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1. Books mentioned in the September 2014 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book

All about animals

Did You Know? series

DiSiena, Laura Lyn and Eliot, Hannah Chickens Don’t Fly: And Other Fun Facts
Illustrated by Pete Oswald
Gr. K–3
     32 pp.      Little Simon      2014
Trade ISBN 978-1-4424-9353-7
Paperback ISBN 978-1-4424-9326-1
E-book ISBN 978-1-4424-9327-8

DiSiena, Laura Lyn and Eliot, Hannah Hippos Can’t Swim: And Other Fun Facts
Illustrated by Pete Oswald
Gr. K–3     32 pp.     Little Simon     2014
Trade ISBN 978-1-4424-9352-0
Paperback ISBN 978-1-4424-9324-7
E-book ISBN 978-1-4424-9325-4

Jenkins, Steve The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest — and Most Surprising — Animals on Earth
Gr. 4–6      208 pp.      Houghton      2013
Trade ISBN 978-0-547-55799-1

Johnson, Jinny Animal Planet Atlas of Animals
Gr. 46      128 pp.      Millbrook      2013
Library binding ISBN 978-1-4677-1327-6

Johnson, Jinny Animal Planet Wild World: An Encyclopedia of Animals
Gr. 46      132 pp.      Millbrook      2013
Library binding ISBN 978-1-4677-1597-3

American Museum of Natural History Easy Readers series

Roop, Connie, and Roop, Peter Extreme Survivors
Gr. K-3
     32 pp.      Sterling      2014
Trade ISBN 978-1-4549-0631-5
Paperback ISBN 978-1-4027-7791-2

Stewart, Melissa World’s Fastest Animals
Gr. K-3
     32 pp.      Sterling      2014
Trade ISBN 978-1-4549-0633-9
Paperback ISBN 978-1-4027-7793-6

Think About series

Ziefert, Harriet Does a Bear Wear Boots?
Illustrated by Emily Bolam
Gr. K–3     32 pp.     Blue Apple     2014
Trade ISBN 978-1-60905-424-3

Ziefert, Harriet Does a Beaver Sleep in a Bed?
Illustrated by Emily Bolam
Gr. K–3     
32 pp.     Blue Apple     2014
Trade ISBN 978-1-60905-423-6

Ziefert, Harriet Does a Camel Cook Spaghetti?
Illustrated by Emily Bolam
Gr. K–3     
32 pp.     Blue Apple     2014
Trade ISBN 978-1-60905-422-9

Ziefert, Harriet Does a Panda Go to School?
Illustrated by Emily Bolam
Gr. K–3     32 pp.     Blue Apple     2014
Trade ISBN 978-1-60905-421-2

Ziefert, Harriet Does a Woodpecker Use a Hammer?
Illustrated by Emily Bolam
Gr. K–3     
32 pp.     Blue Apple     2014
Trade ISBN 978-1-60905-428-1

 

Disasters

Goldsmith, Connie Bombs over Bikini: The World’s First Nuclear Disaster
Middle school, high school     88 pp.     Twenty-First Century     2014
Library binding ISBN 978-1-4677-1612-3

Hopkinson, Deborah Titanic: Voices from the Disaster
Gr. 4–6     290 pp.      Scholastic      2012
Trade ISBN 978-0-545-11674-9

Rusch, Elizabeth Eruption!: Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives [Scientists in the Field series]
Photographs by Tom Uhlman
Gr. 4–6     76 pp.      Houghton      2013
Trade ISBN 978-0-547-50350-9

Rustad, Martha E. H. Hurricanes [Smithsonian Little Explorer series]
Gr. K-3     32 pp.      Capstone      2014
Library binding ISBN 978-1-4765-3932-4
Paperback ISBN 978-1-4765-5180-7

Sheinkin, Steve The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights
Middle school, high school     190 pp.     Roaring Brook     2014
Trade ISBN 978-1-59643-796-8

 

Performing artists

Cardillo, Margaret Just Being Audrey
Illustrated by Julia Denos
Gr. K–3     32 pp.     HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray     2011
Trade ISBN 978-0-06-185283-1

Cline-Ransome, Lesa Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson: Taking the Stage as the First Black-and-White Jazz Band in History
Illustrated by James E. Ransome
Gr. K–3     32 pp.     Holiday     2014
Trade ISBN 978-0-8234-2362-0

Ko, Alex Alex Ko: From Iowa to Broadway, My Billy Elliot Story
Gr. 4–6     328 pp.     HarperCollins/Harper     2013
Trade ISBN 978-0-06-223601-2

Powell, Patricia Hruby Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker
Illustrated by Christian Robinson
Gr.  4–6      104 pp.      Chronicle      2014
Trade ISBN 978-1-4521-0314-3

Robertson, Robbie, Jim Guerinot, Sebastian Robertson, and Jared Levine Legends, Icons & Rebels: Music That Changed the World
Middle school, high school      128 pp.      Tundra         2013
Trade ISBN 978-1-77049-571-5

 

Careers and community helpers

Inside the Industry series

Buckley, A. M. The Arts
Middle school, high school     112 pp.     ABDO     2011
Library binding ISBN 978-1-61714-797-5

Freese, Susan M. Fashion
Middle school, high school     112 pp.     ABDO     2011
Library binding ISBN 978-1-61714-800-2

Hamen, Susan E. Engineering
Middle school, high school     112 pp.      ABDO     2011
Library binding ISBN 978-1-61714-798-2

Lusted, Marcia Amidon Entertainment
Middle school, high school       112 pp.     ABDO     2011
Library binding ISBN 978-1-61714-799-9

Curtis, Jennifer Keats Animal Helpers: Wildlife Rehabilitators
Gr. K–3      32 pp.      Sylvan Dell     2012
Trade ISBN 978-1-60718-671-7
Paperback ISBN 978-1-60718-672-4

Work of Heroes: First Responders in Action series

Goldish, Meish Doctors to the Rescue
Gr. 4–6     32 pp.     Bearport     2011
Library binding ISBN 978-1-61772-285-1

Goldish, Meish Firefighters to the Rescue
Gr. 4–6     32 pp.     Bearport     2011
Library binding ISBN 978-1-61772-284-4

White, Nancy Paramedics to the Rescue
Gr. 4–6     32 pp.     Bearport     2011
Library binding ISBN 978-1-61772-282-0

White, Nancy Police Officers to the Rescue
Gr. 4–6      32 pp.     Bearport     2011
Library binding ISBN 978-1-61772-283-7

Oxlade, Chris, and Thea Feldman [Kingfisher Readers series]
Gr. K–3     32 pp.      Kingfisher/Macmillan      2014
Trade ISBN 978-0-7534-7122-7
Paperback ISBN 978-0-7534-7123-4

Rhatigan, Joe People You Gotta Meet Before You Grow Up: Get to Know the Movers and Shakers, Heroes and Hot Shots in Your Hometown
Gr. 4–6      128 pp.      Charlesbridge/Imagine      2014
Trade ISBN 978-1-62354-004-3

 

After–school activities

Edge Books: Magic Manuals series

Barnhart, Norm Dazzling Card Tricks
Gr. 4–6      32 pp.      Capstone      2013
Library binding ISBN 978-1-4765-0133-8

Barnhart, Norm Marvelous Money Tricks
Gr. 4–6        32 pp.      Capstone      2013
Library binding ISBN 978-1-4765-0134-5

Snap Books: Paint It series

Bolte, Mari Oil Paints
Gr. 4–6      32 pp.      Capstone      2013
Library binding ISBN 978-1-4765-3110-6

Bolte, Mari Watercolors
Gr. 4–6      32 pp.      Capstone      2013
Library binding ISBN 978-1-4765-3108-3

Brown, Peggy The Little Golden Book of Jokes and Riddles
Illustrated by David Sheldon
Gr. K–3      24 pp.      Golden      2013
Trade ISBN 978-0-307-97916-2

Essential Critiques series

Hamen, Susan E. How to Analyze the Films of the Coen Brothers
Middle school, high school      112 pp.      ABDO    2012
Library binding ISBN 978-1-61783-454-7

Hermansson, Casie How to Analyze the Films of Clint Eastwood
Middle school, high school      112 pp.      ABDO      2012
Library binding ISBN 978-1-61783-453-0

Kidd, Chip Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design
Middle school, high school      160 pp.      Workman      2013
Trade ISBN 978-0-7611-7219-2

These titles were featured in the September 2014 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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2. After-school activities

barnhart dazzling card tricks After school activitiesBarnhart, Norm Dazzling Card Tricks
Gr. 4–6   32 pp.  Capstone

Barnhart, Norm Marvelous Money Tricks
Gr. 4–6   32 pp.  Capstone

Edge Books: Magic Manuals series. Accessible step-by-step instructions, clear demonstrative photographs, and “what you need” sidebars teach readers to master simple but impressive magic tricks with cards or money. Tips for performing the tricks effectively and smoothly in front of an audience are worked into the narrative. These books will be appealing and useful for anyone interested in magic.  
Subjects: Games, magic, and riddles

bolte oil paints After school activitiesBolte, Mari Oil Paints
Gr. 4–6   32 pp.  Capstone

Bolte, Mari Watercolors
Gr. 4–6   32 pp.  Capstone

Snap Books: Paint It series. These useful books familiarize readers with two types of artists’ paints. There’s a bit of history (oil paints were first used in the 1300s), a little chemistry (watercolors contain pigments mixed with gum Arabic), information on surfaces and brushes, and much about techniques and effects. Step-by-step projects that are not overly complex will nevertheless challenge and satisfy dedicated art students. Reading list.
Subjects: Visual arts; Painting

brown little golden book sof jokes and riddles After school activitiesBrown, Peggy The Little Golden Book of Jokes and Riddles
Gr. K–3   24 pp.  Golden

Illustrated by David Sheldon. “Why did the girl throw the clock out the window? To see time fly!” These mostly familiar standards may be new to beginning readers, who will enjoy learning and sharing them. Humorous color illustrations fit the mood and match the subject.
Subjects: Games, magic, and riddles; Jokes

 

hamen how to analyze the films of the coen brothers After school activitiesHamen, Susan E. How to Analyze the Films of the Coen Brothers
Middle school, high school   112 pp.  ABDO

Hermansson, Casie How to Analyze the Films of Clint Eastwood
Middle school, high school   112 pp.  ABDO

Essential Critiques series. These volumes introduce cinematic criticism, provide summaries of the filmmakers’ famous works, and offer lightly annotated essays modeling the application of criticism through different approaches. Each book leads readers through key steps of analysis and encourages readers’ own critiques. Featuring the work of currently popular directors enlivens these suitable overviews of film interpretation and essay construction. Reading list, timeline, websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Visual arts; Coen, Joel; Coen, Ethan; Eastwood, Clint; Writing; Motion pictures

kidd go After school activitiesKidd, Chip Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design
Middle school, high school   160 pp.  Workman

Kidd makes graphic design immediate and accessible to middle schoolers and up by posing questions and answering them in engaging ways. The first four chapters — “Form,” “Typography,” “Content,” “Concept” — tackle design essentials and some advanced ideas. The final chapter presents “10 Design Projects.” The book’s inside back cover provides resources including websites, museums, and design organizations.
Subjects: Visual arts

From the September 2014 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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3. Careers and community helpers

buckley the arts Careers and community helpersBuckley, A. M. The Arts
Middle school, high school   112 pp.  ABDO

Freese, Susan M. Fashion
Middle school, high school   112 pp.  ABDO

Hamen, Susan E. Engineering
Middle school, high school   112 pp.  ABDO

Lusted, Marcia Amidon Entertainment
Middle school, high school   112 pp.  ABDO

Inside the Industry series. Each book describes four careers; for example, Arts covers artist, dancer, photographer, and curator. Readers learn what each job entails (e.g., “What Is an Artist?”) and what they can do to prepare for these competitive professions (“Would You Make a Good Artist?”). The somewhat bland texts, accompanied by young-person-heavy stock photos, could be useful as general introductions to the title careers. Reading list, websites. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Occupations and Careers; Artists; Dance; Photography; Museums; Fashion; Clothing; Engineering; Performing arts

curtis animal helpers Careers and community helpersCurtis, Jennifer Keats Animal Helpers: Wildlife Rehabilitators
Gr. K–3   32 pp.  Sylvan Dell

Appealing close-up photos of wild animal orphans being fed and cared for by specially trained people show how injured or abandoned creatures can thrive with extra intervention. The goal is to reintroduce them into the wild once they are physically fit. Large photos without busy backgrounds and limited text target younger audiences. Appended activities include more detailed information about caring for injured wildlife.
Subjects: Occupations and careers; Wildlife rescue; Animals

goldish doctors to the rescue Careers and community helpersGoldish, Meish Doctors to the Rescue
Gr. 4–6   32 pp.  Bearport

Goldish, Meish Firefighters to the Rescue
Gr. 4–6   32 pp.  Bearport

White, Nancy Paramedics to the Rescue
Gr. 4–6   32 pp.  Bearport

White, Nancy Police Officers to the Rescue
Gr. 4–6    32 pp.  Bearport

Work of Heroes: First Responders in Action series. This well-organized series explores the education, specialized training, and daily responsibilities of the featured first responders. Photographs capture the action and enhance the accessible texts, which include details about routine as well as extraordinary incidents, notable rescues, and firsthand accounts. Rescue fans will find much to pore over in these engaging and age-appropriate volumes. Reading list, websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Occupations and careers; Police officers; Doctors; Hospitals; Medicine; Firefighters

oxlade firefighters Careers and community helpersOxlade, Chris, and Thea Feldman Firefighters
Gr. K–3   32 pp.  Kingfisher/Macmillan

Kingfisher Readers series. Thirteen two-page chapters introduce newly independent readers to components of firefighters’ jobs, addressing procedural variations and lesser-known aspects such as service at airports and on “fire engines at sea.” Bright, action-filled stock photos are strategically positioned to illustrate new information and support in-text explanations of subject-specific terms (breathing apparatus, hydrants, nozzle). Fact boxes appear throughout. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Occupations and careers; Firefighters; Fire

rhatigan people you gotta meet before you grow up Careers and community helpersRhatigan, Joe People You Gotta Meet Before You Grow Up: Get to Know the Movers and Shakers, Heroes and Hot Shots in Your Hometown
Gr. 4–6
   128 pp.  Charlesbridge/Imagine

Each section in this guide introduces an everyday “difference-maker” and offers strategies for how to meet one locally along with questions to ask and websites to visit; interviews and mini profiles conclude some chapters. The subjects (judge, crafter, “someone from a different religion”) are a random assortment and the design is rather busy, but the energetic tone sets this title apart from other community-helper books. Ind.
Subjects: Occupations and careers; City and town life; Community helpers; Work

From the September 2014 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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4. Performing artists

cardillo just being audrey Performing artistsCardillo, Margaret Just Being Audrey
Gr. K–3   32 pp.  HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray

Illustrated by Julia Denos. From Audrey Hepburn’s childhood in Nazi-occupied Europe, to a film career, motherhood, and role as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, this picture book biography encapsulates Hepburn’s “certain something.” Cardillo’s prose is focused and elegant; Denos’s paintings perfectly depict the delicate beauty and iconic style of her subject. Author and illustrator notes detail the lasting influence of Hepburn’s achievements and charisma. Timeline. Bib.
Subjects: Individual biographies; Women—Biographies; Hepburn, Audrey; Women—Actors; Actors

cline ransome benny goodman and teddy wilson Performing artistsCline-Ransome, Lesa Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson: Taking the Stage as the First Black-and-White Jazz Band in History
Gr. K–3   32 pp.  Holiday

Illustrated by James E. Ransome. Goodman grew up in Chicago, a working-class Jewish boy; Wilson lived in Tuskegee, Alabama, a middle-class African American boy. The story of how the two jazz musicians met and formed the Benny Goodman Trio (the “first interracial band to perform publicly”) is recounted in short bursts of text, almost like jazz riffs, accompanied by pencil and watercolor illustrations that capture distinctive moments. Timeline.
Subjects: Individual biographies; Wilson, Teddy; Goodman, Benny; Bands; Musicians; Music—Jazz; Race relations; Jews; African Americans

ko from iowa to broadway Performing artistsKo, Alex Alex Ko: From Iowa to Broadway, My Billy Elliot Story
Gr. 4–6   328 pp.  HarperCollins/Harper

Iowa native Alex Ko trained in gymnastics and competitive dance before focusing on ballet at his dying father’s insistence. Eventually, overcoming injury and financial struggle, Ko went on to star as Billy in Broadway’s Billy Elliot at the age of thirteen. Readers will find this look at the demanding process of making it onstage (and backstage) both insightful and inspiring.
Subjects: Individual biographies; Sports—Gymnastics; Iowa; Performing arts; Plays; Autobiographies; Theater; Dance

powell josephine Performing artistsPowell, Patricia Hruby Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker
Gr.  4–6   104 pp.  Chronicle

Illustrated by Christian Robinson. This distinguished biography conveys dancer Josephine Baker’s passion, exuberance, dignity, and eccentricity through words and pictures that nearly jump off the page. Powell doesn’t shy away from the challenges (including racism) Baker faced but emphasizes that Baker never let them overwhelm her joy in performing. Robinson’s highly stylized, boldly colored illustrations are at once sophisticated and inviting to young readers. Reading list.
Subjects: Individual biographies; Race relations; France; Women—Biographies; African Americans; Women—African Americans; Baker, Josephine; Dance; Women—Dancers; Entertainers; Women—Entertainers

robertson legends icons and rebels Performing artistsRobertson, Robbie, Jim Guerinot, Sebastian Robertson, and Jared Levine Legends, Icons & Rebels: Music That Changed the World
Middle school, high school   128 pp.  Tundra

In this oversize, weighty volume, music-industry-veteran authors offer collected anecdotal sketches, including personal memories, of twenty-seven music “risk-takers” such as Aretha Franklin, the Beatles, and Bob Dylan. Their meteoric careers, many touched by tragedy, are justly celebrated. A timeline of these artists’ first recordings (1925–1968) ends the book, which includes two CDs of sparkling audio quality with one iconic song by each artist.
Subjects: Collective biographies; Musicians; Music

From the September 2014 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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5. Disasters

goldsmith bombs over bikini DisastersGoldsmith, Connie Bombs over Bikini: The World’s First Nuclear Disaster
Middle school, high school   88 pp.  Twenty-First Century

This book offers a riveting tale of the aftermath of U.S. nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific. The tests themselves and the lives of the Marshall Islanders directly affected by the resulting radiation contamination are described in engrossing detail. Sidebars, quotes from primary sources, and period photographs supplement the informative and thought-provoking narrative. Reading list, websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Modern history; Disasters; Marshall Islands; Atomic bomb; Nuclear weapons; Pacific

hopkinson titanic DisastersHopkinson, Deborah Titanic: Voices from the Disaster
Gr. 4–6   290 pp.  Scholastic

Hopkinson provides young readers with a basic introduction to the event without overdramatizing, drawing unwarranted conclusions, or prolonging the ordeal. Her “characters,” real survivors whose voices relate many of the subsequent events, include crew members as well as travelers in first, second, and third class. Appended material includes chapter notes, sources, archival photos, and short biographies of those mentioned. Timeline. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Modern history; Titanic (Steamship); Disasters; Shipwrecks

rusch eruption DisastersRusch, Elizabeth Eruption!: Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives
Gr. 4–6   76 pp.  Houghton

Scientists in the Field series. Photographs by Tom Uhlman. This terrific series installment features the dedicated geologists of the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program, which provides technical expertise in eruption prediction. The portrayal of scientific investigation is exceptional: scientists build and monitor equipment, interview residents, and collect ash and rock samples. Photographs not only feature awe-inspiring shots of volcanoes but also depict human vulnerability to these natural disasters. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Earth science; Natural disasters—volcanoes; Scientists

rustad hurricanes DisastersRustad, Martha E. H. Hurricanes
Gr. K–3   32 pp.  Capstone

Smithsonian Little Explorer series. Lots of photographs, diagrams, and charts support a brief, accessible text to introduce hurricanes, their behavior and characteristics, and the destruction they cause. A world map covers different hurricane seasons, and “famous” storms are briefly profiled. The back matter includes “Critical thinking” questions designed (“using the Common Core”) to encourage further exploration of the topic. Reading list. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Earth science; Natural disasters—hurricanes

sheinkin port chicago 50 DisastersSheinkin, Steve The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights
Middle school, high school   190 pp.  Roaring Brook

The Port Chicago 50 was a group of black navy recruits assigned the dangerous job of loading bombs onto battleships. When an (inevitable) explosion left hundreds dead, fifty men refused to go back to work, occasioning a trial for mutiny. An unusual entry point for the study of WWII and the nascent civil rights movement. Photographs are helpful, and documentation is thorough. Bib., ind.
Subjects: Modern history; United States Navy; Trials; Mutiny; California; African Americans; History, Modern—World War II; Sailors; Prejudices; Race relations; Civil rights

From the September 2014 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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6. All about animals

disiena chickens dont fly All about animalsDiSiena, Laura Lyn and Eliot, Hannah Chickens Don’t Fly: And Other Fun Facts
Gr. K–3
   32 pp.  Little Simon

DiSiena, Laura Lyn and Eliot, Hannah Hippos Can’t Swim: And Other Fun Facts
Gr. K–3
   32 pp.  Little Simon

Did You Know? series. Illustrated by Pete Oswald. Each volume presents select trivia about a variety of creatures. For example, the peregrine falcon is the fastest animal on earth, diving at two-hundred miles per hour (from Chickens); and ants take about 250 one-minute naps a day (from Hippos). While the cartoon illustrations make no attempt to be accurate, they add even more humor to these jocular, enjoyable collections.
Subjects: Animal behavior; Humorous stories

jenkins animal book All about animalsJenkins, Steve The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest — and Most Surprising — Animals on Earth
Gr. 4–6   208 pp.  Houghton

This thoughtful and coherent book begins with a survey of the animal kingdom, then covers “Family,” “Senses,” “Predators,” and “Defenses.” A section on “Animal Extremes” provides Guinness Book–type facts kids love, and the concluding section, “The Story of Life,” explores evolution. The paper-collage art throughout is taken from Jenkins’s many previous books; each image is recontextualized to serve the book’s purpose. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Natural history; Animals

johnson Animal Planet Atlas of Animals All about animalsJohnson, Jinny Animal Planet Atlas of Animals
Gr. 4–6   128 pp.  Millbrook

Johnson, Jinny Animal Planet Wild World: An Encyclopedia of Animals
Gr. 4–6   132 pp.  Millbrook

These two different ways of organizing animals worldwide both begin with overviews of the animal kingdom; Atlas groups animals by continents and regions, Wild by five major types. Both books are lavish with photos, illustrations, and descriptive captions, and colored borders and headers keep things organized. Overlap is inevitable, but the writing is clear, intelligent, and unsensational. Atlas contains a glossary. Ind.
Subjects: Natural history; Encyclopedias; Animals

roop extreme survivors All about animalsRoop, Connie, and Roop, Peter Extreme Survivors
Gr. K–3
   32 pp.  Sterling

Stewart, Melissa World’s Fastest Animals
Gr. K–3
   32 pp.  Sterling

American Museum of Natural History Easy Readers series. From fastest runners and swimmers to deep-water and desert dwellers, these volumes present some extreme traits and habitats of animals ranging from the familiar (cheetahs, polar bears) to the unusual (giant tubeworms, microscopic water bears). The striking color photographs and astounding facts delivered via engaging prose (“It can grab an insect faster than you can blink your eyes”) will captivate beginning readers.
Subjects: Animals; Habitats; Animal behavior

ziefert does a bear wear boots All about animalsZiefert, Harriet Does a Bear Wear Boots?
Gr. K–3  
32 pp.  Blue Apple

Ziefert, Harriet Does a Beaver Sleep in a Bed?
Gr. K–3  
32 pp.  Blue Apple

Ziefert, Harriet Does a Camel Cook Spaghetti?
Gr. K–3  
32 pp.  Blue Apple

Ziefert, Harriet Does a Panda Go to School?
Gr. K–3  
32 pp.  Blue Apple

Ziefert, Harriet Does a Woodpecker Use a Hammer?
Gr. K–3  
32 pp.  Blue Apple

Think About series. Illustrated by Emily Bolam. These animal behavior/social studies hybrids follow a similar pattern. Silly animal questions (“Does a squirrel cook?”) and informative answers (“A polar bear sleeps on the snowy ground inside a den”) are followed by simple discussions of human customs. Bolam’s inviting illustrations make the most of the premise and reflect the text’s informal tone. Prompts for further investigation are appended.
Subjects: Clothing; Customs; Animals; Animal Behavior; Sleep; Cookery; Food; Schools; Tools

From the September 2014 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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7. Middle-grade BFFs

The friends you make in childhood can be the best ones of your life. The following books highlight unlikely friendships that are made to last.

curtis madman of piney woods Middle grade BFFs   Christopher Paul Curtis’s The Madman of Piney Woods (companion to Newbery Honor Book Elijah of Buxton) takes place in 1901, with the American Civil War a not-so-distant memory for Buxton’s elders. For thirteen-year-old black Canadian Benji Alston, though, daily life involves coping with two irritatingly gifted younger siblings and dreaming of becoming a newspaper reporter. Benji befriends Alvin “Red” Stockard, an Irish Canadian boy who lives in nearby Chatham, and the two uncover the mystery and tragedy surrounding the supposedly mythical Madman of Piney Woods. A profoundly moving yet also at times very funny novel about family, friendship, community, and the power of words. (Scholastic, 9–13 years)

hahn where i belong Middle grade BFFs“How come some kids are lucky and others aren’t?” asks Brendan, the (unlucky) protagonist of Where I Belong by Mary Downing Hahn. Abandoned at birth by his mother and now, on the verge of failing sixth grade, living with an apparently unloving foster mom, Brendan finds refuge in a secret tree house he builds in the woods, and in tentative friendships with a girl named Shea and with an old man in the woods, whom Brendan initially believes is the “Green Man.” This is quintessential middle-grade realistic fiction, with an unvarnished depiction of the miseries that can be visited upon a quiet sixth grader and the succor that can be found in the hard-won friendship of peers and the attention of understanding elders. (Clarion, 8–11 years)

french my cousins keeper Middle grade BFFsWhen his cousin Bon comes to live at his house, eleven-year-old Kieran is mad: Bon is “weird.” He has a long braid and tattered clothing; smells of sweat and pee; and talks in an unnaturally precise manner, all of which make Bon a target of the cool-kid bullies at school (and ruining Kieran’s chance of hanging out with the cool kids himself). Bon’s only friend is another newcomer, Julia, and Kieran is jealous of their friendship: he wants to be friends with Julia. Bon keeps a notebook filled with fantastical drawings and tales of Bon the Crusader, Kieran the Brave, and Julia the Fair; as the protagonists grow into Bon’s roles for them, My Cousin’s Keeper by Simon French becomes a story of kids who dare to imagine worlds and become who they need to be. (Candlewick, 8–11 years)

turner circa now Middle grade BFFsIn Circa Now by Amber McRee Turner, main character Circa’s father is killed by a tornado while delivering an old photo he’s restored. Then Miles shows up on her family’s doorstep, a boy with amnesia whose only clue to his past is the photograph he’s holding — the very one Circa’s father was delivering when he died. As Circa and her mother care for Miles they uncover a strange series of coincidences, and Circa begins to think the digital changes she and her father made to photographs have come to exist in real life. Does this mean she can bring her father back? Gentle quirkiness and light humor appear throughout Turner’s tale of grief, healing, and friendship. (Disney-Hyperion, 9–13 years)

From the September 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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8. Nature lovers

Back-to-school blues? Give kids these engaging science books — which introduce primary readers to intriguing animals, habitats, natural processes, and conservation causes — to pique scientific curiosity and fuel imagination.

roy neigborhood sharks Nature loversKatherine Roy’s Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands examines the sometimes chilling, always fascinating details of what makes the great white shark an effective predator. The dramatic main narrative describes a shark swimming and hunting; well-integrated, information-rich sections tell more about the biology and ecology of these sharks and about the scientists who study their role in the Farallon Island ecosystem. The explanations are thorough and even, incorporating excellent analogies (in both text and images) to elucidate such topics as sharks’ streamlined bodies and visual acuity. Roy’s illustrations masterfully employ perspective and color: blood-reds flow through the ocean’s blues and grays. (Roaring Brook/Macaulay, 5–8 years)

bang buried Nature loversMolly Bang and Penny Chisholm have previously coauthored two excellent books (Living Sunlight, Ocean Sunlight) on the role of the sun’s energy in powering life processes on Earth. In Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth, Bang and Chisholm explore the production and consumption of fossil fuels, as well as the sobering evidence for the consequences of all that energy use: climate change. The sun itself narrates the “Cycle of Life” — the relationship among photosynthesis (plants), respiration (animals), and energy that results in the fossil fuels so dear to modern civilization. Bang’s illustrations brilliantly represent the chemistry with bright yellow dots of energy and tiny black-and-white molecules of oxygen and carbon dioxide. (Scholastic/Blue Sky, 5–8 years)

davies tiny creatures Nature loversIn Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes, author Nicola Davies introduces an intriguing concept: that there are vast quantities of living things (microbes) that are smaller than the eye can see. She does it through creative, relatable analogies and itchy-but-cool facts about the microbes that live on and in us (“Right now there are more microbes living on your skin than there are people on Earth”). The tone is light and inquisitive yet also scientifically precise, covering topics such as the shape and variety of microbes, their function, and their reproduction. Emily Sutton’s colorful, friendly illustrations accurately render the microorganisms’ shapes. (Candlewick, 4–7 years)

duke in the rainforest Nature loversKate Duke’s In the Rainforest, a Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series entry, welcomes readers to a unique habitat as two youngsters pack for, travel to, and walk through a tropical rainforest. The main text and the children’s tour guide (in conversational speech balloons) cover the rainforest’s physical features and its abundant diversity of plants and animals. Cheerful mixed-media illustrations show the children enjoying climbing trees, journaling, and learning. When leaving, the visitors encounter a vast wasteland where trees and wildlife have been destroyed, which prompts a matter-of-fact discussion of the repercussions of such destruction. Rather than end on a negative note, however, the guide and the children return to the rainforest — as the guide says, there’s “lots more to show you.” (HarperCollins/Harper, 4–7 years)

From the September 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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9. For not-rotten readers

Following your dreams and dealing with family: these topics get hilarious treatment for primary readers in the following early chapter books. An added bonus? Some familiar faces from popular series.

gantos rotten ralphs rotten family For not rotten readersIn Jack Gantos and Nicole Rubel’s Rotten Ralph’s Rotten Family, the titular kitty finds a family photo album and, nostalgic for his childhood, decides to visit his kin. His mother treats him well, but other relatives humiliate him — and poor Ralph realizes that he’s so rotten because his family was rotten to him! After a few Rotten Ralph picture books, the return to the longer early-chapter-book format leaves room for a more sophisticated story line to emerge. Never fear; Ralph’s rotten behavior, sure to bring a chuckle to fans old and new, is still front and center in Gantos’s freewheeling text and Rubel’s energetic illustrations. (Farrar, 5–8 years)

dicamillo leroy niker saddles up For not rotten readersIn Leroy Ninker Saddles Up, Leroy (the “reformed thief” from Kate DiCamillo and Chris Van Dusen’s Mercy Watson books) makes ends meet serving popcorn at the drive-in, but dreams of being a cowboy. Sporting a cowboy hat, lasso, and boots, he watches raptly the Wednesday night Western double-feature but makes little progress otherwise. When he receives the advice that “Every cowboy needs a horse,” Leroy purchases “very exceptionally cheap” Maybelline and throws himself into horse-ownership — but acquiring a horse and keeping one turn out to be two different challenges. This entertaining tale balances comically exaggerated details and true heart. (Candlewick, 5–8 years)

milway pigsticks and harold For not rotten readersPigsticks Pig — star of Pigsticks and Harold and the Incredible Journey — comes from a long line of august ancestors. But a young pig has to make his own mark, and Pigsticks decides on an expedition to the Ends of the Earth. He engages anxious, cake-loving hamster Harold as an assistant, and, in three generously illustrated chapters, we follow the explorers as they survive swamps, deserts, rickety rope bridges, malevolent mountain goats, and more. Alex Milway’s tongue-in-cheek text and slapdash-goofy pictures provide much humor. (Candlewick, 5–8 years)

schanen quinny and hopper For not rotten readersThe eponymous brand-new next-door-neighbor kids in Quinny & Hopper couldn’t be more different: quiet, analytical loner Hopper is initially baffled (and a little appalled) by Quinny’s cutesiness and high volume. But in battling Hopper’s bullying brothers on his behalf, Quinny wins him over, and the two become friends — until snooty new girl Victoria barges her way between them. Debut author Adriana Brad Schanen nicely balances the alternating perspectives of Quinny and Hopper and paints a comically exaggerated but essentially truthful picture of life with siblings. Illustrator Greg Swearingen deftly captures each child’s emotions. (Disney-Hyperion, 5–8 years)

From the August 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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10. Beyond biography

With storytelling ease and pitch-perfect pacing, the following works of narrative nonfiction for older readers bring their subjects to brilliant life, elevating the sometimes-staid genre of biography to literary art form.

woodson brown girl dreaming Beyond biographyJacqueline Woodson’s memoir-in-verse Brown Girl Dreaming is so immediate that readers will feel they are experiencing the author’s childhood right along with her. Born in Ohio in 1963, Jackie moved with her family to Greenville, South Carolina, to live with her maternal grandparents. We see young Jackie grow up in historical context alongside the contexts of extended family, community (Greenville, later Brooklyn), and religion — and we trace her development as a nascent writer to her realization that “words are [her] brilliance.” The poetry sings in this extraordinary portrait of a writer as a young girl. (Penguin/Paulsen, 10–14 years)

mccully ida m tarbell Beyond biographyEmily Arnold McCully creates a multilayered biography of a crusading early-twentieth-century journalist in Ida M. Tarbell: The Woman Who Challenged Big Business — and Won! Readers meet young Ida growing up in Pennsylvania oil country. A curious child, Tarbell’s lessons learned from scientific inquiry led to her dogged determination to get to the bottom of an issue. McCully engagingly re-creates the era’s social context for women (famously, Tarbell didn’t believe in women’s suffrage) as well as the culture and importance of print media, allowing readers to draw their own conclusions about Tarbell’s positions and her times. (Clarion, 10–14 years)

fleming romanov Beyond biographyCandace Fleming’s riveting book The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia appeals to the imagination as much as the intellect. Her focus is not just the Romanovs (the last imperial family of Russia), but the Revolutionary leaders and common people as well, showing how each group was the product of its circumstances and how they all moved inexorably toward the tragic yet fascinating conclusion. An epic, sweeping historical narrative. (Random/Schwartz & Wade, 12–18 years)

paterson stories of my life Beyond biographyDemonstrating warmth, ease, and a sense of humor about herself, Katherine Paterson relates tales from her life, and from her parents’ and grandparents’, too, in Stories of My Life. The author gently ambles from story to story, looping through her youthful experiences in China and Japan, her marriage and children, and her writing. Throughout all there is a strong connection to Paterson’s childhood: “By the time I was five I had been through war and evacuation, but nothing had prepared me for the American public school system.” (Dial, 12 years and up)

From the August 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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11. Go your own way

Teen boys go on journeys both physical (road trip!) and psychological in these affecting YA novels.

smith 100 sideways miles Go your own wayFinn Easton, protagonist of Andrew Smith’s 100 Sideways Miles, has unusual scars on his back, products of the freak accident that also killed his mother when he was a kid. He has a pretty good life otherwise: his sci-fi novelist father loves him; his best friend Cade makes him laugh; and he has recently met Julia, the girl of his dreams. After Julia moves away, crestfallen Finn embarks on a college visit with Cade, a trip that turns the boys into heroes. Finn has a funny, fluid narrative voice, and his banter with Cade is excellent — and often hilariously vulgar. (Simon, 14 years and up)

willey beetle boy Go your own wayAs Charlie Porter convalesces from a ruptured Achilles tendon, his past — years of being paraded around in a beetle costume by his opportunistic father as the child author of the Beetle Boy series — resurfaces in nightmares in which he’s tormented by a giant beetle. Charlie wrestles with anger regarding the exploitation and abandonment he suffered as a child, guilt for escaping that suffering while leaving his little brother behind, and gratitude toward the crotchety children’s book author who cared for him. In her relentlessly honest but hopeful novel Beetle Boy, author Margaret Willey crafts a delicate psychological landscape through carefully timed flashbacks. (Carolrhoda Lab, 14 years and up)

sheff schizo Go your own wayTwo years ago a family outing to the beach ended in trauma when fourteen-year-old Miles experienced a psychotic break. While recovering in the psych ward, Miles received a life-changing diagnosis of schizophrenia along with some devastating news: during the commotion of his episode, Miles’s little brother went missing and is presumed drowned. Miles begins a risky investigation into his brother’s disappearance shortly after ditching his cocktail of medications. Some readers will guess the twist ending of Nic Sheff’s Schizo, but will nevertheless hope for Miles to find peace with his life and with his illness. (Philomel, 12 years and up)

hiaasen skink no surrender Go your own wayAs Carl Hiaasen’s farcical Skink — No Surrender opens, teen narrator Richard’s cousin, Malley, runs away from home, and Richard is certain that she’s with a chat-room acquaintance almost twice her age. He tells Clint Tyree, a.k.a. Skink (the unkempt and unwavering former Florida governor who stars in several of Hiaasen’s adult novels), and the pair immediately takes off on an event-filled road trip to rescue Malley. Hiaasen smoothly integrates Skink’s vulnerabilities with his larger-than-life behaviors — including eating roadkill and wrestling an alligator — and Richard’s naiveté plays nicely against Skink’s extremism. (Knopf, 12–15 years)

From the August 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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12. Back-to-school basics

Kids going back to school — or just starting out there? Here are a variety of picture books, from imaginative and funny to historical and serious, to help ease the transition from the lazy days of summer.

shea dinosaur vs school Back to school basics“Roar! Roar! Roar!” The diminutive red dinosaur from Bob Shea’s Dinosaur vs. Bedtime faces its newest foe in Dinosaur vs. School. The new kindergartner romps and stomps its way through the day, making new friends, playing dress-up, and creating “monkey snacks.” In each case, “Dinosaur wins!” The fun comes to a halt at clean-up time: “OH, NO! It’s too much for one dinosaur!” But there’s a valuable little-kid lesson to be learned: “When everyone helps… EVERYONE WINS!” The mixed-media illustrations contain lots of color and motion, with real-life objects incorporated humorously into the digital collage. (Disney-Hyperion, 3–5 years)

brown my teacher is a monster Back to school basicsFrom the author-illustrator of Mr. Tiger Goes Wild comes another funny and perceptive picture book, My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.). To young Bobby, his rule-enforcing teacher Ms. Kirby looks like a monster, with green skin and sharp claws and teeth. But when the two meet unexpectedly outside of school one day, he begins to see her as more human, and gradually Ms. Kirby begins to look decreasingly monstrous. In watercolor, gouache, and India ink illustrations on thick paper, Peter Brown employs a cartoon-type format (with panels and speech bubbles) to tell a story that students and teachers will enjoy equally. (Little, Brown, 3–5 years)

bottner miss brooks story nook Back to school basicsSince we last saw her in Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I don’t), narrator Missy has developed a newfound appreciation for books. Now, in Barbara Bottner’s Miss Brooks’ Story Nook (where tales are told and ogres are welcome), she eagerly anticipates being read to each morning, though a neighborhood bully makes it hard to get to school on time. Then the power goes off, and the class must tell stories rather than read them. Missy makes up a story about an ogre, which helps her solve her bully problem. Michael Emberley’s pleasingly detailed pencil-and-wash illustrations give the characters distinctive personalities. (Knopf, 4–7 years)

tonatiuh separate is never equal Back to school basicsSeparate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh uses a child’s viewpoint to tell the remarkable story of how, seven years before the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, a Mexican American child and her family fought for — and won — the desegregation of schools in California. Illustrations reminiscent of the Mixtec codex, but collaged with paper, wood, cloth, and brick, accompany the straightforward narrative. This story deserves to be more widely known, and now, thanks to this book, it will be. (Abrams, 6–9 years)

From the August 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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13. Reading about WWI

One hundred years ago today, the first shots of World War I were fired. These books about the WWI era — fiction and nonfiction for a range of ages — are all recommended by The Horn Book Magazine and The Horn Book Guide.

Picture Books

decker letter home Reading about WWIThe text of Timothy Decker’s unusual picture book The Letter Home is a letter from a medic serving on the front lines during World War I to his young son back at home. A mood of sometimes ironic calm pervades both the spare, observant letter and the laconic black-and-white drawings, which depict the terrors of war in childlike terms: “Sometimes we played hide and seek.” It’s not clear who this book’s audience will be, but it deserves one. (Boyds Mills/Front, 2005)

knit your bit Reading about WWIMikey’s mother and sister are knitting for the troops in Deborah Hopkinson’s Knit Your Bit: A World War I Story; asked to join them, Mikey proclaims: “No way! Boys don’t knit.” Then Mikey’s teacher encourages students to participate in the Central Park Knitting Bee, and Mikey enlists his fellow boys. Heavy on olive and khaki, Steven Guarnaccia’s illustrations indicate the WWI setting but also capitalize on white space, giving readers room to consider the book’s themes. (Putnam, 2013)

Lewis Soldiers 232x300 Reading about WWIJ. Patrick Lewis offers a fictionalized account of the 1914 Christmas Truce of World War I in a picture book for middle-grade readers, And the Soldiers Sang. A Welsh soldier relates how British and German troops facing each other in trenches of the Western Front ceased their fighting on Christmas Day to engage in songs and friendly games. Gary Kelley’s dark, somber pastel illustrations add intensity to this moving story. (Creative Editions, 2011)

mccutchen christmas in the trenches Reading about WWIThe story of the same unofficial World War I Christmas truce is narrated by a grandfather and illustrated with Henri Sørensen’s eloquent oil paintings in Christmas in the Trenches. The bleakness of the trenches is balanced by author John McCutcheon’s emphasis on the indomitable spark of humanity. Based on the author’s 1984 folk song, the book displays a gentle and moving example of how to create peace. An author’s note, musical score, and CD are included. (Peachtree, 2006)

williams archies war Reading about WWIArchie Albright, protagonist of Marcia Williams’s Archie’s War, keeps a scrapbook/journal from 1914 to 1918; he collects his own comics and commentary, letters and postcards, newspaper clippings, and trading cards. Readers will be drawn in by the collage format. The satisfyingly busy pages provide much to pore over, unfold, and lift up, as well as a glimpse into life on the home front during World War I. (Candlewick, 2007)

 

Fiction

angus soldier dog Reading about WWIIn Sam Angus’s novel Soldier Dog, Stanley watches his beloved brother go off to war and then suffers from his father’s angry bouts with grief. Determined Stanley vows to protect his puppy, Soldier, from his father, and to reconnect with his brother. Stanley secures a spot in the military’s messenger dog service where he and the unit’s clever canines provide readers with a unique perspective on the Great War. (Feiwel, 2013)

boyne stay where you are and then leave Reading about WWIFour years ago, nine-year-old Alfie Summerfield’s dad, Georgie, went off to fight in WWI. For a while, letters from Georgie came regularly. Then they stopped altogether. Now Alfie (accidentally) learns that Georgie is in a nearby hospital, suffering from shell-shock. The third-person limited narration of John Boyne’s Stay Where You Are & Then Leave keeps readers experiencing events solely from Alfie’s intelligent but childlike point of view. (Holt, 2014)

fox dogs of war Reading about WWINathan Fox and Sheila Keenan present three stories of dogs who were active participants in wars in their wrenching graphic novel Dogs of War. Fox’s illustrations highlight the chaos and grimness of war, and the text, though sometimes dense, is overall well balanced with the art. A powerful author’s note, compelling stories, and the heroism of these dogs will likely inspire and move readers. (Scholastic/Graphix, 2013)

frost crossing stones Reading about WWIIn 1917, neighboring families face a sea of troubles. Two sons enlist in WWI; a suffragist aunt goes on a hunger strike; a seven-year-old daughter nearly dies from influenza. In Crossing Stones, Helen Frost reveals her story through tightly constructed poems. The discipline of the form mitigates against sentimentality, and the distinct voices of the characters lend immediacy and crispness to the tale. (Farrar/Foster, 2009)

hamley without warning Reading about WWIDennis Hamley’s Without Warning: Ellen’s Story takes place in World War I England as rigid class and gender boundaries begin to crumble. Teenage Ellen moves from her home to work at an estate, then turns to nursing in London, and finally to overseas duty at a French field station. Not even a fairy-tale ending can diminish this poignant and insightful historical novel told from Ellen’s first-person point of view. (Candlewick, 2007)

hartnett silver donkey Reading about WWIIn Sonya Hartnett’s The Silver Donkey, a provocative and elegantly honed tale about war’s toll on innocents, sisters Coco, eight, and Marcelle, ten, discover an English soldier hiding near their French village. They bring the WWI deserter food; he tells them allegorical stories inspired by a silver donkey given to him by his terminally ill brother. Occasional full-page black-and-white art by Don Powers deftly suggests setting and mood. (Candlewick, 2006)

morpurgo medal for leroy Reading about WWIA tale about family secrets and well-intentioned lies, Michael Morpurgo’s A Medal for Leroy is inspired by the real-life experiences of the first black British Army officer, who was prejudicially denied a medal for his actions during WWI. Though the focus of the book is on family relationships and the stories people invent to protect their loved ones, Morpurgo also offers an understated, unexpectedly gentle meditation on prejudice. (Feiwel, 2014)

moss winnies war Reading about WWIWith a difficult grandmother and a troubled mother, Winnie’s family life is challenging. But when the Spanish influenza hits in 1918, Winnie’s first priority is protecting them. The fear and desperation resulting from pandemic illness ring true in Jenny Moss’s Winnie’s War as the heroine faces her limitations, accepts uncontrollable events, and discovers a future for herself. An author’s note gives more history. (Walker, 2009)

obrien day of the assassins Reading about WWIJack Christie and his best friend Angus are caught up in the plot to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Having traveled through time to 1914 Sarajevo, the two become pawns in a struggle between competing factions. They must grapple with preserving or changing history and facing the resultant implications for the future. In Day of the Assassins, author Johnny O’Brien provides a fast-paced combo of speculative and historical fiction. (Candlewick/Templar, 2009)

sedgwick foreshadowing Reading about WWIIn Marcus Sedgwick’s The Foreshadowing, seventeen-year-old Sasha is a half-trained British nurse cursed with the ability to foresee imminent death. She runs away and follows her brother to the front, intent on saving him after a vision of his demise. An ongoing exploration of contemporary reactions to shell shock during World War I complements the plot and enriches Sasha’s character, and the clever conclusion is both surprising and apt. (Random House/Lamb, 2006)

slade megiddos shadow Reading about WWIAfter his older brother dies in combat, Edward, a sixteen-year-old Saskatchewan farm boy, lies about his age and enlists. He sees action in Palestine; it’s here that the horrors of the Great War are most graphically described. Arthur Slade puts an original spin on the experience of a young man going to war in his novel Megiddo’s Shadow. (Random House/Lamb, 2006)

westerfeld leviathan Reading about WWIScott Westerfeld’s Leviathan features a mix of alternative history and steampunk. As WWI breaks out, Prince Aleksandar and his advisers flee to the Swiss Alps. Meanwhile, Deryn Sharp, disguised as a boy, is aboard the British airship Leviathan, which crashes near Alek’s estate. As the two meet and begin the complicated dance of diplomacy, the story and characters come to life. Black-and-white illustrations by Keith Thompson capture Westerfeld’s complex world. Sequels Behemoth (2010) and Goliath (2011) continue the tale. (Simon Pulse, 2009)

 

Nonfiction

bausum unraveling freedom Reading about WWIAnn Bausum provides an informative overview of America’s involvement in WWI in Unraveling Freedom: The Battle for Democracy on the Home Front During World War I. She discusses President Wilson’s fight to enact laws against “anti-American” activities as an example of how political leaders during a national crisis have attempted to restrict personal freedom in the name of patriotism. Illustrations, photographs, and notes enhance the succinct text. A “Guide to Wartime Presidents” chart is appended. (National Geographic, 2010)

freedman war to end all wars Reading about WWIWith an abundance of historical photographs and a characteristically lucid, well-organized text, Russell Freedman’s The War to End All Wars: World War I documents the history of the First World War: from its tangled beginnings, through years of stalemate, to the collapse of empires and uneasy peace, and ending with a brief description of the rise of Hitler. Freedman’s narrative, dedicated to his WWI veteran father, is dramatic and often heart-wrenching. (Clarion, 2010)

murphy truce Reading about WWIThe first part of Truce: The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting by Jim Murphy sparely and effectively outlines the causes of the Great War. Murphy then moves into a close-up view of the trenches before providing an account of the 1914 Christmas Truce. This historical background gives the truce emotional resonance; the subsequent carnage is all the more sobering in contrast. Plentiful photographs and period illustrations convey the paradoxes well. (Scholastic, 2009)

Walker BlizzardGlass 237x300 Reading about WWIOn December 6, 1917, two ships headed for WWI-ridden Europe — one carrying relief supplies, the other carrying an extraordinary amount of explosive munitions — collided in the Halifax, Canada harbor. Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917 author Sally M. Walker sets the stage, then focuses on five families that lived in the waterfront neighborhoods. Through their eyes, we experience the explosion, devastating aftermath, and eventual rebuilding. Numerous black-and-white photographs, plus a couple of welcome maps, further chronicle events. (Holt 2011)

Don’t miss Touch Press’s nonfiction WWI Interactive app (2012), reviewed here.

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14. Board Book Roundup: Summer 2014 Edition

This column is part of a series of recommended board book roundups, formerly published twice a year, now published every season. You can find the previous installments here. Don’t miss Viki Ash’s primer “What Makes a Good Board Book?” from the March/April 2010 Horn Book Magazine.

blair baby animal farm Board Book Roundup: Summer 2014 EditionBaby Animal Farm
by Karen Blair
Candlewick    18 pp.
4/14    978-0-7636-7069-6    $6.99

Blair, doing her best Helen Oxenbury impersonation (successfully!), depicts a gaggle of cutie-patootie toddlers (accompanied by a puppy and one of the kids’ teddy bear) visiting a farm populated by baby animals: ducklings, chicks, piglet, etc. Simple, active sentences include accompanying kid-pleasing sound effects: “Feed the lamb. Baa, baa, baa… / Time for lunch. Nom, nom, nom.”

 

deneux jojos first word book Board Book Roundup: Summer 2014 EditionJojo’s First Word Book
by Xavier Deneux
Twirl    60 pp.
3/14    978-2-8480-1943-7    $16.99

Little rabbit Jojo and his sister Lulu learn basic kid-skills: getting dressed, eating with utensils, using the potty, etc. Each clear, uncluttered illustration shows one or both bunnies with items around them labeled with simple words (in script, for what it’s worth): “Jojo and Lulu’s house: chimney, roof, window, mailbox, door.” The sweet illustrations feature lots of rounded edges and saturated colors. Sturdy pages include thick tabs to quickly flip to four sections (“Jojo and Lulu,” “Home,” “Out and about,” “Animal friends”).

 

holub be patient pandora Board Book Roundup: Summer 2014 EditionBe Patient, Pandora! [Mini Myths]
by Joan Holub and Leslie Patricelli
Appleseed/Abrams    26 pp.
9/14    978-1-4197-0951-7    $6.95

 

holub play nice hercules Board Book Roundup: Summer 2014 EditionPlay Nice, Hercules! [Mini Myths]
by Joan Holub and Leslie Patricelli
Appleseed/Abrams    26 pp.
9/14    978-1-4197-0954-8    $6.95

Board book master Patricelli (Yummy Yucky; No No Yes Yes; The Birthday Box, among many others starring the adorable gender-neutral baby with the single spiral curl) and Ready-to-Read maven Holub (recent coauthor of the middle-grade Goddess Girls series) team up for these witty introductions to Greek myths for preschoolers — and also starring preschoolers. Hercules’s bearded, jeans-wearing dad tells him to “play nice” with his baby sister (“I am not nice. I am strong!”). Pandora’s mom warns: “Do not open the box” — which turns out to contain cupcakes. The last page in each book gives a very brief synopsis of each Greek myth.

 

samoun how gator says goodbye Board Book Roundup: Summer 2014 EditionHow Gator Says Good-Bye!
by Abigail Samoun; illus. by Sarah Watts
Sterling    22 pp.
2/14    978-1-4549-0821-0    $6.95

 

samoun how hippo says hello Board Book Roundup: Summer 2014 EditionHow Hippo Says Good-Bye!
by Abigail Samoun; illus. by Sarah Watts
Sterling    22 pp.
2/14    978-1-4549-0820-3    $6.95

In each book the title animal character visits seven countries — France, Russia, Egypt, India, China, Japan, Argentina — then returns home to the U.S. (a map appears at the end). Left-hand pages include text (“He says ‘Alvida!’ in India”) with pronunciation (“[AL-veh-da]”), while right-hand pages feature friendly scenes of Hippo or Gator smiling and waving at the people (well, animals) who live in each place. Simple shapes and subdued hues make these useful books eye-pleasing and approachable.

 

thomas birthday for cow Board Book Roundup: Summer 2014 EditionA Birthday for Cow
by Jan Thomas
Houghton    38 pp.
4/14    978-0-544-17424-5    $7.99

Thomas’s gleefully silly picture book about turnip-obsessed Duck trying to hijack Cow’s birthday cake prep translates well into a board-book version. If anything, Duck’s personality is even more outsized in this smaller format, and little kids will easily be able to follow the action and the humor.

 

van genechten 8 9 and 10 2 Board Book Roundup: Summer 2014 Edition8 9 and 10 [Odd One Out]
by Guido van Genechten
Clavis Toddler    20 pp.
2/14    978-1605371870    $12.95

 

van genechten happy angry sad Board Book Roundup: Summer 2014 EditionHappy Angry Sad [Odd One Out]
by Guido van Genechten
Clavis Toddler    20 pp.
2/14    978-1605371863    $12.95

These lively books reward close observation from little kids. Each spread features an array of adorable, nearly identical looking critters (flamingos, camels, rhinos, spiders). The text asks a series of questions, including those that are number-based in 8 9 and 10 and emotion-based in Happy Angry Sad: e.g., for ladybugs — “Who has 4 dots and who has 5? Who can’t keep up? And who is going to the beach?” Spoiler alert: at the end of 8 9 and 10 all the animals end up at the beach; the mountains are their destination in Happy Angry Sad.

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15. Graphic novels for middle schoolers

From poignant historical fiction to introspective coming-of-age tale, hilarious space caper to action-packed superhero story, four new graphic novels for middle-schoolers showcase the range of the graphic novel format.

faulkner gaijin Graphic novels for middle schoolersIn Gaijin: American Prisoner of War, thirteen-year-old Koji Miyamoto is living in San Francisco with his (white) mother when Japan attacks Pearl Harbor. Despite being only half-Japanese, Koji is forced to relocate to the Alameda Downs Assembly Center across the bay. There he wrestles not only with his father’s temporary absence from the family but also with a gang of boys in the camp who constantly bully him — for being a gaijin, a foreigner. Through astute choices of medium, color, and composition, author/illustrator Matt Faulkner creates a vivid and compelling internment-camp drama for young readers. (Disney-Hyperion, 11–14 years)

tamaki this one summer Graphic novels for middle schoolersEvery summer Rose Wallace and her parents go to their cottage on Awago Beach. But this year Rose starts to feel too old for the activities she used to love — and, at times, even for her younger (and more childish) friend Windy. Meanwhile, Rose is caught up in the tension between her parents and fascinated by adult behaviors the local teens are trying on. In This One Summer, author-and-illustrator cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki examine the mix of uncertainty and hope that a girl experiences on the verge of adolescence. Dramatic purple-blue ink illustrations capture the raw emotional core of this story set at the beginning of the end of childhood. (Roaring Brook/First Second, 11–14 years)

maihack cleopatra in space Graphic novels for middle schoolersYanked from first-century B.C. Egypt to the Nile galaxy thousands of years in the future, Cleopatra (quick with both a quip and a ray gun) is hailed as a messiah destined to crush the evil Xerx. Author/illustrator Mike Maihack’s Cleopatra in Space: Target Practice portrays a time-warped Egypt in crisp line art, muted jewel tones, and striking perspectives that create riveting panels featuring futuristic pyramids and a flying-sphinx motorbike. After Cleo single-handedly vanquishes mummy robots and tosses out another one-liner (“Let’s wrap this up”) readers will be clamoring for more of Maihack’s dynamic illustrations, campy humor, and, of course, more Cleo. (Scholastic/Graphix, 11–14 years)

yang shadow hero Graphic novels for middle schoolersWorld War II–era cartoonist Chu Hing reportedly wanted his comic superhero the Green Turtle to be Chinese; not surprisingly for the time, his publishers balked. Now seventy years later, author Gene Luen Yang and illustrator Sonny Liew vindicate Hing in The Shadow Hero, which imagines the Green Turtle as “the first Asian American superhero.” Hank wants to lead a quiet existence in the Chinatown of noir-ish (fictional) San Incendio. But his mother has higher aspirations for Hank: she wants her son to be a superhero. Humor, strong characters, and cracking good action — plus a nuanced portrayal of Chinese American culture — keep the requisite trials and tribulations of the superhero-in-training fresh. (Roaring Brook/First Second, 11–14 years)

From the June 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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16. To infinity and beyond!

Inquisitive intermediate readers travel into the great unknown with these four new sci-fi offerings (two of which are series openers) involving space exploration, inventions gone berserk, and UFOs.

mass space taxi To infinity and beyond!In Wendy Mass and Michael Brawer’s Space Taxi: Archie Takes Flight, eight-year-old Archie learns, on “Take Your Kid to Work Day,” that his plain old dad is in fact an interstellar taxi driver. Archie also discovers his destiny: he has the rare power to be a space taxi copilot. The entertaining plot moves right along, and Elise Gravel’s occasional black-and-white cartoon illustrations add to the fun. This is just the first adventure for Archie — here’s to more to come! (Little, Brown, 6–10 years)

smith little green men at the mercury inn To infinity and beyond!Aidan’s parents own the Mercury Inn, which boasts an ideal vantage point for space launches from the Kennedy Space Center on the Florida coast. During one such launch, a blackout interrupts the countdown, and a large, unusual aircraft glows and hovers above the motel. To figure out what’s going on, Aidan, his UFO-obsessed friend Louis, and odd young motel guest Dru Tanaka band together, staying one step ahead of the media, tourists, government agents, and UFO fanatics that swarm the Mercury. The twisty plot and engaging setting of Greg Leitich Smith’s Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn, along with Andrew Arnold’s retro cartoon spot art, work well with the wacky characters and situations. (Roaring Brook, 6–10 years)

shusterman teslas attic To infinity and beyond!In Tesla’s Attic, the first book in Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman’s Accelerati Trilogy, fourteen-year-old Nick holds a garage sale of the attic junk in his new house, only to discover that Nicola Tesla himself made the items. Each one has a mysterious power; when a magnetic baseball glove begins yanking meteorites out of orbit, including one big enough to destroy the Earth, Nick and his friends must race to save humanity while avoiding a (nefarious) collection of self-proclaimed scientists called the Accelerati. Nick is a likable protagonist, and his strong narrative voice propels this humorous, well-paced action/adventure full of secret-society intrigue and quirky gadgetry. (Disney-Hyperion, 8–11 years)

pelletier summer experiment To infinity and beyond!The Summer Experiment by Cathie Pelletier takes place in rural Allagash, Maine, notorious (in real life, too) for its UFO sightings and alleged alien abductions. Eleven-year-old Roberta (Robbie) McKinnon and her best friend Marilee camp out on Frog Hill to investigate the weird goings-on for their school science project. Though much of the story is about the family dramas and school rivalries of ordinary small-town life, Pelletier keeps readers guessing throughout: is the town overrun by UFOs? Robbie’s sassy, humorous voice and wild schemes, along with the well-drawn secondary characters and vivid setting, keep things humming. (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 8–11 years)

From the June 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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17. To sleep, perchance to dream

A lyrical bedtime reverie; an open-only-at-night library run by a little librarian; a toddler’s pre-dawn escapades; and a kooky bedtime cruise: four new picture books help smooth the way from daytime activity to bedtime quiet.

zoboli big book of slumber To sleep, perchance to dreamSimona Mulazzani’s lush folk art in cozy nighttime colors lends a magical, drowsy atmosphere to Giovanna Zoboli’s The Big Book of Slumber, a large-format ode to the joys of dreamland. Translated from the Italian, soothing rhyming couplets are full of rhythm and repetition: “Mouse ate her apple and read her nice book. / Who else is sleeping? Just take a good look.” Appealingly drawn sleeping arrangements include some captivatingly out of the ordinary: Hippo sleeps on a sofa, giraffes in sleeping bags, and seals in armchairs propped up in the trees. (Eerdmans, 2–5 years)

kohara midnight library To sleep, perchance to dreamWelcome to The Midnight Library, written and illustrated by Kazuno Kohara, a friendly spot for animals from “all over the town” to “find a perfect book.” A little-girl librarian and her three owl assistants cheerfully bustle around the packed bookshelves, where small dramas are happily resolved alongside library business-as-usual. This dream of a library is designed with lots of reading nooks, comfy chairs, lanterns, and trees. The gentle story and vibrant compositions have an old-fashioned sensibility and simplicity that capture the enchantment of the middle-of-the-night goings on. (Roaring Brook, 2–5 years)

sakai hannahs night To sleep, perchance to dreamHannah’s Night by Komako Sakai begins enticingly: “One day when Hannah woke up, she was surprised to find that it was still dark.” Hannah’s day holds all sorts of surprises — because it’s still the middle of the night. Everyone else is asleep, so she eats cherries from the refrigerator; then, emboldened, Hannah gleefully borrows all her sound-asleep sister’s best stuff and takes it back to her own bed to play with. Sakai is a master at capturing toddlers’ body language and expressions, and her brief text clearly telegraphs the freedom Hannah feels on this toddler-sized adventure. (Gecko, 2–5 years)

farrell thank you octopus To sleep, perchance to dreamFor those who’d rather embark on silly bedtime adventures, Thank You, Octopus by Darren Farrell is a hilarious nautical comedy of errors. “Bedtime, ahoy,” Octopus declares. His young shipmate isn’t thrilled. Doting Octopus knows that a warm bath, jammies, and a favorite story can help make the transition easier, and he’s prepared — in theory. He talks the bedtime talk, but his best intentions wildly miss their mark. A “nice warm bath” sounds lovely (“Thank you, Octopus”), but a page-turn shows Octopus and boy headed into a huge vat of egg salad. “Gross! No thank you, Octopus.” Farrell’s detailed cartoon illustrations cleverly foreshadow the antics. (Dial, 3–6 years)

From the June 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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18. Freedom Summer and Black History

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Freedom Summer, a touchstone in the civil rights movement. The following nonfiction books highlight important turning points in African American history. And for more on Freedom Summer, read Kathleen T. Horning’s Five Questions interview with Don Mitchell (author of the new The Freedom Summer Murders, Scholastic, 14–17 years) along with Deborah Wiles’s picture book Freedom Summer (illus. by Jerome Lagarrigue, Atheneum, 5–8 years) and her novel Revolution (follow-up to Countdown, both Scholastic, 10–14 years).

rubin freedom summer Freedom Summer and Black HistoryFreedom Summer: The 1964 Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi by Susan Goldman Rubin provides a useful and informative look at the event’s organizers, the volunteers, the voter registration drives, etc. Rubin conducted many interviews, in person, by telephone, and by e-mail, with people who were directly involved, and their firsthand accounts—along with copious archival black-and-white photographs — bring the events to life. (Holiday, 11–15 years)

sheinkin port chicago 50 Freedom Summer and Black HistoryThe Port Chicago 50 was a group of navy recruits at Port Chicago in California doing one of the few service jobs available to black sailors at the beginning of the Second World War: loading bombs and ammunition onto battleships. When there was an explosion that left more than three hundred dead, fifty men refused to go back to work, occasioning a trial for mutiny. Steve Sheinkin’s 2014 Boston Globe–Horn Book Nonfiction Award winner The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights focuses the events through the experience of Joe Small, who led the protest against the dangerous and unequal working conditions. This is an unusual entry point for the study of World War II and the nascent civil rights movement. (Roaring Brook, 11–15 years)

marrin volcano beneath the snow Freedom Summer and Black HistoryAccording to Albert Marrin’s A Volcano Beneath the Snow: John Brown’s War Against Slavery, Brown’s raid at Harpers Ferry helped “set the stage for the Civil War.” The book begins with a chapter on Brown’s life, then takes a broader look at the history of slavery. The final chapter, “Legacy,” offers a brief commentary on Brown’s influence on the militant arm of the American civil rights movement. His violent actions raise an issue that still resonates today: to what extremes may a person go to change an unjust law? (Knopf, 11–15 years)

walker boundaries Freedom Summer and Black HistoryThe Mason-Dixon Line dates from colonial times: while the Calverts and Penns left England to found religiously tolerant colonies (Maryland and Pennsylvania, respectively), they feuded about the border’s exact location. The surveying team of Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon was hired in 1763 to solve the problem once and for all. In Boundaries: How the Mason-Dixon Line Settled a Family Feud & Divided a Nation, Sally Walker provides meticulous detail about surveying and about colonial-era sociopolitics. She ends with a discussion of the cultural relevance of the Mason-Dixon Line to the North and the South, and modern-day interest in the preservation of its history. (Candlewick, 11–15 years)

From the June 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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19. Summer Reading List 2014

Picture Books (Fiction and Nonfiction)
Splash, Anna Hibiscus! by Atinuke; illus. by Lauren Tobia (Kane Miller)
Journey by Aaron Becker; illus. by the author (Candlewick)
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown; illus. by the author (Little, Brown)
Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio; illus. by Christian Robinson (Atheneum)
Locomotive by Brian Floca; illus. by the author (Jackson/Atheneum)
Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle; illus. by the author (Chronicle)
Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko; illus. by Melissa Sweet (Candlewick)
Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales; illus. by the author (Porter/Roaring Brook)
Parrots over Puerto Rico by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore; illus. by Susan L. Roth (Lee & Low)
Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner; illus. by the author (Clarion)

Early Readers and Younger Fiction
Big Bad Wolf and Itsy Bitsy Spider [Urgency Emergency!] by Dosh Archer; illus. by the author (Whitman)
The Miniature World of Marvin & James by Elise Broach; illus. by Kelly Murphy (Ottaviano/Holt)
Dog Days [Carver Chronicles] by Karen English; illus. by Laura Freeman (Clarion)
Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman; illus. by Skottie Young (Harper/HarperCollins)
The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes; illus. by the author (Greenwillow)
Ling & Ting Share a Birthday by Grace Lin; illus. by the author (Little, Brown)
The Big Wet Balloon by Liniers; illus. by the author (Toon/Candlewick)
Lulu and the Cat in the Bag by Hilary McKay; illus. by Priscilla Lamont (Whitman)
The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli; illus. by the author (Hyperion)
A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems; illus. by the author (Hyperion)

Intermediate Fiction and Nonfiction
The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt; illus. by Jennifer Bricking (Atheneum)
Doll Bones by Holly Black; illus. by Eliza Wheeler (McElderry)
Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo; illus. by K. G. Campbell (Candlewick)
From Norvelt to Nowhere by Jack Gantos (Farrar)
The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata; illus. by Julia Kuo (Atheneum)
Bluffton: My Summers with Buster by Matt Phelan; illus. by the author (Candlewick)
Romeo Blue by Phoebe Stone (Levine/Scholastic)
One Came Home by Amy Timberlake (Knopf)
How I Became a Ghost: A Choctaw Trail of Tears Story by Tim Tingle (RoadRunner)
The Dolphins of Shark Bay [Scientists in the Field] by Pamela S. Turner; photos by Scott Tuason (Houghton)

Middle School Fiction and Nonfiction
Outside In by Sarah Ellis (Groundwood)
If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth (Levine/Scholastic)
The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleeson (Chronicle)
The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan (Porter/Roaring Brook)
Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd; illus. by the author (Workman)
Far Far Away by Tom McNeal (Knopf)
Cress [Lunar Chronicles] by Marissa Meyer (Feiwel)
The Cracks in the Kingdom [Colors of Madeleine] by Jaclyn Moriarty (Levine/Scholastic)
When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds (Atheneum)
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan (Dial)

High School Fiction and Nonfiction
He Said, She Said by Kwame Alexander (Amistad/HarperTeen)
All the Truth That’s in Me
by Julie Berry (Viking)
If You Could Be Mine
by Sara Farizan (Algonquin)
Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner; illus. by Julian Crouch (Candlewick)
March: Book One by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin; illus. by Nate Powell (Top Shelf)
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (Delacorte)
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (St. Martin’s Griffin)
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick (Roaring Brook)
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (Hyperion)
Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang; illus. by the author; color by Lark Pien (First Second/Roaring Brook)

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20. Books mentioned in the May 2014 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book

Folklore

Duffy, Chris, Editor Fairy Tale Comics
Gr. K–3    128 pp.     Roaring Brook/First Second    2013
Trade ISBN 978-1-59643-823-1

Goldman, Judy Whiskers, Tails & Wings: Animal Folktales from Mexico
Illustrated by Fabricio VandenBroeck
Gr. 4–6    58 pp.    Charlesbridge    2013
Trade ISBN 978-1-58089-372-5

Lee, H. Chuku, Reteller Beauty and the Beast
Illustrated by Pat Cummings
Gr. K–3    32 pp.    HarperCollins/Amistad    2014
Trade ISBN 978-0-688-14819-5

McHugh, Maura Twisted Fairy Tales: 20 Classic Stories with a Dark and Dangerous Heart
Illustrated by Jane Laurie
Middle school, high school    144 pp.    Barron’s    2013
Trade ISBN 978-0-7641-6588-7

Munduruku, Daniel Amazonia: Indigenous Tales from Brazil
Illustrated by Nikolai Popov
Gr. 4–6, middle school    95 pp.    Groundwood (House of Anansi Press)    2013
Trade ISBN 978-1-55498-185-4

 

Insects and Arachnids

Arnosky, Jim Creep and Flutter: The Secret World of Insects and Spiders
Gr. 4–6    40 pp.    Sterling    2012
Trade ISBN 978-1-4027-7766-0

Burns, Loree Griffin Handle with Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey
Photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz
Gr. K–3    32 pp.    Millbrook    2014
Library binding ISBN 978-0-7613-9342-9
E-book ISBN 978-1-4677-2542-2

Huber, Raymond Flight of the Honey Bee
Illustrated by Brian Lovelock
Gr. K–3    32 pp.    Candlewick    2013
Trade ISBN 978-0-7636-6760-3

Lasky, Kathryn Silk & Venom: Searching for a Dangerous Spider
Gr. 4–6, middle school    64 pp.    Candlewick    2011
Trade ISBN 978-0-7636-4222-8
Photographs by Christopher G. Knight

Pringle, Laurence Scorpions!: Strange and Wonderful
Illustrated by Meryl Henderson
Gr. 4–6    32 pp.    Boyds    2013
Trade ISBN 978-1-59078-473-0

 

Oceanography

Butterworth, Chris See What a Seal Can Do
Illustrated by Kate Nelms
PS–Gr. 3    32 pp.    Candlewick    2013
Trade ISBN 978-0-7636-6574-6

Hibbert, Clare If You Were a Shark [If You Were A... series]
Gr. K–3    32 pp.    Smart Apple    2013
Library binding ISBN 978-1-59920-962-3

Simon, Seymour Seymour Simon’s Extreme Oceans
Gr. 4–6    57 pp.    Chronicle    2013
Trade ISBN 978-1-4521-0833-9

Swinburne, Stephen R. The Sea Turtle Scientist [Scientists in the Field series]
Gr. 4–6, middle school    65 pp.    Houghton    2013
Trade ISBN 978-0-547-36755-2

Turner, Pamela S. The Dolphins of Shark Bay [Scientists in the Field series]
Photographs by Scott Tuason
Gr. 4–6, middle school    76 pp.    Houghton    2013
Trade ISBN 978-0-547-71638-1

 

Gardening and outdoor discovery

Ancona, George It’s Our Garden: From Seeds to Harvest in a School Garden
Gr. K–3    48 pp.    Candlewick    2013
Trade ISBN 978-0-7636-5392-7

Berkes, Marianne What’s in the Garden?
Illustrated by Cris Arbo
Gr. K–3    32 pp.    Dawn    2013
Trade ISBN 978-1-58469-189-1

Burns, Loree Griffin Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard
Photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz
Gr. 4–6    80 pp.    Holt    2012
Trade ISBN 978-0-8050-9062-8

Grow Your Own series

Lanz, Helen Lettuce
Gr. 4–6   32 pp.    Sea to Sea    2012
Library binding ISBN 978-1-59771-311-5

Lanz, Helen Potatoes
Gr. 4–6      32 pp.    Sea to Sea    2012
Library binding ISBN 978-1-59771-312-2

Lanz, Helen Strawberries
Gr. 4–6    32 pp.    Sea to Sea    2012
Library binding ISBN 978-1-59771-313-9

Lanz, Helen Tomatoes
Gr. 4–6    32 pp.    Sea to Sea    2012
Library binding ISBN 978-1-59771-314-6

Root, Phyllis Plant a Pocket of Prairie
Illustrated by Betsy Bowen
Gr. K–3    40 pp.    Minnesota    2014
Trade ISBN 978-0-8166-7980-5

 

Sports and recreation

Girls’ SportsZone series

Hudson, Maryann Girls’ Golf
Gr. 4–6    48 pp.    ABDO    2013
Library binding ISBN 978-1-61783-985-6

Lawrence, Blythe Girls’ Gymnastics
Gr. 4–6    48 pp.    ABDO    2013
Library binding ISBN 978-1-61783-986-3

Peters, Chris Girls’ Hockey
Gr. 4–6      48 pp.    ABDO    2013
Library binding ISBN 978-1-61783-987-0

Williams, Doug Girls’ Basketball
Gr. 4–6    48 pp.    ABDO    2013
Library binding ISBN 978-1-61783-984-9

McClafferty, Carla Killough Fourth Down and Inches: Concussions and Football’s Make-or-Break Moment
Middle school, high school     96 pp.    Carolrhoda    2013
Trade ISBN 978-1-4677-1067-1

Mulder, Michelle Pedal It!: How Bicycles Are Changing the World [Orca Footprints series]
Gr. 4–6    48 pp.    Orca    2013
Trade ISBN 978-1-4598-0219-3

First Step Nonfiction: Sports Are Fun! series

Nelson, Robin Baseball Is Fun!
Gr. K–3   24 pp.    Lerner    2013
Library binding ISBN 978-1-4677-1101-2

Nelson, Robin Basketball Is Fun!
Gr. K–3    24 pp.    Lerner    2013
Library binding ISBN 978-1-4677-1744-1

Nelson, Robin Dance Is Fun!
Gr. K–3    24 pp.    Lerner    2013
Library binding ISBN 978-1-4677-1104-3

Nelson, Robin Football Is Fun!
Gr. K–3    24 pp.    Lerner    2013
Library binding ISBN 978-1-4677-1746-5

Nelson, Robin Soccer Is Fun
Gr. K–3
    24 pp.    Lerner    2013
Library binding ISBN 978-1-4677-1105-0

Nelson, Robin Swimming Is Fun!
Gr. K–3    24 pp.    Lerner    2013
Library binding ISBN 978-1-4677-1106-7

Rosenstock, Barb The Streak: How Joe DiMaggio Became America’s Hero
Illustrated by Terry Widener
Gr. K–3    32 pp.    Boyds/Calkins    2014
Trade ISBN 978-1-59078-992-6

These titles were featured in the May 2014 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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21. Insects and Arachnids

arnosky creep and flutter Insects and ArachnidsArnosky, Jim Creep and Flutter: The Secret World of Insects and Spiders
Gr. 4–6   40 pp. Sterling

This introductory volume encourages readers to be “mindful of the small.” Arnosky highlights specimens in labeled groupings that he presents — textually and visually — in accurate, captivating, and even tender detail. Conversational prose is illustrated with the author’s own acrylic and pencil art, some “supersized,” with magnification scale noted. The information-rich layouts are attractively designed; several foldouts enable expansive viewing. Reading list.
Subjects: Insects and Invertebrates; Animals—Insects; Animals—Spiders

burns handle with care Insects and ArachnidsBurns, Loree Griffin Handle with Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey
Gr. K–3   32 pp. Millbrook

Photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz. An explanation of the life cycle of butterflies gets an intriguing twist in this account of the work of a Costa Rican butterfly farm, where blue morpho butterflies are raised and the pupae eventually shipped to museums for display and observation. Detailed discussion of each life stage is accompanied by wonderfully sharp, close-up photographs that show intricate structural details. Reading list. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Insects and Invertebrates; Animals—Butterflies; Animals—Caterpillars; Costa Rica; Farms and farm life; Metamorphosis

huber flight of the honey bee Insects and ArachnidsHuber, Raymond Flight of the Honey Bee
Gr. K–3   32 pp. Candlewick

Illustrated by Brian Lovelock. As the hive prepares for winter, worker bee Scout embarks on a food-foraging expedition, searching for enough nectar and pollen to survive. Huber’s simple but dynamic language hums with an avian vibrancy. In Lovelock’s watercolor, acrylic ink, and colored-pencil illustrations, splattered dots represent pollen and hailstones; textured brushstrokes convey flight patterns, vibrating wings, and pelting rain. A satisfying early science book. Ind.
Subjects: Insects and Invertebrates; Animals—Bees; Animals—Honeybees

lasky silk and venom Insects and ArachnidsLasky, Kathryn Silk & Venom: Searching for a Dangerous Spider
Gr. 4–6, middle school  64 pp. Candlewick

Photographs by Christopher G. Knight. Lasky shadows arachnologist Greta Binford as she investigates Loxosceles spiders. The text attentively explains the research in absorbing detail, clearly showing how each piece of data provides evidence for the species’ migration and evolution. This care extends to the numerous photographs and diagrams that portray Binford’s meticulous research techniques, the spiders themselves, and the people who find them fascinating. Websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Insects and Invertebrates; Animals—Spiders; Scientists; Women—Scientists

pringle scorpions strange and wonderful Insects and ArachnidsPringle, Laurence Scorpions!: Strange and Wonderful
Gr. 4–6   32 pp. Boyds

Illustrated by Meryl Henderson. Pringle cuts through misconceptions about scorpions with no-nonsense factual information. Scorpion range and habitats, hunting and feeding behaviors, and reproduction are explored. Pringle also provides explanations of scorpion body structures, including the mesmerizing, stinger-tipped tail. Numerous delicate, detailed paintings of scorpions include field guide–like illustrations of single specimens as well as portrayals of the scorpions interacting with other animals. Websites. Bib.
Subjects: Insects and Invertebrates; Animals—Scorpions

From the May 2014 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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22. Folklore

duffy fairy tale comics FolkloreDuffy, Chris, Editor Fairy Tale Comics
Gr. K–3   128 pp. Roaring Brook/First Second

In this fine companion to Nursery Rhyme Comics, editor Duffy has chosen seventeen tales (“Puss in Boots,” “Rapunzel,” and “Hansel and Gretel,” among others) to be adapted by seventeen illustrators and cartoonists, including Raina Telgemeier, Brett Helquist, Charise Mericle Harper, and Jillian Tamaki. A wide range of tone and artistic styles results in a collection that offers something for everyone.
Subjects: Folktales, Myths, and Legends; Cartoons and comics; Fairy tales

goldman whiskers FolkloreGoldman, Judy Whiskers, Tails & Wings: Animal Folktales from Mexico
Gr. 4–6    58 pp. Charlesbridge

Illustrated by Fabricio VandenBroeck. This collection features traditional animal folktales of five lesser-known groups of Mexico’s indigenous people—the Seri, Tarahumara, Huichol, Triqui, and Tseltal. Each engagingly written tale is followed by informative material on the culture’s history, customs, and traditions. Extensive running glossaries of Spanish words and local expressions are helpful. Vivid folk-art paintings enliven the stories. Websites. Bib., ind.
Subjects: Folktales, Myths, and Legends; Native Americans—North America—Tseltal; Native Americans—North America—Triqui; Folklore—Mexico; Native Americans—North America—Seri; Native Americans—North America—Tarahumara; Native Americans—North America—Huichol; Folklore—Animals

Lee beauty and the beast FolkloreLee, H. Chuku, Reteller Beauty and the Beast
Gr. K–3    32 pp. HarperCollins/Amistad

Illustrated by Pat Cummings. Giving Cummings’s lushly detailed paintings center stage, Lee simplifies the tale and puts it into Beauty’s first-person voice. While the retelling retains the story’s original details, the pictures portray all of the characters as black, in settings inspired by West Africa. The retelling is crisp, the drafting is skillful, and the compositions are dramatic. Princess-lovers of any color should enjoy it.
Subjects: Folktales, Myths, and Legends; Blacks; Princes and princesses; Fairy tales

mchugh twisted fairy tales FolkloreMcHugh, Maura Twisted Fairy Tales: 20 Classic Stories with a Dark and Dangerous Heart
Middle school, high school   144 pp. Barron’s

Illustrated by Jane Laurie. In this hefty volume of fairy-tale interpretations, McHugh provides good variety, offering (often disturbing) twists on the more familiar tales and including many lesser-known stories. Laurie’s illustrations are atmospheric, haunting, and sometimes downright scary; the design, with watermarked borders, old-fashioned-looking graphic spot art, and inset quotes, is eye-catching (if occasionally distracting). No source information is provided.
Subjects: Folktales, Myths, and Legends; Fairy tales

munduruku amazonia FolkloreMunduruku, Daniel Amazonia: Indigenous Tales from Brazil
Gr. 4–6, middle school  95 pp. Groundwood (House of Anansi Press)

Illustrated by Nikolai Popov. An indigenous Amazonian tells a dozen tales from seven different tribes. Munduruku narrates with refreshing economy; though his themes are such universals as maturation and survival, the drama is grounded in the jungle. Humor abounds, along with shapeshifters, forthright deaths, and earthy details. In Popov’s full-bleed gouache and ink art, energetic creatures inhabit luminous settings.
Subjects: Folktales, Myths, and Legends; Amazon River region; Folklore—Brazil

From the May 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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23. Sports and recreation

hudson girls golf Sports and recreationHudson, Maryann Girls’ Golf
Gr. 4–6   48 pp. ABDO

Lawrence, Blythe Girls’ Gymnastics
Gr. 4–6      48 pp. ABDO

Peters, Chris Girls’ Hockey
Gr. 4–6      48 pp. ABDO

Williams, Doug Girls’ Basketball
Gr. 4–6      48 pp. ABDO

Girls’ SportsZone series. These volumes survey four sports and the female athletes at their forefronts. Each chapter pairs a technical skill with a prominent contemporary athlete. The books are more overview than how-to, but each takes its sport seriously, depicting how the development of skills has shaped the athletes’ careers. Diagrams of a golf course, ice rink, etc. are appended. Reading list. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Sports; Sports—Golf; Sports—Gymnastics; Sports—Hockey; Sports—Basketball; Women—Athletes

mcclafferty fourth down and inches Sports and recreationMcClafferty, Carla Killough Fourth Down and Inches: Concussions and Football’s Make-or-Break Moment
Middle school, high school   96 pp. Carolrhoda

McClafferty’s informative and useful book focuses on football to discuss the serious but historically trivialized condition of concussion. Starting with football’s beginnings, McClafferty details the game’s early casualties; the controversy over its growing presence as a college sport; and how it became entrenched in American culture. She then goes on to cover the neuroscience behind head trauma and the increased awareness of the dangers. Reading list. Bib., ind.
Subjects: Sports; Sports—Football; Human body—Brain

mulder pedal it Sports and recreationMulder, Michelle Pedal It!: How Bicycles Are Changing the World
Gr. 4–6   48 pp. Orca

Orca Footprints series. Divided into four chapters, this book looks at the history and mechanics of the bicycle, and explores reasons for its use, such as low cost and environmental impact. Well-captioned photos that show the unusual ways in which bikes have been put to work — from bicycle soccer in Europe to bicycle ambulances in Namibia — illustrate the accessible text. Reading list, websites. Ind.
Subjects: Machines and Technology; Sports—Bicycles and bicycling; Transportation

nelson baseball is fun Sports and recreationNelson, Robin Baseball Is Fun!
Gr. K–3   24 pp. Lerner

Nelson, Robin Basketball Is Fun!
Gr. K–3      24 pp. Lerner

Nelson, Robin Dance Is Fun!
Gr. K–3      24 pp. Lerner

Nelson, Robin Football Is Fun!
Gr. K–3      24 pp. Lerner

Nelson, Robin Soccer Is Fun
Gr. K–3
     24 pp. Lerner

Nelson, Robin Swimming Is Fun!
Gr. K–3      24 pp. Lerner

First Step Nonfiction: Sports Are Fun! series. Using the simplest of texts for new readers, these upbeat (if formulaic) books give basic and very broad descriptions of the title sports (“Do you like to throw and catch a ball? You can play football!”). Equipment, rules, and terminology are touched on; random “Fun Facts” are appended. Stock photos show kids playing sports. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Sports; Sports—Baseball; Sports—Basketball; Dance; Sports—Football; Sports—Soccer; Sports—Swimming

rosenstock streak Sports and recreationRosenstock, Barb The Streak: How Joe DiMaggio Became America’s Hero
Gr. K–3
32 pp. Boyds/Calkins

Illustrated by Terry Widener. In 1941, with “war spreading like a fever through Europe,” the heroics of Joe DiMaggio offered a summertime respite as he began a hitting streak that would beat all previous records and has yet to be surpassed. Widener is a master at capturing the larger-than-life spirit of baseball through his perfectly attuned acrylic illustrations, and the text matches the art in its exuberance. Bib.
Subjects: Sports; Sports—Baseball; DiMaggio, Joe; History, Modern—World War II; Biographies

From the May 2014 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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24. Gardening and outdoor discovery

ancona garden 300x257 Gardening and outdoor discoveryAncona, George It’s Our Garden: From Seeds to Harvest in a School Garden
Gr. K–3   48 pp. Candlewick

From spring planting to winterization, full-color photographs chronicle a year in the life of an elementary school garden in Santa Fe; students are shown composting soil, watering plants, and sampling the edible delights. While green is visually ubiquitous, the real star is the white space, which keeps each spread from becoming crowded. Ancona’s no-nonsense text is perfectly suited for newly independent readers. Websites. Bib.
Subjects: Farm Life, Husbandry, and Gardening; Schools—Elementary schools; New Mexico; Seasons; Composts; Plants; Fruits and vegetables

berkes whats in the garden Gardening and outdoor discoveryBerkes, Marianne What’s in the Garden?
Gr. K–3   32 pp. Dawn

Illustrated by Cris Arbo. Careful, realistic illustrations in this guessing book show a fruit or vegetable growing in a garden; a page turn shows each being harvested, prepared, or eaten by a child. The adequate rhyming text hints at each plant’s identity, and the reveal includes a related recipe. Additional information on produce, plant parts, and cooking terms are appended. Reading list, websites.
Subjects: Farm Life, Husbandry, and Gardening; Cookery; Fruits and vegetables; Plants; Stories in rhyme

burns citizen scientists Gardening and outdoor discoveryBurns, Loree Griffin Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard
Gr. 4–6    
80 pp. Holt

Photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz. Burns brings much-deserved attention to four remarkable scientific projects that enlist regular people in data collection: the Monarch Watch butterfly tagging project, the Audubon Christmas Bird Count, a project documenting ladybug species, and a frog study. Detailed accounts of the procedures along with the handsome color photography make the idea of participation highly appealing. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Natural History; Animals—Butterflies; Animals—Birds; Animals—Frogs; Animals—Ladybugs

lanz lettuce Gardening and outdoor discoveryLanz, Helen Lettuce
Gr. 4–6   32 pp. Sea to Sea

Lanz, Helen Potatoes
Gr. 4–6    32 pp. Sea to Sea

Lanz, Helen Strawberries
Gr. 4–6    32 pp. Sea to Sea

Lanz, Helen Tomatoes
Gr. 4–6    32 pp. Sea to Sea

Grow Your Own series. With plenty of color photos of kids demonstrating the step-by-step instructions, these guides for beginners make gardening seem approachable and enjoyable. The easy-to-read text describes planting, care, and harvesting, as well as how to spot and solve problems such as pests and disease, over- or under-watering, and frost danger. Each book ends with a gardening calendar and related recipe. Websites. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Farm Life, Husbandry, and Gardening; Fruits and vegetables; Fruits and vegetables—Potatoes; Fruits and vegetables—Tomatoes; Plants

root plant a pocket of prairie Gardening and outdoor discoveryRoot, Phyllis Plant a Pocket of Prairie
Gr. K–3   40 pp. Minnesota

Illustrated by Betsy Bowen. There isn’t much prairie left in the U.S., thanks to human farming and development. Readers are encouraged to reverse this trend by planting native plants in their own backyards, and watching what animals are attracted by each plant species. Mixed-media illustrations are placed on white backgrounds, their chunky outlines a modern twist on botanical illustration. The conservation and restoration message is universal.
Subjects: Farm Life, Husbandry, and Gardening; Prairies; Plants; Animals; Environment—Ecology; Environment—Conservation; Minnesota

From the May 2014 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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25. Oceanography

butterworth see what a seal can do OceanographyButterworth, Chris See What a Seal Can Do
PS–Gr. 3   32 pp. Candlewick

Illustrated by Kate Nelms. Butterworth tells the story of one gray seal’s search for food. He dives down deep, and on his way back up, he comes across a mackerel shoal (an impressively illustrated motion-filled orb). Facts about seals appear in smaller italicized type throughout the conversational main text. Textured, realistic-looking mixed-media illustrations show the creature at home in both of its natural habitats. Websites. Ind.
Subjects: Natural History; Animals—Seals

hibbert if you were a shark OceanographyHibbert, Clare If You Were a Shark
Gr. K–3      32 pp. Smart Apple

If You Were A… series. This easy-to-read book provides an accessible glimpse into the world of sharks. Chapters include information on physical attributes, movement, hunting, and use of senses. Photographs show well-known species like the great white as well as the more unusual cookiecutter shark. The organized layout makes this an engaging and approachable book for interested readers. Reading list, websites. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Fish; Animals—Sharks

simon extreme oceans OceanographySimon, Seymour Seymour Simon’s Extreme Oceans
Gr. 4–6   57 pp. Chronicle

Simon presents an informative, wide-reaching overview of the earth’s oceans, each chapter featuring a different aspect of ocean science, from storms, tides, and tsunamis to whales, turtle migrations, and coral reefs. Conservation in light of human interaction and climate change is also discussed. High-quality color photographs in attractive, functional layouts support the text. Ind.
Subjects: General Science and Experiments; Oceans; Animals—Marine animals; Marine ecology; Weather

swinburne sea turtle scientist OceanographySwinburne, Stephen R. The Sea Turtle Scientist
Gr. 4–6, middle school    65 pp. Houghton

Scientists in the Field series. This series entry follows Dr. Kimberly Stewart, a.k.a. the “turtle lady,” who studies endangered sea turtles with The Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) on the island of St. Kitts. Swinburne covers what we know about the species and how we know it, and showcases WIDECAST’s refreshingly cooperative, respectful approach to the island’s human residents as it works for the turtles’ preservation. Reading list, websites. Glos.
Subjects: Reptiles and Amphibians; Animals—Sea turtles; Scientists; Marine biology

turner dolphins of shark bay OceanographyTurner, Pamela S. The Dolphins of Shark Bay
Gr. 4–6, middle school   76 pp. Houghton

Photographs by Scott Tuason. Scientists in the Field series. In the ocean waters of Western Australia, the scientists of the Shark Bay Dolphin Project investigate the behaviors of the highly intelligent bottlenose dolphin, which, unique among the species, uses tools. The detailed descriptions of the scientists’ day-to-day activities provide a window into the practice of animal behavior studies. Color photographs portray both the dolphins and the scientists hard at work at their observations. Bib., ind.
Subjects: Mammals; Animals—Dolphins; Scientists; Marine biology

From the May 2014 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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