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1. Rise of the Wolf (2016)

Rise of the Wolf. Jennifer A. Nielsen. 2016. Scholastic. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I was excited to read Rise of the Wolf, the sequel to Mark of the Thief. (I did not reread Mark of the Thief in order to 'prepare' for this one. But after the first two or three chapters, I found myself managing just fine to remember the characters and the details.)

Nic is the hero of the story. He's a former runaway slave who is now staying with his sometimes-good-sometimes-quite-evil grandfather, Radulf.

Livia is the younger sister of the hero. She is not as defiant perhaps as Nic, but, she is more loyal to her brother than her grandfather. (The two did just meet their grandfather, and they know that he was plotting against Rome.)

Aurelia is probably the strongest female character in the book, and Nic's potential love interest as well. She is resourceful, stubborn, and never backs away from a fight. Nic mostly trusts her intentions, but, sometimes--only sometimes--would prefer her to stay far, far away from the danger.

Crispus is someone Nic has a hard time fully trusting. He is Valerius' son. Valerius was a tricky sort of 'friend' to Nic in the first book. Nic is jealous--does he have cause?--that Aurelia is friends with Crispus. Crispus declares himself mostly-mainly loyal to Nic, unless, Nic should suddenly become a traitor-ish threat to the Roman empire, in which case Crispus would have a hard time still supporting him.

Radulf is a Roman general. His loyalties are definitely questionable. He's power-hungry, ambitious, and not above using his grandson to get what he wants. He doesn't make the best first impression...or second impression. When the book opens, readers learn that he chains his grandson up at night in his room so that he can't escape.

The Praetors. The super-bad guys who are after Nic for the entire book. They want Nic to give them the key so they can find the MALICE. And once they have the MALICE and the BULLA, they want Nic to make them a JUPITER STONE. These are all magical items that wield great power and threaten to destroy life as everyone knows it--completely upsetting the Roman empire.

The plot is simple: As Nic continues to learn and use magic, his life is threatened by the Praetors. If the Praetors didn't have his mother as prisoner, Nic might consider running away from his problems with his sister and friends. But. He wants to save everyone he loves. And this leads him into dozens of confrontations with the bad guys. He has dozens of close-calls. A few of these close calls involve chariot races. But not all of them. There is a HUGE, HUGE, HUGE battle at the end. And the book ends in a crime-worthy cliffhanger.

So did I like it or love it? I think I found it super-compelling as I was reading it. I found the ending frustrating because it was just WRONG to end the book the way she does. But. I found it action-packed and interesting. I mentioned that Aurelia was a love-interest, but, I want to point out there is more action than romance. There are one or two scenes where feelings are discussed, but, it is far from being a romance novel.


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2. Two Friends

Two Friends: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. 2016. Dean Robbins. Illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko. 2016. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Susan B. Anthony set out two saucers, two cups, and two slices of cake. Frederick Douglass arrived for tea.

Premise/plot: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass were friends. This picture book for older readers imagines these two sitting down and enjoying tea together. Readers learn facts about Susan B. Anthony and facts about Frederick Douglass. Readers can see what these two had in common and why they supported one another.

My thoughts: I liked it. This one reminded me of last year's Chasing Freedom by Nikki Grimes. But I happened to like this one a bit better. Instead of trying to force all the biographical facts into dialogue, this book devotes a few pages per person. Readers still learn a little bit about each one. But it doesn't feel as forced perhaps, at least in my opinion. This one was also not as text-heavy.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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3. Bedtime Blastoff!

Bedtime Blastoff! Luke Reynolds. Illustrated by Mike Yamada. 2016. Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: A bed. A boy. His daddy. "Bedtime?" "Not yet!" A train…a conductor…His full-steam-ahead!

Premise/plot: A little boy isn't quite ready for bed yet. He and his dad have a LOT of playing to do…together.
My thoughts: I am so glad I didn't judge this book by its cover. I wasn't expecting to like it very much. But I gave it a chance and decided to go ahead and read it. The first few pages hooked me. It was GOOD. What did I like about it? The simplicity of the text. So much is communicated in just a few words. I liked the creative, imaginative play. I enjoyed the relationship between father and son. It was just sweet without being super-sticky sweet. And the illustrations may not have wowed me at first. I did appreciate the clues they provide.

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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4. Posy the Puppy

Posy the Puppy (Dr. Kitty Cat #1) Jane Clarke. 2016. Scholastic. 96 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I was most impressed with Jane Clarke's new series Dr. KittyCat. Posy the Puppy is the first title in the series. The premise is simple and fun. Dr. KittyCat is a cat who is a vet. In this first book, she and her nurse, Peanut, see several animal patients. In particular, they see Posy the puppy, who is mysteriously sick and unable to compete in a Field Day competition. Can Dr. KittyCat help Posy feel better? Will Posy be able to compete after all?

I think the book is super-sweet, super-adorable, super-fun. The illustrations use "real" pictures of animals in their mostly purple illustrations. The fact that I love, love, love cats, I like animals, and I love the color purple, well, it helps me really love this new chapter book.

Chapter books and series books are both important stages in the learning to read, learning to love to read process. Do you remember which books you read as a child that helped you learn to love reading?
© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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5. Carry and Learn: Opposites

Board book: Carry and Learn: Opposites. Sarah Ward. 2016. Scholastic. 10 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence:
Chicken
UP and DOWN
Cluck like a chicken!

Premise/plot: Carry and Learn Opposites is a concept board book that can be used with little ones to illustrate ("teach") the concept of opposites. The opposites explored in this book are as follows:
  • up and down
  • in and out
  • big and little
  • over and under
  • full and empty
Each page has something "interactive" for your little one to do. It may be "making" the chickens jump up and down. It might be "petting" a sheep. It might be making an animal sound. Not all pages are equally interactive and engaging.

My thoughts: I like it well enough. I like the series well enough. I think the pages are easy enough for little ones to turn themselves. 

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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6. All Year Round

All Year Round. Susan B. Katz. Illustrated by Eiko Ojala. 2016. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: A world of shapes, twelve months abound, from four-cornered square, to circle, round.
Circle round, ready to roll. Add two sticks, a carrot, and coal. January.  Cut out a Heart for a special friend. Write a message, lick, stamp, send. February.

Premise/plot: A picture book teaching TWO concepts. One concept is shapes. The other concept is the months of the year. Each shape shares something about the month. For example, triangle is November's shape. It is the shape of a slice of PIE.

My thoughts: I liked it better than I thought I would. It is a concept book and not a story book, but, it is enjoyable enough. So don't expect it to be as memorable as Maurice Sendak's Chicken Soup with Rice.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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7. Bloomsbury Announces Harry Potter Book Night 2016: “A Night of Spells”

Bloomsbury has announced the date and theme of it’s Harry Potter Book Night in 2016.

 

The first annual Harry Potter Book Night was held this past February, and saw over 10,500 parties organized in the UK, with the Twitter #HarryPotterBookNight trending for most of the day. When Harry Potter Book Night returns, Thursday, February 4th, 2016, even more excitement and more parties are expected. It will be bigger and better. Because of it’s success, international publishers have decided to join in and bring Harry Potter Book Night to fans all over the world.

Bloomsbury explains their choice in theme for Harry Potter Book Night 2016, saying:

 

Whether it is the disarming Expelliarmus or the dreaded Avada Kedavra, spells are at the very heart of all of the Harry Potter books, making them a perfect focus for the second Harry Potter Book Night.

With an updated event kit themed around spells and lots more exciting elements yet to be announced, once again fans of all ages will have the chance to celebrate J.K. Rowling’s wonderful novels – and pass the magic on to young readers who haven’t yet discovered these unforgettable books. 

 

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To get the latest news on Harry Potter Book Night 2016, have access to kits, and more, visit the Harry Potter Book Night webpage. Those who registered for exclusive news letters last February should still be on the list to receive them. Mark your calendars, spread the word, get excited and get ready for HARRY POTTER BOOK NIGHT 2016: NIGHT OF SPELLS! (Capitalization 100% necessary.)

 

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8. Taylor Swift Partners With Scholastic to Donate 25,000 Books

Taylor Swift (GalleyCat)Taylor Swift has formed a partnership with the Scholastic Possible Fund. The multi-Grammy Award winner (pictured, via) intends to show support for the Open a World of Possible initiative.

Swift will donate 25,000 books to 25 New York City-based schools. Each institution will receive 1,000 children’s books.

Greg Worrell, the president of Scholastic Education, gave this statement in the press release: “Scholastic is honored to join with Taylor Swift who continues to show a passion for literacy and a commitment to spreading the message of how influential books can be in a child’s life. Through this donation, we aim to encourage independent reading which inspires a love of learning and to ‘Open a World of Possible’ for more New York City students by making sure they have access to the very best children’s books.”

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9. Books to get (& avoid) from the We Need Diverse Books/Scholastic Reading Club collaboration

A few weeks ago, Scholastic and We Need Diverse Books announced a Special Edition of the Scholastic Reading Club program.

You know what I'm talking about, right? You remember your teacher handing out those book club flyers? You remember poring over the options, deciding which ones you'd get? And then the joy when they arrived!

I was on both ends of that program. As a kid, I got books that way, and as an elementary school teacher, my students got books that way, too.

Like anyone, Scholastic has an uneven track record in terms of the books they publish. Some are great, some are not.

When I saw the first page of the flyer for this collaboration between Scholastic and We Need Diverse Books, my first thought was "Oh no! Not Stone Fox!" That book has stereotypical imagery in it. The stoic Indian in it is violent, too, striking the white kid that is the main character. Even though it all comes out ok in the end, I don't recommend it. Stereotypes are just no good, for anyone.

I've finally gotten a chance to look over the entire flyer and am really glad to see Joseph Bruchac's Eagle Song is in there. I like that book a lot and recommend it. (The flyer also has Bruchac's story about the Trail of Tears, but I haven't read that one yet.)

Don't waste a dollar on Stone Fox. Spend three dollars instead, and get Eagle Song. Danny, the main character, is Mohawk. The setting is present day. His dad is a steelworker. They've moved to a city where Danny feels alone and is teased about his heritage. Like other Native families who find themselves in cities, they seek out a Native community, and find it at the American Indian Community House. Lot of good in this book! I highly recommend it. It was first published in in 1999 by Puffin Books.


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10. Christmas at Last

Board book: Christmas At Last! Sam Hearn. Illustrated by Penny Dann. 2015. Scholastic. 16 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: It's Christmas at last, and outside it's snowing. The stockings are hanging. And the fire is glowing.

Premise/plot: Christmas at Last is told on stocking-shaped pages. Each page reveals what a particular bear received in his or her stocking. The bears in the family: Daddy Bear, Momma Bear, Bonnie Bear, Bobby Bear, and Baby Bear. At first the presents seem to make sense: a hat for Daddy Bear, a scarf for Momma Bear, a pair of mittens for Bobby Bear. But by the end of the book that has changed. The presents all turn out to be clues for a fun family activity. Will little readers--or adult readers--guess what's going on before the big reveal?

My thoughts: I liked it more than I thought it would. Why? Because it has more story to it than I initially thought. I liked the bears. I liked the cozy Christmas scenes. And I like that readers need to solve a mystery. That added a tiny bit of depth to the book, which is what Christmas stories even for the very young need, in my opinion. 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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11. Sunny Side Up, by Jenni and Matthew Holm

Every now and again you come across a perfect book. Of course there's no such thing as perfection for everyone, but for you as a reader, the right book lands into your hands at the right time.  This is how I feel about the Holm's Sunny Side Up.

It's 1976 and Sunny Lewin is being sent down to Florida to spend some time with her Grandpa. But where Gramps lives is no Disney World ... it's a retirement community where Sunny has to wear an ID at all times to prove that she belongs there.

Luckily, Sunny isn't the only kid in the community.  The groundskeeper's son Buzz lives there as well.  He is totally into comics and introduces Sunny to some of his favorites while she's in Florida.  The two of them manage to make some money finding lost cats for the old ladies, and golf balls for the pro shop to fund their comic habit.

These all seems rather bucolic and idyllic on the surface, but readers learn through Sunny's flashbacks that there is a reason that she is spending time with Gramps far from home.  It turns out her older brother is experiencing problems with addiction.  Sunny doesn't understand what's really happening -- she just knows her brother isn't who she remembers him to be and he's causing all kinds of trouble for their family.

Handled deftly, Sunny's confusion and concern are heartbreaking. Based on true events, the authenticity in this title stands out.  The push pull of Sunny's feelings for her brother are obvious and none of the characters are one note.  Little things like the toilet roll doll and lifting buns from the early bird special may go over younger readers' heads, but are perfect for the setting and the time period.

I borrowed our copy from the library, but will be purchasing this one to live on my shelves.  I can imagine future me pulling it from the shelf and shedding a tear or two each and every time.

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12. Scholastic Q2 2016 Revenues Reach $619M

Global children’s publisher Scholastic Corporation earned $619 million in revenue during the second quarter of fiscal 2016 up from $611.1 million during the comparable quarter last year, the company reported today. Operating profit for Q2 2016 were down 5 percent versus the prior year period.

The company’s sales during the quarter were driven by sales growth in book fairs and trade channels in the Children’s Book Publishing and Distribution segment along with classroom magazines, custom publishing and teaching resources.

“The positive global climate for quality children’s books continued in the second quarter, as evidenced by solid performance in our US book fairs and trade channels, as well as improved results in trade publishing internationally, where we achieved trade sales growth in almost every market,” stated Richard Robinson, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “These gains, however, were more than offset by declines in our international operations due to the impact of foreign exchange,” .

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13. Clementine for Christmas

Clementine for Christmas. Daphne-Benedis-Grab. 2015. Scholastic. 256 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Did I enjoy reading Daphne Benedis-Grab's Clementine for Christmas? Yes, very much! Was I a tiny bit worried about the contents since there was a dog on the cover? Yes, I admit to being a tiny bit worried. Can the book be trusted? Will it break my heart and make me cry?!

There are three narrators in the book: Josie, Oscar, and Gabby. The three are unlikely friends, in many, many ways. Josie is at best invisible, and, at worst, unpopular. Gabby seems to have it all, and to have it easy. She may be the new kid, but, she has more friends, more popular friends, than Josie who's lived there forever. And Oscar's story? Well, he can be trouble. In fact, it is because he is IN trouble that he comes to meet Josie and get to know her.

What brings these three together? Besides the fact that they all attend the same school, I mean. A hospital. Josie volunteers at the hospital. She dresses up. She sings. She dances. She listens. She talks. She comforts. Oscar? Well, he's "volunteering." He's doing community service for a month. He's the opposite of Josie. He's like Oscar the Grouch. He doesn't want to sing. He doesn't want to dance. He doesn't want to do ANYTHING at all that other people think it's fun to do. (Can you tell I listened to this record growing up.) Josie gets VERY tired of him refusing to sing, dance, and dress up. He's her volunteer partner, so she's stuck with him. Some of the patients are cheerier than he is! Of course, readers know why Oscar is a bit out of sorts. And it has to do with his home life....

Gabby, the third narrator, is a patient at the hospital. She's super-shocked to see Josie and Oscar show up in her room one day. Her illness is supposed to be a major secret. NO ONE at school is supposed to find out about her health. Will Josie and Oscar prove trustworthy?

Will these three unlikely friends become close friends, hang-out-in-public friends?

Several things connect the three. More than just the hospital. The fact that it's CHRISTMAS and there is a show to produce, for one. And also Clementine, the dog. Josie and Clementine are the true partners who brighten everyone's day....

I did enjoy this one. And Clementine is still alive and well at the end of the book. 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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14. Children Share Their Reasons for Reading: VIDEO

Do you plan to make a New Year’s resolution to read more? Scholastic rounded up a group of kids to share the reasons why they read.

Follow these links to watch two more bibliophile-themed videos: “Kids Tell Us: Why I Read” and “Because I Read…” Click here to check out an infographic that explores the various classifications of readers.

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15. Best Friends Wear Pink Tutus

Best Friends Wear Pink Tutus. Sheri Brownrigg. Illustrated by Meredith Johnson. 1993. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: I'm Amanda, and this is Emily. We're best friends, and we were pink tutus.

Premise/plot: Amanda and Emily are excited that their ballet class will be performing The Nutcracker. Both Amanda and Emily want to be Marie.Even though Marie doesn't wear a tutu for the show. But knowing that her best friend wants the part really badly makes life difficult for both girls. What should they do?

My thoughts: I liked this one. I did. I think it's a very good early reader. I like the story. As I've mentioned several times this year alone, I do love the Nutcracker!!! So this one works for me!

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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16. Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

Sunny (real name: Sunshine) is spending the summer in Florida with her grandfather. It's the first time she's been away from her family for such a stretch of time, and hanging out with retired folks in Snoozeville is not exactly how she envisioned her summer. Luckily, her lively grandpa has lots of activities planned for them - like going to the grocery store! hanging out with the neighbors! eating dinner super early! His sunny disposition gives his granddaughter a newfound appreciation for the simple joys in life. Sunny also makes a friend in Buzz, a boy her age who introduces her to the wonderful world of comic books. Together they dream up fun and easy ways to help others and earn some pocket money.

Throughout the story, flashbacks to the previous year reveal important things about Sunny's home life with her parents and two brothers. It's easy to keep track of the then and the now thanks to simple text tags with the month and year as well as a different haircut for Sunny - longer hair last year, shorter hair this year. The dialogue is simple and straightforward, allowing this to be a quick read for kids who naturally fly through books or a more contemplative journey for kids who really sink into the story and/or pay attention to the details in the illustrations. When Sunny discovers her grandfather is "trying" to quit smoking, it brings up a problem with another one of Sunny's relatives, forcing her to confront a family secret that's been bothering her for a while.

Some books shy away from tackling issues like substance abuse and smoking in an effort to 'protect' young readers, but the truth is, kids are aware of these issues, especially if someone in their immediate family is battling addiction or similiar problems, and this book can potentially help kids deal with those in-house secrets and perhaps make them confident enough to broach the subject with their parents, teachers, or other trusted adults. Sometimes, it is easier to deal with something you're going through when you see it presented in a fictional setting, be it a book, a film, or a TV show. Those stories can encourage readers and viewers to ask for help or get closure (if possible) on something that's been hurting or haunting them. This is just as true for adults as it is for kids.

This full-color graphic novel written by Jennifer L. Holm, illustrated by Matthew Holm, and colored by Lark Pien is a great fit for Scholastic's Graphix line. The bright colors in the Florida pictures really pop, while the panels and pages that feature comics are lovely tributes to both the superheroes and their enthusiastic fans.

I recommend Jennifer L. Holm's novels as well as her collaborative efforts with her brother Matthew. Click the links below for my reviews of other Holm works!

Related posts at Bildungsroman
Review: The Creek by Jennifer L. Holm
Review: Middle School is Worst Than Meatloaf by Jennifer L. Holm and Elicia Castaldi + Matthew Holm
Review: Eighth Grade is Making Me Sick: Ginny Davis's Year in Stuff by Jennifer L. Holm and Elicia Castaldi
Interview: Jennifer L. Holm

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17. Scholastic Launches Presidential Election Site

Children’s book publisher Scholastic is hoping to get kids excited about the presidential election and has launched a new site dedicated to the event.

The 2016 Presidential Election was created by the editors of Scholastic News magazines. The site includes candidate cards with factsheets on the varying candidates, as well as an election tracker map that will be updated with primary and caucus results. The site will also feature original campaign trail reporting from kids in the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps.

The publisher will add polls to the site where kids can participate in the Scholastic Student Vote mock-election, as the election gets closer.

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18. A Woodland Wedding

Owl Diaries #3 A Woodland Wedding. Rebecca Elliott. 2016. Scholastic. 80 pages. [Source: Review copy]

A Woodland Wedding is the third book in Rebecca Elliott's Owl Diaries series. I have found each book adorable and enjoyable. I find the main character, Eva Wingdale, to be a joy to spend time with for the most part. In this book in the series, Eva is super-super excited that her teacher is getting married, and that she has invited the entire class to help her with her wedding preparations. In addition to all the wedding talk, this one has a bit of a mystery too.

If you or your child have enjoyed the previous books in the series, this one is well worth reading. As far as early chapter books go, it is entertaining. I like the bright, colorful illustrations. And it's a nice balance of text and illustration.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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19. Elissa Tomasetti Moves to Scholastic

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20. Kids Talk About the Impact of Reading

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21. Best New Kids Stories | November 2015

Hot New Releases & Popular Kids Stories It's important to keep up on the hot new releases and popular kids' books as we enter the gift giving season!

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22. Scholastic and We Need Diverse Books to Unveil a Diversity-Themed Book Club Flyer

We Need Diverse BooksThe Scholastic Reading Club and the We Need Diverse Books organization have established a new partnership.

The two collaborators have created a special book club flyer with over 75 books that star diverse protagonists and feature diverse storylines. During the holiday season, this flyer will be distributed to more than 100,000 classrooms and 2.5 million students.

Here’s more from the press release: “The collection showcases a wide variety of titles highlighting important themes about race and ethnicity, multiculturalism, different religions, LGBTQ stories, individuals with disabilities and more. The range of titles and the diversity of the authors will resonate with the widely diverse population of young readers served by Scholastic Reading Club through schools nationwide and help them understand and appreciate people, cultures and experiences different from their own. Additional titles beyond those featured in the flyers will be available online at Scholastic.com/ReadingClub.”

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23. J.K. Rowling and the New Children’s Book

In an interview with BBC Radio 2 to discuss Robert Galbraith’s Career of Evil, Rowling said, “I have written part of a children’s book that I really love so there will be another children’s book and I have ideas for other adult books…”  when asked if she would ever write as J.K. Rowling again.  Several sources, including Time and USA Today, have latched onto this statement.  However, this is not the first time that Rowling has mentioned the book.

Scholastic did an interview with J.K. Rowling for the Harry Potter Reading Club in 2012.  In that discussion, Rowling said, “I think that the next thing that I publish is likely to be a book for children.”  Rowling then said that she knew “someone would seize on it and say, “She is definitely doing it!””

Here it is, three years later, and that is exactly what has happened.  Rowling also said in 2012, “So I try not to commit myself too much with my plans.”

Since that time, Rowling has been writing the Robert Galbraith books, a Harry Potter play, and the screenplays for the Fantastic Beasts films.  It is no wonder then that she says in the BBC Radio 2 interview, “I’m not going to give you an absolute date [for a new book], because things are busy enough.”

Is this the “political fairytale” she talked about right after finishing Potter? Or have things changed in the last few years, as they most commonly do (an encyclopedia became Pottermore, and the story line of Cursed Child became the 8th Harry Potter). We are all anxious for another children’s book by J.K. Rowling, but we also know that just like the Cursed Child play, it will come when the moment is right.

To listen to the entire BBC Radio 2 interview, see here; to watch the Scholastic interview, see here.

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24. The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas. Clement Clarke Moore. Illustrated by David Ercolini. 2015. [September] 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: 'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.

Premise/plot: A classic holiday poem has been published with new illustrations.

My thoughts: Love the original poem. I do. But do I love the poem paired with these new illustrations? I can't say that I do. The illustrations are certainly odd and unique. Very taste specific, I'd say! The illustrations are quite detailed, very, very busy. This family doesn't just decorate for Christmas. They DECORATE. For example, they hang ornaments on their lamp shades. For me, I thought it was a little too much. I didn't really like it. But other readers may enjoy it.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 2 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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25. Waddle! Waddle!

Waddle! Waddle! James Proimos. 2015. [November] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Yesterday was the best day ever! I met a spectacular dancer! He's my new best friend. But then I lost him.

Premise/plot: The narrator of Waddle! Waddle! is a penguin. He "found" a friend only to "lose" him. This new friend was a great dancer. The penguin tries to find him again, but, the two penguins he meets don't even know how to dance. One sings. One blows a horn. They prove themselves to be good friends in the end. Will he ever find his dancing friend?

My thoughts: Penguin doesn't recognize his own reflection. He is his own new friend with the amazing dance moves. I liked the repetition of this one: the waddle, waddle, belly slide. And the simplicity of the story worked for me in some ways. But I can't say I liked the illustrations. (Though it may just be the yellow eyes keeping me from liking it. I'm not sure.)

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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