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1. You had us at artisanal pickles.

Urban inferiority complex be damned! We Bostonians enjoy artisanal pickles and ironic facial hair as much as the next folks. That’s why we’re pleased to present author/illustrator Stephen Savage’s article on the people in his Brooklyn neighborhood. Or, as we like to call it, “the new Somerville.”

We’re so psyched, in fact, that we’ve decided to devote an entire week to the Brooklynites. Tomorrow you can read Savage’s article “The People in My Neighborhood: One Author/Illustrator’s Rambles Around Brooklyn.” As the week goes on, you’ll fine more Horn Book material on that mighty borough and the people who call it home. Because there really are a lot of them.* And good at what they do? Fuggedaboudit.

***

*In fact, there are many, many, MANY more talented Brooklynites than we could possibly highlight in one article. So, please remind us about them in the comments.

For example, this bears repeating:

Christopher Myers, Kwame Alexander, Jason Reynolds, Jacqueline Woodson, and Rita Wiliams-Garcia... in Brooklyn.

Christopher Myers, Kwame Alexander, Jason Reynolds, Jacqueline Woodson, and Rita Williams-Garcia commune in Brooklyn. Photo courtesy of Jason Reynolds.

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2. Alice: 150 Years of Wonderland app review

alice app menu2She’s grown taller and shorter so many times that it’s hard to keep track, but Lewis Carroll’s Alice is 150 years old this year. The Morgan Library & Museum is celebrating with an exhibit of artifacts related to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In addition to an online version, the Morgan also offers an app with materials from the exhibit.

After a brief description with some historical background for Carroll’s novel, the app has two main sections: “Transcriptions of Letters and Manuscripts,” and “Tenniel’s Illustrations.” Within each, a book icon brings up the index so you can navigate into any artifact you want, or you can just swipe along in order.

alice app transcriptions2
alice app tenniel's illustrations
The “Transcriptions” section presents a wide range of artifacts related to Carroll’s life, work, and world. There’s an illustrated humorous poem, “A Tale of a Tail,” from the Useful and Instructive Poetry magazine that the thirteen-year-old author created for his siblings. There’s an 1863 letter from Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Carroll’s Alice, to her father. There’s a list in Carroll’s hand of “Newspaper Notices of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” from 1866. In addition to descriptions of the items, all are accompanied by their transcripts, which are useful even though the images are clear — it’s a lot more efficient for a modern eye to read a typed version of a letter than to make sense of the flourishes in Carroll’s nineteenth-century handwriting. Nearly all of these items correspond to what’s on the web exhibit, though many are titled slightly differently. Like the website, this section of the app also has magic lantern slides with illustrations of various Alice scenes, alongside their (somewhat reworked) text.

The second section contains some of John Tenniel’s illustrations for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. Most of the images are color proofs, but some are original black-and-white sketches or preparatory drawings. Here, the selection is less extensive than the more carefully curated and categorized offerings in the web exhibit.

alice app cheshire cat

This app is a useful way to view many pieces from the exhibit up close. (Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, the manuscript Carroll wrote and illustrated for Alice Liddell, is unfortunately not part of the app.) It’s a useful resource for anyone interested in Alice’s history, and could also be helpful to students learning the concept of primary sources. But the interactivity begins and ends with navigation from one artifact to another, and the app has less to offer than the web version. For a deeper Alice rabbit hole — more illustrations and character design sketches, a playlist of music inspired by the books, and an “Alice on the Silver Screen” section featuring early film adaptations — head over to the Morgan’s digital exhibit.

Available for iPad and iPhone; free. Recommended for intermediate users and up.

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3. “Classic tales to read, love and share”

storytime issue 4 We recently received two issues of Storytime Magazine (Luma Works), a monthly British children’s magazine which launched in September 2014 with the tagline “Classic tales to read, love and share.” Each issue is filled with retellings of fairy tales and folktales, plus distillations of classic children’s novels (such as E. Nesbit’s “Five Children and It” in Issue 4 and Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” in Issue 5). The stories are accompanied by colorful, often full-page illustrations as well as interactive moments inviting the reader to color a rainbow, count beans, find a specific flower, etc. Even more thematic activities and downloads are available at Storytime‘s website.

The contents are organized by headings such as “Favourite Fairy Tales,” “Famous Fables,” “Storyteller’s Corner,” “Around the World Tales,” “Myths and Legends,” “Poems and Rhymes,” “Brilliant Books,” “Storytime Playbox,” and “Story Magic.” These categories seem to shift slightly from issue to issue, but each edition follows the same basic format, containing about six stories, a poem, and thematic activities and games.

storytime issue 5Storytime‘s retold short tales originate in a range of diverse cultures: Issue 4 features a Mayan quest story, an African tale about trickster Anansi, and a Cornish mermaid tale; Issue 5 includes an Aboriginal creation story, plus Greek mythology and an Aesop animal parable. The magazine format (complete with exciting cover blurbs: “Famous Fables! Four animals learn about friendship” and “Jungle Adventure! See how Mowgli escapes from Shere Khan”) gives the tales a fresh perspective, and the absence of advertisements keeps the focus on the stories themselves.

Overall, each issue feels like substantial reading material — either to be devoured straight through all at once, or savored slowly, story by story.

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4. The Cat in the Hat — Read & Learn digital book app review

catReadLearn_Screenshot1Spend a rainy afternoon with the mischievous Cat in the Hat in Oceanhouse Media‘s brand-new interactive digital book app The Cat in the Hat — Read & Learn (July 2015).

After you leave the home screen in “read to me” mode (there’s also a “read it myself” option for reading practice), the energetic narration begins the full text of Dr. Seuss’s classic book. “The sun did not shine. / It was too wet to play. / So we sat in the house / All that cold, cold, wet day…” As the narrator reads, the words are highlighted in the text. Touch any object in the illustration to hear the narrator state its name and see the word appear on the screen, while said object sways, bounces, spins, or makes a noise.

If you’re lucky, the object you’ve tapped will be one of thirty-one throughout the app that reveal hidden stars. Tap the star to access a brief, educational activity (spell “cat”; what starts with the buh sound?; which item would you need to go out in the rain?). Appropriate to the “read and learn” element of the app’s title, these activities are typically literacy-related: spelling, rhyming, and matching words to their associated images.

catReadLearn_Screenshot9

Some pages allow you to drag objects around — in my personal favorite of these, you can throw a ball against the sides of the screen to watch it bounce back and forth across the room — while other interactive moments invite you to physically tilt your device to make things move onscreen. In the scene where the Cat (who has been hopping up and down on a ball while holding up the fish, a fan, a rake, etc.) falls and “ALL the things fall” with him, the objects are flung across the screen; tap to toss them about one by one. Throughout, the color palette and animation choices remain true to Dr. Seuss’s original work.

catReadLearn_Screenshot4

“Picture words” (words that pop up to identify tapped objects), activities, sound effects, and update notifications may be turned on/off in the settings menu. A locked parents’ section offers some usage tips and provides stats on minutes read, pages read, and completed reads, allowing parents to track a child’s progress through the e-book.

The combination of classic story with the added interactive elements creates an enjoyable learning experience for an emerging reader.

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch; $4.99. Recommended for preschool and early primary users.

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5. Go the BEEP to sleep!

TREND DETECTED! Insomniac robots are rolling off the assembly line.

Here they are blinking their way through bedtime in Todd Tarpley’s Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep! (Little, Brown, September 2015), illustrated by John Rocco.

tarpley_beep! beep! go to sleep

And here, one little robot takes its sweet time shutting off in Anna Staniszewski’s Power Down, Little Robot (Macmillan/Holt, March 2015), illustrated by Tim Zeltner.

staniszewski_power down little robot

Anna also recently introduced a BabyBot, so we can bet she can relate to her book’s tired Mom Unit. Here’s hoping, for her sake and the sake of Parental Units everywhere, that these bedtime books do the trick!

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6. Luna, Julia, and readers

kostecki-shaw_luna & meWe recently received Luna & Me: The True Story of a Girl Who Lived in a Tree to Save a Forest by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw (Holt/Ottaviano, May 2015). It’s sort of dual picture-book biography, telling the stories of a thousand-year-old redwood tree called Luna, which was slated to be logged; and of young activist Julia Butterfly Hill, who lived in the tree for over two years to prevent it from being cut down.

hill_legacy of lunaWhen I was an undergrad attending Humboldt State University in northern (waaaaay northern) California, I read Hill’s 2000 memoir The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods (HarperOne) for a sociology class. Hill discusses the day-to-day experiences of living in the tree (she had a lot of help) and depicts the volatile — occasionally verging on violent — conflict between the activists and the Pacific Lumber Company. My class discussed The Legacy of Luna and Hill’s tree-sit as an exercise in local sociology: Luna is located about 40 miles from HSU, in the same county. We were reading the memoir only a year or two after its publication, and tensions between activists and loggers were still high. In fact, the year after the book came out, the tree was vandalized.

Though I tended to side with Hill and other activists trying to protect the old-growth forest, I soon realized (no doubt as the professor intended) that the situation was extremely complex. The logging industry had long been a major part of the region’s economy, but was starting to flag, and environmentalists were attempting to curtail it further. To make matters worse, there was an “us” and “them” mentality at work: activists tended to be young out-of-towners attracted to the area by the university or by liberal politics, while loggers were frequently locals whose families had lived there for generations. (The university’s mascot? The lumberjack.) Our professor mentioned that, due to its anti-logging stance, Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax had caused some controversy when taught in local elementary schools.

In Luna & Me, Kostecki-Shaw is definitely on Hill’s (and Luna’s) side, emphasizing the activist’s courage and determination as well as the historical and ecological value of the ancient tree and others like it. Though she doesn’t demonize the loggers, Kostecki-Shaw doesn’t humanize them, either. (The tree Luna, on the other hand, is personified quite a bit.) There is no mention of loggers’ need to make their livelihood and feed their families. Perhaps that sort of sociological context is a tall order for a primary-level picture book. Kostecki-Shaw writes in her author’s note that she “chose to tell of Julia’s time in Luna in [her] own way — simplifying a very complex, intense, and political journey and depicting her as a girl” rather than as an adult.

Will Luna & Me be embraced by teachers, librarians, and parents in northern California? Or, like The Lorax, will it be viewed by some as problematic? I hope, either way, that it will provoke some thoughtful discussion.

Have you come across any children’s books that are divisive for your own community?

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7. Book & Me | Comic #20

bm20

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8. Book & Me, Week 5

Book & Me by Charise Mericle HarperToday we posted the final entry (*sniff!*) in Charise Harper Mericle’s original comics “Book & Me.” We’re sad to bid farewell to irrepressible Book and his erstwhile creator, but I imagine them walking hand-in-hand into the sunset, ready for their next bookish adventure.

If you’re not ready to say goodbye, why not start over from comic #1? I bet Book is a big believer in rereading.

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9. Save the date! June kidlit events

Jack Gantos

Jack Gantos

June is a busy, busy, busy month for children’s book aficionados in and around Boston (pretty close to an event a day — whew!) Here are some events you definitely won’t want to miss:

  • NE-SCBWI hosts author Nancy Werlin for a revision workshop entitled “Less is More: Artful Cutting and Shaping” on Sunday, June 7th, from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Workshop registration is $30 for SCBWI members, $40 for nonmembers.
  • Somewhat tangential to kids’ books, but certainly of interest: Lev Grossman and Gregory Maguire will discuss Grossman’s final Magicians trilogy entry, The Magician’s Land, at the Brattle Theater at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, June 10th. Tickets for the event, which is hosted by Harvard Book Store, are $5.
  • Worth the drive: the 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference takes place at Manhattan College in Riverdale, NY on the weekend of June 12th–14th. Registration is $440.
  • At 1:00 pm on Sunday, June 14th, at The Carle Musuem, Caldecott winner David Macaulay will discuss his work in honor of the museum’s new exhibit “Gray Matter: David Macaulay’s Black and White.” The presentation is free with museum admission; book signing to follow. 1 PDP.
  • Children’s Books Boston will hold our second annual Wicked Boston Children’s Books Trivia Night — hosted by the incomparable Jack Gantos — at 5:30 pm Monday, June 15th, at M. J. O’Connor’s. We are currently at capacity but accepting names for the waitlist. $10 (cash only, please) at the door.
  • Boston Book Festival launches its latest project, Hubbub: Creative Commotion for Kids, on Saturday, June 20th, in Copley Square. The festival is free and will feature a range of events and activities (author meet-and-greets! storytimes! music! puppet shows!) for kids of all ages.
  • Again, not strictly a children’s book event (but who cares?): Judy Bloom will discuss her brand-new adult book, In the Unlikely Event, with Tom Ashbrook at the Coolidge Corner Theater at 6:00 pm on Wednesday, June 24th. The event is hosted by Brookline Booksmith; tickets are $5.

See our monthly events calendar for all events and more details. Have a local event you’d like to see listed? Email the info to cbb (at) hbook.com.

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10. Crêpes by Suzette app review

crepes menu Oh là là! App Crêpes by Suzette (May 2015), based on the picture book of the same name by Monica Wellington, features a crêpe maker — aptly named Suzette! — peddling her wares across Paris. After first stopping at an outdoor market for the day’s ingredients, she pushes her crêpe cart through town; a map shows the spots along her route (the Luxembourg and Tuileries gardens, Notre-Dame, the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, etc.). The simple story (which can be read aloud or by yourself, and in six different languages: French, English, German, Spanish, Japanese, Italian) incorporates at least one French word or phrase into each scene: “Outside the museum the artist wants a snack, tout de suite. Time to flip the crêpe!” Tap the characters (including, on this page, the Mona Lisa and a mouse and squirrel) to hear different voices cheerily pronounce the French phrase.

crepes postman

The accompanying pictures are collages of real-life photos of contemporary Paris; simply shaped drawings of Suzette and her amis; and French maps, newspapers (Le Figaro), stamps, etc. Allusions to French artwork (Dance by Matisse, The Bath by Cassatt, Three Musicians by Picasso) appear in the illustrations and are explained in an “Art” section accessible from the map icon at the top left of the screen. There’s also a “Vocabulary” tab, which shows translations of the target French phrase in all six languages, and additional photos and videos.

crepes map

Unobtrusive jazzy music (beaucoup de clarinet and accordion, with some strings at the Louvre — classy!), help set the scene. When you’re good and hungry, tap the “DIY Crepes” tab on the front page for a one-minute “Crêpe Maker’s Demo,” a 4.5-minute “Cooking Lesson” (in someone’s kitchen), and an easy written recipe. Bon mangé!

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (requires iOS 6.0 or later) and Android devices; $1.99. Recommended for primary users.

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11. Endless Spanish app review

endless spanish coverThe cute monsters from Originator‘s Endless Alphabet, Endless Reader, and Endless Numbers are back…en español! Endless Spanish (May 2015) follows much the same format as Endless Reader to teach basic Spanish vocabulary. There are two modes, “Spanish immersion” or “Spanish with English translation.”

Begin at A and work through the alphabet to Z, or start anywhere you like by choosing a letter from the main menu.

endless spanish menu

The narrator pronounces a word beginning with the selected letter as that word appears in lowercase. Los monstruos dash across the screen, scattering the letters; drag them into the correct order. As you drop each brightly patterned, monster-featured letter into place, the letter says its sound in a silly voice, followed by the narrator saying its name.

A sentence using the featured word in context (e.g., for amigo, ¡Los monstruos están muy contentos por tener un amigo nuevo!) appears and is read by the narrator. Then the featured word is knocked out of the sentence; it’s pronounced again as you place it correctly. One or two other Spanish sight words such as algo (something), bonito (pretty/nice), muy (very), and que (that), which are presumably included in additional letter packs, are highlighted in each phrase as well. The sentence is followed by a brief, humorous animation explicating both the word’s meaning and the gist of the sentence.

endless spanish animation

“The monsters are very happy to have a new friend!”

Tap to repeat the narrator’s pronunciation of the featured word or the contextual frase as many times as you’d like. In English-translation mode, the narrator gives you the English counterpart of the word/sentence, too.

The silly monsters and the funny situations they get themselves into introduce new vocabulary in an engaging way. Upbeat background music, sometimes with a bit of mariachi flavor, adds to the app’s friendly feel. I’ve been trying — and failing — to brush up on mi poquito de español; perhaps I’ll add Endless Spanish to my rotation of Spanish-language learning apps alongside Mango Languages and Duolingo. Endless Spanish is certainly more fun!

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (requires iOS 7.0 or later). The free preview gives you one word for each letter of the alphabet up through F: amigo (friend), bien (good/well), casa (house), dijo (said), encontró (found), and flor (flower). Additional words must be purchased separately ($4.99/pack). Recommended for preschool users and up.

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12. Sailor Twain

Sailor Twain

Mark Siegel, editorial director and founder of Macmillan’s graphic novel–only imprint First Second Books

also author/illustrator of Moving House

illustrator of several picture books (Seadogs by Lisa Wheeler, Long Night Moon by Cynthia Rylant) and another graphic novel for children (Boogie Knights by Lisa Wheeler)

my first introduction to Siegel was To Dance: A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel, his wife Siena Cherson Siegel’s memoir of her experiences as a preprofessional student in the School of American Ballet.

With Sailor Twain: Or, The Mermaid in the Hudson (First Second, October 2012), Seigel

surreal magical realism

hefty graphic novel

Captain Twain, captain of a steamboat on the Hudson River, rescues a harpooned mermaid and nurses her back to health.

 

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13. Shoo, fly

It seems that the insect-of-the-moment is… the fly (and I don’t know why; maybe butterflies were too pretty). Here are five recent books starring those pests, plus reviews of a few more favorites below. Could that Old Lady who swallowed one have been on to something?

doodler_superfly  edwards_fly  heos_ifly    jonsson_astrid
Super Fly: The World’s Smallest Superhero! by Todd H. Doodler (Bloomsbury, May 2015)
Fly! by Karl Newsom Edwards (Knopf, March 2015)
I, Fly: The Buzz About Flies and How Awesome They Are by Bridget Heos; illus. by Jennifer Plecas (Holt, March 2015)
The Fly by Petr Horáček (Candlewick, May 2015)
Astrid the Fly by Maria Jönsson (Holiday, May 2015)

arnold_petArnold, Tedd A Pet for Fly Guy
32 pp. Scholastic/Orchard 2014. ISBN 978-0-545-31615-6

(3) K-3 In his first picture book outing, easy-reader star Fly Guy wants his own pet. He and (boy) Buzz are excited, then frustrated, then disappointed when each choice (dog, frog, worm) is unsuitable. The two realize that Fly Guy needs “a pet with a cool name.” Buzz? “YEZZ! BUZZ!” Arnold’s lively illustrations make the most of the characters’ special friendship; the final page is especially satisfying.

cronin_Diary of a fly book coverCronin, Doreen Diary of a Fly
40 pp. HarperCollins/Cotler 2007. ISBN 978-0-06-000156-8
Library binding ISBN 978-0-06-000157-5

(2) K-3 Illustrated by Harry Bliss. Like Diary of a Worm and Diary of a Spider, this book relays real-life information through Cronin’s impeccable comedic timing in a way that makes the facts memorable. Bliss’s illustrations, including additional pictures on the endpapers, incorporate many witty details. The short sentences and visual jokes make this a great selection for listeners and new readers alike.

gravel_flyGravel, Elise The Fly
32 pp. Tundra 2014. ISBN 978-1-77049-636-1
Ebook ISBN 978-1-77049-638-5

(3) K-3 Disgusting Critters series. This humorous, informative volume gives basic facts about the title creature. Cartoon illustrations and speech-bubble text play up the kid-friendly silliness: “The housefly is a member of the Muscidae family. Mom Muscidae, Dad Muscidae…Teenager Muscidae: ‘Yo!'” The familiar subject and friendly presentation give this book broad appeal.

howitt_flyHowitt, Mary The Spider and the Fly
40 pp. Simon 2010. ISBN 978-1-4424-1664-2

(3) K-3 Illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi. New ed., 2002. Inspired by Gorey, Addams, and film noir, DiTerlizzi spins his own stylish version of Howitt’s cautionary 1829 poem. As a debonair spider lures a doe-eyed fly to his lair, ghosts of the spider’s prey flit about. Black-and-white illustrations with a silvery sheen capture the dance with cinematic flair. This paper-over-board edition of the Caldecott Honor Book is notable for its bargain price.

mack_frog-and-flyMack, Jeff Frog and Fly: Six Slurpy Stories
40 pp. Philomel 2012. ISBN 978-0-399-25617-2

(3) PS It’s survival of the cleverest in these six short stories. Laid out in easy-to-read comic-book panels, the simple text focuses on several scenarios between a fly and the hungry frog that wants to slurp him up. Just when you think the fly is doomed every time, the frog gets his comeuppance in the final story and readers get a good laugh. Multi-media cartoons amusingly depict the conflicts.

reynolds_bighairydramaReynolds, Aaron Big Hairy Drama
128 pp. Holt 2010. ISBN 978-0-8050-8243-2
Paperback ISBN 978-0-8050-9110-6

(3) 1-3 Illustrated by Neil Numberman. Joey Fly, Private Eye series. In his second graphic novel, private investigator Joey Fly looks into another crime in the “bug city.” Butterfly actress Greta Divawing has disappeared on the eve of her opening-night performance of Bugliacci; the suspects are other members of the cast. Varied cartoon-panel illustrations feature details of bug life that add interest and humor to the mystery.

rosen_tinylittleflyRosen, Michael Tiny Little Fly
32 pp. Candlewick 2010. ISBN 978-0-7636-4681-3

(2) PS Illustrated by Kevin Waldron. “Tiny Little Fly / sees great big toes… / Tiny Little Fly / sits on Elephant’s nose.” Fly first bugs–then escapes from–Elephant, Hippo, and Tiger, even when they unite. In Waldron’s arresting digitally enhanced gouache and pencil illustrations, bold lines and a vivid palette command attention. With a pesky antihero and catchy repetitive verse, the story will captivate listeners.

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14. Sailor Twain

Sailor Twain

Mark Siegel, editorial director and founder of Macmillan’s graphic novel–only imprint First Second Books

also author/illustrator of Moving House

illustrator of several picture books (Seadogs by Lisa Wheeler, Long Night Moon by Cynthia Rylant) and another graphic novel for children (Boogie Knights by Lisa Wheeler)

my first introduction to Siegel was To Dance: A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel, his wife Siena Cherson Siegel’s memoir of her experiences as a preprofessional student in the School of American Ballet.

With Sailor Twain: Or, The Mermaid in the Hudson (First Second, October 2012), Seigel

surreal magical realism

hefty graphic novel

Captain Twain, captain of a steamboat on the Hudson River, rescues a harpooned mermaid and nurses her back to health.

 

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15. Solve the Outbreak app review

solve the outbreak menuWork your way up the Center for Disease Control’s ranks from trainee to master “disease detective” by uncovering the causes of disease outbreaks in Solve the Outbreak (CDC, 2013).

Every chapter presents background on a fictionalized outbreak and five clues, each followed by a multiple choice question to narrow down the outbreak’s source. The clues are supplemented with patient profiles and charts of data, notes on the diseases’ characteristics, tips for avoiding the featured disease, maps and stock photos, and clear definitions of unfamiliar terminology. After each chapter’s fifth Q&A, receive the “results” with your points and achievement badges — and hopefully a promotion! There’s also an opportunity to read about the real case(s) that inspired that chapter’s outbreak mystery.

As you investigate the cases, you’ll learn about specific diseases — culprits include E. coli, lead poisoning, West Nile Virus, Legionnaire’s disease, and norovirus — and their transmission as well as methods for tracking and containing outbreaks. The tone is light and engaging (e.g., snappy CSI-worthy chapter titles such as “Up Sick Creek” and “Connect the Spots”) without minimizing the dangers of disease epidemics or the importance of preventative measures.

solve the outbreak spring break

Earn a perfect score solving the twelve outbreak cases in level 1 (don’t worry; you can do-over as much as needed) to access the four cases in recently added level 2 and earn specialist honors.

A few of the Q&As are gimmes; here’s an example from “Midterm Revenge,” the case of college students with a stomach bug:

“What should you do now?

  • Tell the sick students to stop partying so hard and go to class
  • Keep the sick students in the same area until their symptoms are gone
  • Find out if others are sick as well”

But overall, the information is solid, the mysteries are satisfying, and the format promotes both critical thinking and understanding of the scientific method. An “About the CDC” section and interspersed links to the CDC’s website provide additional health tips and contextual information on the CDC’s mission and programs.

If (like me) you liked American Museum of Natural History’s The Power of Poison app, give this one a try. Solving the cases will have you feeling like legendary disease detective George Soper — or possibly just feeling a little more germophobic than before.

Available for iPad (requires iOS 6.0 or later), for Android devices, and on the web; free. Recommended for intermediate users and up.

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16. Book & Me | Comic #2

Book & Me #2 by Charise Mericle Harper

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17. Book & Me | Comic #3

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18. Book & Me | Comic #4

Book & Me #4 by Charise Mericle Harper

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19. Marcia Brown, 1918-2015

brown_stonesoupWe were saddened to hear about the death of author-illustrator Marcia Brown this week at the age of ninety-six. The winner of three Caldecott Medals — for Cinderella in 1955, Once a Mouse in 1962, and Shadow in 1983 — she was also recognized with a whopping six Caldecott Honors (including her indelible Stone Soup in 1948). She was awarded the Regina Medal in 1977 and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal in 1992.

Writings by and about Brown frequently appeared in The Horn Book Magazine. Here is a sampling:

“Distinction in Picture Books” by Marcia Brown (1949)

1955 Caldecott Medal Acceptance by Marcia Brown

“My Goals as an Illustrator” by Marcia Brown (1967)

Letter, with illustration, from Marcia Brown to Bertha Mahony Miller (undated)

“Marcia Brown and Her Books” by Alice Dalgliesh (1955 Caldecott Medal profile)

“From Caldecott to Caldecott” by Helen Adams Masten (1962 Caldecott Medal profile)

“Marcia Brown” by Janet A. Loranger (1983 Caldecott Medal profile)

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20. Book & Me | Comic #7

Book & Me #7 by Charise Mericle Harper

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21. Everybody wants to be Press Here

When Hervé Tullet‘s Press Here came out in 2011, reviewer Lolly Robinson wrote that its ingenious interactivity “gives the iPad a licking.” Following a similar no-screen-needed interactive model is this lovely pair of books:

matheson_tap the magic tree    matheson_touch the brightest star
Susan Dove Lempke wrote of Tap the Magic Tree in the January/February 2014 Horn Book Magazine, “Perhaps inspired by the very popular Press Here, this is winsome in its own right and stylishly designed.” Its more bedtime-oriented companion book, Touch the Brightest Star, is reviewed in our May/June issue.

Here are a few brand-new arrivals with Press Here–like directions to tap, shake, rub, and blow on the pages:

yoon_tap to play

glass_do you want to build a snowman

bird_there's a mouse hiding in this book
What’s that saying about “the sincerest form of flattery?” 😉

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22. May Notes

The May edition of Notes from the Horn Book is on its way! An interview with Last Stop on Market Street illustrator Christian Robinson kicks it off, followed by

  • more picture books celebrating grandmas
  • picture-book musician biographies
  • intermediate fantasy with a hint of creepiness
  • historical fiction for teens

may 2015 notes

Read the issue online or subscribe to receive the monthly Notes from the Horn Book newsletter — along with Nonfiction Notes and Talks with Roger — in your inbox. For more recommended books and interviews, check out the newsletter archives.

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23. Publisher Anita Eerdmans on Roger Is Reading a Book

roger is reading a bookIn our May/June 2015 issue, we asked publisher Anita Eerdmans about the bespectacled, bowtied — and strangely familiar-looking — protagonist of Roger Is Reading a Book. Read the review here.

Horn Book Editors: We’d like to know: Is that Roger our Roger?

Anita Eerdmans: Yes and no. In the original Dutch, the main character is called simply Neighbor (Buurman). One of our acquisitions team members objected to the impersonal nature of it and suggested we give Neighbor a name — maybe something alliterative with the title. Something like… “Roger.” Those of us who know Roger Sutton were immediately struck by the character’s uncanny likeness (bowtie and all). And so to our great delight, “Neighbor” became “Roger” (with thanks to the Belgian publisher, De Eenhoorn, who allowed the change).

From the May/June 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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24. Book & Me | Comic #19

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25. Ilyasah Shabazz on X

shabazz_xIn our May/June 2015 issue, reviewer Martha V. Parravano talks to author Ilyasah Shabazz about her approach to writing a novel about her father, Malcolm X. Read the starred review of X here.

Martha V. Parravano: Why did you choose to present the story of Malcolm X’s formative years as fiction, rather than nonfiction — and told in the first person, at that?

Ilyasah Shabazz: I wanted to write a book that portrays my father in the light my family remembers him. I chose fiction to illuminate the true spirit of Malcolm that a straight biography couldn’t possibly capture. I wrote X to show teens who may share my father’s feeling of rejection by society that circumstance does not determine destiny. Through passion and hard work, any young person can rise up and make a difference. Writing in the first person enabled me to take the reader inside Malcolm’s head to experience his journey from lost adolescent to human-rights icon as he did — through his own eyes.

From the May/June 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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