaperone, and compete in the cutthroat world of child actors and stage parents. Nate's desperation to escape his stifling home environment, instant love affair with the city, questions about his sexuality, and relationship with his dysfunctional but sympathetic family add emotional depth. Federle's supporting characters affirm theater's "no small roles" adage, and E.T. references abound-like Elliott's bicycle in the film, this book soars. Ages 9-13. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 5-8-Irrepressible 13-year-old Nate Foster is certain that stardom awaits, as soon as he can leave his stifling life in small-town Jankburg, Pennsylvania, behind. Using his ever-loyal best friend, Libby, as an alibi, he sneaks away to New York City to audition for E.T.: The Musical. Nate and Libby have an endearing habit of using the names of Broadway flops as stand-ins for foul language. A madcap adventure featuring bossy receptionists, cutthroat fellow performers, and wacky casting directors follows. With the help of an understanding aunt, Nate remains goofy and upbeat in the face of constant criticism and rejection. A fun and suspenseful ending will leave readers guessing whether Nate scores the part or not. Federle's semiautobiographical debut explores weighty issues such as sibling rivalry, bullying, religious parents, and gay or questioning teens with a remarkably lighthearted and humorous touch totally appropriate for young audiences.-Madigan McGillicuddy, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, Atlanta, GA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2013
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written by Charles de Lint ; illustrated by Charles Vess.

Book list In this expanded version of A Circle of Cats (2003), 12-year-old orphan Lillian is bitten by a snake, but she is spared death when the cats of Tanglewood Forest turn her into a kitten. Old Mother Possum takes her back in time to return her to human shape, but this time Lillian's aunt succumbs to the snake. Realizing that her choices bring unintended consequences, Lillian begins a quest to revisit her decisions, with the goal of saving her aunt, and her kindness toward others (as well as her cleverness) eventually does just that. Set in a magical forest populated by Bear People, an Apple Tree Man, and the Father of Cats, the story's lyrical, folkloric style is well suited to a tale of magic and mystery. Vess' line-and-watercolor illustrations (not seen in final form) appear throughout; they help to break up the text for younger readers and give form to de Lint's unusual characters. Give this to fans of Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black's Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World around You (2005).--Weisman, Kay Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In this enchanting expansion of De Lint and Vess's 2003 picture book, A Circle of Cats, the duo tells the story of Lillian Kindred, a spirited orphan living on a farm at the edge of a forest with her beloved aunt. While exploring, Lillian is bitten by a snake but saved from death by the magic of the feral cats she has befriended, who turn her into a kitten. Seeking a return to human form, Lillian makes a deal with Old Mother Possum, only to discover that her aunt has died of snakebite. A complex series of adventures, transformations, and tradeoffs occurs, involving a number of De Lint's typically syncretistic magical characters, including Aunt Nancy the spider woman and T.H. Reynolds the fox, who unapologetically informs Lillian that he's eaten Mother Possum's husband, saying, "I'm a fox. It's what we do." De Lint zestfully combines the traditional and the original, the light and the dark, while Vess's luminous full-color illustrations, simultaneously fluid and precise, capture Lillian's effervescent blend of determination and curiosity. Ages 8-12. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2013
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Kate DiCamillo ; illustrated by K.G. Campbell.
2013
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Shirley Hughes

Publishers Weekly After more than 50 years of writing and illustrating children's books, two-time Greenaway Medal-winner Hughes delivers her first novel, a tense and emotional thriller set during the German occupation of Florence in 1944, near the end of WWII. With an absent father and a British mother, 13-year-old Paolo Crivelli and his 16-year-old sister, Constanza, suffer isolation and scrutiny under the tight security of the Nazis and their neighbors' suspicion (their father is believed to be a Partisan, part of the pro-Allied resistance). Paolo secretly violates the city's curfew each night to ride his bicycle across town, and Partisans approach him one evening, setting in motion their plan to have Paolo's mother harbor escaped Allied prisoners of war. The third-person narration shifts smoothly among Paolo, Constanza, and their mother, giving readers profound insight and perspective on their individual worries and pressures, as their situation becomes all the more perilous. The Italian setting is vibrantly presented, and Hughes creates both a memorable cast and a palpable sense of danger at a critical juncture of the war. Ages 10-14. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list The resistance movement in WWII Italy is the backdrop for a beloved picture-book creator's first full-length novel. In 1944, with Nazi soldiers occupying the city and their father away, teens Paolo and Costanza Crivelli are bored. Paolo, 13, sneaks out to bike through the streets of Florence at night, seeking adventure, avoiding the occupying Germans, and hoping to meet his heroes, the Partisans, while his 16-year-old sister sulks in her room. In spite of their mother's attempts to shelter them, the war comes far too close when their mother, already under suspicion because of her English background and her husband's known anti-Fascist views, reluctantly agrees to hide a pair of escaped prisoners of war. Soon Paolo becomes part of the escape strategy, and his bicycle becomes a Partisan tool. An omniscient narrator switches focus among the three family members as the action takes place in and under the family villa, in dark city streets, and in the surrounding countryside. The mounting suspense will keep readers turning pages. An absorbing survival adventure.--Isaacs, Kathleen Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 5-8-For 13-year-old Paolo Crivelli, the excitement of planning secret nightly trips into Florence balances the boredom and stress of living under Nazi occupation in a war-torn village outside the city. Because his mother, Rosemary, is English, she senses the town's suspicions of her. Paolo's father has joined the Partisans, a secret group working to sabotage the Nazis. For Rosemary, keeping her family safe is a daunting task, and she desperately misses her husband's strength and confidence. Then the Partisans ask her to hide two Allied soldiers who have escaped from the Germans. Though reluctant to jeopardize her family's safety, she feels she has no choice. As the excitement escalates, the characters struggle to be courageous while wrestling with life-threatening decisions. They have been living under harsh conditions and with the awareness that Nazi sympathizers are among their neighbors. Once the Allied soldiers are with the Crivellis, intrigue and mystery mount. Both Paolo and his sister, Constanza, do what is necessary, though there is underlying resentment by them and their mother that their father has chosen to follow his beliefs instead of staying to protect them. In this engrossing story, Hughes combines a riveting plotline with multidimensional characters. It also provides youngsters with some understanding of the choices and conditions faced by people in Europe during World War II. It's a good follow-up to Donna Jo Napoli's Stones in the Water (1997) and its sequel, Fire in the Hills (2006, both Dutton).-Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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written by Rose Lagercrantz ; illustrated by Eva Eriksson ; [translated by Julia Marshall].

Publishers Weekly To understand the true meaning and value of resilience, look no further than the 20 brief chapters of this early reader, created by two longtime Swedish collaborators and beautifully translated into spare, lyrical prose. Even at a young age, Dani has seen more than her share of heartache: the best friend she meets in chapter four moves away by chapter eight ("[Dani] wished she could move, too. But she had to stay behind"), a departure that prompts the sad revelation that Dani's mother died sometime earlier. "They said she had passed away," writes Lagercrantz, "but how could a dead person pass anything? And away to where?" But as Eriksson's emotionally astute and often endearingly funny pencil drawings show, Dani does indeed have much to be happy about. She has a loving father and extended family, an unflappable teacher whose lesson plans form a wry running joke ("They had a fruit week and a vegetable week. They learned all about fruit and vegetables"), and-above all-an openness to reflection and new possibilities, big and small. Ages 6-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* Dani is eager to start school, but as she and her father approach the building, she begins to worry. Will she like her new teacher? Will she feel alone? Soon Dani and her classmate Ella become fast friends, sitting together, playing together, eating lunch together each day, and even having occasional sleepovers. When Ella moves away, Dani is forlorn, and every other hurt is magnified by her sorrow. Her father's gift of hamsters cheers her a bit, but it takes some time, reflection, correspondence with Ella, and a promised visit before Dani feels whole again. Translated from the Swedish, this simply written chapter book tenderly portrays the happiness of a child whose life is in balance, as well as the colossal, unremitting, inconsolable sorrow of one who is suffering loss. Lagercrantz mentions Dani's experiences when her mother died some years earlier, but leaves it to readers to draw the inference. The clarity and simplicity of the writing are balanced by the verve and finesse of Eriksson's captivating illustrations. Working beautifully with the text and usually given more space on the page, these sensitive ink drawings feature clean lines that express emotions through every character's stance, gesture, and expression. A quietly compelling book for young readers.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 1-3-Young Dani has what she considers a happy life, but she wonders if she will still be happy once she starts school. The butterflies subside when she meets Ella, and they are soon fast friends. When Ella moves away, Dani doesn't think she'll find happiness again, and she reflects on how unhappy she was when her mother died. The story unfolds in short chapters, with just a few sentences per page and large, plentiful, black-and-white drawings. The illustrations complement the narrative well, and will enable younger readers to feel a sense of accomplishment for tackling a lengthy chapter book. The few characters are well developed and the everyday happenings in Dani's life feel genuine, such as friendship woes and childhood fears. The difficult subjects are handled gracefully, allowing children to realize that happiness comes and goes, and that everyone has hardships to face.-Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2013
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Kathi Appelt.

Book list *Starred Review* Swamps provide great fodder for stories, and Newbery Honor Award-winning Appelt uses every inch of the Sugar Man Swamp and its inhabitants to tell her engaging tale. At the helm of the complex ecosystem is the Sugar Man, a gigantic, fur-covered cousin to the yeti and bigfoot, who rules benevolently but has been asleep for the past 60 years. He is to be woken, preferably with an offering of sugarcane, only in the case of an emergency. Bingo and J'Miah, two raccoons who live in an abandoned DeSoto car, are the official Sugar Man Swamp scouts, and it's their job to alert him to impending danger. Meanwhile, on the edge of the Bayou Tourterelle, a 12-year-old boy named Chap has just lost his beloved grandfather, and he and his mother must raise a whole boatload of cash making sugar pies to prevent Sonny Boy Beaucoup and an alligator wrestler from developing a theme park on their home turf. On top of all that, there are wild hogs headed straight for the swamp rumble, rumble, rumble! This delicious, richly detailed story is told in 104 short chapters, which swing the plot beautifully from one thread to the next and keep the action moving. Appelt's omniscient third-person narration exudes folksy, homespun warmth while also feeling fresh and funny. A satisfying romp with plenty of memorable characters to root for and some to boo. Illustrations to come.--Kelley, Ann Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Told from the perspectives of animals and humans, Appelt's (The Underneath) rollicking tall tale exposes the trouble brewing in Sugar Man swamp. The main concern of Bingo and J'miah, two raccoon Swamp Scouts, is the approaching brood of feral hogs, which could destroy the precious canebrake sugar used to make fried pies at the local Paradise Pies cafe. Meanwhile, 12-year-old Chap Brayburn, the cafe proprietor's son, is worried about rich, horrible Sonny Boy Beaucoup, who wants to turn the swamp into the "Gator World Wrestling Arena and Theme Park." The swamp's salvation may lie with the furry, bearlike Sugar Man, whose "hands were as large as palmetto ferns" and "feet were like small boats," but finding and awakening him is no easy task. The book's folksy narrative adds brightness and humor to the story as Appelt explores the swamp's rich history, varied denizens, and current threats. Heroes and villains are drawn in bold strokes, but while there's little doubt who will emerge victorious, finding out how events unfurl is well worth the read. Art not seen by PW. Ages 8-12. Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2013
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Monica Edinger ; illustrated by Robert Byrd.
 
2013
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Benjamin Chaud.
2013
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Bob Staake.

Book list *Starred Review* With only a few hues of blue, a rainbow of steely grays, and a set of geometric shapes, Staake's wordless picture book explores friendship, wildlife, sacrifice, death, and hope. A young boy's drab world of loneliness gets a splash of color when he meets a perky bluebird. They share a cookie, get ignored by a pickup soccer game, and play in a pond before wandering into an ominous woods. There a squad of bullies turns the day into a tragedy, with the bird lying lifeless on the ground. An uplifting bit of magic closes the story, and the boy is comforted as the bird is reunited with the clouds and sky. In a mix of full-page artwork and small scenes arranged in sequential panels, Staake works out an impressive range of emotion, from the serene whimsy of cloud gazing to the cruel pointlessness of death, in his distinctive circle-and-square-based artwork. Without use of a single word (outside of a few pieces of signage to place the story in a New York-style city), this book raises all kinds of simple profundities for kids to question, ponder, imagine, and discuss.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In this wordless story, a shy boy finds a winged mentor in a cheery bluebird. The bird helps the boy perk up after a rough day at school and then connects him to some friendly children at a sailboat pond. But when bullies kill the bird-a truly shocking moment-the story sheds its simple yearning and wishfulness (with the bird as a kind of feathered fairy godmother) and deepens into an eloquent affirmation of love, faith, and the persistence of goodness. Staake (Bugs Galore!) propels his story forward with steady assurance, using a largely gray palette, geometric shapes, and comics-style framing. He vividly evokes a Manhattanlike landscape that's overwhelming, yet full of potential, and he gives full visual voice to the boy's emotions; there are several moments when Staake stops the action and lets his audience savor how the bird has transformed the boy. It's possible (though not necessary) to attach the suggestion of an afterlife to the final pages, but believers and skeptics alike will find something deeply impressive and moving in this work of a singular, fully committed talent. Ages 4-8. Agent: Gilliam Mackenzie, Gillian Mackenzie Agency. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 2-5-Staake's ability to digitally compose and contrast shapes for a pleasing geometric balance, aesthetic effect, and narrative purpose has never been stronger than in this wordless title about a heroic bird. Readers follow its flight past a New York City skyline filled with cones, pyramids, and rectangular prisms. Vertical lines are punctuated with stylized circular trees, heads, iris shots, clocks, etc. The sky and bird are indeed blue, but the lonely boy with the large, round head is dark gray; shades of gray comprise much of his world. White and black, used symbolically, complete the palette. The warbler notices the boy with the downcast eyes being mocked as he enters school. Afterward, the two play hide-and-seek, share a cookie, sail a toy boat together-in short, they become friends. Tuned-in readers will note the dedication to Audubon, examples of his art, the clock brand "Icarus," and other subtle thematic supports. Conflict arises when they enter Central Park, which is ominously dark, and bullies attempt to steal the boat. When one of them hurls a stick, the bird blocks it and falls, lifeless. As the child cradles his friend, the background brightens and a brilliantly colored flock lifts the pair into the clouds, where the creature fades from view as the boy waves good-bye. With echoes of Disney-Pixar's Up and William Joyce's The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (S & S, 2012), this is an apt fable for our time as we seek to help children develop empathy, curb aggression, and sense hope.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2013
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by Deborah Heiligman ; pictures by LeUyen Pham.

School Library Journal Gr 3-6-Erdos (1913-1996), the Hungarian-born son of two math teachers, displayed his fascination with numbers early on. Before entering school he could calculate the number of seconds a person had lived just by asking the time and date of their birth. Unable to sit still and follow rules in school, he was homeschooled by his mother. High school was a better fit, and he made friends with students who shared his love of math. His skills became famous, but Erdos didn't know how to do laundry, cook, or even butter his own bread. He "didn't fit into the world in a regular way." So, he created a life that fit him instead. For years he flew around the world, his modest belongings in two suitcases, working with other noted mathematicians. They worked on number and set theory as well as new ideas like combinatorics and the probabilistic method. Some of their efforts led to the better computers and search engines that we use today. The well-researched text and painstakingly accurate illustrations (in terms of setting and mathematics) provide a fascinating introduction to the man. The oversize eyes of the characters give many of them, especially Erdos, a rather maniacal look that is off-putting. The extensive endnotes provide much information and would be useful in a classroom setting. That may be the most likely scenario for exposing children to this picture-book biography. Only the most mathematically devoted would pick it up on their own.-Sara-Jo Lupo Sites, George F. Johnson Memorial Library, Endicott, NY (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2013
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Jonathan Bean.

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-A year-and-a-half-long adventure of building a cozy home in the countryside involves an entire family of four. The oldest child describes the construction of the house, expertly shown in appealing soft-colored illustrations that vary in size from full spreads to small vignettes. Water and electricity are shown being connected to a temporary home in a trailer so the family can live on the property while the work is being done. Friends and family help out from time to time during the creation of the small timber-frame home, but the girl's parents perform the majority of work on their own (a third child arrives in the course of the story). Engaging pictures are reminiscent of Lisa Campbell Ernst's charming illustrations and are based on the building of the author/illustrator's childhood home. An author's note includes Bean's family photographs. Lovingly told, this captivating tale will help satisfy a child's curiosity of what it takes to create a building from scratch.-Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Not unlike Dan Yaccarino did in All the Way to America, Bean (At Night) turns family history into something larger, in this case a romantic portrait of the rewards of diligence, teamwork, and a DIY mentality. In a concluding note accompanied by family photos, Bean explains that the story is based on his family's experience of building a farmhouse when he was a toddler. A sense of familial dedication and cohesiveness fills the pages, with narration coming from a character modeled after Bean's older sister. The pale, matte illustrations are a flurry of activity (and filled with the sort of construction details that children adore), as the family equips a trailer to serve as temporary digs, buys lumber, builds a foundation, hosts a frame-raising party, and eventually turns to interior work. Bean's pictures provide a supplementary visual narrative (Mom becomes pregnant, an infant appears), and the father offers suitably dadlike truisms like "The right tool for the right job" throughout. A warm look at the nuts and bolts of building a house and turning it into a home. Ages 3-6. Agent: Anna Webman, Curtis Brown. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list An author's note reveals that this picture book is based on personal experience, as Bean's parents built their own house when he was a young child. Here we follow a mother, father, two children (and, eventually, a new baby) over the course of a year and a half through a harsh winter and plenty of lumber pickups all the way to move-in day at their new abode. Told from the point of view of the oldest child, a girl, the challenges and rewards involved in constructing from scratch become clear. The kids are not exempt from the do-it-yourself action, and they happily help fill the loud mixing machine. Bean (At Night, 2007) makes use of every inch of the tall trim size here, filling his pages to the brim with heavily lined illustrations of bustling people and activity often as a series of four vignettes across a spread. What's heartwarming throughout is the depiction of a tight-knit family ( My family makes up a strong crew of four ). The author's concluding personal photos add to the loving feel.--Kelley, Ann Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2013
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by Lemony Snicket ; illustrated by Jon Klassen.
2013
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Tomi Ungerer.

Publishers Weekly Any new book from Ungerer is a cause for celebration, and this one offers a particularly enticing blend of mystery and magic. Siblings Finn and Cara live "by the sea in the back of beyond" with their parents, and the book's early scenes offer homey details of the family's poor but happy life in what is presumably Ireland (to which the book is dedicated). The children's father makes them a small boat, a curragh, warning them to steer clear of Fog Island, "a doomed and evil place." Of course, that's exactly where the children end up. Surreal, mist-shrouded images build a sense of strangeness and tension. Tall anthropomorphic rocks flank a winding staircase, peering at the children suspiciously, and green skeletal arms cling to the door at the top of the stairs, where the children are greeted by a "wizened old man," who shares some of the island's secrets while leaving them with new questions. It's the kind of classic adventure that allows children to triumph over convention and common sense, threaded with peculiar imagery and unknowable mysteries that linger in the imagination. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012
2013
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Aaron Becker.

Publishers Weekly Becker develops concepts for film studios, and his wordless picture book debut reads like a cinematic tribute to Harold and the Purple Crayon. Drab sepia drawings introduce a lonely girl whose afternoon is jolted into life (and full color) when she uses a piece of red chalk to draw a door on her wall, walking through it into a lantern-lit forest with a winding river. Drawing a red boat, she drifts toward a breathtaking castle city whose gleaming turrets and domes promise adventure and intrigue. Yet she does not linger-she draws a hot-air balloon, takes to the air, and encounters a squadron of magnificent, steampunk-style airships manned by soldiers who have trapped a phoenix-like bird. Her release of the bird earns the ire of the airmen, the bird in turn rescues her, and a clever resolution leads the girl to a friend with his own magic chalk. Wonder mixes with longing as the myriad possibilities offered by Becker's stunning settings dwarf what actually happens in the story. Readers will be both dazzled and spurred on imagined travels of their own. Ages 4-8. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2013
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David Wiesner.
 
2013
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Sylvie Neeman & Ingrid Godon ; translated by Claudia Zoe Bedrick.

Publishers Weekly Midway through this knowing exchange between a parent and child (who are referred to throughout as "the big one" and "the little one"), Neeman gets to the heart of the story's paradox: "You want to do something big but it's hard because you're still little, isn't that right?" the boy's father asks. The father tries to tease out what his child has in mind, but they aren't quite connecting. "I said it would be something big like a lighthouse... but I never said for sure it would be a lighthouse by the ocean," complains the boy. "Oh, I get it," replies his father, "even though he no longer gets anything." Illustrating in childlike, crayony lines, Godon is entirely attuned to the boy's frustration, her images jumbling together in much the same way one's thoughts entangle when trying to work through a problem. When the two walk to the ocean together, the horizon line cuts through their bodies, which overlap with each other's, too. "Big" and "little" are a matter of perspective, readers will understand, as Neeman and Godon elevate an intimate, everyday moment into something significant. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2013
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by Jacqueline Woodson (Author), James Ransome (Illustrator)
2012 (Younger Readers)
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George Ella Lyon

Publishers Weekly Pattern-driven digital illustrations pair with concrete verse to express water's cyclical nature: "Thirsty air/ licks it from lakes/ sips it from ponds/ guzzles it from oceans/ and this wet air/ swirls up." In a bone-colored landscape in another part of the world, a child in a hut and wild animals in a barren tree await a gray storm cloud. When a torrent comes, a lullaby-like line assures: "Honey,/ living things dream/ of water," and a mother with long, brunette hair embraces her child, droplets from her hair coalescing into tiny animal silhouettes. A lyrical and bighearted outpouring. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list *Starred Review* Lots of picture books introduce young children to the water cycle, but few have such an infectious beat and eye-catching illustrations as this title, which begs to be read aloud. With occasional rhymes, the short, poetic lines are conversational and instructive and evoke a sense of mystery: Where does it come from? / Water doesn't come. / It goes. / Around. That rain / that cascaded from clouds / . . . then slipped into rivers / and opened into oceans, / that rain has been here before. Children encountering the scientific concepts for the first time may need help understanding how, exactly, Thirsty air . . . licks . . . sips . . . guzzles water from lakes and oceans. What kids will respond to immediately, though, are the noisy, delicious sounds and rhythms in the words as well as the kinetic energy in the beautifully composed, atmospheric digital illustrations, which have the richly patterned and textured look of paint-and-paper collage. Playfully arranged type in changing fonts adds to the visual fun while giving cues for energizing read-alouds. On the final, stunning spreads, a mother's hair swirls into a wave of water that becomes a joyful spiral of living creatures, all reinforcing the simple, profound message: our lives depend on so precious water.--Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal K-Gr 3-Lyon briefly explains the water cycle in lyrical verse and celebrates its power to give life. "Water doesn't come./It goes./Around./That rain...has been here before," a result of water that evaporates into the air, "swirls up" into the clouds, and comes down again as rain. The precipitation is described as a "tap dance/avalanche/stampede/of drips and drops and drumming-/a wealth of water." In dry areas of the world, however, cups are empty, the soil has turned to dust, and "Everything waits...for rain sweet and loud." The digital collagelike illustrations pair dramatically with the text to depict this contrast. Turquoise endpapers usher in pages with swirls of water, water spouting from a hose, through pipes, down mountains. Rain pours down in horizontal and vertical spreads. But brown and cream-colored pages reveal a bare landscape where a little girl and animals alike anxiously anticipate an approaching rain cloud. At last, "this wet wonder" arrives and flows through all creatures, including a young child and mother whose water-sprinkled hair spreads across the pages to become a swirl of tiny creatures and plants. "Honey, living things dream of water...so precious," says the narrator. We must "keep it clear, keep it clean. keep Earth green!" Filled with rhythm and sound, this offering begs to be read aloud. Rochelle Strauss's One Well: The Story of Water on Earth (Kids Can, 2007) discusses the importance of water for older children.-Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Younger Readers)
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Chris Raschka

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-Ever the minimalist, Raschka continues to experiment with what is essential to express the daily joys and tribulations of humans and animals. This wordless story features Daisy, a dog. The motion lines framing her tail on the first page indicate that a big red ball is her chief source of delight. Ever-changing, curvy gray brushstrokes, assisted by washes of watercolor, define her body and mood. Blue and yellow surround her ecstatic prance to the park with toy and owner. The story's climax involves another dog joining the game, but chomping too hard, deflating the beloved ball. A purple cloud moves in, and eight squares fill a spread, each surrounding the protagonist with an atmosphere progressing from yellow to lavender to brown as the canine processes what has occurred; a Rothko retrospective could not be more moving. Until that point, the action has occurred within varying page designs, many showing Daisy's shifting sentiments in four vertical or horizontal panels. Her attentive human's legs are glimpsed frequently, a sunny child whose warmth is transferred in comforting full view at bedtime. When another day dawns, the frisky dog's person proffers a blue surprise; the exuberance at having a ball and a friend is barely containable across two pages. Raschka's genius lies in capturing the essence of situations that are deeply felt by children. They know how easy it is to cause an accident and will feel great relief at absorbing a way to repair damage.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-A gray-and-white pup and her red ball are constant companions until a poodle inadvertently deflates the toy, taking the air out of Daisy as well. Raschka's nuanced illustrations brilliantly depict joy, shock, disbelief, sadness-and, with the gift of a blue ball-renewed contentment. (Aug.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list This story about loss (and joy) is accomplished without a single word, which is perfect it puts you directly in the head space of its canine protagonist. The title tells us her name is Daisy, but she is a pretty anonymous little thing, drawn by Raschka as just a few indistinct yet somehow expressive squiggly lines. What's clear is that she loves playing with her ball, both indoors and out, until the fateful moment that another dog bites too hard on the ball and deflates it. In a heartaching series of nearly identical paintings, Daisy slumps into a sofa as depression overtakes her. Dogs, of course, don't know that there are more balls in the world, which makes her glee at the end of the book all the sweeter. Raschka uses fairly sophisticated comic-book arrangements long, narrow, horizontal panels, and so forth but masks them with soft watercolor edges instead of sharp corners. The result feels like something of pure emotion. Pretty close approximation of what it's like to be a dog, probably.--Kraus, Danie. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012 (Younger Readers)
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John Rocco

Book list It's a scenario many kids are probably all too familiar with: a young boy wants to play, but older sis is gabbing on the phone, Mom is busy on the computer, and Dad is making dinner. When the power goes out, however, the family comes together to make shadow puppets on the wall, join the neighbors on the roof to admire the stars, and even head out front to the most idyllic city street you'll ever see. All good things come to an end, though. The power comes back on, and everyone immediately slips back into walled-off family units though the walls are a bit weaker now. Compositionally, this picture book bears a strong resemblance to Maurice Sendak's In the Night Kitchen (1970), breaking some of the pages into comics-style panels and running a boxed narrative up top. Rocco's lustrous, animation-quality artwork somehow manages to get richer the darker it gets, and features one of the silkiest skies sinc. Van Gogh's Starry Night. A versatile reminder to take a break and invest in quality together time once in a while.--Chipman, Ia. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-The view inside this family of four's duplex depicts what might be a typical night for them. The younger child is reaching for a board game, her older sister is talking on the phone, dad is cooking, and mom is working at the computer. When the girl tries to enlist the others to play the game with her, they're all too busy-until "The lights went out. All of them." It's a blackout! At first, the family members sit at the kitchen table with a flashlight and some candles; then they head up to the roof for a look at the bright stars against the dark cityscape; and, finally, they go down to the street, where there's a festive atmosphere of guitars playing, free ice cream, and an open fire hydrant. In the end, readers will see that simple pleasures and a spirit of togetherness can be enjoyed even when the electricity comes back on. The colorful pictures work beautifully with the book's design. Rocco uses comic-strip panels and a brief text to convey the atmosphere of a lively and almost magical urban landscape. Great bedtime reading for a soft summer night.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Rocco's sublime account of a city blackout reveals a bittersweet truth: it sometimes takes a crisis to bring a family together. In a series of graphic novel-style panels, a small child tries to convince family members to play a board game one hot summer night, but they're all too busy. When the lights go out, though, the neighborhood comes alive and the whole family drifts up to the roof to look at the stars: "It was a block party in the sky." Rocco (Fu Finds the Way) gets everything right: the father's pained, sheepish smile when he says he has no time to play; the velvety dark and glowing candlelight of the blackout (as well as the sense of magic that can accompany one); and the final solution to the problem of a too-busy family (a private blackout, courtesy of a light switch). The high-energy visuals that characterize Rocco's other work get dialed back a little. In the most poignant spread, the family sits on the stoop, eating ice cream: "And no one was busy at all." It's a rare event these days. Ages 4-8. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-On a summer night in the city, the youngest member of a family finds that everyone is too busy to play with him. But when the lights go out, and everything shuts down, suddenly there's time for games and impromptu street and rooftop parties. Luminous, fluid artwork, filled with visual gags that extend the charming story, glows with warmth and humor. (July) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Younger Readers)
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Susan Stockdale

Book list This picture book celebrates the diversity of birds by presenting their varied physical features and behaviors. Appearing on each page or double-page spread is a word or phrase and an illustration featuring a single species, usually engaged in some activity. Over several page turns, the phrases combine to form rhythmic, rhyming verses, such as Skimming birds, / swimming birds, / birds with tails held high. / Racing birds, / riding birds, / birds that never fly, illustrated with pictures of black skimmers, Adelie penguins, a peacock, a roadrunner, red-billed oxpeckers, and ostriches. Created with clean lines and simple compositions, the acrylic paintings create images of birds that are easy for even young children to discern and, perhaps, recognize again. The last three pages feature a source bibliography and a smaller version of each picture, accompanied by a caption identifying the featured species and offering a bit of information about the bird, including its location. A fresh look at birds: familiar, strange, and wonderful.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-Birds of a feather come in many guises and behave in myriad ways. This cheerful survey introduces 21 species from varied parts of the world in spare, rhyming text and attractive acrylic paintings. The birds swoop, whoop, dance, and dive. They have puffy chests, fluffy crests, and other fine features. Picture placement follows the nice rhythm of the text with each two sets of facing framed paintings followed by a double-page view for each of the longer phrases of verse. Simple, flat stylized settings-only a narrow swath of pale blue highlights the ptarmigan group nestled between snowy hills and white sky-showcase the lively, colorful birds, providing an inviting introduction to this hugely varied animal family. Their actual names are given only in the concluding picture glossary, which offers just a sentence or two about some significant feature or behavior of each bird and tells the world area(s) in which it lives. The closing poetic phrase states the common features of all the birds-"All of them have feathers,/and all are hatched from eggs." Carefully crafted in charm and simplicity, the book offers many possibilities for use and enjoyment in reading aloud, browsing, and teaching. The pictures invite a lingering look, easily stimulating observation and discussion.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Younger Readers)
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Samantha R. Vamos

Publishers Weekly Farm animals collaborate to make a pot of rice pudding in this energetic riff on "This Is the House That Jack Built." Animals and their contributions are first introduced in English ("This is the donkey/ that plucked the lime"), but ensuing verses feature Spanish translations in bold (a multitasking hen lays eggs "while grating the limon/ plucked by the burro"). Lopez's acrylics-on-wood paintings have a burnished copper glow, while the menagerie exudes cartoonish joie de vivre. The seamless integration of Spanish vocabulary makes this a rousing primer. Ages 5-8. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 1-3-In a colorful nod to "The House That Jack Built," a young farm girl stirs her pot (cazuela) with the help of all the animals, and the resulting accumulation of ingredients and helpers produces a celebratory explosion of music and festivity. Past the first simple sentences, increased text and single images suddenly blossom into paintings of vibrantly warm and detailed graphics that quickly pull readers into the rhythmic repetition of the tale; animals (and foods) are given their Spanish names and a riot of jewel-toned colors emerge in full-page illustrations. "This is the duck/that went to the market/to buy the sugar/to flavor the leche/made fresh by the vaca/while teaching the cabra/that churned the crema/to make the mantequilla/that went into the cazuela that the farm maiden stirred." Spoons, banjo, maraca, and drum sound to tapping feet while voices sing-all as the cazuela bubbles-in anticipation of the final stir of arroz con leche (rice pudding). A recipe is appended to this delicious cumulative tale. Its images are spiced with a feast of richly colorful characters, the warmth of a Southwestern palette, and lush, swirling colors. The artistry of this book makes it a must buy for all libraries.-Mary Elam, Learning Media Services, Plano ISD, TX (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list In the cumulative style of the traditional children's chan. This Is the House That Jack Built. this joyful, bilingual picture book, set on a vibrantly colored farm, describes each step in making arroz con leche, or rice pudding. An appended glossary defines each Spanish word used in the text, but within the context of the rhythmic lines, Vamos cleverly makes the meaning of each word clear by starting with the English term. This is the pot that the farm maiden stirred. This is the butter that went into the cazuela that the farm maiden stirred. The barnyard's smiling animals help to gather the ingredients until the pudding comes together, creating a moment of suspense: Will the pot bubble over? The perfectly paced words are well matched with the richly shaded, acrylic-on-board illustrations, which extend the sense of cooperation and fun as everyone works together and are reminiscent of Eric Carle's art in their patchwork-collage texture, clearly defined shapes, and joyful energy. An excellent choice for interactive, multilingual read-alouds.--Engberg, Gillia. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012 (Younger Readers)
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Kelly Cunnane

Publishers Weekly Cunnane returns to the Kenyan setting of her 2006 picture book, For You Are a Kenyan Child, in a you're-too-small tale given depth by lyrical prose ("High in Africa, wind like a cat paw wipes the sky clean"). Chirchir tries but fails to help her elders and is sent away time after time. "Little one, this work is not for you," says Mama after Chirchir drops the well bucket. "Go help Kogo with the fire." Not until Chirchir finds her baby brother, Kip-rop, crying untended does she discover a task she can do as well as the grownups. In an afterword, Cunnane explains that Chirchir is a member of the Kalenjin tribe; the story contains a great deal of information about Kalenjin life, language, customs, and Kenyan flora and fauna ("Warblers and cuckoos swing in the bottlebrush tree"). Daly's (Sivu's Six Wishes) softly shaded acrylics have much to teach, too. When Chirchir helps her grandmother build a fire, roosters peck on the hut's floor, but a radio sits on the table. Images of security, dependability, and plenty offer a fresh picture of African life. Ages 3-7. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list Set in rural Kenya, this picture book tells a universal story of a child who tries to help but messes up until she finds a way to make a difference. The moving free verse is illustrated with Daly's bright, folk-art-style acrylic paintings, which show the rural setting, with huts, cattle, and fields, along with warm, close-up scenes indoors. Chirchir runs to help Mama get water from the well ( Drop / plop / Wiggle it . . . jiggle it ), but the bucket's rope slips, the water splashes, Chirchir falls, and Mama tells her. Little one, this work is not for you. Chirchir runs into more trouble as she tries to help Big Sister spread a new floor and help Baba pack potatoes for market; again she hears the refrain tha. this work is not for you. Then Chirchir sings to her crying baby brother, makes him laugh, and discovers how she can help. The child's view and familiar experiences offer natural ways to introduce the particulars of daily life in Kenya.--Rochman, Haze. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal K-Gr 3-Set in a rural Kenyan village joyfully portrayed by Daly's charming folk-style artwork, this is a story to which children everywhere will relate. Chirchir's name means "Born Quickly" in her native Kalenjin, but to American ears it sounds like the perfect word for her sunny disposition as she makes her way through the day. She wakes up and tells the rooster that she's going to help Mama today. Sweetly she sings as she helps her draw water from the well, "Drop,/plop/the bucket in./Wiggle it.jiggle it.Let it fill../Then hand over hand,/up comes/maji, maji-water!.But-Oh-ohh!/The rope slips,/water splashes,/Chirchir sprawls." Mama sends her to help someone else, but all of Chirchir's attempts end in disaster. As she becomes more discouraged, she becomes visibly grounded to the earth and no longer dances across the pages, and her songs grow quieter until finally her joy returns when she finds a job that is just right. Full of small details that capture the family's connection to nature and daily life in the beautiful highlands of the Great Rift Valley, the story takes precedence while celebrating another culture. The endpapers include a helpful author's note about Kenya's Kalenjin tribe and a glossary of Swahili/Kalenjin words. The winning combination of a delightful main character and gorgeous execution should earn Chirchir a place in most libraries.-Anna Haase Krueger, Antigo Public Library, WI (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Younger Readers)
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Susan A. Shea

Book list This playful picture book asks children to consider which things grow and which stay the same. The rhyming text pairs two choices on each double-page spread. Lifting the large, die-cut flap on the right-hand page reveals the answer. The questions suggest analogies, but their absurdity is often amusing. If an owlet grows and becomes an owl, / can a washcloth grow and become . . . lift up the page flap a towel. After posing a series of questions where the answer is inevitably no, Shea turns the tables by asking. If a joey grows and becomes a kangaroo, / can a baby grow and become . . . pull down the page flap you. Slaughter's striking illustrations, collages of solid-color and painted papers, use simple forms and bold colors to create animals and objects that are easy to identify. With its eye-catching design and interactive text, this picture book is fun to read aloud and fine for introducing science units on the concept of living and nonliving things.--Phelan, Caroly. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-This standout concept book is engaging, fun, and interactive. It begins by explaining that, "Some things grow/like you and me./Others stay the way/they're made./Until they crack, or rust,/or fade." Simple, spare rhyming text flows smoothly with illustrations that follow on pages that include die cuts and flaps; "If a kitten grows,/becomes a cat,/can a cap grow and become. a hat?" The answers are provided at the end. Layers of painted paper collage are done in a brightly colored palette, including end pages with bold paintbrush stripes in primary and secondary colors. White space is creatively used, but the flaps and die cuts steal the show. For example, the spread featuring snakes in saturated black, yellow, and green pops on the white background. A pickup truck grows to be a rig when the flap is opened. The flatbed becomes the trailer enhanced with a pattern that resembles the American flag. Readers will be challenged by the questions and some unusual words for the names of a few baby animals: a kit, an owlet, a kid, and a joey. This clever title begs for multiple readings and will be a favorite in storytimes or in one-on-one settings. Spot-on.-Anne Beier, Clifton Public Library, NJ (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Slaughter's brightly colored cut-paper shapes and newcomer Shea's verse recall favorites of 50 years ago-a feeling reinforced by this book's matte pages, blocky images, and fun-to-flip gatefolds. "If a duckling grows/ and becomes a duck,/ can a car grow and become..." reads the text on facing pages; children will be able to guess what's coming even before the gatefold opens-"a truck?" Slaughter (Which Way?) revels in paint-box primaries, pushing reds, greens, yellows, and blues up against each other for maximum visual charge. The gatefolds break in interesting places-halfway down a garment hanging on a hanger, for example, turning a floral sweater into a full-length coat-and contain the occasional die-cut, too. Shea's verses scan consistently and gracefully. "YES to ducks, bears, and owls./ NO to trucks, chairs, and towels," she writes, reinforcing the idea that living things grow but inanimate objects don't. The beauty of the rhymes is that they teach a lesson children already know; children will relish the fun of being sure of all the answers, and they'll love Shea's tongue-in-cheek tone. Ages 4-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012 (Younger Readers)
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Patricia Intriago

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 1-In this whimsical book about opposites, each dot acts as a visual analogy. Simplicity equals accessibility, but it also denotes depth of thought. Even two- and three-year-olds will make astute observations. Visually announcing the morning, the story begins with a large, shining, cadmium yellow dot on a cyan blue background with the simple text, "Dot." Humor prevails on one spread that contrasts a chewed dot: "This dot is yummy," with a chewed dot and spit-out piece, "This dot tastes bad." Another unique spread is tactile in its rendition of "Hard dot," which does not yield under the pressure of a small photographed finger pressing down, opposite "Soft dot," which does yield like a soft rubber ball. Most of the book is in black and white unless there is a reason for color, as on the "Stop dot" and "Go dot" or on the "Hurt dot" and "Heal dot" pages. Band-Aid and boo-boo stories, and countless others, will pour forth from young audiences. Children will encounter ample ways to interact with this incredibly elegant, clever, and delightful concept book.-Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list In the minimalist style of Herve Tullet's Press Here (2011), this debut cleverly squeezes a lot of sly humor from that dullest of shapes: the dot. It begins in color ( Stop dot is red; Go dot is green), but most of the book is, impressively, rendered in black and white, with the smallest of alterations giving the titular object a whole lot of personality. A giant black dot is Heavy dot. Floating, fine-lined circles like bubbles are Light dots. Hungry dot is just a circle, but its partner, Full dot, is a chubby, squarish, page-filling solid black shape just looking at it makes you feel full. This dot is yummy has a dot with a bite taken out of it. This dot tastes bad is the same thing, except with the bitten chunk lying beside it. There is even an out-of-nowhere picture of a Dalmatian ( Got dots ) and a zebra ( Not dots ) to keep things fresh. You get the idea: this is simple, surprising graphic design that will wake up even jaded readers to the creative possibilities inherent in the most basic of shapes.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In her debut, graphic designer Intriago explores dots as a graphic designer might, crisply and systematically. The text begins like a P.D. Eastman classic ("Dot. Stop dot. Go dot. Slow dot. Fast dot"). White pages with simple, graphic, black shapes communicate their messages like signs. "Slow dot" hasn't made it all the way onto the left page yet; "[f]ast dot," with lines coming off it, speeds off the other edge. Thoughts about dots grow more complex: "This dot is yummy" shows a large black dot with a bite taken out of it; "This dot tastes bad" shows the same bitten-into dot, this time with the discarded bite lying beside it. Occasionally the protocol is enlivened with photographs, a visual "kaboom" amid the overall air of restraint ("Got dots," says a picture of a Dalmatian; "Not dots" shows a striped zebra), but it's back to black and white as the book bids goodnight: "Dots up in the sky so bright/ twinkle as we say goodnight." And indeed, as might be expected from a book this elemental, there's something restful about it. Ages 3-6. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012 (Younger Readers)
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Sherri Duskey Rinker

Book list *Starred Review* To say that a book makes you yawn well, it's usually not a compliment. But in the case of bedtime books, it's high praise and well deserved by this engaging picture book. As the sun sets on a construction site, five big, tough trucks settle in for the night. After placing one last beam, hardworking Crane Truck folds his boom, grins sleepily, and tucks himself in for the night. Cement Mixer takes a bath before pulling up his chute and beginning to dream. Tired Dump Truck dims his lights and (loudly) snores. Nearby, sleepy Bulldoze. curls up in his soft dirt bed. while Excavator sets down his scoop and falls asleep. Rinker writes her first book in rhyming, rhythmic verses that read aloud well. Deceptively simple, they manage to be simultaneously absorbing and soporific. Lichtenheld, who illustrated Duck! Rabbit! (2009) and Shark vs. Train (2010), contributes dynamic oil-pastel illustrations ranging from comical close-ups of anthropomorphic trucks to lyrical scenes of the construction site and city skyline at dusk. With strong lines and effective use of shading, the scenes offer plenty of visual details for children to discover. Even the endpapers combine beautiful design with stealthy wit. A standout picture book, especially for those who like wheels with their dreams.--Phelan, Caroly. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal K-Gr 1-After each truck completes its work for the day, it cuddles up and says goodnight. Crane Truck raises one last beam and then hugs his teddy and turns on his nightlight. Cement Mixer gives a final spin before snuggling with his blanket. Dump Truck delivers his last load, closes his eyes, and starts to snore. Bulldozer and Excavator follow suit until the entire construction site is tucked in tight. Lichtenheld's detailed and textured illustrations, rendered in wax oil pastels on vellum paper, perfectly complement the fun, rhyming text, cleverly personifying each truck with expressive eyes and amusing details. The bright, golden background changes to pinkish red as the Sun begins to set and then to dark blue when the Moon appears. The repeated refrain, "Shh. goodnight, Crane Truck [Cement Mixer, Dump Truck, Bulldozer, Excavator], goodnight," will invite participation. Recommended for vehicle- and bedtime-themed storytimes, this is sure to be a hit with truck-loving preschoolers.-Rachel Kamin, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, IL (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Younger)
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Lane Smith

Publishers Weekly In this reflective tale, Smith (It's a Book) departs from his customary irony to muse on the memories, talents, and traditions passed down through generations. Smith's young narrator, in overalls and rubber boots, describes his great-grandfather. The boy waters plants and tidies up in a magnificent topiary garden, lined in delicate ink and decorated with ornamental hedges in the shapes of people, animals, and iconic objects. "He was born a really long time ago, before computers or cell phones or television," says the boy, and the first topiary depicts a crying baby. Other creations include rabbit- and chicken-shaped shrubs to suggest a childhood farm; a head-shaped bush dotted with red berries ("In fourth grade he got chicken pox"); and an erupting cannon to signify wartime. Smith works in an impressionistic range of emerald, moss, and seaweed hues, memorializing Grandpa Green's life events in meticulously pruned shrubs. The child eventually catches up with an elderly man who "sometimes forgets things. But the important stuff, the garden remembers for him." It's a rare glimpse into Smith's softer side-as skillful as his more sly offerings, but crafted with honesty and heart. Ages 5-9. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal K-Gr 3-A boy tells the story of his great-grandfather's life as he gives readers a grand tour of the man's glorious topiary garden. Verdant shades predominate but graceful pen-and-ink drawings and colorful accents lend interest and whimsy to the towering constructions. (Aug.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list The idea of a garden as a lockbox of memories is not a new one, but rarely is it pulled off with this kind of panache. Lane drops us into a story of an unnamed person. He was born a really long time ago, before computers or television. Who we see, though, is a fairly modern-looking boy tending to an increasingly impressive topiary garden featuring creations sculpted to visualize each stage of the person's life. Chicken pox are represented by berries across a humanlike shrub's face. Going off to war is visualized by a cannon-shaped shrub with branches shooting from its muzzle. Sketched with a finely lined fairy-tale wispiness and dominated by verdant green, the illustrations are not just creative but poignant especially after it is revealed that the boy is the great-great-grandson of the old man whose life is being described, and whose failing memories are contained in this garden (most impressively in a four-page fold-out spread). Possibly a bit disorienting for the very young, but the perfect book to help kids understand old age.--Kraus, Danie. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal K-Gr 3-A clever premise, brilliant pacing, and whimsical illustrations offer a distinctive look at the life and artistic vision of one great-grandfather. A boy recounts the essential facts of the man's life: "He was born a really long time ago." "After high school his wish was to study horticulture." The imaginative art fills in what the words leave out by ingeniously chronicling Grandpa's story through the fanciful topiaries he creates. The sinewy tree limbs in black line have a sculptural quality, while airy line art drawn in a subtle palette depicting the boy, his great-grandfather, and the general landscape of the garden allow the fantastic creations to stand out. From the formal design of boxwood mazes to fantasy-inspired hedges, Smith uses a broad range of green hues and textures to create ornamental foliage that is inventive and charming. There is harmony in the overall design yet each page surprises and delights. Discerning viewers will identify a playful homage to The Wizard of Oz. Other more quirky creations may be open to interpretation. As he narrates his great-grandfather's story, the boy strolls through the garden picking up the pieces of Grandpa's trade, a garden glove here, a watering can there-Grandpa is getting forgetful. With a powerfully charged and perfectly placed line-"But the important stuff, the garden remembers for him"-readers are treated to a dramatic double gatefold revealing the panorama of Grandpa's life depicted in the living sculptures. Visually intriguing and emotionally resonant, this is a book to pore over and talk about. With each subsequent reading, it offers new layers of meaning and visual connections.-Caroline Ward, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Younger Readers)
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Margaret Wild

Publishers Weekly Redheaded Harry and his spotted dog, Hopper, are constant companions, accomplices ("As Hopper grew older... Harry helped him run away from his weekly bath"), and bedmates. The dog's sudden death (an accident that happens while Harry is at school), leaves the boy devastated; refusing to join his father at Hopper's backyard funeral, Harry "stared at the [TV] screen but the words and pictures didn't make sense, and he couldn't follow what was going on." But gradually, Harry finds that Hopper lives on his heart, and in the final, wordless scene, rendered from a vantage point far above the backyard, readers see Harry visiting his beloved pet's grave. Wild's (Puffling) understated, empathic prose offers both a voice for a child unable to articulate his grief and the reassurance that those we love never really disappear. Blackwood's (Ivy Loves to Give) predominantly charcoal drawings are equally eloquent, particularly in her use of texture to capture the emotional essence of good and sad times. These days, her gift for portraying children navigating the turbulence of life feels especially necessary. Up to age 5. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list *Starred Review* Winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration in 2010, this bittersweet Australian import about a boy and his dog brings diffuse tenderness and a touch of magic realism to a tale of love and loss. Harry meets Hopper the hound on the title page, and for a few spreads, the two are inseparable. Then Hopper is killed in an accident, and Harry is devastated. That night, Hopper appears at the window, solid and warm, and the two relive their time together, playing, wrestling, and cuddling. Hopper returns, night after night, ever fading in substance, until Harry is ready to say good-bye. Wild's unflinching narrative sensitive and straightforward and spare evokes the quiet, ceaseless throb of absence. Blackwood's sketchy paintings, though muted in tone and somber in substance, wriggle with life, even when that life is only a dream. With careful use of composition and perspective, Blackwood often places the protagonists on the outskirts of the page, positions that echo the story's themes of loneliness and connection. When so many picture books about grief aim squarely at bibliotherapy, Harry & Hopper reaches past the platitudes, sharing something essential about sadness and healing.--Barthelmess, Thom Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-A poignant depiction of grief at the loss of a beloved pet is relayed in this quietly moving story. Young Harry and his father adopt an energetic, bouncy black-and-white puppy that Harry appropriately names Hopper. The two develop a strong relationship, helping each other out and even sharing Harry's bed. One day, the boy's father breaks the news to Harry that his dog has been killed in an accident, but the child can't accept that reality. He also can't say good-bye to Hopper before he's buried in the yard and he can't stay in his lonely bed, choosing instead to sleep on the living-room couch. At school, Harry keeps to himself and doesn't tell anyone about what happened. How he comes to terms with his grief is touching and will resonate with children as well as adults who have experienced such a loss. Blackwood's laser print with watercolor, gouache, and charcoal illustrations adeptly show the exuberance of the close friendship and the sadness when it ends. A range of perspectives, varying sizes of pictures, and the change in color palette, from bright to muted back to bright, communicate the story visually, and the understated text conveys the emotions realistically. An affecting combination of pictures and words.-Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Younger Readers)
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Mo Willems

Book list Elephant and Piggie remain in the storytelling mode of We Are in a Book! (2010). After showing up with a bandaged proboscis, Elephant proceeds to tell th. long, crazy stor. of how it happened. Memory bubbles let us follow along: first Elephant lifted Hippo with his trunk (Why. asks Piggie. Because. Elephant answers). But that is not what broke his trunk, and neither is the addition of Rhino and Hippo's sister and Hippo's sister's piano. As usual, Willems' use of pastel colors and vast white backdrops work minimalist wonders, making this another fine outing of this most dependable of series.--Kraus, Danie. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal PreS-K-Gerald the Elephant recounts to Piggie the crazy story of how he broke his trunk. When he was playing with Hippo, he had the idea to lift him with his trunk. As Gerald tells Piggie, "a hippo on your trunk is heavy." But there is more to it. Rhino shows up and he wants a turn, so Gerald lifts them both onto his trunk, and so on, until he has lifted Hippo, Rhino, and Hippo's big sister and her piano on his trunk. As readers expect, there is more to the story of Gerald's bandaged trunk than first imagined. Willems's now classic and predictable formula, complete with an uncluttered background, large-type word balloons, and expressive characters, is as effective as ever. The style may now be familiar, but the "Elephant & Piggie" stories remain fresh, amusing, and relevant to readers, who will sit on the edge of their seats as they eagerly anticipate the surprising turn of events. A winning addition to the series.-Kristine M. Casper, Huntington Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Younger Readers)
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Jon Klassen

Book list Klassen, who illustrated Caroline Stutson's Cats' Night Out (2010), pens his first story in this odd, and oddly charming, picture book. A bummed-out bear asks if other animals have seen his lost hat. The fox knows nothing. Neither does the frog. Or the rabbit who is wearing a pointy red hat. No luck with the turtle, snake, or armadillo either. Kids will probably be squirming in their seats at this point, just dying to tell the bear what he missed three page turns ago, but then a reindeer jogs Bear's memory by asking what the hat looks like (red, pointy). He runs back to confront the rabbit, and when a squirrel asks him later if he has seen a hat-wearing rabbit, Bear is all innocence: I haven't seen any rabbits anywhere. I would not eat a rabbit. Don't ask me any more questions. This is, obviously, a dark turn, but there is no denying that the devious humor is right at a child's level. He is a bear, after all; we should be happy he didn't gobble up the rest of the cast.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In his first outing as an author, Klassen's (Cats' Night Out) words and artwork are deliberately understated, with delectable results. Digitally manipulated ink paintings show a slow-witted bear asking half a dozen forest animals if they've seen his hat. Unadorned lines of type, printed without quotation marks or attributions, parallel the sparse lines Klassen uses for the forest's greenery. Most of the answers the bear gets are no help ("What's a hat?" one animal asks), but the rabbit's answer arouses suspicion: "I haven't seen any hats anywhere. I would not steal a hat. Don't ask me any more questions." In a classic double-take, the bear doesn't notice the hat on the rabbit's head until several pages on: "I have seen my hat," he realizes, wide-eyed. Readers with delicate sensibilities may object to the implied conclusion ("I would not eat a rabbit," the bear says stoutly, his hat back on his head, the forest floor showing signs of a scuffle), but there is no objecting to Klassen's skillful characterizations; though they're simply drawn and have little to say, each animal emerges fully realized. A noteworthy debut. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 1-3-Readers may be too young to know Nixon's famous line, "I am not a crook," but they'll surely figure out that someone here is not telling the truth. Bear has lost his hat and asks various creatures if they have seen it, with pronounced civility. Snake goes offtrack (and will also throw inattentive listeners offtrack) by announcing he's seen a blue and round hat. Rabbit vigorously denies having seen anything like it, despite evidence to the contrary. Armadillo asks, "What is a hat?" Bear is flung into despair until a young deer asks, "What does your hat look like?" Bear starts to describe it and immediately realizes he has seen it. The following page is painted red with anger. Readers realize they have seen it, too! Bear confronts the culprit and what happens next is a matter of interpretation. Violence is implied, but only indirectly. The Chinese ink illustrations are understated and stylized, and the pages are a natural sandy hue throughout. The dialogue is not in quotations but in contrasting colors. Wisps of grass, rocks, small branches, and specks of dirt compose the setting. Read aloud, this story will offer many sublime insights into how young readers comprehend an illustrated text that leaves out vital information, and will leave young sleuths reeling with theories about what just happened.-Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Younger Readers)
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Peter Bently

Book list Three boys in various stages of diaperdom build a cardboard castle in the back garden and fight dragons and beasts until suppertime in this picture-book adventure from award-winning British creators. With just a few words per page, the rhyming text is printed in typefaces that vary in size and boldness, underscoring the mounting drama, while Oxenbury's alternating full-color watercolors and sepia sketches juxtapose the boys' imaginings with their real-world context. Enormous dragons and fantastical creatures retreat when the boys attack with wooden swords and sticks, but the young heroes are no match for thei. gian. parents, who come to retrieve them, one by one, at day's end. The rhyming verse, large trim size, and detailed illustrations, filled with Oxenbury's usually fine sense of young children's body language and expressions, make this a suitable story for group sharing, while the sweet, intimate tone will make it a family favorite.--Barthelmess, Tho. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Fort making is one of the great enterprises of childhood, but just in case the art has been lost to some, Bently (The Great Dog Bottom Swap) and Oxenbury (There's Going to Be a Baby) open their felicitous collaboration with what is essentially an illustrated instruction manual: "A big cardboard box,/ an old sheet and some sticks,/ a couple of trash bags,/ a few broken bricks,/ a fine royal throne/ from a ragged old quilt,/ a drawbridge, a flag-/ and the castle was built." Declaring himself king, Jack leads his friends Zack and Caspar in defending the fort against a menagerie of imaginary creatures. But when Jack's knights are carried off by giants (their parents), Jack finds that a solo defense of the fort is no picnic: "He wished he was anything else but a king." Bently's verse never misses a beat, and Oxenbury shifts between monochromatic, engraving-like drawings and pale watercolors; the images feel as if they were drawn from a classic fairy tale book and contemporary life simultaneously. It's an enchanting tribute to both full-throttle pretend play and the reassurance of a parent's embrace. Ages 3-5. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal PreS-K-"Jack, Zack, and Casper were making a den-a mighty great fort for King Jack and his men." So begins this delicious tale of three adventurous youngsters whose day is filled with constructing a castle (construction box, trash bags, and a ragged quilt) and battling dragons and beasts in an imaginary forest. When evening arrives, Zack and Casper are scooped up seemingly by giants (their parents) and taken home. Alone, Jack at first braves the quivering trees and sounds of scampering animals until a four-footed "SOMETHING" looms out of the night. But no, it is his parents, and Jack, riding home on his father's shoulders, claims, "I knew you weren't really a dragon." Soft colors and the fanciful expressions on the various creatures offset any scare youngsters might find in the story, and the children's beguiling faces are warm and friendly. A balance of brown-toned crosshatched drawings and full-color artwork adds to the easy flow of the action. A tale of make-believe that children will delight in hearing again and again.-Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Younger Readers)
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Jacqueline K. Ogburn

Publishers Weekly Move over, "sunshine." Ogburn and Raschka give families a whole new vocabulary with which to express their love, exploring terms of endearment used around the globe. Impish, doe-eyed figures rendered in broad, calligraphic brushstrokes wear with pride terms like "ducky," used in England, and "kullanmuru," which means "nugget of gold" in Finland. Raschka forgoes painting his characters with black, brown, or white skin, instead using gleeful pinks, blues, teals, and greens. The phrases appear both in English and in their original languages (Cyrillic, Mandarin, and Arabic characters are included), with phonetic pronunciations provided for such terms as "xiao pie dou" ("little mischievous pea" in China) and "yeinay filiklik" ("my bubble of joy" in Ethiopia). The message about familial love being a universal human trait is clearly and joyfully articulated; it's hard to imagine a sweeter concept. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list Little coconut candy in Brazil, little mischievous pea in China, and hug bunny in Finland. Children are addressed with endearments in many cultures. This amusing sampling starts with the U.S. and provides loving terms from 16 other cultures. Each word or expression is written in the native language, accompanied by simplified pronunciation, and translated into English. Although slightly tilted toward European cultures, the selection includes sweet names from every inhabited continent. As the author explains in appended notes, the use of endearments is common but not universal. Lively ink, watercolor, and gouache illustrations reflect the diversity without stereotyping. With a few brush strokes per figure, the pictures display a remarkable variety of people, nearly all of them smiling. Although the audience is primary-schoolers, older children will also find this an amusing, eclectic choice for diversity studies.--Perkins, Linda Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 3-This collection of "sweet and silly names," spanning 14 languages and 6 continents, offers a beguiling smorgasbord of the ways that families around the world show their affection for their children. Some of the endearments will be familiar to American ears ("honey," "pumpkin," and "sunshine" in the U.S., "poppet," "ducky," and "love" in England, "mon petit chou" in France), but many more surely will be a revelation. They include, "little coconut candy" (docinho de coco) from Brazil, "little mischievous pea" (xiao pie dou) from Mandarin-speaking China, and "my bubble of joy" (yeinay filiklik) from Amharic-speaking Ethiopia. Each endearment is presented with its English translation, native language, pronunciation, and, where applicable, its non-Western characters or alphabetic spelling. Raschka's whimsical illustrations, drawn in ink, watercolor, and gouache on creamy flecked paper, exuberantly depict dozens of no-two-alike children, babies, and extended family members. A selective color palette in muted tones visually defines each nationality's page; the complete color spectrum is reserved for the jacket and concluding page, which express themes of world unity. Pair this with Mem Fox's Whoever You Are (Harcourt, 1997) for an effective and satisfying way of introducing the universal facets and feelings of childhood.-Kathleen Finn, St. Francis Xavier School, Winooski, VT (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Younger Readers)
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Kevin Henkes

Publishers Weekly Move over, "sunshine." Ogburn and Raschka give families a whole new vocabulary with which to express their love, exploring terms of endearment used around the globe. Impish, doe-eyed figures rendered in broad, calligraphic brushstrokes wear with pride terms like "ducky," used in England, and "kullanmuru," which means "nugget of gold" in Finland. Raschka forgoes painting his characters with black, brown, or white skin, instead using gleeful pinks, blues, teals, and greens. The phrases appear both in English and in their original languages (Cyrillic, Mandarin, and Arabic characters are included), with phonetic pronunciations provided for such terms as "xiao pie dou" ("little mischievous pea" in China) and "yeinay filiklik" ("my bubble of joy" in Ethiopia). The message about familial love being a universal human trait is clearly and joyfully articulated; it's hard to imagine a sweeter concept. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Little coconut candy in Brazil, little mischievous pea in China, and hug bunny in Finland. Children are addressed with endearments in many cultures. This amusing sampling starts with the U.S. and provides loving terms from 16 other cultures. Each word or expression is written in the native language, accompanied by simplified pronunciation, and translated into English. Although slightly tilted toward European cultures, the selection includes sweet names from every inhabited continent. As the author explains in appended notes, the use of endearments is common but not universal. Lively ink, watercolor, and gouache illustrations reflect the diversity without stereotyping. With a few brush strokes per figure, the pictures display a remarkable variety of people, nearly all of them smiling. Although the audience is primary-schoolers, older children will also find this an amusing, eclectic choice for diversity studies.--Perkins, Linda Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 3-This collection of "sweet and silly names," spanning 14 languages and 6 continents, offers a beguiling smorgasbord of the ways that families around the world show their affection for their children. Some of the endearments will be familiar to American ears ("honey," "pumpkin," and "sunshine" in the U.S., "poppet," "ducky," and "love" in England, "mon petit chou" in France), but many more surely will be a revelation. They include, "little coconut candy" (docinho de coco) from Brazil, "little mischievous pea" (xiao pie dou) from Mandarin-speaking China, and "my bubble of joy" (yeinay filiklik) from Amharic-speaking Ethiopia. Each endearment is presented with its English translation, native language, pronunciation, and, where applicable, its non-Western characters or alphabetic spelling. Raschka's whimsical illustrations, drawn in ink, watercolor, and gouache on creamy flecked paper, exuberantly depict dozens of no-two-alike children, babies, and extended family members. A selective color palette in muted tones visually defines each nationality's page; the complete color spectrum is reserved for the jacket and concluding page, which express themes of world unity. Pair this with Mem Fox's Whoever You Are (Harcourt, 1997) for an effective and satisfying way of introducing the universal facets and feelings of childhood.-Kathleen Finn, St. Francis Xavier School, Winooski, VT (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Younger Readers)
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Patrick McDonnell

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-In this tender homage to the famous primatologist, McDonnell gives readers a peek into Jane Goodall's formative years. Even as a young child she had an abiding love of the natural world and took every opportunity to study and enjoy the plants and animals around her. "It was a magical world full of joy and wonder, and Jane felt very much a part of it." Her constant companion, whether climbing her favorite tree or exploring her grandmother's chicken coop, was her stuffed chimpanzee, Jubilee. Her fascination with Africa was presaged by the drawings and puzzles she made as a child for her club, the "Alligator Society," as well as her fondness for Tarzan of the Apes. Her dream of going there to live with the animals and write about them took hold when she was 10 and the fact that she has devoted her life to that mission is a testament to her dedication and an inspiration for young dreamers everywhere. The artist's engaging, almost naive cartoons, done in India ink and watercolor, set the perfect tone. As the girl reads and learns more about Africa, the drawings become more fanciful with a giraffe and elephant appearing in the English countryside, and Jane and Jubilee swinging on vines through the trees. These charming images are complemented throughout with 19th- and early-20th-century engravings and photos of Goodall with her beloved chimps. The package is an appealing and satisfying introduction to a well-known scientist and activist. Concluding notes give more information about her and her life's work.-Luann Toth, School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly In this picture book biography, McDonnell (Wag!) examines Goodall's very English childhood and her unexpected wish-nurtured by early exposure to Tarzan-to live and work in Africa. On the left, earnest text appears on cream-colored paper embellished with delicate vintage images of trees and animals. On the right, by contrast, McDonnell's winsome ink and watercolor drawings come across as sweetly goofy. Jane spends most of her time sitting quietly, watching living things. "One day," McDonnell writes, "curious Jane wondered where eggs came from. So she and Jubilee [her beloved stuffed chimpanzee] snuck into Grandma Nutt's chicken coop... hid beneath some straw, stayed very still... and observed the miracle." (The hen looks just as surprised as Jane.) Best of all is a spread that shows Jane fantasizing living like Tarzan's Jane in Africa; she swings on a vine through the jungle, dressed in a sensible cardigan and a tartan skirt. Back matter fills in readers about Goodall's accomplishments as an adult; McDonnell's concentration on her childhood fantasies carries a strong message to readers that their own dreams-even the wildly improbable ones-may be realizable, too. Ages 3-6. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list *Starred Review* Little Jane loves her stuffed animal, a chimpanzee named Jubilee, and carries him everywhere she goes. Mainly, they go outdoors, where they watch birds building their nests and squirrels chasing each other. Jane reads about animals in books and keeps a notebook of sketches, information, and puzzles. Feeling her kinship with all of nature, she often climbs her favorite tree and reads about another Jane, Tarzan's Jane. She dreams that one day she, too, will live in the African jungle and help the animals. And one day, she does. With the story's last page turn, the illustrations change from ink-and-watercolor scenes of Jane as a child, toting Jubilee, to a color photo of Jane Goodall as a young woman in Africa, extending her hand to a chimpanzee. Quietly told and expressively illustrated, the story of the child as a budding naturalist is charming on its own, but the photo on the last page opens it up through a well-chosen image that illuminates the connections between childhood dreams and adult reality. On two appended pages, About Jane Goodall describes her work, while A Message from Jane invites others to get involved. This remarkable picture book is one of the few that speaks, in a meaningful way, to all ages.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012 (Younger Readers)
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Rand Burkert

Book list *Starred Review* In this beautiful Aesop retelling from a mother-and-son team, a tiny grass mouse takes top billing over his larger costar. The graceful, spare prose lends warmth and accessibility to the familiar tale of the brave mouse who trips over a sharp-toothed lion Sire, I took you for a mountain honestly! and has to plead for his freedom. However, it's the artwork that really shines here. Nancy Ekholm Burkert, illustrator of the Caldecott Honor Book Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1972), sets the story in Namibia's Aha Hills, and she traveled to Africa for inspiration. Rendered with extraordinary detail, the softly textured, naturalistic watercolor illustrations are set against against wide, blank backgrounds, which highlight the vastness of the landscape as seen through the eyes of one of its smallest inhabitants. Views of orange sunsets, starry skies, and soft yellow sunrises beautifully capture the movement from night to day and the subtle shifts of light on the land. Also noteworthy are blue-shaded scenes that cleverly illustrate stop-action sequences and the passage of time. The generous trim size and luxuriously thick, cream-colored paper further showcase the artwork, while an endnote illuminates the book-making process. Children (and adults) will pore over the minute details, while simultaneously admiring the grand majesty of each spread in this exquisite offering.--Kelley, Ann Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 2-6-It has been far too long since Nancy Ekholm Burkert's work last graced a children's book-Valentine and Orson (Farrar, 1989)-and it is a pleasure to welcome her back with a book rich with her signature meticulous brush lines, compelling display of color, and carefully delineated detail. Each page offers dramatic delight that extends the story. In an unusual but fascinating variation on the Aesop tale, Rand Burkert places Mouse at center stage-after all, as he explains, "Mouse clearly performs the lion's share of the work." With that hypothesis in place, the tale plays out against the well-known plot of Lion trapped in net/Mouse gnawing him free-with the interplay between the two caught in word and image, both subtle and powerful. At the conclusion, the animals part-each to its own special world but each the wiser and kinder for the experience. The illustrations for this spirited tale are nothing less than spectacular: soft colors (predominately in multiple shades of blue) flow across the page, capturing each eventful moment. Choosing the Aha Hills (between Botswana and Namibia) for her setting, the artist imbues the scenes with the fauna and flora of this region. At times, she incorporates the whole page, using white space to great effect as Mouse cavorts among trailing vines; in another mesmerizing spread a blue/black baobab tree, set against a blazing cinnamon-orange setting sun, captures the moment before Lion's undoing. For storyhours, one-on-one sharing, family read-alouds, or African studies, this book will be appreciated by a wide audiences.-Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 2-6-Skitter-scampering, deed-bragging, can-do Mouse takes center stage in this rousing rendition of Aesop's well-known fable. Awash with sun-warmed colors and breathtaking natural details, the elegant artwork portrays the delightful dynamic between two characters-one minute and one majestic-who prove to be equals in courage and kindness. (Aug.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly In jaunty prose, first-time author Rand Burkert-the illustrator's son-retells Aesop's fable of the mouse who stumbles over a lion ("Sire, I took you for a mountain-honestly!") and pleads for his freedom ("You might need me someday, in a pinch"); the mouse fulfills the prediction by gnawing him free from a hunter's net. "You shall also be free, Mouse!" says the lion. "I grant you liberty to climb every mountain in my kingdom." Caldecott Honoree Nancy Ekholm Burkert's (Snow-White and the Seven Dwarves) exquisitely drafted spreads celebrate the beauty of the African savannah, often from a mouse's-eye view: a graceful blade of grass, a moth's wing, the thorns of the scrubby African shrubs. Moments of drama are sometimes represented in a series of spot illustrations, the present instant in full color, those past or yet to come in pale blue, a lovely way of expressing time on an unmoving page. Creamy paper, a spare layout, and fine typography combine to create an object that reminds readers of the physical pleasures of books; it's a gratifying addition to Nancy Ekholm Burkert's small but treasured oeuvre. All ages. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012 (Younger Readers)
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Susan Campbell Bartoletti

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-In most books about Noah, his wife plays a supporting role, if any, but Bartoletti makes her the central character of this picture book. While winds and waves buffet the ark at night, Naamah calms restless animals with her lullaby. Her husband, their sons, and their daughters-in-law sleep, but Naamah "sings all through the night." Slowly, two by two, the animals settle into slumber as the soothing poetry lulls them to rest. Meade's watercolor collage illustrations include both full-color and black-and-white spreads, subtly conveying the night outside and cozy quarters within the ark. In an author's note, Bartoletti explains the Arabic poetic form, the ghazal, that inspired the structure of her poetry. Young listeners who hear her bedtime verse will be aware only of its soothing rhythm carrying them to the final "Hush hush hush, good night."-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list *Starred Review* Everyone knows Noah. But Mrs. Noah? Bartoletti, best known for her outstanding nonfiction titles, reimagines the story of Noah's Ark and gives it a feminine face. In an author's note, Bartoletti tells how she played with a wooden ark set as a child and then wondered as an adult about the women on board. Rabbinical sources say that Noah's wife was called Naamah which means pleasant and another Jewish legend tells of a Naamah who was a singer. Taking inspiration from these interpretations, Bartoletti tells the story of the singing Naamah in a variation of an Arabic poetic structure called a ghazal. Here, the lines are filled with rolling imagery: As rain falls over the ark at night, / As water swirls in the dark of night, / As thunder crashes the seams of night, / As Noah tosses in dreams of night . . . . As all of this and more happens, Naamah sings, calming the animals, chanting to the moon and stars, and soothing her family. Lovely and lyrical, the text is matched by Meade's inventive and evocative collage work that gives shape and substance to her subjects, both human and animal. Most striking, perhaps, are her star-filled scenes that juxtapose the animals with their constellation brethren. Bartoletti and Meade take a most familiar story and make it breathtakingly new.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In this atmospheric picture book, Bartoletti (The Flag Maker) gives voice to a biblical figure about whom little information exists: Noah's wife, who may have been named Naamah, Bartoletti explains in an author's note. She imagines the soothing effect of song during a long, dark night on the ark, as Naamah sings to her fellow passengers, both human and animal. Inspired by the Arabic poetic form of the ghazal (which Bartoletti also discusses at book's end), she structures a calming lullaby for the ark's inhabitants and readers alike: "Over the ark, song flows at night./ Two by two, eyes close at night./ Two by two, wings furl at night./ Two by two, tails curl at night." Meade's (If I Never Forever Endeavor) watercolor collages fill the large-format pages with all manner of animals in various states of repose. On several spreads, the refrain "Naamah sings all through the night" is paired with gray-black figures silhouetted against a starry night sky. It's a story of quiet confidence and comfort, during trials of truly biblical proportions, as well as a gentle bedtime book. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012 (Younger Readers)
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Yu Li-Qiong

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 1-Written and illustrated in mainland China and originally published in Taiwan, this book tells a story familiar to many rural Chinese children. Maomao's father "builds big houses in faraway places" and can only come home for Chinese New Year. On this occasion, Maomao takes a while to warm up to him. When she does, they make sticky rice balls, enjoy fresh snow, and watch the dragon dance. She finds a treasure, loses it, and then finds it again. When the holiday is over, she watches Mama pack Papa's bags and he leaves again. This bittersweet and poignant story not only tells of a family celebrating a holiday, but also explores the trepidation and joy of a reunion. Lively gouache illustrations show the New Year's celebrations as well as Maomao's initial shyness around her father and her sorrow at losing her treasure. The story of an absent parent returning only during special occasions is one that speaks to more and more American children. The celebrations and traditions might differ, but the story of missing distant family is universal.-Jennifer Rothschild, Prince George's County Memorial Library System, Oxon Hill, MD (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list Maomao's father is a Chinese construction worker in faraway places who comes home once a year at Chinese New Year. She describes what happens during his brief stay, from gifts and a fresh haircut to home repairs and preparation of sticky rice balls. When she loses her lucky coin, the inconsolable Maomao can think of nothing else until it reappears just before her father's departure. Despite the winter setting, the bright gouache illustrations radiate warmth, showing Maomao snuggled between her parents in bed and high on her father's shoulders watching the dragon dancers. Brilliant, saturated colors with prominent cardinal reds contrast with her father's dark, neutral-hued clothing. Maomao's narrative is restrained, but the affecting portraits at her father's departure speak volumes. Appropriate for Chinese New Year, this exceptional family story will move readers at any time of the year and will resonate especially with children whose parents must leave their families for long periods of time.--Perkins, Linda Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Two things make this Chinese New Year story remarkable-Zhu's meticulously observed gouaches and the family's poignant backstory. On the cover, a small girl with black hair shows her parents a coin. But Maomao's father, who beams back at her, works far away, and the New Year holiday is the only time all year he gets to see her. They share simple holiday pleasures-Papa hides the lucky coin in a sticky rice ball, and Maomao finds it-but on the day Papa packs to go, a single gesture from Mama, captured with a cinematic eye by Zhu, shows the strain the family is under: she holds her hand up to her face and looks away. Maomao, meanwhile, displays both resilience and generosity: "Here, take this," she says, pressing her treasured lucky coin into Papa's hand as he leaves. "Next time you're back, we can bury it in the sticky rice ball again!" Yu and Zhu create a memorable portrait of China's most joyous holiday and a testimony to the love that holds Maomao's family together. Ages 3-5. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012 (Younger Readers)
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Kate Messner

Book list Gliding through the woodland on skis, a girl and her father watch for signs of animals. A squirrel's tail flashes red as he disappears down a crack in the snow. A fox steps into view. Guided by her father, the child becomes increasingly aware of the secret kingdom beneath the snow, where voles pass through tunnels, bullfrogs sleep in mud, and a queen bee hibernates in the ground. A few appended pages offer more information about the animals mentioned and recommend books and websites for further reading. Neal's artwork, mixed media with digital elements, uses the white snow to isolate images of the people, animals, and trees within the natural setting. Cutaway views show what is happening beneath the snow as well as on its surface. Reminiscent of linocut prints, the illustrations have a retro look that suits Messner's precisely worded, effective story. A good choice for winter reading, this quiet but eye-opening picture book could heighten a child's awareness of the natural world.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Straddling the informative and the evocative, this lovely study of the ways animals spend the winter in a "secret kingdom under the snow" combines Messner's (Sea Monster's First Day) graceful prose ("Over the snow, the fire crackles, and sparks shoot up to the stars. I lick sticky marshmallow from my lips and lean back with heavy eyes") with debut illustrator Neal's quiet, woodcut-like portraits of the snowy forest. A human father and daughter are tiny figures in a field of white, cross-country skiing past fir trees and glimpsing the occasional animal, while other creatures are visible in cutaway views below ground ("Under the snow, a queen bumblebee drowses away December, all alone. She'll rule a new colony in spring"). The rhythm of the girl's discoveries balances thoughtful discovery with moments of muted excitement, as when she skis downhill, then watches a fox pounce on a mouse ("His paws scratch away to find the mouse he heard scritch-scritch-scratching along underneath"). Unvarnished pages and an elegant layout enhance the sense of magic in a natural world just out of view. Includes an afterword and bibliography. Ages 4-8. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-A girl spends the day with her father skiing through the woods. As they proceed through the wintry landscape, he tells her about the secret kingdom of animals under the snow. He explains how a red squirrel and shrew move through cracks and tunnels, and how deer mice stay warm in their nests by covering themselves with feathers and fur. When the sky is light, the voles, beavers, and chipmunks gather food to eat, but as the sky grows darker, the queen bumblebee, bullfrogs, and black bear are shown sleeping in enclosures under the snow. Aboveground, the child and her dad are joined by the mom and have a bonfire, complete with cocoa and hot dogs sizzling on pointed sticks, before going to bed to dream about the secret kingdom under the snow. Throughout the book, Neal's crisp, clean mixed-media illustrations cleverly provide above- and belowground views, and Messner's back material will educate children about the subnivean zone and animal adaptations. Some of the uses for snow (entertainment, warmth, camouflage, shelter) can be discussed after reading this book.-Tanya Boudreau, Cold Lake Public Library, AB, Canada (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Middle Readers)
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Melissa Sweet

Publishers Weekly Tony Sarg (1880-1942, "rhymes with aargh!"), the man who invented the giant balloons of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, has found a worthy biographer in Caldecott Honoree Sweet (A River of Words). With lighthearted watercolors, fanciful scrapbooking, and collaged typography, Sweet shows how Sarg, a self-taught immigrant, combined an indomitable curiosity with an engineer's know-how and a forever-young imagination. The story walks readers through each stage of Sarg's development as a master of puppetry-his childhood fascination with mechanics and marionettes, his first big break as a developer of window displays for Macy's, and his early earthbound parade creations (essentially air-filled rubber bags that were steered down the street). And then comes the light-bulb moment: "With a marionette, the controls are above and the puppet hangs down..." writes Sweet. "But what if the controls were below and the puppet could rise up?" The rush that comes from inspiration, the cliffhanger moments of creation, the sheer joy of building something and watching it delight the multitudes-Sweet captures it all in what is truly a story for all ages. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal K-Gr 3-Sweet tells the story of the puppeteer responsible for the creation of those now-famous gigantic balloons that are emblematic of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Even as a child, Tony Sarg was fascinated with movement, rigging ingenious contraptions that allowed him to feed the chickens early in the morning while remaining snug in his bed. He moved on to create fabulous marionettes that came to the attention of Macy's, and he was invited to design their holiday window displays. In 1924, when the store decided to put on a parade to please their immigrant employees who missed their holiday traditions of music and dancing in the streets, Sarg designed costumes and floats. As the parade became increasingly popular and the streets more and more crowded, he realized he needed to design something that would be large enough and high enough to be seen by all, and the idea of the balloons was born. Sweet tells this slice of American history well, conveying both Sarg's enthusiasm and joy in his work as well as the drama and excitement of the parade. Rich in detail, the gouache, collage, and mixed-media illustrations are a stand-out, capturing the charm of the period and the awe-inspiring balloons. This one should float off the shelves.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list *Starred Review* This is a picture book about the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, but that's on the macro level. There is also a wonderfully personal story here as Sweet introduces Tony Sarg, a boy who loved puppets and grew up to create them for one of the world's most famous parades. As a kid, young Sarg was a master manipulator, making marionettes and inventing pulleys that could feed the chickens in his family's coop. As an adult, he brought his marionettes to Broadway, where R. H. Macy saw them and asked Sarg to provide designs for his store's windows and then, later, to create puppets for a holiday parade. Right from the start, in 1924, the Thanksgiving Day Parade was a success, and Sarg's ideas became more expansive, literally, as he designed animals part puppet, part balloon that eventually became the fabulous creatures we know today. Through careful explanation and fantastic art, Sweet explains step-by-step how the balloons were shaped and evolved. The pictures, a mix of collage and watercolors, are as exciting as the parade itself and are presented in an innovative design that uses an array of typefaces, reproductions of old newspaper articles, silhouettes, and the occasional comic-strip format. The only thing that could have made this better is if Sweet had used her stand-out collage techniques for the balloon representations, instead of watercolor artwork. But that's a quibble. What she has done is make a joyous piece of nonfiction that informs and delights in equal parts.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012 (Middle Readers)
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Eugene Yelchin

School Library Journal Gr 5-7-Velchin skillfully combines narrative with dramatic black-and-white illustrations to tell the story of life in the Soviet Union under Stalin. Sasha Zaichik, the 10-year-old son of a member of the secret police, is bursting with pride because he is ready to become a Young Pioneer. He is equally excited that his father will be officiating at the ceremony. But then he watches as his father is taken away to prison, turned in by a neighbor vying for bigger living quarters. Sasha joins his peers in taunting Borka Finkelstein, their only Jewish classmate, even though readers sense that he doesn't really want to do it. The question of who is a good Communist underlies much of the plot. The book's intriguing title refers to Sasha's accidentally breaking the nose off a bust of Stalin. Borka, desperate to see his imprisoned parents, confesses to the action, with the hope that he will be taken to prison, too. Sasha does not admit his own guilt. Eventually disillusionment overtakes homeless Sasha as he waits in line to visit his father. Velchin's illustrations are filled with pathos and breathe life into the narrative. Though there are many two-dimensional characters, mostly among the adults, Sasha and Borka are more fully drawn. While the story was obviously created to shed light on the oppression, secrecy, and atrocities under Stalin's regime, Sasha's emotions ring true. This is an absorbing, quick, multilayered read in which predictable and surprising events intertwine. Velchin clearly dramatizes the dangers of blindly believing in anything. Along with Ruta Sepetys's Between Shades of Gray (Philomel, 2011), this selection gives young people a look at this dark history.-Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list Growing up under Stalin, Sasha Zaichik, 10, lives with his widower dad and 48 others in a crowded apartment with one kitchen and one toilet. Sasha's dream is to be like his father, serving the great leader and working in the State Security secret police. Then his dad is arrested: did a neighbor betray him? At school, Sasha is recruited to report on anticommunist activity. The present-tense narrative is true to the young kid's naive viewpoint, but the story is for older readers, especially as the shocking revelations reach the climax of what torture can make you confess. Picture-book illustrator Yelchin was raised in post-Stalinist Russia in the 1960s and left the country when he was 27. In his first novel, he uses the child's innocent viewpoint to dramatize the heartbreaking secrets and lies, and graphite illustrations show the terrifying arrests of enemies of the people, even children, like Sasha's classmate. In an afterword, Yelchin discusses the history and the brutal regime that affected millions.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Picture book author/illustrator Yelchin (Won Ton) makes an impressive middle-grade debut with this compact novel about a devoted young Communist in Stalin-era Russia, illustrated with dramatically lit spot art. Ten-year-old Sasha lives with his father, a State Security secret policeman whom he worships (almost as much as he worships Stalin), and 46 others in a communal apartment. The story opens on the eve of the fulfillment of Sasha's dream-to become a Young Soviet Pioneer-and traces the downward spiral of the following 24 hours, as he resists his growing understanding that his beloved Communist state is far from ideal. Through Sasha's fresh and optimistic voice, Yelchin powerfully renders an atmosphere of fear that forces false confessions, even among schoolchildren, and encourages neighbors and family members to betray one another without evidence. Readers will quickly pick up on the dichotomy between Sasha's ardent beliefs and the reality of life under Stalinism, and be glad for his ultimate disillusion, even as they worry for his future. An author's note concisely presents the chilling historical background and personal connection that underlie the story. Ages 9-12. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012 (Middle Readers)
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Carmen Agra Deedy and Randall Wright

School Library Journal Gr 5-8-A cagey cat with a penchant for cheese pretends to be a mouser at an inn overrun by rodents and frequented by a famous author with writer's block. Rich in lofty language and vivid characterization, and artfully embellished by Moser's expressive illustrations, this laugh-out-loud tale is one to savor. (Sept.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly "He was the best of toms. He was the worst of toms." So opens Deedy (14 Cows for America) and Wright's (The Silver Penny) spry hybrid of historical fiction and animal story, set at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, a real-life pub "famed as a haunt for London writers." The line refers to Skilley, the mouser at the tavern, where Charles Dickens is struggling to find a lead-in to his new novel. Snippets from Dickens's journal reveal his suspicions that something's askew between Skilley and the pub's substantial mice population. He's right: Skilley, who prefers eating cheese to mice, has agreed not to harm them if they bring him cheese from the storeroom. Pip, an intellectually minded mouse, teaches himself to write using his tail, a skill that comes in handy at multiple points during the novel. Moser's graphite illustrations are realistic and wonderfully emotive, especially in combination with the novel's fresh dialogue, typographical flights of fancy, and wordplay. Expertly realized characters and effervescent storytelling make this story of unlikely friendship, royal ravens, and "the finest cheese in London" a delight. Ages 8-12. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 5-8-The vagaries of tavern life in 19th-century London come alive in this delightful tale. Skilley, a street cat with a secret (he eats cheese!), finds a home at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, where he pretends to be a mouser and gets the attention of Charles Dickens, a frequent customer. Befriended by Pip, a precocious mouse who can read and write, Skilley tries to protect his rodent pals and Maldwyn, an injured royal raven hiding in the garret, from Pinch, a ginger alley cat who's out for every tasty morsel he can get. There are cat-and-mouse battles aplenty. Several subplots are happily resolved: the cook reveals that the mice are her official cheese-tasters; Queen Victoria herself comes to rescue Maldwyn; Mr. Dickens finally finds an opening sentence for his new novel, and more. The fast-moving plot is a masterwork of intricate detail that will keep readers enthralled, and the characters are well-rounded and believable. Language is a highlight of the novel; words both elegant and colorful fill the pages: "alacrity," "scrivener," "thieving moggy." And then there are the Dickensian references: "artful dodging of Hansom cabs," Dickens saying he has "great expectations." His amusing diary entries, revealing both his writing difficulties and his thoughts about Skilley, and the occasionally fanciful page layouts add to the humor. Combined with Moser's precise pencil sketches of personality-filled characters, the book is a success in every way. It should be a first purchase for libraries interested in bringing young readers to the marvels of Dickens via the back-or, should I say tavern-door.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, The Naples Players, FL (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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School Library Journal Gr 5-8-Alley cat Skilley finagles his way off the tough streets of London and into a life as a mouser at a local inn where he strikes up an unlikely alliance with the resident mouse and befriends Dickens. A zany scheme and high jinks ensue. Dickensian references pepper this playful, clever tale illustrated with pencil drawings. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list Cat and mouse may be traditional enemies, but in this appealing historical novel, a cheese-loving tom cat named Skilley takes up residence at London's Ye Old Cheshire Cheese, where he befriends Pip, one of the many mice living at the inn. With Pip's help, Skilley convinces the innkeeper that he's a fierce mouser, all the while secretly releasing his victims. The amiable Charles Dickens, a frequent customer attempting to write another novel, observes them with amusement. Meanwhile, one of the royal ravens from the Tower of London is hidden away in an upstairs room. The plot thickens when a wicked cat threatens Skilley, the mice, and the raven. With many likable characters, a couple of enjoyably despicable ones, and a lovingly depicted period setting, this eventful chapter book has plenty to offer young readers. Familiarity with Dickens' novels is not a prerequisite for enjoying the story but will add to the pleasure of those who recognize the references here and there. Moser's expressive pencil drawings capture the characters and the sometimes amusing, sometimes exciting tone of the story with finesse.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist

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2012 (Middle Readers)
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Duncan Tonatiuh

Publishers Weekly Suggestive of stained glass windows, Tonatiuh's mixed-media collages combine ancient Mexican art motifs with blocky, stylized figures, to pay tribute to this versatile artist. Rivera paired classical and modern techniques with traditional Mexican aesthetics to create socially and politically relevant murals. Tonatiuh invites readers to speculate about what Rivera might paint if he were alive today-"would he paint students at their desks... just as he painted factory workers in the production line?"-while creating vignettes whose symmetries draw further connections between past and present. Tonatiuh's biography celebrates Rivera, but focuses on the inspiration driving artistic expression in his time and in our own. Ages 5-9. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal K-Gr 3-Tonatiuh relates key moments in the famous muralist's life and ponders what would capture his interest if he were alive today. The stylized brown figures are shown in profile with open mouths, exaggerated features, and heads that seem hinged to the bodies. With only one page mentioning the subject's childhood (in which the young artist is wearing a hat and suit as he draws near his toys), the text concentrates instead on how Rivera internalized traditional and modern styles while studying art in Europe, absorbed the aesthetics of ancient Mexican civilizations after returning home, and then applied his training to local politics and culture. In scenes both thoughtful and humorous, Tonatiuh contrasts interpretations of Rivera's work with renderings of imagined work today. A contemporary mall scene faces the flower vendor with calla lilies. Dynamic, brightly lit luchadores (professional wrestlers) are paired with a scene of Aztec warriors and conquistadores. Back matter includes a glossary of words/concepts in sequence, an author's note, selected sites for viewing the murals, and a list of specific works that inspired the cartoonlike art. Students looking closely will note that some of Rivera's historical paintings include brown figures, in profile, mouths open. The original murals can be found along with biographical details in Mike Venezia's Diego Rivera (Children's Press, 1995) and in Guadalupe Rivera Marin's highly personal My Papa Diego and Me/Mi papa Diego y yo (Children's Book Press, 2009). An inspired approach that combines child appeal, cultural anthropology, and art history.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list In this illustrated biography, Tonatiuh introduces Diego Rivera and shows how the Mexican artist drew on the history of his people for his murals, which combined ancient Mexican art with modern styles. Then Tonatiuh asks a crucial question: What would Rivera paint if he were alive today? Would he paint the bustle of city life. Would he paint the way we play. Working in his own blend of styles, working motifs borrowed from ancient Mexican art into contemporary images, the pictures show kids on busy city streets with laptops and cell phones, scooters and rollerblades, shopping at the mall. A long author's note fills in more about Tonatiuh's inspiration and his technique, drawing first by hand and then creating digital collages. With only one reproduction of Rivera's work, this title won't give young people much sense of Rivera's style, but kids will want to talk about the great painter, and young artists will find inspiration for their own creations.--Rochman, Haze. Copyright 2010 Booklist

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2012 (Middle Readers)
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Dianna Hutts Aston

Book list Simon Rodia, Sam to his neighbors, spent more than 34 years building and decorating elaborate sculptural towers on a triangular lot in the Watts neighborhood of L.A. Affixing collected bits of throwaway glass and pottery to a hand-wrought, curvilinear structure of rebar, mesh, and cement, Sam erected an enduring homage to the extraordinary, everyday beauty of community. Aston tells the story from the point of view of a young neighborhood girl, who grows up watching the towers evolve and then shares their construction with her own children. Her winding, poetic language evokes the strange beauty of the sculptures themselves, occasionally bending across the page in broken arcs. Roth's jumbled mixed-media collages echo Rodia's ebullient ingenuity while evoking a creative exuberance all their own. An author's note offering more information about the towers' construction and directions for building miniature towers of pipe cleaners, magazine clippings, and foam round out this impressionistic look at an iconic American landmark. Children will find inspiration in Rodia's personal, quiet call to creation.--Barthelmess, Thom Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 2-5-This stunningly illustrated picture book succeeds on every level. Chronicling the story of Italian immigrant Simon Rodia, the creative genius who built the famed Watts Towers in Los Angeles, the simple yet elegant text brings the man's process to light through the narration of a fictional girl who measures her own life against the construction of the towers. Uncle Sam, as he was known in the neighborhood, worked in a tile factory by day and scavenged for treasure in trash heaps and along the nearby railroad tracks in his spare time. Using scrap tile, broken pottery, bits of glass, seashells, rebar, wire mesh, and cement, Rodia realized his dream through slow but steady work, raising his towers nearly 100 feet high without nails, bolts, or even a ladder. Adding dimension and richness to the story, Roth's splendid multimedia collages both honor and illuminate his work. Combining paper, ceramics, fabric, and photography, the artwork not only reinforces the look of the towers but also the technique of bringing together disparate bits to create a cohesive and beautiful whole. One particularly moving page uses black-and-white photographs of similarly shaped Italian towers as a backdrop, exploring the idea that immigrants bring their culture with them. This is a book that is filled with possibilities; it is an artistic work that could easily serve as a springboard for a multitude of discussions/projects about creativity, artistry, imagination, conservation, repurposing, perseverance, and the influence and importance of immigrants. A worthwhile author's note and instructions to craft a small Watts Tower are appended.-Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Aston pays tribute to the creative genius of an Italian immigrant and tile worker who, in the 1920s, begins a unique project on his Watts, Calif., property that takes 34 years to complete. Simon Rodia uses only rebar, cement, broken tiles, shells, and other found items to build towering spires, some almost a hundred feet tall, decorated with mosaic designs. A fictional neighbor girl, Marguerite, provides lyrical first-person narration as she watches the towers take shape throughout her childhood. The subject lends itself perfectly to the collage illustrations. Employing mostly paper, but also bits of pottery, cloth, clay and string, Roth stunningly recreates bold, stylized versions of the towers. This book beautifully illuminates a little-known story of imagination and perseverance that resulted in a national landmark. Ages 5-8. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012 (Middle Readers)
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Tom Lichtenheld

Publishers Weekly Picture books often get by on a single comic device, but Lichtenheld (Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site) and his collaborator, 14-year-old Fields-Meyer, pack their alphabet book with jokes-it's like Chicka Chicka Boom Boom on steroids. Imagine what would happen if the letter E broke its leg and O had to be tapped for substitute duty ("Big Troo Falls On Toony Car!" reads a newspaper headline). The co-authors invent dozens of puns, hiding them in the corners of pages (P is the source of potty jokes, Z is forever tired) and assembling acronyms ("The EMTs rushed in with an IV, ready to perform CPR"). The letters often assemble words on the spot (after E falls, some chums spell "OUCH!") and, in a grand finale of self-reference, they insist that the narrator play by the book's rules and quit using the letter E ("That's bottor!" says N, mollified). Though some of the jokes will be clear only to older brothers and sisters, readers who are in the thick of learning spelling rules will pore over the pages. Comprehensive, witty entertainment from A to Z. Ages 4-8. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list *Starred Review* In this nontraditional, rascally, downright hilarious alphabet book, all 26 letters live together in one big house. One morning as the letters are descending the stairs to breakfast, the letter E takes a tumble and is rushed to the ER for some TLC. During E's extended recuperation, the letters decide that another vowel must temporarily take E's place. The letter O is chosen, causing chaos as people around the world try to make sense of all the misspelled mayhem. Spolling tost today! shouts a school billboard. Car horns go Boop Boop! And the injured E listlessly holds a balloon that reads Got Woll Soon. The jokes fly fast and furious, and it will take several reads to catch them all. Because of this detail, it's a book ideal for single readers or smaller groups, who will have to puzzle out a lot of the weird-looking words. It's surprisingly challenging, so give this to children who have a clear sense of letter sounds and wordplay. The ink, pastels, and colored pencil illustrations keep things busy, busy, busy, completing this package that readers will return to ovor and ovor. (Get it?) Recommended to fans of Chris Van Allsburg's The Z Was Zapped (1987).--Sawyer, Linda Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal K-Gr 2-All the letters of the alphabet live together in one big, happy house. One morning as they race down the stairs to breakfast, E goes too fast and falls, injuring one of her appendages. After the EMTs arrive, bringing TLC and carrying an IV, E is admitted to the hospital. To properly recover she can't be used, so O is picked to fill in on her behalf. Despite news reports, congressional hearings, reader boards, a spot on Oprah, and a world tour to spread the news to use O instead of E, the injured letter is still not getting better. In a surprise worthy of Jon Stone's The Monster at the End of This Book (Western Publishing, 1971), the letters suddenly turn on the narrator and demand that he stop using E as he is why she's not getting better. After a page of tricky-to-read prose, E is healed and ready to go back to work just in time for thE End. The text tells only part of the story. The detailed cartoons of the letters in action with a plethora of speech balloons take the story to a whole other level of humor. This artwork takes a funny story and makes it hilarious to the right readers/listeners, of which there will be many. Kids and adults will get more of the sly humor each time they read this book. Warning: It's not easy to read all those words with the E replaced by an O.-Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Library, Troy, NH (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Middle Readers)
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Kristine O'Connell George

School Library Journal Gr 1-4-Jessica shares the struggles of being the big sister in this collection of 34 poignant poems. The fourth grader's three-year-old sister, Emma, vacillates between being sweet and lovable and being Jessica's biggest problem. She wants to be a good sibling, but little sisters can try one's patience. In one poem, Jessica generously allows Emma extra space to draw, but in the entry on the facing page she only grants Emma a "teeny twig" in her family tree. Spring-colored line drawings in pen-and-ink and digital media are filled with engaging details, expressive characters, and lots of humor, and bring the family dynamics to life while the verses build to a climactic situation that brings these youngsters together in a touching way.-Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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School Library Journal Gr 1-4-From room-wrecking trespasses and secrets tattle-told to shared giggles and hand-holding moments of comfort, Jessica conveys the frustrations and delights of being older sibling to an exasperating but loving preschooler. The slice-of-life free-verse poems and sherbet-colored illustrations shine with playful humor and heartfelt emotion. (Feb.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly A likable fourth-grader shares her frustrations about her preschool-age sister, Emma, in candid narrative poems. Emma copies everything Jessica does, embarrasses her at her soccer game by wearing a boa and high heels ("I pretend I've never seen/ that kid ever before/ in my whole entire life"), and "decorates" her room with yarn. There are tender moments, genuinely conveyed in Carpenter's expressive pen-and-ink illustrations: "Emma cheats/ at board games/ and card games/ and still loses." The vignettes form such a vivid portrait of Emma and Jessica that readers may feel as if they personally know them-and a tense turn of events will have readers holding their breath until the reassuring conclusion. Ages 6-9. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list Jessica's little sister, Emma, is a pest. She embarrasses Jessica by showing up at soccer games in dress-up costumes, and at home, she invades Jessica's private space. Someone / has been shopping' / in my room / Someone / left the caps off / all my new markers. In free verse written in Jessica's realistic voice, George describes each lively scenario, and Carpenter's full-page, pen-and-ink and watercolor pictures extend the sense of anger, irritation, jealousy, guilt, love, and joy between the sisters. Jessica is protective, too; in a hilariou. Translato. poem, she explains to Dad what Emma means when she asks fo. squabbled egg. for breakfast. The daily dramas build to a real climax when Emma falls and breaks her arm, and Jessica tries not to blame herself ( An accident / Not my fault / Not my fault ), then weeps as Mom and Dad hold her tight, and she writes the first message on Emma's cast. I love you. Older siblings everywhere will recognize the big-sister's view of family fury and fun.--Rochman, Haze. Copyright 2010 Booklist

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2012 (Middle Readers)
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Eloise Greenfield

School Library Journal K-Gr 8-In eloquent verse, Greenfield narrates the story of the migration during the years 1915-1930 of more than a million African Americans from the rural South to the industrial North in search of opportunity, employment, and fair treatment. The poems are arranged under five headings that represent the stages of the journey: "The News," "Goodbyes," "The Trip," "Question," and "Up North." Feelings of fear and apprehension resonate in the poetry, in the sad and hopeful voices of the men, women, and children who gave up all they knew and embarked on an unknown future. Simple words declare their reasons for going with quiet dignity, "Goodbye crazy signs, telling me/where I can go, what I can do," and share the immense pain of leaving. "Mama's making me go./She wants me to be happy/and safe. But I see the sadness/lying deep in her eyes." Gilchrist's illustrations gracefully complement the poetry; mixed-media collages incorporating line drawings, muted watercolor washes, newsprint clippings, photos, and sepia-toned illustrations depict warm family representations as well as stark desperation and anger. Greenfield's lyricism and her clear, narrative style make this book a solid choice for independent reading and for reading aloud. The Great Migration: An American Story (HarperCollins, 1993), illustrated with Jacob Lawrence's bold and moving paintings and including a verse by Walter Dean Myers, also portrays this historical event and can be used in conjunction with Migration.-Carole Phillips, Greenacres Elementary School, Scarsdale, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Frequent collaborators Greenfield and Gilchrist (Brothers & Sisters: Family Poems) shape an evocative portrait of African-Americans who moved North during the Great Migration between 1915 and 1930 to escape Ku Klux Klan-fueled racism and to secure better lives. In forceful free verse, travelers bid farewell to what they've known. One man is conflicted about leaving his rural home ("Saying goodbye to the land puts a pain on my heart"), a woman can't wait to get away ("Goodbye, crazy signs, telling me where I can go, what I can do"), and a girl prepares to leave her mother ("I'm a little scared. I'm a lot scared. Off to the big city by myself, with just the church up there to lean on"). Chronicling the journey by train, lilting poetry and pictures capture a sense of both apprehension and hope: "Going to make it. No matter what." Making intriguing use of photographs of people, news headlines, maps, and painted elements, each of Gilchrist's collages has a distinctive look and lighting, ranging from conventional portraits of the travelers to more abstract images. Ages 3-8. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list *Starred Review* Between 1915 and 1930, more than a million African Americans left their homes in the South and moved to the North, says Greenfield in an introduction to this stirring collection of poems that honors those who took part in the Great Migration, including the poet herself. Each spread looks at a different stage in the journey, beginning with the uprooting: Saying goodbye to the land / puts a pain on my heart, says a farmer. The beat in Greenfield's free-verse poetry amplifies the feeling of momentum, from the way news travels They thought about it, talked about it, / spread the word to the rhythm of the train that is felt even in the northbound passengers' questions, Will I make a good life / for my family, / for myself? / The wheels are singing, / Yes, you will, / you will, you will!' / I hope they're right. / I think they're right. / I know they're right. Greatly enhancing the impact of the words, Gilchrist's moving mixed-media collages layer drawings, maps, and color-washed archival images that have the slightly distorted look of photocopies, giving some of the figures an almost ghostly, translucent appearance. Together, the immediate words, striking images, and Greenfield's personal story create a powerful, haunting view of a pivotal moment in U.S. history even as they show the universal challenges of leaving home behind and starting a new life. A bibliography concludes.--Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2010 Booklist

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2012 (Middle Readers)
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Thanhha Lai

School Library Journal Gr 4-6-A story based on the author's childhood experiences. Ha is 10 when Saigon falls and her family flees Vietnam. First on a ship, then in two refugee camps, and then finally in Alabama, she and her family struggle to fit in and make a home. As Ha deals with leaving behind all that is familiar, she tries to contain her temper, especially in the face of school bullies and the inconsistencies of the English language. She misses her papaya tree, and her family worries about friends and family remaining in Vietnam, especially her father, who was captured by Communist forces several years earlier. Told in verse, each passage is given a date so readers can easily follow the progression of time. Sensory language describing the rich smells and tastes of Vietnam draws readers in and contrasts with Ha's perceptions of bland American food, and the immediacy of the narrative will appeal to those who do not usually enjoy historical fiction. Even through her frustration with her new life and the annoyances of her three older brothers, her voice is full of humor and hope.-Jennifer Rothschild, Prince George's County Memorial Library System, Oxon Hill, MD (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list *Starred Review* After her father has been missing in action for nine years during the Vietnam War, 10-year-old Hà flees with her mother and three older brothers. Traveling first by boat, the family reaches a tent city in Guam, moves on to Florida, and is finally connected with sponsors in Alabama, where Hà finds refuge but also cruel rejection, especially from mean classmates. Based on Lai's personal experience, this first novel captures a child-refugee's struggle with rare honesty. Written in accessible, short free-verse poems, Hà's immediate narrative describes her mistakes both humorous and heartbreaking with grammar, customs, and dress (she wears a flannel nightgown to school, for example); and readers will be moved by Hà's sorrow as they recognize the anguish of being the outcast who spends lunchtime hiding in the bathroom. Eventually, Hà does get back at the sneering kids who bully her at school, and she finds help adjusting to her new life from a kind teacher who lost a son in Vietnam. The elemental details of Hà's struggle dramatize a foreigner's experience of alienation. And even as she begins to shape a new life, there is no easy comfort: her father is still gone.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Narrating in sparse free-verse poems, 10-year-old Ha brings a strong, memorable voice to the immigrant experience as her family moves from war-torn South Vietnam to Alabama in 1975. First-time author Lai, who made the same journey with her family, divides her novel into four sections set in Vietnam, "At Sea," and the last two in Alabama. Lai gives insight into cultural and physical landscapes, as well as a finely honed portrait of Ha's family as they await word about Ha's POW father and face difficult choices (awaiting a sponsor family, "...Mother learns/ sponsors prefer those/ whose applications say ¿Christians.'/ Just like that/ Mother amends our faith,/ saying all beliefs/ are pretty much the same"). The taut portrayal of Ha's emotional life is especially poignant as she cycles from feeling smart in Vietnam to struggling in the States, and finally regains academic and social confidence. A series of poems about English grammar offer humor and a lens into the difficulties of adjusting to a new language and customs ("Whoever invented English/ should be bitten/ by a snake"). An incisive portrait of human resilience. Ages 8-12. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 4-6-Ten-year-old Ha and her family flee Saigon and struggle to make a new life in Alabama. Told in verse, the story features a spirited child who misses her homeland and faces bullies, unfriendly people, and perfectly horrid American food. A tender tale, leavened with humor and hope. (Mar.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Middle Readers)
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Kevin Henkes

Publishers Weekly In this introspective story about a child's search for a rare shell, Henkes (Bird Lake Moon) again displays his ability to find profound meaning in ordinary events. Every year Alice Rice and her parents take a trip to Florida's Sanibel Island, but this year things are different. Some of the people Alice is looking forward to seeing are missing, and the neighboring cabin usually rented to a fun artist from New York is now occupied by a friend of Alice's mother, her new boyfriend, and his moody and disruptive six-year-old daughter. Swallowing her disappointment, Alice still believes that her vacation will be a success if only she can find the rare shell she most covets, the junonia ("After all, she was going to be ten. Finding a junonia would be the perfect gift"). Like her disappointments, Alice's discoveries aren't what she expects, but her understanding of people-both old friends and new acquaintances-deepens during the process. Readers will empathize with Alice's frustrations and relish her moments of joy. Images of the beach and the moving, meaningful interactions between characters will linger with readers. Ages 8-12. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 4-5-Alice Rice and her parents spend every February vacation on Sanibel Island, FL. But this year things are different: some of their friends cannot be there, and her mother's college friend Kate is coming with her new boyfriend, Ted, and his six-year-old daughter, Mallory. Trying to make the best of things, Alice is determined to do her usual shell-gathering, hoping this time to find a rare junonia shell, but Mallory disturbs her hoped-for idyll with her tantrums and clinginess. When a phone call from her mother, who has left her to live in France, causes the child to make a scene at Alice's 10th-birthday celebration, Kate and Ted decide to take her home. Alice, who has grown in understanding and empathy for Mallory, must also learn to deal with change and disappointment when she realizes that the junonia shell she finds on the beach was really purchased and placed there by a well-meaning neighbor. As in his previous novels, Henkes's omniscient narrator lends an air of detachment to the telling, even as he describes the action and Alice's feelings. Secondary characters are lightly drawn, descriptions of the island setting are lyrical, and the conflict is gentle, features that will appeal to some readers. Details of shell collecting, a two-page visual guide to shells mentioned in the book, and chapter heading sketches also add interest to this quiet, interior novel.-Marie Orlando, formerly at Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list *Starred Review* Every year in February, Alice and her parents spend the week of her birthday on Sanibel Island, far from the Wisconsin winter. An only child, Alice revels in her family's comfortable traditions and routines, especially on Sanibel, where they visit the same grown-up friends, stay in the same cottage, and hunt for the same, elusive junonia shell. This year, though, Alice is turning 10, and her entry into double digits isn't the only change on the Florida horizon. A child raised among adults, Alice is mature and acquiescent yet comfortable enough in her childhood to resist the approach of adolescence. Henkes offers a quiet evocation of the simple jealousies and generosities of childhood, as Alice struggles to relinquish her position as perennial darling and try on the mantle of independence. Charming spot illustrations, many featuring beach motifs, begin each short chapter, adding to the palpable seaside atmosphere. The problems Alice faces are never more serious than the absence of a regular family friend or the presence of a tantrum-prone newcomer, but they are still deeply resonant. With tender observations and sensory details, Henkes creates a memorable young individual whose arcadian growing up is authentic and pitch-perfect.--Barthelmess, Thom Copyright 2010 Booklist

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2012 (Middle Readers)
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Bob Raczka

School Library Journal Gr 3-8-Raczka credits Andrew Russ for inspiring him to try his hand at creating poems by rearranging the letters of a single word. The letters that make up each word in the 22 selections are placed directly under the matching letters of the original word, which is used as the poem's title. The resulting odd spacing of letters and words adds an element of puzzlement to the deciphering of some words and requires a certain facility with the English language, along with the capability for recognizing words whose letters are placed horizontally, vertically or diagonally; backwards or forwards; separated by one space or six, or an entire line with no punctuation included. Each poem is printed on the verso of the following page with words in correct order. A clever, catchy, and challenging collection.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Inspired by the concrete poetry of Andrew Russ (aka endwar), Raczka's poems are all produced from the letters in single words, magnifying and playing on their meanings. "Vacation" is transformed into "action/ in/ a/ van," and the letters from "snowflakes" trickle down lazily as though from the sky. Several words result in more imaginative compositions: from "constellation" come the lines, "a/ silent/ lion/ tells/ an/ ancient/ tale." Some selections feel slight, but there's a subtle humor and power at work in many ("friend" reads simply "fred/ finds/ ed"), and readers may be spurred to construct their own. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8-12. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list *Starred Review* As in previous titles, such as Snowy, Blowy Winter (2008) and Summer Wonders (2009), Raczka offers an accessible, playful poetry collection. This time, each selection is both a poem and a puzzle. As the whimsical subtitle states, every entry begins with a single-word title whose letters, when rearranged, make up the words in the following lines, as in Bleachers : Ball / reaches / here / bases / clear / cheers. Each poem appears twice: first, the letters, printed in an old-fashioned, typewriter font, are scattered individually across an open background, and readers must piece them together to make words. On the following page, the words are set in more traditional, easily read lines. Pepperoni, for example, begins with swirling, unconnected letters that resemble ingredients being sprinkled onto a pizza's surface; on the next page, the letters are arranged in short lines: One / pie / no / pepper / onion. Doniger's spare illustrations add quirky appeal without distracting from the inventive formations of type. More than just clever gimmicks, the poems leave room for moving lines with a depth that invites imaginative wandering: A / silent / lion / tells / an ancient / tale, reads Constellation. Sure to have wide classroom appeal.--Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 3-8-Raczka has rearranged letters from a single word to spell out new words, creating engaging verses that are both poems and puzzlers. The odd spacing of letters and words makes deciphering somewhat difficult, but each poem is printed on the verso with words in correct order. Quiet watercolor and ink drawings complement this catchy and innovative collection. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Middle Readers)
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Annika Thor

Choice Pons was an important operatic presence in the US and Europe during the 1930s and '40s, and at last readers have a portrait that is much better than the average volume about an opera singer. Pons would today be called a "phenom": a petite, glamorous, charming French diva, she came to the US from an undistinguished career in France and captivated opera lovers, especially those who knew her primarily through the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts, with her small but wondrously agile voice. She was also lucky, arriving on the scene just as Amelita Galli-Curci was ending her career and before Maria Callas emerged to dominate the world of opera. The editors of the present volume were determined to present as complete a picture as the evidence could reveal. They base their presentation on documents preserved by loving collectors, weaving together information and quoting from reviews and memories of Pons's colleagues. The book follows Pons's career as she went from sparkling young singer, to busy performer, to patriot who sang throughout the world during the war years, and finally to aging diva whose flaws became ever more apparent. Put together with integrity and good taste, the book includes numerous pictures from throughout Pons's career and a comprehensive discography. All opera collections. M. S. Roy; Pennsylvania State University, University Park Campus

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2012 (Middle Readers)
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Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore

Publishers Weekly This moving depiction of ecological innovation centers on a project spearheaded by Dr. Gordon Sato to plant mangrove trees, which grow easily in salt water, in the village of Hargigo in the impoverished African nation of Eritrea. Graceful prose alternates with cumulative verse to relay the benefits that the trees provided for the community: "These are the fishermen/ Who catch the fish/ That swim in the roots,/ Of the mangrove trees." Resembling papier-m,che, Trumbore's textural mixed-media collages become increasingly lively as the new ecosystem flourishes. An extensive afterword, containing many photographs of Sato and the people of Hargigo, brings their hopeful story into sharp focus. Ages 6-11. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 3-6-This is a true story set in a small village in Eritrea. "The families used to be hungry./Their animals were hungry too./But then things began to change.../all because of a tree." In poignant text that alternates between cumulative verse and prose, Roth and Trumbore describe how Dr. Gordon Sato, a Japanese-American cell biologist, helped to relieve poverty and famine by planting mangrove trees in salt water. Tended mainly by women, the trees flourished and multiplied, supplying food for animals and fish that, in turn, provided food for the people. Roth's large paper and fabric textured collages first reveal a barren village that is then gradually transformed as pots of mangrove seedlings are transplanted and become abundant mangrove forests. Depictions of women in colorfully patterned long dresses and head scarves, shepherds in capes and head coverings, and children playing outside houses "made of cloth, tin cans, and flattened iron" convey a sense of place and culture. The cumulative poem ends with an introduction to and picture of the smiling scientist himself: "This is Gordon,/Whose greatest wish/Is to help.../By planting trees,/Mangrove trees,/By the sea." A lengthy afterword contains additional information about Dr. Sato and photos of him working with the local people. Pair this inspiring story with Donna Napoli's Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya (S & S, 2010) to spark discussion about how one individual can improve the lives of others.-Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Japanese American scientist Dr. Gordon Soto started a project to plant mangrove seedlings in a village in the drought-stricken African country of Eritrea, near the Red Sea, and he helped a village move from poverty and hunger to a self-sufficient community. With a picture-book format and a simple cumulative verse, this title about Dr. Soto's project seems like a story for young children, but both the elaborate collage art and the prose text feel aimed at an upper-elementary audience. The biology, explained in detail on each right-hand page and in a long afterword with photographs, describes how mangrove trees thrive in salty water and how Soto added more chemicals to the mix to help the ecosystem thrive. Young children may enjoy the chanting, rhyming lines ( These are the seedlings / that grew into trees ), but older readers will likely skip over the poetry to get to the amazing true story, including Soto's imprisonment in the Manzanar internment camp during WWII. The final spreads include photographs and sources. A great choice for cross-curricular sharing.--Rochman, Haze. Copyright 2010 Booklist

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2012 (Middle Readers)
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Monica Brown

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-Marisol McDonald has brown skin, freckles, and hair the color of fire. She pairs polka dots with stripes and eats peanut butter and jelly burritos. She's a Peruvian-Scottish-American who is perfect just the way she is. Why not have a game of soccer-playing pirates or mix cursive with print? That makes sense to Marisol. But others seem to see things differently. When another student issues a matching challenge to Marisol, she has to decide if she will conform simply to show that she can. In this lively bilingual book, Marisol is brought to life in both English and Spanish through Brown's dynamic prose, Palacios's vibrant illustrations, and Dominguez's outstanding translation. This fun book allows readers to meet a wonderful character. Children get a glimpse of what it means to grow up in a biracial family and have other people trying to define what is "normal." The story encourages readers to embrace their uniqueness and be exactly who they are.-Veronica Corral, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, NC (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly The vivacious Peruvian-Scottish-American protagonist of this bilingual book has brown skin and hair "the color of fire." Her friends tell her that she "doesn't match," because of her appearance and her wardrobe, but when Marisol tones down her style, she realizes that it doesn't feel right. Palacio's collage work incorporates newsprint, vibrant patterns, and Peruvian motifs, echoing the message about being true to oneself. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012 (Middle Readers)
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Xavier Garza

Book list Eleven-year-old Maximilian dreams of one day becoming a luchador (or Mexican wrestler) on the Mexican wrestling circuit. He attends the lucha libre matches, faithfully watches the movies, and collects the colorful masks of his favorite wrestlers, especially El Àngel de la Guarda. The plot unfolds, in both English and Spanish, as Maximilian comes face-to-face with El Àngel, and what develops is a rapid sequence of holds and high-flying adventures. Garza an author, artist, and storyteller paints larger-than-life portraits of the luchadores and offers readers authentic insights into the exciting world of lucha libre, including the villains who are trying to end the reign of El Àngel. Bold, black-and-white comic-style art opens each chapter and gives readers a sense of what the luchadores look like. With its quick pace, humor, and endearing characters, this title like Garza's picture book Lucha Libre (2005) is sure to turn more kids into lucha libre fans.--Zapata, Angie Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 6-9-Eleven-year-old Max is fascinated with the world of Lucha Libre and the great wrestler known as the Guardian Angel. For those unfamiliar with Lucha Libre, it is similar to the North American WWF except that it is includes Mexican folklore and traditions as well as wrestling moves that are unique to Mexico. Max lives in Texas, where it has become tremendously popular. Much to his great joy, he is given the opportunity to attend a match in San Antonio, where his hero will be challenging the ruthless Red Devil. In all the emotion of attending the event, Max falls into the ring and thus into the Guardian Angel's path. To his surprise, this spontaneous encounter reveals a family connection between them that will forever change both of their lives and those of Max's family members. This title is accessible to both English and Spanish speakers.-Jessica McClinton Lopez, King County Library System, Issaquah, WA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Middle Readers)
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Maxine Trottier

Book list In a migrant-family story rarely told, this touching picture book stays true to a young child's viewpoint. Anna travels north to Canada from Mexico every year with her German Mennonite family, who make their living by picking crops. Simple lyrical words and uncluttered, childlike, mixed-media illustrations portray Anna and her parents in the fields, their backs bent under the hot sun, while her older brothers and sisters dip and rise, dip and rise over the vegetables. After work, at the grocery store, Anna feels others' stares and listens to words she doesn't understand. In the soft-toned, pastel-touched pictures, Anna, who longs to stay in one place, imagines herself as a jackrabbit or a bee in the fields (not a worker bee, though), and at night, she is like a kitten, sharing a bed with her sisters. Without a heavy message, this sensitive offering captures a small child's experience of constant upheaval as she flies like a feather in the wind. A long final note fills in more facts about Anna's unique migrant group of Germans.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 2-5-This beautifully written story tells of a girl who belongs to a group of Mennonites who moved to Mexico in the 1920s, but still migrate to Canada annually to labor in the fields. Anna wishes she could stay in one place, to "be like a tree with roots sunk deeply into the earth" so that she could have stability and see the seasons change. Instead, readers get a glimpse into the child's musings as she compares her family to migrating geese, butterflies, or bees. The artist's mixed-media renditions of Anna imagining herself as a rabbit or her siblings as kittens and puppies are priceless. Even the geese wear tiny kerchiefs and hats as they soar through the air. There is a sense of childlike whimsy as well as deep longing conveyed through the illustrations, while the language of the text is rich with similes and descriptive words. Background information about this sect of Mennonites and migrant workers in general appears at the back of the book.-Maggie Chase, Boise State University, ID (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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School Library Journal Anna compares herself to a bird, a jack rabbit, a bee and a kitten as her German-speaking family from Mexico travels to Canada for work. She longs to be like a tree with permanent roots. Soft-hued illustrations with a Mennonite quilt motif lend a dreamlike longing to Anna's story. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Middle Readers)
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Robert Burleigh

Book list *Starred Review* A worthy new addition to the recent spate of books about the famous aviatrix, Burleigh's story concentrates on Earhart's 1932 solo flight from Newfoundland to Ireland, placing compelling poetic emphasis on her single-hearted struggle. Why? Because women must try to do things as men have tried,' writes Burleigh, quoting Earhart. Terse two-sentence stanzas tell a story focused upon the flight's trials: a sudden storm ( the sky unlocks ), ice buildup on the plane's wings, a precipitous plunge toward the Atlantic's frothing surface, and a cracked exhaust pipe ( The friendly night becomes a graph of fear ). The loneliness of the effort is finally relieved over a farmer's field, where Amelia lands and says, Hi, I've come from America. Minor's illustrations maintain tension by alternating between cockpit close-ups and wide views of the plane crossing the foreboding ocean. Predominant reds and blues convey the pure excitement of the nail-biting journey. An afterword, along with Internet resources, a bibliography, and a column of Earhart quotes, increases the book's value for curious children who might want more. Finally, Minor's endpapers, with a well-drawn map and mechanical illustration of the plane Earhart called the little red bus, also work to inspire further learning.--Cruze, Karen Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 2-5-On a May evening in 1932, Amelia Earhart climbed into her single-engine, red Lockheed Vega and flew across the ocean, departing from Newfoundland and landing on a farm in Northern Ireland. Burleigh's suspenseful text and Minor's shifting perspectives work in tandem to pull readers into the drama as they experience the anxiety and exhilaration that accompanied this historic flight. Earhart's skill, stamina, and courage are put to the test when a thunderstorm erupts, her altimeter breaks, and icy wings cause the plane to plummet. She faces the "Hour of white knuckles....Hour of maybe-and maybe not." The third-person narrative is arranged in two-line stanzas of free verse; the language is fresh and evocative, morphing to match the mood-by turns terse, lyrical, relentless. Minor's gouache and watercolor scenes pull back from intense close-ups and cockpit perspectives to sweeping panoramic vistas, his fluid brushwork a perfect match for a tale of sea and sky. This book will encourage children to consider the inner resources required to undertake such a feat when pilots had only themselves to rely on-in this case, traversing 2000 miles without the security of land. Back matter includes a technical note, bibliography, and inspirational quotes from Earhart's writings. Endpapers depict a map of the flight and a rendering of the plane. Pair this with Nikki Grimes's Talkin' About Bessie (Scholastic, 2002) to present another female aviator who experienced the pleasures and perils of being a pioneer.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly A gripping narrative and dynamic art immediately pull readers into the story of Earhart's historic 1932 solo transatlantic flight. Urgent yet lyrical, Burleigh's (One Giant Leap) account opens with Earhart's takeoff: "It is here: the hour, the very minute. Go!" A clear sky darkens as a storm erupts and lightning "scribbles its zigzag warning across the sky: danger." Earhart must also contend with mechanical difficulties-a broken altimeter, a cracked exhaust pipe, a gas leak. The tension reaches a crescendo as ice on the wings causes Earhart to lose control of the plane: "Everything she has ever learned courses through her blood. Now or never. All or nothing." Minor's (The Last Train) gouache and watercolor paintings easily convey the journey's intense drama, balancing lifelike closeups of Earhart with images of her imperiled plane. Stunning skyscapes are suffused with shadow and light; a breathtaking spread reveals streaks of multicolored clouds at daybreak as "Splinters of sunlight stab down through cloud slits and brace themselves on the vault of the open sea." Hearts will be racing. Back matter includes notes on Earhart's life. Ages 4-8. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012 (Middle Readers)
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Deborah Ellis

Publishers Weekly Ellis (the Breadwinner trilogy) again brings an individual humanity to newspaper headlines. Giving voice to an orphan girl living on the streets of Calcutta unaware of her leprosy, Ellis turns a potentially unpalatable subject into a fresh and compelling story that focuses on Valli's spirited personality and sly cleverness. Valli runs away from her poverty-stricken home in the coal town of Jharia, India, when she learns that she is not a true member of the family she lives with. In Calcutta, she learns to survive by "borrowing" what she needs, be it blankets, money, or food. Quick, intelligent, and fearless, Valli is content living day to day until she meets a doctor who takes her for treatment to the hospital, where she finds herself among the "monsters" she feared most in Jharia-leprosy-stricken, disfigured people. Refusing to acknowledge she is one of them, she escapes back to the streets, until she finally understands she has the potential to lead a better life. Ellis's straightforward language and uncompromising depictions of Valli's unimaginably harsh and gritty world combine with believable character development to create a strong and accessible novel. Ages 9-12. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list *Starred Review* Valli, an orphan living in Jharia, India, spends her days picking up coal, fighting with cousins, and avoiding the monsters (lepers, actually) who live on the other side of the tracks. When she learns her family are not true blood relatives, she runs away to Kolkata, where she survives by borrowing what she needs, using it for a while, and then passing it on to someone else. Finally, she meets Dr. Indra, who recognizes that Valli, too, suffers from leprosy and helps the child to secure treatment and hope for a better future. What keeps this story from becoming maudlin is Valli's positive outlook. Quick, intelligent, and fearless, she isn't above begging to ensure her survival, but rarely does she play the victim card. Details about leprosy (causes, symptoms, treatment, prognosis) are carefully woven into the story and never feel forced or didactic. While Valli's situation will seem alien to most young North Americans, this compelling and accessible novel will enlighten, spark discussion, and prompt readers to try other Ellis titles, in particular, the Breadwinner trilogy.--Weisman, Kay Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 3-6-Valli, about 10, lives in the poverty-stricken town of Jharia, India, where she is a coal picker. When she makes a shocking discovery about her family, she runs away and, after a series of harrowing events, reaches the bustling city of Kolkata. Valli survives on the street by stealing and begging. With no plan, no support system, and failing health, she begins to lose hope. While begging for change one day, she is befriended by a kind doctor who recognizes Valli's symptoms of leprosy. The child is terrified with this diagnosis as back home the village children had thrown stones at people with this disease, calling them "monsters." With the help of the doctor and other leprosy patients, Valli gets treatment and education, learns tolerance for people different from herself, and simultaneously realizes her own self-worth. Although many important lessons are presented in this even-paced, clearly written story, it is never heavy-handed or didactic. Valli is a well-developed, realistic, and engaging narrator. While American readers may not all relate to her ordeals, they will recognize common emotions for people their age. The story highlights not only the overcoming of adversity, but also the importance of education and literacy. It also brings to light the issue of leprosy, which is misunderstood. An important, inspiring tale.-Rita Meade, Brooklyn Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Middle Readers)
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Ed. by Chris Duffy

Publishers Weekly In this easy-to-read and fun to read aloud collection, classic nursery rhymes get a contemporary spin from artists as varied as the New Yorker's Roz Chast and Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. Each miniature story is beautifully colored, making each two-page spread a visual treat, and the traditional panel form of comics and graphic novels merge easily with the syncopated beats of the familiar rhymes. The interpretations of the nursery songs range from literal-such as Lilli Carre's "Sing a Song of Sixpence" to the slightly wacky. In Dave Roman's "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe," the numbers in the title refer to tiny clones created by a wizard inventor, with the help of gadgets like the Clone Master 3000 and the Mega Incubator. And any preconceived notions you have about old women living in footwear should be abandoned before reading Lucy Kinsley's delightfully original "There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe." Instead of a crotchety crone, the titular woman lives in a funky boot and runs Ruth's Rock & Rock Babysitting. Every panel explodes with enough rich detail to keep attention glued to the page. Ages 3-up. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 3 Up-Fifty artists have taken on 50 old-fashioned nursery rhymes, resulting in an anthology that is funny, strange, sweet, and surprising. Some of the artists, like Nick Bruel and Marc Rosenthal, are familiar names in children's publishing; some, like the talented Mo Oh and Jen Wang, are relative newcomers. Craig Thompson and Jaime Hernandez are better known for their adult graphic novels, while Tony Millionaire and Patrick O'Donnell are more frequently found in the newspaper. The dizzying variety of mediums, styles, and techniques employed by these artists joyfully demonstrates the range and the limits to which the comics can be pushed. But as pleasurable as it is to survey this art, what really stands out is the way the artists have interpreted the texts. Many nursery rhymes, after all, have tragic or violent overtones, and most make little or no literal sense. Therefore, Scott Campbell draws "Pop! Goes the Weasel" as a series of tiny stories, each interrupted by that rascally weasel. Lucy Knisley turns "The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe" into a happy old punk-rock hippie babysitter who "whips" the kids into a rock-and-roll frenzy before putting them to bed, happily tuckered out. Dave Roman populates "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe" with a series of gnomelike clones and a wizardly inventor, while Craig Thompson draws a fairly literal interpretation of Edward Lear's "The Owl and the Pussycat." Add this updated nursery rhyme collection to any library whose readers appreciate both the silly and the sublime. It's clearly not your mother's Mother Goose.-Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, MD (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* Having 50 of the finest cartoonists draw simple nursery rhymes, each no more than two or three pages long, is such a crazy move that it's borderline genius. The ridiculously deep pool of talent here includes those who work in kids' comics circles (Eleanor Davis, Gene Luen Yang, Raina Telgemeier) and those more known in the indie scene (Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, Tony Millionaire, Kate Beaton). Illustrating these near-nonsensical rhymes allows the artists all kinds of creative license. Some toy around with the original, like James Sturm's Jack Be Nimble, in which Jack admonishes the reader for suggesting he do anything as foolish as jumping over a lit flame, only to turn away and reveal a scorched bum. Others play it more straight with equally splendid results, such as Craig Thompson's sumptuous take on The Owl and the Pussycat. This collection is a truly dual-purpose book: the dizzying array of visual styles will delight kids encountering these nursery rhymes for the first time, while the great versatility of the medium will make the familiar fresh again for their parents. As if all that weren't enough of a bounty, the esteemed Leonard S. Marcus provides a characteristically illuminating introduction. A can't-miss treasure chest for any collection.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2010 Booklist

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2012 (Middle Readers)
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Bibi Dumon Tak
2012 (Middle Readers)
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Linda Sue Park

School Library Journal K-Gr 2-A boy tells of the long walks he takes with his father, who collects pearls of sap from certain trees, a skill he has honed over years. These expensive "tears" are used as medicine and spice, and as incense at funerals-and when three strangers arrive at the marketplace to buy the finest tears "for a baby," readers discover that it is myrrh, one of the gifts to baby Jesus mentioned in Matthew 2:11. The hyperrealistic acryl-gouache illustrations depict the sandy beige hues and nuanced textures of a dry and inhospitable land, contrasting with the smooth skin and rounded cheeks of the young boy and his loving relationship with his father. This gorgeous picture book sheds thoughtful light on a fascinating facet of the Christmas story.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list It's hard to tell at first where this book is going. My father collects tears, it begins. The tears are balls of sap that seep from the trees. Together, father and son walk over desolate terrain, looking for trees that will deliver the tears used for medicine and embalming. Father is especially good at finding them. But it is left to the boy to carve out the biggest tear of all to sell to the Wise Men, who are bringing it as part of a gift to a special babe. This quiet story may not grab readers at first, with little action beyond simply the clipped wanderings and working of a man and his son. The desert-sand color that saturates the pages also gives a stillness to the art, though the nearly photorealistic faces of the duo are arresting. Yet at the conclusion, when the boy wonders about the gift's recipient, children may be set wondering as well. The extensive author's note explains Park's reasons for writing this picture book and adds welcome detail.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Somewhere in Ibatoulline's ancient, almost-shimmering Arab desert landscape, a boy at his father's side learns the family business of gathering valuable sap, which seeps like tears from certain trees. Neither father nor son realize the greatness of their wares as it is sold to three finely dressed men who add it to gifts of gold and frankincense that they are taking to "a baby." Newbery Medalist Park's lean, well-paced story bridges the ordinary and the sacred to powerful effect. Park's author's note describes her inspiration and includes some background on myrrh. Ages 6-9. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012 (Middle Readers)
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Jim Arnosky

Book list After revisiting favorite birding spots with his wife an. partner in adventure. Deanna, Arnosky offers a beautifully illustrated book featuring large avian predators: eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, vultures, herons, egrets, pelicans, loons, cormorants, and gannets. Beside paragraphs introducing each bird or group of birds, the book offers impressive, often full-size acrylic paintings illustrating, for instance, an osprey with one wing fully extended or a close-u. group portrai. of owls that shows their relative sizes. In addition, small black-and-gray silhouettes illustrate an eagle, a hawk, and a falcon in flight, and shaded pencil drawings show details such as a pelican's pouch expanding as it traps a fish underwater. Whether holding a wounded wild eagle as a biologist stitches his wing muscle or watching a flock of vultures as they feed on an alligator carcass, Arnosky's experiences with birds form a memorable counterpoint to the information provided. An author's note lists the parks, refuges, and sanctuaries visited and recommends books for further reading.--Phelan, Caroly. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly "Marvel at these awe-inspiring creatures with us," invites author and illustrator Arnosky in this enriching avian celebration. Foldout pages group birds according to species and common characteristics. Lifelike owls peer at readers with deep, glassy eyes; in a section featuring birds of prey, an osprey's spectacular wing spans three panels, and journallike passages vividly document Arnosky's observations of each bird: "The pelican was catching raindrops to quench its thirst! Suddenly, I wanted to go out in the downpour and drink rainwater too." Arnosky's enthusiasm is evident in his deftly crafted images and in the immediacy of his "field-note" style. Ages 6-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 4-6-From the powerful osprey on the jacket with its outstretched wing and glittering eyes, through eagles and owls, herons and vultures, and loons and pelicans, Arnosky's painterly eye and literary hand portray more than 20 "flying predators." The brief text is both informative and personal, if not in-depth. Readers are told that vultures have bare heads for "cleaner" feeding in and on a carcass as a practical matter, and given a personal touch of watching a thirsty brown pelican catch raindrops during a coastal downpour. Accompanying the masterful acrylics, myriad pencil sketches illuminate the margins surrounding the text, ranging from a great blue heron's spidery footprint to an actual-size eagle's foot, talons and all. The author supplies a list of birding sites, bird books, and a metric equivalency chart. Six foldout pages allow for the life-size illustrations. Elegant in format and artwork, this book will not accompany young birders into the field, but will be a rich resource for remembering special sightings, and inspire them to keep their eyes on the sky.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Middle Readers)
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Donna Jo Napoli

School Library Journal Gr 5-9-Wise, witty, and thoroughly entrancing, this collection showcases 25 tales sumptuously illustrated with luminous, jewel-toned paintings. At once eloquent and elemental, poetic yet contemporary, these deftly written selections gloriously regale the characters' legendary adventures while vivifying them with personality. (Oct.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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School Library Journal Gr 5 Up-Wise, witty, worldly, and thoroughly entrancing, this collection presents 25 tales showcasing the Greek pantheon's major players. At once eloquent and elemental, poetic and contemporary, these deftly written selections gloriously regale the characters' legendary adventures while vivifying them with personality. Balit's stunning paintings feature luminous colors, rich patterns, and star-infused motifs. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Napoli brings new life to the familiar stories of Greek mythology in this intimate compilation, telling each tale with grace, clarity, and emotion. When Demeter mourns her missing daughter, "Her cheeks grew hollow, her body gaunt. Greens turned brown.... Hunger twisted the innards of every living creature." Through the brief but vivid retellings, readers will better understand such figures as Apollo, Ares, Dionysus, and Helen, while sidebars contextualize the stories. Balit's majestic and sinuous spreads mimic the drama and passion of the legends. Ages 8-12. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list This large, opulent-looking volume introduces 25 major figures in Greek mythology. A typical entry opens with a dramatic, double-page illustration and continues with four pages that include descriptive and narrative text, a large illustration, a sidebar, a decorative border, and plenty of white space. The informative sidebars are illustrated with small photos, digital images, and reproductions of period art and artifacts. With so many figures to introduce in a limited space, powerful stories sometimes feel overly summarized. Still, Napoli writes in a lively, often colorful style, sparked by such comments as, Wickedness deserves to crawl through the slime. Balit's illustrations feature formal design, brilliant colors, stylized figures, and repeated shapes. The poster-like, double-page pictures are particularly strong. Rounding out the compendium, the excellent back matter includes a map of Greece, a timeline, an annotated, illustrated cast of characters, a bibliographic note, and lists of recommended books and websites. A fine addition to mythology collections.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 5-9-Wise, witty, and thoroughly entrancing, this august collection is ideal for those who want more from their mythology. Beginning with the beginning ("Gaia: Mother Earth" and "Uranus: Father Heaven"), Napoli presents 25 tales introducing the major players of the Greek pantheon along with an assortment of celebrated heroes and mortals (including Perseus, Heracles, Jason, and Helen). At once eloquent and elemental, these lyrically written portraits deftly detail each character's origins, realm of power, and legendary story lines. Filled with sensual imagery, the language is poetic, yet balanced by amusing asides and wry observations that add a contemporary, almost conversational accessibility. The accounts gloriously regale the familiar adventures of these deities and champions, while imbuing them with personality. For example, Hades, "spitting mad" at being confined in Cronus's belly, bursts out ready and willing to take on the Titans: "roaring into war beside his siblings felt natural-like butter on a burn-it felt fat and rich and right." Again and again, Napoli encourages readers to trawl these tales for greater truths: Theseus is portrayed not only as a monster-slaying hero, but also as a man who gradually gains the wisdom needed to become a just ruler. Stunning stylized paintings featuring luminous colors, rich patterns, and star-infused motifs add depth and drama to the text. Full-spread images introduce the characters, incorporating their iconic symbols and details of their dominions, while smaller insets provide glimpses of the action. Interesting sidebars appear throughout, providing historical, scientific, and cultural information. A must-have for most collections.-Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Middle Readers)
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Jennifer L. Holm

Publishers Weekly Anyone interested in learning to write crowd-pleasing historical fiction for elementary school readers would be wise to study Holm's work. Since Our Only May Amelia (HarperCollins, 1999), Holm has collected three Newbery Honors, and this sequel demonstrates her mastery of writing a complete, exciting story in a trim novel. Twelve-year-old May Amelia Jackson lives on a farm in Washington State in 1900 with her parents, Finnish immigrants, and a passel of brothers. Life is hard, but Holm works humor into even the grimmest situations, and Gustavson's chapter-opening spot art adds a cozy, atmospheric touch. A ransacking bull (named Friendly) knocks down the outhouse (with May Amelia inside); suitors romancing Miss McEwing are sent packing in various, inventive ways lest the school lose its beloved teacher. Judicious use of Finnish phrases adds flavor, and details ground the story in an era when boys were still routinely "shanghaied" (involuntarily pressed into service on ships bound for Asia). "Best Brother" Wilbert tells her she's as irritating as a grain of sand in an oyster, and it's mighty fun to watch May Amelia morph into a pearl. Ages 8-12. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list Decidedly shorter than Holm's Newbery Honor Book Our Only May Amelia (1999), this sequel is otherwise quite consistent in its folksy language, rural-Washington setting, and plucky protagonist. Living with boisterous brothers, a distracted mother, and a father who considers her Just Plain Stupid, May Amelia might be forgiven for thinking that It is my destiny to die in an outhouse. The 13-year-old proves resilient, though, both at school and at home on her family's farm. Helping her family through the rough year of 1900 are the dreams of coming riches, which blossom after they invest with a land speculator. When that deal sours and the whole community is affected, blame lands on May Amelia's shoulders, since she acted as a translator between the slick shyster and her Finnish-speaking father. With plot elements pulled from the author's own family history, the book draws to a close with an ending that, though ultimately hopeful, hints at more trouble to come. Line drawings at the start of each chapter add further appeal.--Medlar, Andrew Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 5-7-Holm reunites readers with the protagonist of Our Only May Amelia (HarperCollins, 1999). It is 1900 and the 13-year-old lives with seven brothers on the family farm along the Nasel River in Washington State. What is the "trouble" with May Amelia? Everything, according to her father, beginning and ending with her gender. Nevertheless, she possesses "sisu," Finnish for "guts and courage." It carries her through the continued sorrow over the death of her baby sister; the loss of the farm due to a phony land-development scheme; and the shame and blame her family receive as a result. At a time when life is harsh and prejudices are expressed through the use of words like "Chinamen," for Chinese townspeople, and "shanghaied," May Amelia, like Turtle in Holm's Turtle in Paradise (Random, 2010), is less an "irritating grain of sand" than she is a pearl. Both girls possess a talent for saucy quips and sensitive interiors where pain runs deep, but that never overtakes either heroine completely. These girls come from very different, extremely difficult periods in U.S. history, yet their stories read as extensions of one another. While some readers may find these three books too similar, others will find them satisfying.-Tracy Karbel, Chicago Public Library (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Middle Readers)
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Shane Evans

School Library Journal Gr 1-3-A stellar introduction to the Underground Railroad, narrated by a group of slaves. Readers experience the fugitives' escape, their long nighttime journey punctuated by meetings with friends and enemies, and their final glorious arrival in a place of freedom. Evans boils the raw emotion of the experience down to the most compressed statements, both mirroring the minimal opportunities for expression during the secret journey and also creating a narrative that invites even the youngest listeners to visit this challenging subject. For this reason, the text may be read as is to preschool audiences, while the abbreviated prose may also generate a rich discussion for older students. Evans writes simply: "The darkness..../We are quiet./The fear./We run." Appropriately, the narration is told from a group perspective, which reflects the broader experience of enslaved African Americans-a theme continued in his full-bleed illustrations of figures cloaked in the anonymity of night. Though subdued in palette until the eruption of color as the figures reach the threshold of freedom, the author's collaged nocturnal paintings shimmer with an arresting luminescence. Two constants leap out from almost every page: the stars above and the bright, fearful eyes of the fugitives. When the travelers at last lift a newborn baby to the rising sun, readers celebrate along with the protagonists.-Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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School Library Journal PreS-Gr 3-In this visual tour de force, darkness becomes a protective blanket, hiding "passengers" on the Underground Railroad as they huddle, crawl, and flee to safety. The family members' fear and determination are palpable as is the warming glow of the sun at journey's end. (Jan.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list The darkness. / The escape. / We are quiet. / The fear . . . / We run. / We crawl. With just two or three words on each double-page spread, the minimalist text is intense in this stirring picture book about a family's escape from slavery. Dramatic, unframed, mixed-media illustrations, rendered in black lines and dark shades of midnight blue, show a child's view of fleeing and hiding in the night, when the only light is in the starry sky. Then there is the lantern of a safe house, but also of a slave catcher. Finally, freedom comes at last with the glorious color of the sun's light, and the art extends the wordplay in an image of a joyful family holding up their own son a baby boy born in freedom. A long appended note offers more historical context, and young readers can go on from here to other picture-book accounts of families torn apart by slavery and those saved by rescuers on the Underground Railroad.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly With haunting pictures and a few simple sentences, Evans (Black Jack: The Ballad of Jack Johnson) introduces beginning readers to a crucial piece of American history. In darkness lit mainly by moonlight, a slave family is seen sneaking away from a plantation, passing a sleeping overseer ("We are quiet"), creeping through shrubbery, and being greeted by a woman in a skirt and cap holding a lantern high ("We make new friends"). The eyes of the slaves shine with doubt and fear. Dense groupings of figures give a sense of immediacy, and rough charcoal lines echo the rugged paths the group travels. Difficult moments are handled with restraint: "Some don't make it," one page says, as a man with a rifle holds a defeated-looking slave. The slaves press on; the dawn that breaks around them is a metaphor for freedom. A man cradles a pregnant woman ("We are almost there"), and on the next page, he holds a swaddled newborn up to the shining sun in triumph. Telling the story without overwhelming readers is a delicate task, but Evans walks the line perfectly. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2012 (Middle Readers)
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Frank Cottrell Boyce

Book list With both humor and sorrow, this chapter book tells a contemporary refugee story in which illegal immigrants help a local kid find a sense of belonging. When Mongolian Chingis and his younger brother, Nergui, turn up in Julie's sixth-grade class in Bootle, near Liverpool, they ask her to be their guide i. learning themselves ordinary. They ask about the rules of football and the right buzzwords, and Chingis tells Julie about the exotic wonders of Genghis Khan's Xanadu and shows her, and the reader, amazing Polaroids of nomads in the desert. In her first-person narrative, Julie describes the moving friendship, and even while the brothers hide from authorities, they help Julie learn to see the strange and wonderful in her own home, especially after she discovers that thei. exoti. pictures were taken right where she lives, in the nearby fields and alleyways. Inspired by the many photo images throughout the story, readers will see the riches in the smallest details even schoolyard trash cans.--Rochman, Haze. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Boyce follows Cosmic with a tight, powerful story-brimming with humor, mystery, and pathos-about illegal immigration and the price it exacts on children. Two Mongolian brothers, Chingis and Nergui, arrive at a British school wearing fur coats and refusing to follow the teacher's instructions that Nergui remove his hat that's low on his face: "When you need your eagle to be calm," Chingis says, "you cover its eyes with a hood. When you want the eagle to fly and kill, you take off the hood." The class is enthralled, and when Chingis singles our sixth-year Julie to be their "Good Guide," things that had previously fascinated her (makeup, boys) fall away as she bones up on Genghis Khan and helps the boys learn Liverpudlian slang and the rules of football-"learning themselves ordinary," she terms it. They tell her they are hiding from a demon, punctuating their tall tales with Polaroids, taken by Hunter and Heney (Boyce's filmmaker collaborators), which deepen the mystery. In an author's note Boyce explains his inspiration, making an already moving story even more so. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 5-7-It's the end of sixth grade, and all Julie can think about is makeup and boys. Things change when two oddly dressed brothers show up at school. Even though it's hot outside, they wear identical fur-lined coats and claim to be Mongolian nomads. Chingis is cheeky to the teacher, demanding in no uncertain terms that his younger brother, Nergui, stay in the class with him for protection. The boys single out Julie to be their Good Guide. She takes her title seriously-she shows them how to dress and act and researches Mongolian history to share with the class. She's hoping that all this helpfulness will translate into an invitation to their home-she is sure it is filled with exotic silks and samovars. As Julie gets to know the brothers, she discovers that their life isn't as romantic as she imagined. They are fearful and evasive, believing that a demon is trying to make them vanish. Nergui isn't even the younger boy's real name-it means "no one," and he uses it to confuse the demon. When the boys disappear from school, Julie decides to follow them, using the images in Chingis's photos to guide her to their whereabouts. This story stems from the author's encounter with a young deportee, a Mongolian girl. Although the novel deals with the serious subject of illegal immigration, Boyce's dialogue is warm and humorous, keeping the book engaging. Chingis's mysterious Polaroids, displayed throughout the book, make for an intriguing format. Julie narrates the story as an adult, looking back, but an unusual ending gives it a contemporary, touching twist.-Diane McCabe, Loyola Village Elementary School, Los Angeles (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Older Readers)
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Candace Fleming

Book list Drawing on her training as a historian and her considerable writing talents, Fleming (The Great and Only Barnum, 2009) offers a fresh look at this famous aviatrix. Employing dual narratives straightforward biographical chapters alternating with a chilling recounting of Earhart's final flight and the search that followed Fleming seeks to uncover the history in the hype, pointing out numerous examples in which Earhart took an active role in mythologizing her own life. While not disparaging Earhart's achievements, Fleming cites primary sources revealing that Earhart often flew without adequate preparation and that she and her husband, George Putnam, used every opportunity to promote her celebrity, including soliciting funds from sponsors. The use of a gray-tone background for the disappearance chapters successfully differentiates the narratives for younger readers. Frequent sidebars, well-chosen maps, archival documents, and photos further clarify textual references without disturbing the overall narrative flow. Appended with a generous bibliography and detailed source notes, this is a book most libraries will want both for its fascinating story and as an illustration of how research can alter historical perspective.--Weisman, Kay Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In a stirring account of an American icon, Fleming (The Great and Only Barnum) seeks to portray the Amelia behind the mythology-some of which, she explains, was perpetuated by Earhart herself. Chapters alternate between the tense search for the pilot's missing plane and a chronological progression through her life, complemented by b&w photographs and other materials smoothly incorporated into the book's crisp Art Deco-inspired design. Readers learn about Earhart's free-spirited early childhood, first inclinations toward flying, and other pursuits, which included medicine, writing, and fashion. An overview of the era's social and political climate, particularly as it pertained to women, should help readers grasp the significance of Earhart's accomplishments. Some anecdotes evidence a cutthroat nature (after Earhart and her husband have a fellow aviator's lecture tour canceled, the aviator recalls, "my friendship for Amelia quickly waned"). This honest depiction of Earhart's professional and personal life forms a complete portrait of a complex woman, making her final doomed flight (and a reproduction of a teenager's notebook transcription of what may have been Earhart's last radio transmission) all the more affecting. Ages 8-12. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 4-7-Ho-hum history? Not in Fleming's apt hands. What could be a dry recitation of facts and dates is instead a gripping and suspenseful thriller. Even though readers likely know the end of the story, Fleming makes this book difficult to put down by moving between several accounts of Earhart's disappearance and her chronological life story. Quotes from primary sources are woven so seamlessly throughout that it seems as though the individuals involved are telling the story. The Art Deco-inspired book design and excellent black-and-white photographs help to transport readers back in time. Fleming has made a phenomenal woman accessible to a new generation of readers; she unapologetically shows Earhart as a real person and dispels the mythology surrounding her. Exploring more than just her famous flights, she introduces Earhart's other pursuits. Being a pilot in the early 20th century was prohibitively expensive and Earhart had to be a savvy businesswoman willing to try anything and everything to earn enough money to stay in the sky. With G.P. Putnam, a proficient publicist behind her, she not only influenced the future of popular culture, but also forged a path of opportunity for women to follow. Fame is a business, and Earhart and Putnam worked steadily to achieve it; the legend of Amelia Earhart is a testament to their hard work. This book is splendid. Hand it to everyone.-Heather Acerro, Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, IN (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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School Library Journal Gr 4-7-This captivating biography of a brave, talented, and savvy celebrity examines both the myths (some Earhart perpetuated herself) and the facts about a woman whose boundless ambition fueled her determination to fly around the world. This riveting look at an aviatrix who soared high in pursuit of her dreams is solidly grounded by impeccable scholarship, insightful writing, and well-chosen period photos. (Mar.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Older Readers)
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Vera Brosgol

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Anya is a Russian girl who wants to fit in with her American classmates. She falls down a well and meets a ghost named Emily, who was murdered. They become friends and promise to help one another. Emily helps Anya get closer Sean, a boy she likes. In return, Anya promises to help solve Emily's 90-year-old murder. The story is rather dark and at times darkly humorous, especially when Anya fantasizes about Sean. It gets even darker when Anya realizes that Emily has been concealing a very dangerous truth about herself. Anya's character is not always sympathetic-she cheats on tests, she is often rude to her friends, and she refuses to help another Russian student because he's too "fobby" (Fresh Off the Boat). But her interactions with Emily and Sean change her and help her to evolve into a character whom readers can admire. The artwork is made up of clean, cartoony lines, reminiscent of that in Hope Larson's Mercury (S & S, 2010). The mix of mystery, horror, and the coming-of-age theme combined with the appealing graphic style will make Anya's Ghost an ideal choice for reluctant teen readers.-Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Anya, a Russian immigrant, just wants to blend in at her high school. She meets a ghost, who seems friendly at first, but once Emily's secrets are revealed, things take a surprising turn. This fantastic debut graphic novel has an atmospheric palette and clean, dramatic cartoon lines. (July) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Library Journal Anya Borzakovskaya has a mouthful of a name and a head full of angst. While her single mom, a Russian immigrant, studies for citizenship and cooks greasy syrniki pancakes, Anya obsesses about her weight and tries to fit in at her not-so-ritzy private school. Then she falls down a well, where she meets a ghost who wants to be her BFF. The transparent, dead Emily helps Anya cheat on tests, coaches her on looking hot, and encourages her crush on dudely dreamboat Sean. But what starts off as a hunky-dory super-natural buddy story takes a clever twist when Anya discovers Emily's darker side and Sean's seamier side-and manages to see through both of them. VERDICT This is a YA magical realist tale with adult appeal, featuring imperfect characters who can still use their smarts and decide to take the right course. And while it's all about empowerment, the story is also wonderfully creepy and entertaining. The Moscow-born Brosgol effectively uses two-toned art with halftones, far better than the many indie artists who overuse gray scale and textures. A YALSA Great Graphic Novel for Teens nominee.-M.C. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Older Readers)
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Ruta Sepetys

Publishers Weekly Through the pained yet resilient narration of 15-year-old Lina, a gifted artist, this taut first novel tells the story of Lithuanians deported and sent to Siberian work camps by Stalin during WWII. From the start, Sepetys makes extensive use of foreshadowing to foster a palpable sense of danger, as soldiers wrench Lina's family from their home. The narrative skillfully conveys the deprivation and brutality of conditions, especially the cramped train ride, unrelenting hunger, fears about family members' safety, impossible choices, punishing weather, and constant threats facing Lina, her mother, and her younger brother. Flashbacks, triggered like blasts of memory by words and events, reveal Lina's life before and lay groundwork for the coming removal. Lina's romance with fellow captive Andrius builds slowly and believably, balancing some of the horror. A harrowing page-turner, made all the more so for its basis in historical fact, the novel illuminates the persecution suffered by Stalin's victims (20 million were killed), while presenting memorable characters who retain their will to survive even after more than a decade in exile. Ages 12-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-When teenager Lina and her family are ripped from their home in 1940s Lithuania, it's only the beginning of a terrible journey that will take her to a labor camp in Siberia as part of Stalin's forced relocation program. Moving, edifying, and quietly beautiful, Sepetys's well-researched novel is an exquisite look at a devastating atrocity. (Mar.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-This novel is based on extensive research and inspired by the author's family background. Told by 15-year-old Lina, a Lithuanian teen with penetrating insight and vast artistic ability, it is a gruesome tale of the deportation of Lithuanians to Siberia starting in 1939. During her 12 years there, Lina, a strong, determined character, chronicles her experiences through writings and drawings. She willingly takes chances to communicate with her imprisoned father and to improve her family's existence in inhuman conditions. Desperation, fear, and the survival instinct motivate many of the characters to make difficult compromises. Andrius, who becomes Lina's love interest, watches as his mother prostitutes herself with the officers in order to gain food for her son and others. To ward off starvation, many sign untrue confessions of guilt as traitors, thereby accepting 25-year sentences. Those who refuse, like Lina, her younger brother, and their mother, live on meager bread rations given only for the physical work they are able to perform. This is a grim tale of suffering and death, but one that needs telling. Mention is made of some Lithuanians' collaboration with the Nazis, but for the most part the deportees were simply caught in a political web. Unrelenting sadness permeates this novel, but there are uplifting moments when the resilience of the human spirit and the capacity for compassion take over. This is a gripping story that gives young people a window into a shameful, but likely unfamiliar history.-Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list *Starred Review* Sepetys' first novel offers a harrowing and horrifying account of the forcible relocation of countless Lithuanians in the wake of the Russian invasion of their country in 1939. In the case of 16-year-old Lina, her mother, and her younger brother, this means deportation to a forced-labor camp in Siberia, where conditions are all too painfully similar to those of Nazi concentration camps. Lina's great hope is that somehow her father, who has already been arrested by the Soviet secret police, might find and rescue them. A gifted artist, she begins secretly creating pictures that can she hopes be surreptitiously sent to him in his own prison camp. Whether or not this will be possible, it is her art that will be her salvation, helping her to retain her identity, her dignity, and her increasingly tenuous hold on hope for the future. Many others are not so fortunate. Sepetys, the daughter of a Lithuanian refugee, estimates that the Baltic States lost more than one-third of their populations during the Russian genocide. Though many continue to deny this happened, Sepetys' beautifully written and deeply felt novel proves the reality is otherwise. Hers is an important book that deserves the widest possible readership.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2010 Booklist

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2012 (Older Readers)
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Laurence Pringle

Publishers Weekly Pringle provides an accessible introduction to complex concepts such as natural selection and genetics, paired with Jenkins's characteristically elegant collages. A chapter about variation opens with a discussion of the differences between dog breeds, and how such variation within a species "makes evolution possible." Pringle describes missing links as "in-between" fossils that have helped construct a clearer picture of evolutionary stages. Compelling photographs of fossils and living creatures, as well as Jenkins's paper collages, augment the substantial text. The presentation should help children gain a confident grasp on the fundamentals of evolution. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 5-8-Pringle's exemplary title offers a carefully researched and clearly written history of the evolutionary process and real-time examples of evolutionary events. "Evolution is, simply, change over time." From floating continents and isolated islands to the formation of fossils, natural selection, and the deductions of Charles Darwin, the lucid text offers a clear understanding of an ongoing natural phenomenon and the light that recent discoveries have brought to bear on it. Clear, color photos complement the text, as does Jenkins's nifty artwork. Pale blue information boxes pop up on occasion, as do a couple of maps. Simpler, and far more lively than Thom Holmes's dry Evolution (Chelsea House, 2011), more difficult than Steve Jenkins's own elegant Life on Earth: The Story of Evolution (Houghton Harcourt, 2002), and more solid than Robert Winston's somewhat fragmentary Evolution Revolution (DK, 2009), Pringle's intelligent and eye-catching book is an engaging, readable lodestone for researchers.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list This ambitious book surveys the history of scientific discoveries related to the evolution of species on earth. It begins with early geologists puzzled by fossil remains of extinct animals and evidence that the earth must be older than previously thought. After presenting Darwin's research and his theory of evolution, the discussion moves on to topics such as genetics, the discovery of various missing links, the development of species on isolated islands, and evolution as an ongoing process, expressed today through drug-resistant bacteria and a new study of Galapagos finches. The historical organization of material works well, and Pringle writes clearly, though a few chapters, such as the one on variation, would benefit from fuller, more precise explanation. Colorfully illustrated throughout, the book includes many photos from different sources and some handsome images created by cut-paper collage artist Jenkins. Using early discoveries as a foundation for those that follow, Pringle builds a solid presentation of evolution as a pivotal idea and an ongoing field of scientific study.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist

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2012 (Older Readers)
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Larry Dane Brimner

Book list *Starred Review* Bombed, beaten, banned, and imprisoned, Reverend Fred. L. Shuttlesworth led the civil rights struggle for equality in Birmingham, Alabama, using nonviolent action to protest segregation in schools, stores, buses, and the hiring of police officers. He pressed his congregation to register to vote and to cast their ballots for civil rights supporters. Eugene Bull Connor, backed by the Ku Klux Klan, became a symbol of racist hatred and violence as he organized the southern segregationists to rally against Shuttlesworth. With a spacious design that includes archival pictures and primary source documents on almost every page, this accessible photo-essay recounts the events in three sections, which focus first on the preacher, then on the commissioner, and finally, on their confrontation. For readers new to the subject, the biographies will be a vivid, informative introduction, but even those who have some familiarity with the landmark events will learn much more here. Thorough source notes document the sometimes harrowing details and provide opportunities for further research, as does a list of suggested reading. Never simplistic in his depictions, Brimner shows the viewpoints from all sides: some middle-class blacks resented Fred's heavy-handed style fiery, confrontational, dictatorial even if they agreed with the goals; some whites in Birmingham did wish to see an end to segregation, though their voices were drowned out. A penetrating look at elemental national history.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 6 Up-The relative fame of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rosa Parks tends to obscure other primary, important players in the Civil Rights Movement. One of these was the Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth, a Baptist minister who served churches in Alabama from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. Committed to his belief in the equality of all people before God, he was the driving force in bringing about the integration of Birmingham; and in this endeavor, he had help from a most unexpected source. Eugene "Bull" Connor was the Birmingham Commissioner of Public Safety and strong proponent of the city's segregation ordinances. His enforcement techniques were legendary: dogs, fire hoses, brutality. Klan supported and driven by a set of beliefs as strong as, but counter to, Shuttlesworth's, Connor was in large part responsible for turning the tide of public opinion in favor of civil-rights progress. In this highly pictorial book, Brimner limns the characters of both men and the ways in which their belief systems and personalities interacted to eliminate segregation from the Birmingham statutes. Black-and-white pages and red sidebars containing supporting information on topics such as the murder of Emmet Till and Autherine Lucy's attempt to integrate the University of Alabama make this a visually arresting book. The writing style is lively and informative. A brief bibliography, excellent source notes, and a sound index round out this volume, which can stand alongside Russell Freedman's Freedom Walkers (Holiday House, 2006) and Brimner's own Birmingham Sunday (Calkins Creek, 2010) as fine examples of both civil-rights history and photo-biographies.-Ann Welton, Helen B. Stafford Elementary, Tacoma, WA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Sally M. Walker

School Library Journal Gr 5-8-This intriguing title tells the story of a little-known event. In late 1917, the French freighter Mont-Blanc was sent to North America to be refitted and loaded with much-needed war material. With its hull packed with TNT, picric acid, and gun cotton, and its deck stacked with barrels of benzene, it made its way along the coast of Nova Scotia to Halifax Harbour before setting sail for Europe. It was there, as it entered Bedford Basin, that the Mont-Blanc encountered the empty Belgian relief ship Imo riding high in the water. Amid a cacophony of ships' whistles, communication became muddled, and the Imo rammed the Mont-Blanc. Sparks soon ignited the leaking benzene. Though the ship began to burn almost immediately, it happened slowly enough that people became aware of it and either started toward the harbor or stood at their windows to watch. Unfortunately, it did explode, creating the largest man-made blast in the world prior to the dropping of the atomic bomb. The impact flattened more than 16 square miles and killed almost 2000 people. The author describes the holocaust and how it changed the lives of five families. The text reads smoothly with unfamiliar words defined in the text. Illustrations consist of two full-page maps and numerous black-and-white photos. The final chapter revisits the featured families and their descendants, thus tying up the loose ends. The acknowledgments, source notes, and bibliography indicate thorough research. This tragic, but well-told story belongs in most collections.-Eldon Younce, Anthony Public Library, KS (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Disasters make for gripping reading, and this account of the huge explosion of a munitions ship and its devastating effects in Halifax harbor, Canada, in 1917 tells the dramatic history with clear, detailed facts that combine the science and technology of why and how the accident happened with powerful personal accounts of what it meant for families who were there. The story of the largest man-made explosion until Hiroshima begins with two ships floating quietly in the night as families nearby prepare for their day: The Imo is loading food and coal; the Mont Blanc, like a monstrous bomb, carries 2,925 tons of explosive material. When the two ships collide, people rush to see the dramatic fire in the harbor, and many die in the fiery explosion after huge benzine-filled drums and the main cargo blow up, creating a tsunami that sweeps people away. With archival photos on almost every page, the narrative will connect readers with recent tsunami and earthquake disasters and the drive for recovery and reconstruction. Source notes and a selected bibliography conclude this title by an award-winning science writer.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist

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2012 (Older Readers)
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Pat Schmatz

School Library Journal Gr 7-9-Eighth-grader Travis, tall and quiet, is beginning his first year in a new school. When he helps out a student being bullied, this rare act of middle-school kindness impresses an unusual, witty, and talkative girl named Vida-or Velveeta, as she prefers to be called. She befriends the strong-but-silent newcomer and tries to plumb his mysterious depths-and maybe grub a free dessert or two during lunch. Velveeta and Travis have the same reading class, where compassionate Mr. McQueen quickly recognizes that Travis has a serious reading deficit and suggests that he visit him for extra tutoring. Velveeta soon guesses what Travis is doing in these early-morning sessions and offers to help him. Eventually, he reluctantly agrees. But Travis's reading problem is only one of the deeper secrets that this unlikely pair will gradually begin to share. Despite the weighty problems the characters face-grief, alcoholism, and bullying among them-Bluefish is a lively, often-humorous, and ultimately hopeful page-turner. It has all the hallmarks of a classic contemporary young adult issues novel. It's packed with memorable and believable characters and powered by the prospect of redemption and just a hint of romance.-Jeffrey Hastings, Highlander Way Middle School, Howell, MI (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list His parents dead, 14-year-old Travis lives with his alcoholic grandfather and his beloved dog, Rosco. When he and his grandfather move to a new town, the dog disappears, and Travis is devastated. Worse, he feels like a bluefish, his word for stupid. And, indeed, school is a struggle for him because, as the the reader soon discovers, he has a closely guarded secret. Things begin to change when he meets an eccentric, extroverted girl who calls herself Velveeta. Though she has secrets of her own, she and Travis become friends and cautiously, with the help of an understanding teacher, begin to find ways to deal with their troubles and losses. Travis and Velveeta (her real name is Vida) are sympathetic characters with believable problems. Though this novel offers few surprises and an oddly inconclusive ending, the story is well written and deals realistically with issues that plague many teens.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2010 Booklist

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Karen Blumenthal

School Library Journal Gr 7-10-Gangsters, guns, and political battles-this book has them all-and presents them in compelling prose. Blumenthal opens with the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre, then traces the history of the temperance movement from the Puritans through the signing of the 21st Amendment. Important individuals are given the spotlight, some well-known like Al Capone and Carrie Nation, others more obscure but equally essential, such as Senator Morris Sheppard, the Father of National Prohibition. The author also adds a fascinating epilogue that examines the effects of the era, both positive and negative, including advances in technology and progress in legislative theory. Black-and-white period photographs and reproductions of propaganda material add immediacy to the text. The breadth of the well-researched material makes Bootleg a substantial resource for reports; a deep bibliography and copious source notes provide ample opportunities for further study. However, this book is also a lively read and an excellent choice for displays and booktalks. The subtitle alone will pique readers' curiosity. -Rebecca Dash Donsky, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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School Library Journal Gr 7-10-Social reformers thought the 18th Amendment would curtail drunkenness, but it inadvertently created a culture of crime. This enthralling text traces the nation's relationship with alcohol from our earliest settlers to contemporary crusaders against drunk driving, creating a rich portrait of a volatile and fascinating chapter of American history. (July) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list *Starred Review* Blumenthal, author of the Sibert Honor Book Six Days in October: The Stock Market Crash of 1929 (2003), here offers a highly readable, well-shaped look at the Eighteenth Amendment, which she call. the most radical and ambitious social experiment ever tried. She provides concise, clearly written insights into the seeds of temperance movements in the late eighteenth century, which gained steam over the next century and finally reached a tipping point in the early twentieth century as an organized, powerful political movement. Of course, th. grand social revolution that was supposed to forever end drunkenness, reduce crime, and make life better for America's familie. did almost precisely the opposite, and the section on Al Capone will satisfy readers hungry for the gangster-warfare side of Prohibition. A closing chapter makes an argument that despite the mostly disastrous results, there were bright points to Prohibition (like the sharp plunge in alcohol-related diseases) and looks at modern-day reverberations like MADD and school drug- and alcohol-awareness programs. Plenty of archival images lend to the book's pleasant design, and an ample bibliography and source notes close out this top-notch resource, which will also help spark discussion on the current War on Drugs.--Chipman, Ia. Copyright 2010 Booklist

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Jack Gantos

Book list Looks like a bummer of a summer for 11-year-old Jack (with a same-name protagonist, it's tempting to assume that at least some of this novel comes from the author's life). After discharging his father's WWII-souvenir Japanese rifle and cutting down his mom's fledgling cornfield, he gets grounded for the rest of his life or the rest of the summer of 1962, whichever comes first. Jack gets brief reprieves to help an old neighbor write obituaries for the falling-like-flies original residents of Norvelt, a dwindling coal-mining town. Jack makes a tremendously entertaining tour guide and foil for the town's eccentric citizens, and his warmhearted but lightly antagonistic relationship with his folks makes for some memorable one-upmanship. Gantos, as always, deliver bushels of food for thought and plenty of outright guffaws, though the story gets stuck in neutral for much of the midsection. When things pick up again near the end of the summer, surprise twists and even a quick-dissolve murder mystery arrive to pay off patient readers. Those with a nose for history will be especially pleased.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2010 Booklist

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Publishers Weekly A bit of autobiography works its way into all of Gantos's work, but he one-ups himself in this wildly entertaining meld of truth and fiction by naming the main character... Jackie Gantos. Like the author, Jackie lives for a time in Norvelt, a real Pennsylvania town created during the Great Depression and based on the socialist idea of community farming. Presumably (hopefully?) the truth mostly ends there, because Jackie's summer of 1962 begins badly: plagued by frequent and explosive nosebleeds, Jackie is assigned to take dictation for the arthritic obituary writer, Miss Volker, and kept alarmingly busy by elderly residents dying in rapid succession. Then the Hells Angels roll in. Gore is a Gantos hallmark but the squeamish are forewarned that Jackie spends much of the book with blood pouring down his face and has a run-in with home cauterization. Gradually, Jackie learns to face death and his fears straight on while absorbing Miss Volker's theories about the importance of knowing history. "The reason you remind yourself of the stupid stuff you've done in the past is so you don't do it again." Memorable in every way. Ages 10-14. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 5-8-In 1962, Jack accidentally discharges his father's war relic, a Japanese rifle, and is grounded for the summer. When a neighbor's arthritic hands get the best of her, his mother lifts the restriction and volunteers the 12-year-old to be the woman's scribe, writing obituaries for the local newspaper. Business is brisk for Miss Volker, who doubles as town coroner, and Norvelt's elderly females seem to be dropping like flies. Prone to nosebleeds at the least bit of excitement (until Miss Volker cauterizes his nose with old veterinarian equipment), Jack is a hapless and endearing narrator. It is a madcap romp, with the boy at the wheel of Miss Volker's car as they try to figure out if a Hell's Angel motorcyclist has put a curse on the town, or who might have laced Mertie-Jo's Girl Scout cookies with rat poison. The gutsy Miss Volker and her relentless but rebuffed suitor, Mr. Spizz, are comedic characters central to the zany, episodic plot, which contains unsubtle descriptions of mortuary science. Each quirky obituary is infused with a bit of Norvelt's history, providing insightful postwar facts focusing on Eleanor Roosevelt's role in founding the town on principles of sustainable farming and land ownership for the poor. Jack's absorption with history of any kind makes for refreshing asides about John F. Kennedy's rescue of PT-109 during World War II, King Richard II, Francisco Pizarro's conquest of Peru, and more. A fast-paced and witty read.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Allen Say

Publishers Weekly Retooling some of the material in his autobiographical middle-grade novel The Ink-Keeper's Apprentice (1994), Say tells the story of his decidedly nontraditional Japanese upbringing, supplying watercolors, photographs, and humorous sketches to create a vivid record of life in postwar Tokyo. Say's family rented him his own apartment when he was 12 so he could attend a better school. "The one-room apartment was for me to study in," he writes, beneath a b&w sketch of his desk, "but studying was far from my mind... this was going to be my art studio!" (A second drawing, in color, shows his conception of the perfect desk, covered with paints and brushes.) Japan's most famous cartoonist, Noro Shinpei, accepted Say as an apprentice until Say immigrated to the United States in 1953. Say's account of his relationship with Noro (who later called Say "the treasure of my life") is the centerpiece of the narrative. As the story of a young artist's coming of age, Say's account is complex, poignant, and unfailingly honest. Say's fans-and those who also feel the pull of the artist's life-will be captivated. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 4 Up-Say traces his lifelong love of comics and tells of those who disparaged and those who nurtured his talents, including one of Japan's most famous cartoonists who became his mentor and spiritual father. This captivating and seamless melding of words and brilliant pictures provides the lens of memory and inspiration. (Sept.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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School Library Journal Gr 4 Up-Say tells the story of how he became an artist through a vibrant blend of words and images. Beginning with his boyhood in World War II-era Japan, he traces his life-changing relationship with Noro Shinpei, an illustrious cartoonist who became his surrogate father figure and art mentor. Illustrations are richly detailed and infused with warmth. Exquisite use of light makes night scenes glow, and the mid-20th-century Tokyo setting is captured with vivid authenticity. A variety of media and artistic styles, including full-color paintings, black-and-white sketches, photographs, and comic-book panels, adds texture and depth to the narrative. Fans of the artist's work will take particular delight in seeing sketches from his student days. Simple, straightforward sentences and a conversational narration in combination with a wealth of images will appeal to aspiring artists and reluctant readers alike. This book covers much of the same material as Say's autobiographical novel, The Ink-Keeper's Apprentice (Harper & Row, 1979), but the lively mix of art and text will draw in a new generation and a slightly younger audience. The somewhat abrupt ending, with Say moving to the United States, may leave readers wishing for a more extended epilogue or sequel, but that is simply because his story is so engaging. Readers of all ages will be inspired by the young Say's drive and determination that set him on a successful career path.-Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list *Starred Review* Say, a Caldecott Medal-winning picture-book creator, returns to his most fertile ground true life to tell the story of how he became an artist. He began living alone when he was 12, paying a little attention to schoolwork and a lot of attention to drawing, a pursuit that flourished under the mentorship of his favorite cartoonist, Noro Shinpei. His narrative is fascinating, winding through formative early-teen experiences in Japan as he honed his skills and opened his eyes to the greater world around him. This heavily illustrated autobiography features Say's characteristically strong artwork. The visually stunning sequences include a standout scene in which the young artist and a friend stumble upon a massive demonstration, which is depicted as a huge crowd of people that snakes down one page and is stopped short by a brick wall of police on the next. The scrapbook format features photographs, many of them dim with age; sketchbook drawings; and unordered, comic-book-style panels that float around wide swathes of text and unboxed captions, and the overall effect is sometimes disjointed. Still, as a portrait of a young artist, this is a powerful title that is both culturally and personally resonant.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2010 Booklist

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2012 (Older Readers)
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Caitlin O'Connell and Donna M. Jackson

School Library Journal Gr 5-8-O'Connell traveled to Africa in 1992 to observe wild animals; the trip turned into a job offer to study elephants at Etosha National Park; the text focuses on the scientists' work, findings, and problems encountered. The authors offer an outstanding look at new discoveries about elephant communication and how this knowledge can be used to slow the animal's slump into extinction. Combined with stunning full-color photographs by the scientists, the elephants' world is brought to the forefront. Readers enter the researchers' camp to see their setup, fieldwork, and takedown in action. They will learn how elephant anatomy and hierarchy work together to aid in communication. Children will be interested in O'Connell's growing interest in science, how family and teachers encouraged her, and her efforts to protect these threatened animals. This amazing presentation is a must-have for all collections.-Nancy Call, Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Aptos, CA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list After studying entomology, researcher O'Connell observed elephants in Africa and noticed that the large mammals were behaving strangely, like the small insects she had previously studied. Both would freeze and lean forward, leading her to wonder if the elephants, like the insects, were sensing vibrations through their feet. She worked with other scientists to identity the vibration-sensitive cells in elephants' feet and trunks that enabled to them to hear sounds transmitted through the ground. Illustrated with many well-captioned, color photos, this eye-catching book provides a sometimes fascinating look at O'Connell's work with elephants in America and in Namibia. Not only the book's subject, O'Connell is also listed as its coauthor, yet the text refers to her in third person and quotes her extensively. The presentation concludes with brief lists of recommended books, DVDs, and websites; a glossary; and selected source notes, though without links to particular passages or pages in the text. This intriguing volume from the Scientists in the Field series will interest readers of Downer's Elephant Talk (2011).--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist

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Meg Wolitzer

School Library Journal Gr 4-7-Three kids meet at a youth Scrabble tournament and help one another work through various issues. Nate has an overly competitive father, while April wants to get noticed by her sports-obsessed family. Duncan's situation is more complicated: he has the power to see things with his fingers, a potential secret weapon in Scrabble games. This fantastic element fits awkwardly into an otherwise realistic novel, and the fact that Duncan barely uses his talent for anything but Scrabble seems odd. The boy's eventual principled actions are offset by a dishonest ruse he uses, behind his mother's back, to get into the tournament. The narrative switches smoothly to capture the points of view and experiences of the three protagonists, although personalities and feelings are frequently spelled out rather than shown through action or dialogue. An anticlimactic attempt by a former player to sabotage the tournament fails to add much drama. Though Duncan is the only character with much depth, the other kids are likable and appealing, and the Scrabble background is neatly rendered in a way that even nonplaying kids can enjoy. The inclusion of tricky game strategies and insider terms like "vowel dumps" and "coffeehousing" bring the tournament scene to life, and the players all have different, believable reasons for their connection to the game. Consider for fans of "puzzle novels" Eric Berlin's "Winston Breen" books (Putnam) and Jody Feldman's The Gollywhopper Games (Greenwillow, 2008).-Steven Engelfried, Wilsonville Public Library, OR (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list Duncan Dorfman is adjusting to life in a new Michigan town with his struggling single mom, who lands a job at a local big-box store run by a rarely-seen millionaire. After moving, Duncan finds that he can discern letters with the fingertips of his left hand, which helps him choose needed tiles after he joins the school Scrabble club. Eventually, Duncan's skills bring him to the national Scrabble tournament in Florida, where he meets two other young Scrabble players: a boy from New York City, who has a fraught relationship with his father, and a girl who tries to prove her worth in a family of athletes. As the kids get to know each other, they take a side trip to a crumbling, sinister amusement park, which launches them into an unexpected adventure. At the novel's end, the focus returns back to Duncan, who discovers a surprise about a family secret. The overpacked plot drags a bit, but readers who stick with it will be rewarded with portraits of winning, well-drawn kids struggling to succeed in a complicated world.--Morning, Todd Copyright 2010 Booklist

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Publishers Weekly The lives, families, and story lines of three 12-year-olds intersect at the annual Youth Scrabble Tournament in adult author Wolitzer's (The Uncoupling) entertaining middle-grade debut. Possessing a supernatural power that gives him an unfair advantage in Scrabble, the title character wrestles with his conscience and a desire for increased social status offered by his conniving partner. Meanwhile, Nate's obsessed father homeschools him in Scrabble only, hoping his son will win the tournament he lost in his youth, and April's sports-fixated family cannot comprehend word games. Themes of competition, passion bordering on mania, and teamwork weave through the narrative, as the protagonists face the consequences of parental choices and flaws-which provide plentiful humorous moments-and contend with ethical struggles of their own. The tournament proves a great equalizer as families wealthy and poor, blended and nuclear, enthusiastic and indifferent support their children's ambitions, and quirky players meet kindred souls from many different corners of the country. Readers don't have to be Scrabble enthusiasts to enjoy this novel, though a passion for it may well develop by the end. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Lucy Christopher

Book list *Starred Review* Like her father and grandfather, 13-year-old Isla seems to have a mystical connection, as well as emotional bond, with the swans that migrate to their area each winter. But after her dad collapses during a birding expedition, Isla's focus abruptly shifts from the nature preserve to the hospital's coronary care unit. Though worried about her father, she finds solace in her deepening friendship with Harry, a boy who has leukemia; in her bond with a lone whooper swan nearby; and in an unusual school project that takes on a life of its own. Christopher, who wrote the Printz Honor Book Stolen (2010), offers younger readers a quiet but compelling story with several well-realized, idiosyncratic characters. She skillfully develops the novel's varied elements and weaves them into a unified narrative that occasionally falls into a predictable pattern only to surprise the reader once again. As narrator, Isla conveys with equal sensitivity her discomfort in the initially alien hospital environment, her growing understanding of family history, and her realizations about herself and those she loves. Though written for a slightly older audience, this sensitive novel will resonate with many readers who enjoyed Gill Lewis' Wild Wings (2011).--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 5-8-Thirteen-year-old Isla and her father have long been fans of the wild swans that migrate through the nearby preserve, but environmental changes and birds flying into wires without warning markers are diminishing their numbers. After her dad has a heart attack, Isla, her brother, and her mum spend time at the hospital, where she finds a friend in Harry, a patient her age in the cancer ward. The two spot a lone swan and work together to try to help it. Details about daily life, soccer, school assignments, and family pressures are folded into the bigger traumas of life and death in this portrait of a girl growing into her own opinions and figuring out what matters most to her. Isla's art project, inspired by da Vinci's flying model sketches, becomes a mission to create wings for a flying machine, a project that helps her connect to her special swan, Harry, and an estranged grandfather. Beautiful writing with lyrical moments and mystical descriptions of nature creates a story that is rich and compelling with plenty of action to balance out the many reflective moments. Isla and Harry are experiencing first love while confronting the real possibility of death. The result is a rewarding and superb celebration of life.-Carol A. Edwards, Denver Public Library, CO (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly In her first middle-grade novel, Christopher (Stolen) offers a story ribboned with metaphors involving themes of trauma, freedom, and hope. Isla and her father share a special relationship with the swans that migrate to a nearby lake each winter, until he is hospitalized with a heart condition. Isla's best friend has also moved away, and she feels isolated until meeting Harry, an optimistic and imaginative leukemia patient undergoing chemo treatments at the hospital and awaiting a bone marrow transplant. After Isla discovers a lost swan that has been separated from its flock, she makes it her mission to renew hope in Harry, her father, and herself by teaching the swan to fly, using a da Vinci-inspired flying machine that she creates with help from her estranged grandfather. Readers who share Isla's love of nature and penchant for introspection will easily gravitate to her; her determination and pithy observations make for a strong, sensitive portrait of a girl trying to make sense of difficult changes in her life, while learning to draw strength from those around her. Ages 10-14. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal After her father's heart failure, Isla hopes that saving a lone swan that is struggling to fly will make everything better. At the hospital, she meets an understanding young cancer patient who becomes the assistant in her plan. This modern-day realistic novel is tender, sensitive, and compelling. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Helen Frost

Book list Though Wren and Darra have never even made eye contact, they share a secret history that changed both of their lives. When they were eight, Wren hid in Darra's family's garage for several days after Darra's father stole a van, unaware that Wren was in the backseat. Darra knew Wren was hiding and did her eight-year-old best to offer silent comfort, then felt betrayed when Wren's escape drew the police, leading to her father's arrest. Now the girls find themselves cabinmates at summer camp in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Seeing Darra brings long-submerged rage and fear back to the surface for Wren, while Darra remains angry at Wren for the havoc she caused, unhappy as Darra's family may have been. Forced into close proximity, the girls gradually get to know one another again and for the first time. Like Frost's Printz Honor Book, Keesha's House (2003), this novel in verse stands out through its deliberate use of form to illuminate emotions and cleverly hide secrets in the text.--Booth, Heather Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 6-9-An eight-year-old waits in the family's minivan while her mother goes into a convenience store. When she hears a gunshot, she scrambles to hide under a blanket in the back, and then someone rushes into the van and drives away without knowing she's there. This novel in verse is told in two first-person voices. Wren is the girl in the van, and Darra (also age eight) is the daughter of the man who robs the store and inadvertently kidnaps Wren. He drives home, and she's trapped in their garage for several days before she escapes. Darra is aware of her presence and tries to come up with a plan that won't implicate her father, but Wren is already gone. The book then jumps ahead six years, to the summer camp in Michigan where the two girls meet. This original blend of crime tale, psychological study, and friendship story is a page-turner that kids will love. There are a few plausibility issues, but there are many more strengths. Wren's captivity in the garage is truly suspenseful, and the various interactions of the kids at the sleepover camp are a study in shifting alliances. The book also touches on some deeper issues, like how you can love a parent who is sometimes abusive, and how sensitive kids can blame themselves for things that aren't really their fault. Smoothly written, this novel carries a message of healing and hope.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list Though Wren and Darra have never even made eye contact, they share a secret history that changed both of their lives. When they were eight, Wren hid in Darra's family's garage for several days after Darra's father stole a van, unaware that Wren was in the backseat. Darra knew Wren was hiding and did her eight-year-old best to offer silent comfort, then felt betrayed when Wren's escape drew the police, leading to her father's arrest. Now the girls find themselves cabinmates at summer camp in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Seeing Darra brings long-submerged rage and fear back to the surface for Wren, while Darra remains angry at Wren for the havoc she caused, unhappy as Darra's family may have been. Forced into close proximity, the girls gradually get to know one another again and for the first time. Like Frost's Printz Honor Book, Keesha's House (2003), this novel in verse stands out through its deliberate use of form to illuminate emotions and cleverly hide secrets in the text.--Booth, Heather Copyright 2010 Booklist

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2012 (Older Readers)
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Ed Young and Libby Koponen

Book list *Starred Review* With war coming to Shanghai, Young's father did the best he could to protect his wife and children. An engineer, he built a house strong enough to withstand attack and large enough to hold his growing family and, later, others as well. Koponen writes from Young's point of view, creating a portrait of the artist as a growing child and acknowledging the wisdom of his father, Baba. Although war casts a shadow over this memoir, the narrative vividly relates details from Young's childhood: sharing roller skates with his siblings, raising silkworms from eggs, drawing pictures in his textbooks, and watching cricket fights. Taking full advantage of the book's large format and many foldout pages, Young juxtaposes drawings, photos, and cut papers to create striking visual and textural effects in collages that suggest both the sharpness and the patchy quality of childhood memories. The text smoothly combines the story's elements, integrating an adult's understanding with a child's experiences. The final pages offer photos of family members, a time line, a diagram of the house, and a note about the book's creation. Add this vibrant memoir to the list of children's WWII experiences by writers and illustrators, including Michael Foreman's War Boy (1990), Tomie dePaola's I'm Still Scared (2006), and Allan Say's Drawing from Memory (2011).--Phelan, Caroly. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In this picture book memoir by the Caldecott Medalist, which opens in 1931 (the year he was born), the stock market has crashed, and China is in turmoil. Young's father, Baba, persuades a landowner in Shanghai to let him construct a huge brick house on his land; Baba promises to return the house after 20 years, long enough to keep his family safe until WWII ends. Young's creation, shaped with help from author Libby Koponen, is as complex and labyrinthine as Baba's house, with foldout pages that open to reveal drawings, photos, maps, and memories. Tender portraits of his siblings, torn-paper collages showing tiny figures at play, and old photos of stylish adults intermingle, as if they'd been found forgotten in a drawer. Young's fans will savor stories of his East-West childhood; he and his four siblings raise silkworms, watch Westerns, train fighting crickets, and dance the conga when the war finally ends 14 years later. "Life," Baba writes to his children, "is not rich not real unless you partake life with your fellow man"; Young set the course of his life by his father's words. It's history at its most personal. All ages. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 3-8-Young brings his exquisite sense of design, expressive brushwork, and mastery of a variety of mediums to the story of his childhood in China. A note explains how Koponen helped shape the stream-of-consciousness text. In the opening spread, birds lift off from the bottom of the brown pages, filling the heavens. Red rice paper forms the delicate outlines of Young's parents and their five children, connecting them as one transparent image. The text reads: "War was spreading to Shanghai, my father said, like the crows that came in summer.." Baba, an engineer, made a deal with a landlord in the safest part of the city: he would build a large brick home with gardens and a pool and give it to the landlord after inhabiting it for 20 years. The layers of cut paper and collage build, much like the house, which grew to accommodate relatives and refugees. This catalog of childhood pleasures (cricket battles, rooftop roller skating, silkworm hatching) is punctuated by distant bombs, fighter planes, and food rationing. Each scene is a surprise, as Young works in postcards, maps, currency, magazine images, family photographs, and acrylic portraits. Gatefold pages extend the scale. An illustrated afterword portrays Young's own children at the household gates as well as a time line and floor plans. This tale of filial devotion provides a fascinating contrast to Allen Say's Drawing from Memory (Scholastic, 2011) in which the Japanese-American artist describes his estrangement from his father and the nurturing received from his mentor.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 3-8-In this exquisitely designed and illustrated memoir, Young describes his family and the haven his father built in Shanghai for his wife and children but later opened up to refugees fleeing the horrors of World War II. The dynamic, mixed-media art is constructed with inventive foldouts, vibrant color, and layered collage. (Sept.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2012 (Older Readers)
 
2012 (Older Readers)
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Margarita Engle

Publishers Weekly Newbery Honor-winner Engle (The Surrender Tree) continues to find narrative treasure in Cuban history. Like her other novels in verse, this one is told in multiple voices (too many, in fact), some based on historical figures. The action takes place in the early 16th century aboard a pirate ship captained by Bernardino de Talavera, a failed landowner who literally worked his Taino farmhands to death then, rather than face prison, stole a ship and became the first pirate of the Caribbean. He kidnaps an orphaned boy to translate for him and takes a hostage-the powerful governor of Venezuela, whose actions in the New World have been as despicable as Talavera's. After a storm wrecks the ship, all three wash up on Cuba's coast among a native population, and two new voices and a new plot thread are introduced. The story, based on historical events, feels too rich for Engle's spare, broken-line poetry. Still, the subject matter is an excellent introduction to the age of exploration and its consequences, showing slavery sinking its insidious roots in the Americas and the price paid by those who were there first. Ages 12-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Gr 6-10-It's been said that history is written by the conquerors and, indeed, there are countless one-sided accounts of brave European explorers boldly "discovering" the New World. Here's a welcome antidote to all that biased mythology. Written in unrhymed verse and from alternating characters' perspectives, Hurricane Dancers provides a much more nuanced, personal, and thought-provoking imagining of what really happened when diverse cultures began colliding in the Caribbean in the late 15th and early 16th century. The story centers around a young slave dubbed el quebrado, "The Broken One," whose half-Spanish, half-Taino Indian ancestry makes him critically valuable as a translator for the sailors, who exploit his skills to intimidate and enslave the Natives they encounter. He is a captive on a stolen pirate ship commanded by Bernadino de Talavera as the tale begins, but the tables turn when a hurricane dashes the vessel off a Caribbean Island. Quebrado, Bernadino de Talavera, and his brutal conquistador hostage Alonso de Ojeda all survive, but when the former commander once again tries to employ Quebrado's skills to dominate the Natives, the young man realizes that he not only has the power to refuse and reinvent himself, but also finds that he controls the fate of his former captor and his injured, unstable hostage. Unique and inventive, this is highly readable historical fiction that provides plenty of fodder for discussion.-Jeffrey Hastings, Highlander Way Middle School, Howell, MI (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* Engle, whose award-winning titles include the Newbery Honor Book, The Surrender Tree (2008), offers another accomplished historical novel in verse set in the Caribbean. Young Quebrado's name means the broken one, a child of two shattered worlds. The son of a Taino Indian mother and a Spanish father, he is taken in 1510 from his village on the island that is present-day Cuba and enslaved on a pirate's ship, where a brutal conquistador, responsible for thousands of deaths throughout the Americas, is held captive for ransom. When a hurricane destroys the boat, Quebrado is pulled from the water by a fisherman, Narido, whose village welcomes him, but escape from the past proves nearly impossible. Once again, Engle fictionalizes historical fact in a powerful, original story. With the exception of Quebrado, all the characters are based on documented figures (discussed in a lengthy author's note), whose voices narrate many of the poems. While the shifting perspectives create a somewhat dreamlike, fractured story, Engle distills the emotion in each episode with potent rhythms, sounds, and original, unforgettable imagery. Linked together, the poems capture elemental identity questions and the infinite sorrows of slavery and dislocation, felt even by the pirate's ship, which remembers / her true self, / her tree self, / rooted / and growing, / alive, / on shore. --Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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Stuart Ross

Book list This handsome book presents 14 journeys of exploration, from Pytheas the Greek in 240 BC to the Apollo moon landing in 1969. Sailors dominate the first half of the book: Leif Eriksson, Marco Polo, Zheng He, Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan, and Captain Cook. The second half follows explorers David Livingstone and Mary Kingsley through Africa, Umberto Nobile to the Arctic, Auguste Piccard up into the stratosphere, Jacques Piccard down into the ocean's depths, and Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay to the summit of Mount Everest. A glossary and a source bibliography are appended. Clearly written chapters trace the expeditions and underscore the challenges that the explorers faced. Precise, beautifully shaded colored-pencil artwor. appears throughout the book and, notably, on a large, foldout sheet tipped into a page of each chapter. From the maps to the drawings of vessels and artifacts to the detailed cutaway views that make each bit of technology more understandable, Biesty's well-labeled illustrations make this one of the most visually fascinating books available on explorers.--Phelan, Caroly. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 4-8-The major accomplishments of 14 explorers are presented with strong support from illustrations. Chapters move chronologically from Pytheas in 340 BC to the 1969 Moon landing, combining famous names such as Marco Polo and Magellan with lesser-known but equally interesting figures including Mary Kingsley (Africa), Umberto Nobile (North Pole), and Auguste Piccard (stratospheric flight and deep-sea submersion). Each chapter provides basic background on the topic, then focuses largely on the nuts and bolts of the journeys, including travel conditions, navigation techniques, and vehicle construction. Lively writing captures the excitement of exploration while providing just enough geographic and historical detail. Biesty's pencil and colored pencil artwork ably builds upon the text, with each chapter featuring several insets plus one dramatic gatefold per chapter. In each fairly sturdy foldout, an initial illustration expands in two consecutive unfoldings to reveal further details. For Piccard's undersea exploration, for example, a map identifies the location of the Mariana Trench. This unfolds to show the depth levels of the descent, with helpful visual comparisons to a stack of Empire State Buildings (for depth) and Airbuses (for air pressure). The sequence climaxes with a final foldout depicting Piccard's deep-sea craft in detail, with labeled cross-sections in Biesty's appealing style. Other appropriate touches round out the well-conceived package, including pages with textured paper effects to match the era, from early parchment to a Moon map for the Apollo 11 voyage. Useful for report writers, attractive to browsers, and just right for readers who are curious about the adventure of exploration.-Steven Engelfried, Wilsonville Public Library, OR (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 4-8-From Pytheas the Greek to Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldren, Ross recounts the stories of daring expeditions undertaken by men and women through the ages. An accessible text and superb visuals-foldout diagrams and spectacular physical maps and cross-sections-guarantee hours of enjoyment. (May) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

School Library Journal Gr 6-9-This well-researched fictional look at the lives of the sons of Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings echoes with the horrors of slavery and the contradictions within the author of the Declaration of Independence and an admired champion of liberty. Bradley depicts Sally Hemings as a determined woman who accepts her role as a slave and secret lover of the president while she focuses on the promised freedom for her children. The story is told mainly by her three sons, Beverly, Madison, and Eston. Hemings never allows her children to forget that they are slaves while they live at Monticello and makes sure that they are aware of slavery's repulsiveness, despite their somewhat special status. She plans to have her light-skinned son Beverly and daughter Harriet go out in the world and "pass" as white people, but this will require that they never acknowledge her or their darker family members again. Eventually financial difficulties grow, and Jefferson is forced to sell many possessions, including 130 slaves. Maddy and Eston are given their freedom at the age of 21, but Sally Hemings was never set free. Bradley's fine characterization and cinematic prose breathe life into this tragic story.-Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Don't you ever call him Papa. This gripping novel captures the viewpoints of the young children President Thomas Jefferson fathered with one of his slaves, Sally Hemings. Growing up in a cabin at Monticello, the children are told not to mention their father. The president is kind to Sally's oldest son, Beverly, and encourages him to play the violin. Jefferson promises the children they will be freed at 21. Beverly and his sister, Harriet, look white. Could they pass? But what about their brother, Maddy, who is dark-skinned? Could they leave him behind? The detailed history may overwhelm some readers. But told from the children's naive viewpoints, first Beverly's, then Maddy's, then that of little Peter, another young slave who is beloved by the Hemings family, the young innocents' elemental questions raise fundamental issues for the reader. How could founding father Jefferson sell off Maddy's best friend? What does it mean, all people are created equal?--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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Shaun Tan
2012 (Older Readers)
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Patrick Ness

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Conor O'Malley, 13, is having a difficult time. At school, he copes with bullying and loneliness. His father is living in America with his new family, and at home he has to contend with a recurring nightmare that torments him every night. His mother is seriously ill and undergoing painful cancer treatments. One night, he wakes up to a voice calling his name. An ancient, treelike monster, hovering over him like a sleeping giant, has come to tell him three stories. When the monster is done, he wishes for Conor to tell him a fourth tale, wanting the scariest thing of all-the truth. The wise monster's ambiguous tales contain unexpected outcomes and help demonstrate that not all stories have happy endings, but they can be more important than anything else if they carry the truth. Conor has to accept the truth about his mother's prognosis and letting go, even if it means losing her. Only then can he start to heal, without destroying himself in the process. This is an extraordinarily moving story inspired by an idea from author Siobhan Dowd before she passed away. Kay's shadowy illustrations slither along the borders of the pages and intermingle with text to help set its dark, mysterious mood, while Conor is often seen as a silhouette. A brilliantly executed, powerful tale.-Krista Welz, North Bergen Public Library, NJ (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-With an absent father and a mother dying of cancer, Conor O'Malley has recurring nightmares that are becoming more and more real, until they transform into a monster that tells him three stories and demands one in return. Eerie illustrations help set the mood in this haunting tale of acceptance, letting go, and healing. (Sept.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* After the stylistic feats and dumbfounding originality of Ness' Chaos Walking trilogy, this follow-up effort comes as something of a surprise an earthbound story concocted from a premise left behind by the late Siobhan Dowd. As Conor watches his mother succumb to cancer, he is pummeled by grief, anger, isolation, helplessness, and something even darker. At night, when he isn't trapped in a recurring nightmare too terrible to think about, he is visited by a very real monster in the form of a giant yew tree. The monster tells Conor three ambiguous, confusing stories, then demands a final one from the boy, one tha. will tell me your truth. Meanwhile, Conor's mom tears through ineffective treatments, and Conor simmers with rage. Everybody always wants to have a talk lately. But all that really happens is a lot of pussyfooting around the central, horrible fact that his mother is dying, and what does the monster mean abou. the trut. anyway? A story with such moribund inevitability could easily become a one-note affair or, worse, forgettable but small, surgically precise cuts of humor and eeriness provide a crucial magnifying effect. Moreover, Ness twists out a resolution that is revelatory in its obviousness, beautiful in its execution, and fearless in its honesty. Kay's artwork keeps the pace, gnawing at the edges of the pages with thundercloud shadows and keeping the monster just barely, terribly seeable. Sidestepping any trace of emotional blackmail, Ness shines Dowd's glimmer into the deepest, most hidden darkness of doubt, and finds a path through.--Chipman, Ia. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In his introduction to this profoundly moving, expertly crafted tale of unaccountable loss, Ness explains how he developed the story from a set of notes left by Siobhan Dowd, who died in 2007 before she had completed a first draft. "I felt-and feel-as if I've been handed a baton, like a particularly fine writer has given me her story and said, 'Go. Run with it. Make trouble.' " What Ness has produced is a singular masterpiece, exceptionally well-served by Kay's atmospheric and ominous illustrations. Conor O'Malley is 13. His mother is being treated for cancer; his father, Liam, has remarried and lives in America; and Conor is left in the care of a grandmother who cares more for her antique wall clock than her grandson. This grim existence is compounded by bullies at school who make fun of his mother's baldness, and an actual nightmare that wakes Conor, screaming, on a recurring basis. Then comes the monster-part human, part arboreal-a hulking yew tree that walks to his window just after midnight and tells three inscrutable parables, each of which disappoints Conor because the good guy is continually wronged. "Many things that are true feel like a cheat," the monster explains. In return for the monster's stories, Conor must tell his own, and the monster demands it be true, forcing Conor, a good boy, a dutiful son, to face up to his feelings: rage and, worse still, fear. If one point of writing is to leave something that transcends human existence, Ness has pulled a fast one on the Grim Reaper, finishing the story death kept Dowd from giving us. It is a story that not only does honor to her memory, it tackles the toughest of subjects by refusing to flinch, meeting the ugly truth about life head-on with compassion, bravery, and insight. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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