What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in
    from   

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(tagged with 'article')

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: article, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 203
1. Review of A Fine Dessert

jenkins_fine dessertA Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat
by Emily Jenkins; illus. by Sophie Blackall
Primary   Schwartz & Wade/Random   40 pp.
1/15   978-0-375-86832-0   $17.99
Library ed. 978-0-375-96832-7   $20.99   g
e-book ed. 978-0-375-98771-7   $10.99

In four vignettes, set a hundred years apart from each other, parents and children make delicious blackberry fool from blackberries, cream, and sugar: quintessentially simple. Still, the cream must be whipped, with a different tool each time — a laborious twenty minutes with a bunch of twigs in 1710 Lyme, England; just two minutes with an electric mixer in 2010 San Diego. Early cooks pick berries; now, they may come packaged from afar — but the work of sieving them hasn’t changed much. Each setting has its kitchen practices, cooks, and meals: in 1810 Charleston, South Carolina, an enslaved woman and her daughter get only bowl lickings, while the master and his family are served the dessert; the San Diego dad and his son host a potluck for a diverse group of friends. Blackall’s art, as decorative as it is informative, features lovely (if unrealistic) calligraphic berry bush tendrils to counterpoint her cheery, wholesome figures; a subdued palette of historical tans is warmed with spots of green and pink, blossoming into brighter hues in the California present. It all adds up to a thought-provoking sample of how the techniques involved in a simple task have changed over time; and how people, and food, have stayed much the same, making this an effective introduction to the very idea of history. Recipe, sources, and historical notes from both author (pointing up such changes as following recipes and pasteurization) and illustrator (searching questions on the lives of slaves, her careful decisions on dress, and the engaging information that the mottled endpapers were colored with actual blackberry juice) are appended.

From the January/February 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Share

The post Review of A Fine Dessert appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Review of A Fine Dessert as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
2. Review of Draw What You See

benson_draw what you seeDraw What You See: The Life and Art of Benny Andrews
by Kathleen Benson; illus. with paintings by Benny Andrews
Primary, Intermediate   Clarion   32 pp.
1/15   978-0-544-10487-7   $16.99

Benson opens in New Orleans in 2005, where Benny Andrews traveled after Hurricane Katrina to teach children “to use art to express their feelings about what they had been through…he knew that sometimes it was easier to tell a story with pictures than with words.” And this is an excellent way to begin a biography of an artist dedicated to the craft of narrative- and experience-based art, and also to the ongoing social concerns of African Americans and other minority groups. Then it’s back to 1933 Plainview, Georgia, where three-year-old Benny drew his first picture. In clear prose, Benson moves through the years, during which Andrews defied social expectations by leaving the farm, attending high school, earning a bachelor of fine arts degree, and eventually becoming a renowned painter in an art world that was still unwelcoming to artists of color. The narrative is expertly crafted around original Andrews paintings (identified in the back matter), which are notable for their focus on autobiographical elements and people’s experiences of prejudice as well as for the expressionistic stylization of figures: elongated subjects work in a field, attend church, dance at a jazz club, sell newspapers in Harlem. Appended are an author’s note, sources and resources, and an ultra-detailed timeline that makes clear the breadth and heft of Andrews’s accomplishments.

From the January/February 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Share

The post Review of Draw What You See appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Review of Draw What You See as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
3. Review of Stella by Starlight

draper_stella by starlightStella by Starlight
by Sharon M. Draper
Intermediate   Atheneum   324 pp.
1/15   978-1-4424-9497-8   $16.99   g
e-book ed. 978-1-4424-9499-2   $10.99

Eleven-year-old Stella Mills may have trouble getting words on paper for school, but she’s a deep thinker, “a gemstone hiding inside a rock,” her mother tells her. Even on the coldest of nights, she sneaks out of the house and writes under the starlight. Writing helps her makes sense of her world; the novel’s third-person point of view provides readers with a perspective wider than young Stella’s, as much of life in segregated 1932 Bumblebee, North Carolina, is beyond her understanding. There’s plenty of action — cross burnings, house burnings, a snakebite, a near-drowning, and a beating. But at its core this story is one of a supportive African American community facing tough times, a community acting as an “unseen river of communication that forever flows — dark and powerful,” keeping an eye on its children as they walk to school, knowing who is sneaking out at night, bringing cakes and pies when folks are ill, and attending the (unexpectedly hilarious) Christmas pageant at school. If times are bad, the community makes them better, and Stella grows in its warmth and love. Even her writing gets better as she writes about things that matter — Mama, snakes, truth, hate, even the Klan. Readers will close the book knowing that Stella will turn out just fine: “Roosters never look beyond the fence. I doubt if they ever think about flying. But I do.”

From the January/February 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Share

The post Review of Stella by Starlight appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Review of Stella by Starlight as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
4. Sharon Draper on Stella by Starlight

sharon m. draper

In the January/February 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine, editor Martha Parravano talked to Sharon M. Draper about her new intermediate novel Stella by Starlight. Read the full review here.

Martha V. Parravano: Have you ever tried to write by starlight?

Sharon M. Draper: I’ve marveled at the moon — the phases intrigue me — but I’ve never written anything while outside on a starry night. But I’m sure that those images eventually evolved into words in a story. All natural events inspire me — freshly fallen snow and thunderstorms and the changing of leaves in the fall — but the starlight and the moon I left to Stella. They belong to her.

From the January/February 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Share

The post Sharon Draper on Stella by Starlight appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Sharon Draper on Stella by Starlight as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
5. Review of My True Love Gave to Me

perkins_my true love gave to meMy True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories
edited by Stephanie Perkins
High School   St. Martin’s Griffin   323 pp.
10/14   978-1-250-05930-7   $18.99   g
e-book ed. 978-1-4668-6389-7   $9.99

Holiday romance is the connecting link for the twelve tales included in this highly enjoyable anthology by a dozen well-known young adult authors, including Rainbow Rowell, Matt de la Peña, David Levithan, Gayle Forman, Laini Taylor, and Stephanie Perkins. 
The short stories feature teen protagonists of different races, sexual identities, and ethnicities confronting various obstacles and insecurities in their pursuit of new love amidst celebrations of Hanukkah, Christmas, Winter Solstice, New Year’s, and even Krampuslauf. And in keeping with the spirit of the season, the eclectic collection of stories — some fantastical, some realistic — all end with hopeful, if not always happy, endings.

From the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Share

The post Review of My True Love Gave to Me appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Review of My True Love Gave to Me as of 1/1/1990
Add a Comment
6. Review of Unbroken

hillenbrand_unbrokenUnbroken: An Olympian’s Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive
by Laura Hillenbrand; 
adapted by the author
Middle School, High School   Delacorte   292 pp.
11/14   978-0-385-74251-1   $19.99
Library ed. 978-0-375-99062-5   $22.99   g
e-book ed. 978-0-307-97565-2   $10.99

With media attention focused on the July 2014 death of Louis Zamperini, and Angelina Jolie’s upcoming movie detailing his WWII experiences, this adaptation of Hillenbrand’s best-selling Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption puts the Zamperini story in the hands of many teens not ready or willing to tackle the adult version. Constantly in and out of scrapes as a child, Zamperini appeared to be heading for a life of crime. But Louis traded delinquency for adulation. He became a competitive runner, and gutsy performances earned him a slot on the 1938 Olympic track team. With the outbreak of World War II, he joined the Air Corps, surviving a plane crash and forty-seven days adrift on a raft only to be captured and interred in various Japanese POW camps until war’s end. He returned to California alive but emotionally scarred; after battling alcoholism, he became a Christian crusader. This adaptation eliminates much of the original detail, particularly concerning Zamperini’s survival at sea and his time as a POW, and Zamperini’s eventual redemption receives fewer edits than other portions of the text — and thus its impact is more prominent than in the original. But the tension built by his oceanic ordeal and by the unrelenting torture during his years in captivity never wavers, creating a humdinger of a page-turner: a noble story about the courage of America’s Greatest Generation, personified. An author interview with Zamperini and (unseen) notes and index are appended.

From the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Share

The post Review of Unbroken appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Review of Unbroken as of 1/1/1990
Add a Comment
7. Review of Firebird

copeland_firebirdFirebird: Ballerina Misty Copeland Shows a Young Girl How to Dance like the Firebird
by Misty Copeland; 
illus. by Christopher Myers
Primary   Putnam   40 pp.
9/14   978-0-399-16615-0   $17.99   g

Think you can simply write off celebrity books? Think again. American Ballet Theatre soloist Copeland is just as graceful with words as she is with her body. Here she addresses the next generation as she imagines a dialogue between herself and a young female African American ballet student who claims she is “gray as rain / heavy as naptime, low as a storm pressing on rooftops.” Copeland reassures the girl that she had the same self-doubts, and “darling child, don’t you know / you’re just where I started.” Myers’s stunning collages layer strips of thickly painted paper to echo the wings of a firebird (Copeland’s signature role), whether they are illustrating the stage curtains or a cloudy sky. His deep, rich colors make even the portraits of the dancers at rest dramatic, and when the dancers are on stage, they seem to fly. The words of the girl appear in italics and the dancer’s words in boldface to clearly differentiate between the speakers. In an author’s note, Copeland tells us that, as a child, she never saw herself in ballet books; this book encourages today’s aspiring dancers of all colors and backgrounds.

From the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Share

The post Review of Firebird appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Review of Firebird as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
8. Horn Book Magazine – January/February 2015

January/February 2015 Horn Book Magazine

Table of Contents


Features

Horn Book Fanfare
Our choices for the best books of 2014.

Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Gallery 2014
Celebrating the year’s winners and honor books.


Columns

Editorial
“Why #WNDB” by Roger Sutton
“We Need Diverse Books” is more than just a hashtag.

A Second Look
“The Planet of Junior Brown” by Barbara Bader
Does a groundbreaking book from the 1970s stand the test of time?

Cadenza
“What Makes a Good Award Acceptance Speech?” by Elissa Gershowitz
You’re a winner! Now what?

What Makes a Good…?
“What Makes a Good Math Storybook?” by Audrey M. Quinlan

From The Guide
“Math Picture Books”
A selection of reviews from The Horn Book Guide.


Reviews

Book Reviews


Departments

On the Web
January/February Starred Books
Impromptu
Index to Advertisers
Index to Books Reviewed


Cover © 2015 by Peter Brown. Page 1 art from It Could Always Be Worse. © 1976 by Margot Zemach.


Subscribe

Share

The post Horn Book Magazine – January/February 2015 appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Horn Book Magazine – January/February 2015 as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
9. Review of Star Stuff

sisson_star stuff star2Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos
by Stephanie Roth Sisson; illus. by the author
Primary   Roaring Brook   32 pp.
10/14   978-1-59643-960-3   $17.99

Beginning with the first page, Sisson showcases the magnitude of the universe, visually presenting the Milky Way and our sun’s place in it. Turn the page, and readers move from our sun “in a neighborhood of stars,” to our planet, to one place: Brooklyn, New York. There readers meet young Carl, curious about the world around him. As he grows, that general inquisitiveness settles into a passion and an adult craving to know more about stars and solar systems. “It gave Carl goose bumps to think about what he learned about the stars, planets, and the beginnings of life”; that “the Earth and every living thing are made of star stuff.” His repeated, geeky boyhood interjection of “Wowie!” exuberantly captures that continuing wonder and passion. Illustrations with shifting perspectives portray Carl standing on a sidewalk that mimics the Earth’s curvature or lying on the floor surrounded by space creatures from his imagination. A vertical foldout initially depicts Carl studying in a library; as the page opens (and Carl’s knowledge increases), the universe above him expands. Sisson takes her time introducing Sagan, but as he learns more and more and his questions increase in complexity, the pace of the narrative accelerates as readers accompany him on his intellectual journey. An author’s note, clarification and source notes, and a bibliography complete this out-of-this-world picture-book biography.

From the January/February 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Share

The post Review of Star Stuff appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Review of Star Stuff as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
10. A Second Look: The Planet of Junior Brown

Does one of the salient works of the black children’s lit breakthrough still hold its own? Is it still the knockout that I pronounced it, at Kirkus, in 1971?

The Planet of Junior BrownThe Planet of Junior Brown was Virginia Hamilton’s fourth book — each of them different from the others, and from anything else around.

Hamilton, an emerging black children’s writer, was finding her way in turbulent times. Civil rights clashes in the South and civil rights demonstrations in the North dominated the public discourse. Children’s books about black life, most of them by white writers, were overwhelmingly stories of prejudice countered and discrimination overcome.

Hamilton had another outlook. She’d grown up on the family farm in Yellow Springs, Ohio, with a storytelling grandmother and an Underground Railroad legacy. As a student at Antioch College, close by, she’d been privy to the progressive educational views and abolitionist idealism of Horace Mann, the school’s first president. Although her immediate world wasn’t free of unfairness, she had other things to write about besides racial conflict.

It also helped that Zeely (1966), her striking debut novel, originated as a short story for a college writing class, not as a children’s book. No presuppositions were in play. Young Geeder (née Elizabeth), awestruck by her statuesque neighbor Zeely, a keeper of pigs, imagines her a Watutsi queen like the one in an old magazine. Ridiculous? Not to Zeely, who had once told herself just such stories, and not to readers newly exposed to the range of African cultures in the daily news and the media at large.

The House of Dies Drear (1968) qualifies as a mystery: a present-day family moves into a house in Ohio that was once a station on the Underground Railroad…where nothing is quite as it seems.

In Time-Ago Tales of Jahdu (1969), the first of Hamilton’s folk-infused writings, young Lee Edward takes inspiration from the four linked hero tales that end in “a fine, good place called Harlem.”

Hamilton had meanwhile moved to New York, married aspiring poet Arnold Adoff, and become the mother of two children. On the national scene, new words and phrases — black, Afro-American — had entered everyday speech; new images of black beauty and black power were permeating the lives of children. For black children, the changes could be monumental.

The Planet of Junior BrownThe Planet of Junior Brown (1971), set firmly in Manhattan, is a mixture of social realism, psychodrama, and utopian fantasy. An original. What it isn’t is time-bound or topical. Big things happen here. “Strong substance in a juvenile novel,” I wrote in 1971.

Big characters appear, too — outliers, most of them.

Hidden away in the basement of a New York school is a model of the solar system with a new, tenth planet, the planet of Junior Brown — constructed by Mr. Pool the janitor, a lapsed math-and-science teacher, and his accomplice, renegade eighth-grader Buddy Clark, for the benefit of Buddy’s troubled classmate Junior Brown: hugely talented, monstrously fat, riven. A “sad, fat boy.”

Yes, the story revolves around Junior Brown — how to free him from the delusions of his manic music teacher, how to loosen the strictures of his smothering, asthmatic mother.

But it’s Buddy Clark, a homeless boy at home in the world at twelve or thirteen, who turns the wheels, this way and that. At Mrs. Brown’s groaning dinner table, Buddy coolly opts for a meatless meal. With his college-grad boss at the newsstand, he discusses magazine covers and the meaning of irony. In the office of the sympathetic assistant principal, he embeds his and Junior’s truancy in a web of hard-luck stories.

He is most fully engaged, though, on his own planet — one of a network of underground refuges for homeless boys, in basements and backrooms, maintained by somewhat older boys, veterans of the streets, like Buddy.

The logistics of concealing and supplying the hideaway, of keeping the younger boys fed and clothed, of seeing them off to school and to honest work, make a taut urban survival story. The psycho-dynamics of steering them away from a life of escalating crime is of another order of involvement: moral and ethical.

In a quiet, powerful scene, two boys wait for Buddy at his planet: savvy “Franklin Moore” and a smaller, younger boy, fearful of the dark, who has yet to choose his homeless name. (“Just having a last name the same as the mama or daddy you once knew reminds you of them,” Buddy tells him. “And remembering is going to make you feel pretty bad sometimes…”) Loosened up and warmed up by a spartan banquet, the boy firmly announces he’ll be “Nightman.” Nightman who? “Nightman Black.”

Franklin, suspicious and hostile, is the real problem. In his pockets, his shirt, his socks, Buddy finds expensive watches, rings, and other valuables, plus a leather wallet. “You ain’t nothing but a thief,…a wet-bottomed little hustler.” Taking twenty-five dollars from the wallet (which he’ll mail to the owner), he gives Franklin five dollars to keep Nightman and himself for a few days, “until Monday when I get paid.” The other twenty will be for other homeless kids.

Nightman demurs. “I want you to put back the five dollars you give to Franklin.” He’ll get by with an apple or an orange and a roll, things he can cadge, until Buddy provides dinner. Reluctantly, Franklin complies. What about the other twenty dollars? “I think,” says Nightman, “you better keep it for the others.” Sitting with his legs folded in front of him, a hand on each knee, Nightman lacks only a throne to look “like a king.”

For Buddy Clark, Junior Brown is a special case, a special person. He has food, clothing, and shelter in abundance, even overabundance. But what he wants most — his music — is denied him. The grand piano of his teacher, Miss Peebles, is off-limits due to a malevolent (imaginary) relative. Worse, his own upright has been emasculated to spare his mother the sound. The wires have been removed, Buddy sees, though the felt hammers are in place. “But the hammers struck against nothing. As Junior played on and on, the hammers rose and fell soundlessly.”

Taking away his music. “How could she do that to her own son?” Buddy thinks.

In the upshot, Mr. Pool is forced to take down the solar system and vacate the basement hideaway; Junior Brown runs away from home to lure away Miss Peeble’s malevolent relative; and all concerned take refuge in Buddy Clark’s planet-of-the-homeless, which will henceforth be known as the Planet of Junior Brown. A piano may even be hoisted in.

All told, a bit much. Preposterous, even. “This is not a story to be judged on grounds of probability,” I wrote in the original review, “but one which makes its own insistent reality.”

*    *    *

Regardless, today’s kids aren’t buying it. The Planet of Junior Brown was a 1972 Newbery Honor Book, which keeps a certain number of copies on library shelves. But that’s apparently where most of them remain. Of twelve copies in the New York Public Library system in late September 2014, ten were available. Brooklyn had thirty-five of thirty-nine copies on hand; Boston could produce seventeen of nineteen. In some cities with very small holdings, every copy was in. New York City school libraries, too, report meager circulation for years.

Why? There are structural impediments, certainly. The opening chapter, where Buddy and Mr. Pool put the finishing touches on the solar system, is something of an astronomy tutorial. The chapters are long from the outset, moreover, and grow still longer — from twenty or so pages to forty or so — without distinct narrative breaks. By today’s standards, it’s a demanding book to read.

But Hamilton, a librarian colleague reminds me, was always a “hard sell.”

What’s different is the spirit of the time, the zeitgeist. The book’s core values — individual responsibility and mutual assistance — have no expiration date. But in The Planet of Junior Brown they are in service of a greater good: the transformation of society as a whole.

We thought big, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and children’s books, too, had their sights on the stars. Mr. Pool’s belief that “the human race [was] yet to come” and that his boys were “forerunners” did not strike me as outlandish when I wrote the original review. Rereading the book recently, the visionary element faded in the stronger, clearer light of the boys’ actual bonding.

At a guess, the human drama will prevail and Junior Brown will continue to find susceptible readers, here and there, to whom it will mean a great deal. If you care about the story, and the kids in it, you also understand why Mr. Pool endowed them with heroic powers. The aftereffect, in any period, is inspirational.

Share

The post A Second Look: The Planet of Junior Brown appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on A Second Look: The Planet of Junior Brown as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
11. Review of Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom

lowery_turning 15 on the road to freedomTurning 15 on the Road to Freedom:
My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March

by Lynda Blackmon Lowery, as told to Elspeth Leacock and Susan Buckley; illus. by PJ Loughran
Middle School, High School   Dial   128 pp.
1/15   978-0-8037-4123-2   $19.99   g

Lowery offers a revealing look at a childhood spent in the midst of the civil rights movement. As a teenager, the Selma, Alabama, native was there to hear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak out for black voting rights; she was tear-gassed and beaten on “Bloody Sunday” (as Lowery writes, in perhaps the understatement of the century, “It was not a good day to be around white people”); and she was among the three hundred people who marched from Selma to the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery in 1965. Lowery’s voice is consistently engaging (“After that first time [in jail], I wasn’t so afraid, because I was with my buddies and we knew we had each other’s back. What we could do with each other’s backs, I don’t know. Those white policemen had billy clubs and guns”) and casual even as she parcels out often-harrowing memories (such as her time spent in the jail’s “sweatbox”: “There was no air…There was no toilet…There was nothing but heat in an iron box”). Period photos are incorporated seamlessly into the book design, and Loughran captures the emotions of the times with boldly colored illustrations. An epilogue of sorts — “Why Voting Rights?” — gives an excellent explanation of the significance of the right to vote for African Americans while making mention of the Supreme Court’s controversial 2013 changes to the Voting Rights Act. A strong addition to the canon of civil rights books for young people.

Share

The post Review of Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Review of Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
12. Review of The Bear Ate Your Sandwich

sarcone-roach_bear ate your sandwichstar2 The Bear Ate Your Sandwich
by Julia Sarcone-Roach; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary   Knopf   40 pp.
1/15   978-0-375-85860-4   $16.99   g
e-book ed. 978-0-307-98242-1   $10.99

“By now I think you know what happened to your sandwich. But you may not know how it happened.” An offstage narrator spins this entertaining tale about the fate of a missing sandwich. The narrator’s creative version of events begins with a hungry bear, a berry-eating binge, a postprandial nap in the back of a pickup truck, and an unexpected road trip to the big city. All the while, we see words at entertaining odds with the pictures: those “high cliffs” the bear notices are the skyscrapers in the big-city landscape to which the truck has inadvertently transported him. Sarcone-Roach uses a vibrant color palette in her impressionistic paintings, gleefully depicting the bear exploring unfamiliar terrain. To her credit, the question of the narrator’s identity — and reliability — may not come up for readers until book’s end. If they do wonder, the diverting story and illustrations help to keep it a surprise. After the bear returns to the forest, the silver-tongued narrator’s subterfuge quickly falls apart, and the truth is unleashed (“Ruff! Ruff! Ruff! Ruff! Ruff!”). The book stands up to repeat readings; the illustrations (and endpapers) beg for more attention.

From the January/February 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Share

The post Review of The Bear Ate Your Sandwich appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Review of The Bear Ate Your Sandwich as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
13. Review of Nuts to You

perkins nuts to you Review of <i />Nuts to You</b></em></p>star2 Review of <i />Nuts to YouNuts to You
by Lynne Rae Perkins; illus. by the author
Intermediate    Greenwillow    260 pp.
8/14    978-0-06-009275-7    $16.99
e-book ed.  978-0-06-226220-2    $8.99

Jed the squirrel’s odyssey begins dramatically when he is captured by a hawk and carried far away from his community. Using an “ancient squirrel defensive martial art,” he escapes and so begins his journey home. Meanwhile, his two best friends Chai and TsTs set off to find him. In the course of these two (eventually converging) adventures, our heroes meet some helpful hillbillyish red squirrels, a threatening owl, a hungry bobcat, and a group of humans who are cutting brush and trees for power-line clearance, thus threatening the squirrels’ habitat. The three make it safely home only to face their biggest challenge: convincing their conservative community to relocate before the humans destroy their homes. Part satire, part environmental fable, and all playful, energetic hilarity, this story takes us deep into squirrel culture: their names (“‘Brk’ is pronounced just as it’s spelled, except the r is rolled. It means ‘moustache’ in Croatian but in squirrel, it’s just a name”); their games (Splatwhistle); and their wisdom (“Live for the moment…but bury a lot of nuts”). Perkins uses language like the best toy ever. The storm “howled and pelted, whirled and whined; it spit and sprayed and showered. Its winds were fierce. Its wetness was inescapable.” The book begs to be read aloud, except that you’d miss the wacky digressions, the goofy footnotes, and the black-and-white illustrations with their built-in micro-plots. Another completely original and exceptional package from Perkins.

From the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

share save 171 16 Review of <i />Nuts to You</a></p>

The post Review of Nuts to You appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Review of Nuts to You as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
14. Review of Flora and the Penguin

idle flora and the penguin Review of Flora and the PenguinFlora and the Penguin
by Molly Idle; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Chronicle    48 pp.
9/14    978-1-4521-2891-7    $16.99

Having mastered the art of the dahhnce in Flora and the Flamingo (rev. 7/13), the same little-girl protagonist takes up figure skating. While lacing up her skates, she spies an orange beak peeking out of a hole in the ice. It’s a penguin, and Flora reaches out her hand in friendship. At first there’s no friction; the two glide across the ice, Torvill and Dean–style, skating backwards and on one foot and performing synchronized leaps. When her partner plunges back down under the ice, though, Flora is disappointed and a little put out. The penguin produces a fish for her, but Flora, still feeling miffed, throws the fish back…then thinks of a creative way to make amends. Just as in the previous wordless book, dynamic flaps (this time they’re horizontal and two-sided) help set a graceful, rhythmic pace. The limited color palette, too, recalls Flamingo, though here — befitting the wintry scene — the pictures are all in pale blues, with yellow pops of color (Flora’s hat looks like her Flamingo bathing cap but with a puffball tassel on top), some pink (her peaches-and-cream complexion), and the white of the page. The main action is on land, but underwater there’s another playful story starring those sleek little fish. A gatefold near the end provides the tale’s acrobatic climax before the warm-hearted pair skates off the copyright page.

From the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

share save 171 16 Review of Flora and the Penguin

The post Review of Flora and the Penguin appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Review of Flora and the Penguin as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
15. Preview January/February 2015 Horn Book Magazine

jan15cover 200x300 Preview January/February 2015 Horn Book MagazineHorn Book Fanfare: Our choices for the best books of 2014.

Coverage of the 2014 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards: judges’ remarks, speeches, photos.

A Second Look: Barbara Bader examines The Planet of Junior Brown.

Elissa Gershowitz on “What Makes a Good Award Acceptance Speech?” The Horn Book‘s (unsolicited) advice.

Audrey M. Quinlan asks, “What Makes a Good Math Storybook?”

From The Guide: Math Picture Books.

 

share save 171 16 Preview January/February 2015 Horn Book Magazine

The post Preview January/February 2015 Horn Book Magazine appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Preview January/February 2015 Horn Book Magazine as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
16. Holiday High Notes 2014

Joy to the world…it’s time for our annual selection 
of new holiday books, with reviews 
written by the Horn Book staff.

bemonster frankensteins fright before christmas Holiday High Notes 2014Frankenstein’s Fright Before Christmas
by Ludworst Bemonster; story by 
Rick Walton; illus. by Nathan Hale
Primary    Feiwel    32 pp.
10/14    978-0-312-55367-8    $16.99

The team behind Frankenstein: A Monstrous Parody — a spoof of Madeline starring Frankenstein’s monster — here adds Clement Moore’s classic into the mix. Eleven of the twelve little monsters from the first book are “out of control.” And headless. But Christmas miracles do happen—even for badly behaved monsters and for “poor Miss Devel.” Frankenstein has an in with Santa’s Head Elf (get it? Head Elf?), and Santa delivers just what the monsters need. Hale’s green-tinted illustrations with seasonal red accents (plus four full-color spreads) extend the irreverent rhyming text with glee. KITTY FLYNN

brenner and then comes christmas Holiday High Notes 2014And Then Comes Christmas
by Tom Brenner; illus. by Jana Christy
Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.
9/14    978-0-7636-5342-2    $15.99

In Brenner’s inviting story chilly weather, holiday decorations, delicious baked goods, and all the other trappings of Christmas act as guideposts for a brother and sister as they eagerly await Christmas morning. “When frost glistens on pastures and fence posts and icy grass crunches underfoot…Then fill the windows with paper snowflakes and frame the house with colored lights.” Soft-focus digital illustrations in vibrant hues reflect the season’s coziness and industry. Those looking for an accessible book about secular celebration of Christmas will enjoy this warm-hearted offering. SARA DANVER

brett animals santa Holiday High Notes 2014The Animals’ Santa
by Jan Brett; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Putnam    32 pp.
10/14    978-0-399-25784-1    $17.99    g

The animals find presents from their own Santa every Christmas, but no one has ever seen him. When Little Snow, a young white rabbit, asks all the forest animals for clues as to Santa’s identity, everyone has a different theory. Decorations on the borders of each spread hint at the answer, (wordlessly) extending the story. Brett’s clean, precise watercolors show animals dressed in cozy Nordic vests walking upright in a snowy woodland setting. This Santa may be elusive, but he is definitely real, making Little Snow’s ultimate discovery truly satisfying. LOLLY ROBINSON

child over the river and through the wood Holiday High Notes 2014Over the River and Through the Wood:
A Thanksgiving Poem

by Lydia Maria Child; 
illus. by Christopher Manson
Primary    NorthSouth    32 pp.
10/14    978-0-7358-4191-8    $14.95    g

In this reissue (1994), Manson’s vibrant, textured illustrations capture the verve and enthusiasm of Child’s well-known holiday poem, feeling as old-fashioned as the original 1844 verse and yet timelessly festive. Thick, black-lined woodcuts painted with watercolor in shades of brown and blue, touches of green, and plenty of snowy white create a pleasing wintry rural setting. Each framed spread serves as a snapshot of daily nineteenth-century work and play that complements the six verses included here. A brief note about the poem’s origin is on the copyright page, and sheet music appears on the back endpapers. CYNTHIA K. RITTER

fearing great thanksgiving escape Holiday High Notes 2014The Great Thanksgiving Escape
by Mark Fearing; illus. by the author
Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.
9/14    978-0-7636-6306-3    $15.99

“Sometimes you have to make your own fun,” says Gavin’s cousin Rhonda during Thanksgiving at Grandma’s. They ditch their drool-y baby cousins, then make their way outside past cheek-pinching aunts, “the Great Wall of Butts,” and a hoard of zombies (really video-game-playing teenagers) to the swing set…where Mother Nature throws them another curve. With their odd angles and unusual perspectives, the digital and pencil caricature illustrations (just this side of grotesque) capture the claustrophobia—and, 
for imaginative kids, the diverting 
possibilities—of a large family gathering. ELISSA GERSHOWITZ

fischer latke the lucky dog Holiday High Notes 2014Latke, the Lucky Dog
by Ellen Fischer; 
illus. by Tiphanie Beeke
Preschool, Primary    Kar-Ben    24 pp.
9/14    978-0-7613-9038-1    $17.95Paper ed.  978-0-7613-9039-8    $7.95    g
e-book ed.  978-1-4677-4669-4    $7.95

On the first night of Hanukkah, a family adopts a little golden-brown dog and names it Latke. As the family celebrates the Festival of Lights, Latke joins in, thinking, “I am one lucky dog!” But he has a lot to learn about how to behave. This engaging romp follows Latke as he chews his way through the eight nights of Hanukkah. Told in Latke’s voice, the story highlights the holiday’s traditions as well as the love between the dog and his new family. Cheerful textured illustrations capture all of Latke’s mischief. JILL LEIBOWITZ

grun legend of saint nicholas Holiday High Notes 2014The Legend of Saint Nicholas
by Anselm Grün; illus. by 
Giuliano Ferri; trans. from the 
German by Laura Watkinson
Primary    Eerdmans    32 pp.
8/14    978-0-8028-5434-6    $16.99

This beautifully illustrated picture book, imported from Germany, tells of the kindness and generosity of the fourth-century Christian saint who became the model for the modern Santa Claus. The clear, engaging text highlights some of the better-known legends surrounding Nicholas of Myra—from throwing purses of gold through the window of a household whose daughters would otherwise have been sold into slavery to performing miracles in aid of sailors and starving people. Luminous paintings on full-bleed double-page spreads capture the saint’s humanity as well as the Greek-Turkish Mediterranean setting. MARTHA V. PARRAVANO

guthrie honeyky hanukah Holiday High Notes 2014Honeyky Hanukah
by Woody Guthrie; 
illus. by Dave Horowitz
Preschool, Primary    Doubleday    24 pp.
9/14    978-0-385-37926-7    $17.99

Guthrie’s lively Hanukkah ditty exudes folksiness and warmth, and this jaunty picture-book treatment captures the homespun energy of the lyrics. Horowitz’s animated construction paper, charcoal, and colored-pencil art features a curly-haired, barefoot, guitar-playing boy who tells listeners about his loving family’s holiday traditions. “Latkes and goody things” in Bubbie’s kitchen, menorah candles, music- and merry-making, hugs and kisses, gifts — they’re all part of the celebration. An illustrator’s note offers insight into the genesis of Guthrie’s Jewish songs. The Klezmatics perform a rousing rendition of the song on the accompanying CD. Read the book, listen to the CD, and get into the Hanukkah mood. KITTY FLYNN

hendrix shooting at the stars Holiday High Notes 2014Shooting at the Stars:
The Christmas Truce of 1914

by John Hendrix; illus. by the author
Primary, Intermediate    Abrams    40 pp.
10/14    978-1-4197-1175-6    $18.95

Hendrix distills the now practically mythic story of the 1914 Christmas Truce into the fictional experience of one young English soldier writing to his mother from a trench in France. A brief introduction and an appended author’s note provide context, but the focus here is very much on young Charlie and his unlikely day of fellowship with his German adversaries: “Mother, it was such a beautiful day.” Hendrix’s Charlie is a ruddy-cheeked Everyboy who provides a sympathetic focus for the paintings of a desolate landscape of mud and barbed wire; while not shying away from war’s grim realities, the pictures go a long way toward conveying the hopeful light of Christmas, with trees twinkling in the night while the strains of “Stille Nacht” waft across No Man’s Land toward our homesick hero. ROGER SUTTON

hopkins manger Holiday High Notes 2014Manger
poems selected by Lee Bennett 
Hopkins; illus. by Helen Cann
Primary    Eerdmans    40 pp.
9/14    978-0-8028-5419-3    $16.00

Fourteen brief poems, each told from the perspective of an animal present at the birth of Jesus, are collected in this welcome anthology. From Jude Mandell’s cat (“What gifts have I / to give / this Child? // No gold, / no frankincense, / no myrrh, / only my quiet / soothing purr”) to X. J. Kennedy’s horse (“On Christmas Eve, the night unique, / they say we beasts find tongues to speak. // Yet at this crib I am so stirred / that, staring, I can say no word”), the poems convey both the majesty and intimacy of that night. Decorative mixed-media illustrations highlight each animal on its own double-page spread. MARTHA V. PARRAVANO

houts winterfrost Holiday High Notes 2014Winterfrost
by Michelle Houts
Intermediate    Candlewick    261 pp.
9/14    978-0-7636-6565-4    $16.99
e-book ed.  978-0-7636-7424-3    $16.99

Bettina, mourning the loss of her beloved grandfather, is left in charge of the farm and her baby sister Pia when her parents are unexpectedly called away on Christmas Eve. When a mischievous nisse steals Pia (in retribution for the omission of his traditional bowl of rice pudding), Bettina must use all her courage, wit, and heart to get her sister back. In the process, her sadness over Farfar’s death is replaced by joy in their shared belief in the small folk. Although the novel’s outcome is never in doubt, readers will enjoy this benevolent Christmastime adventure inspired by Danish folklore. MARTHA V. PARRAVANO

kimmel simon and the bear Holiday High Notes 2014Simon and the Bear:
A Hanukkah Tale

by Eric A. Kimmel; 
illus. by Matthew Trueman
Primary    Disney-Hyperion    40 pp.
9/14    978-1-4231-4355-0    $16.99

Young immigrant Simon travels to America on a ship whose fate mirrors that of the Titanic, but this ship sinks on Hanukkah, a holiday that encourages faith in miracles. Simon gives another passenger his spot on a lifeboat and camps out on an iceberg. Sharing his latkes with a polar bear pays off in body heat and fish, and soon his Hanukkah candles bring about his rescue by catching the attention of a passing ship. Illustrations with frequent images of light in darkness combine with the recurring theme of miracles to evoke the Hanukkah spirit. SHOSHANA FLAX

koopmans three wise men Holiday High Notes 2014The Three Wise Men
by Loek Koopmans; 
illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Floris    32 pp.
10/14    978-1-78255-0135-0    $16.95

This picture-book retelling of the Three Wise Men’s journey imagines the three as enthusiastic astronomers (with telescopes, no less) who, seeing a new star, remember an “ancient story”: “a bright star would appear in the sky as a sign that a new king had been born.” Untroubled by any sign (or mention) of Herod, their journey takes them to a stable, where they give their gifts to the baby and hear “the distant sound of angels singing.” It’s all barely biblical, but the trajectory and tone are just right for the youngest audience, and the humble pictures, more sunny than starlit, depict the Magi as sweet old souls. ROGER SUTTON

krensky last christmas tree Holiday High Notes 2014The Last Christmas Tree
by Stephen Krensky, 
illus. by Pascal Campion
Preschool, Primary    Dial    32 pp.
10/14    978-0-8037-3757-0    $16.99    g

What had been an empty lot is now bursting with Christmas trees waiting to be bought by loving families. One tree — short, bowed over, scant on branches — doesn’t have the physical allure of its neighbors, and its unbridled enthusiasm isn’t enough to catch the attention of shoppers. Come Christmas Eve, the little guy is alone on the lot, its only ornament a sign reading “free.” Then comes a faint jingling sound…and before long the little tree finds a welcome home way up north. Campion’s bright digital illustrations imbue the skimpy tree with personality, while stark scenes of its isolation elicit empathy. Part underdog story, part affirmation of the true meaning of Christmas, this is a satisfying, hopeful holiday offering. KATRINA HEDEEN

mcghee star bright Holiday High Notes 2014Star Bright:
A Christmas Story

by Alison McGhee; 
illus. by Peter H. Reynolds
Preschool, Primary    Atheneum    40 pp.
9/14    978-1-4169-5858-1    $16.99
e-book ed.  978-1-4424-7714-8    $10.99

The “newest angel” ponders what to give a soon-to-be-born baby. She finally strikes upon “the best gift of all” — she can provide a comforting “light in the darkness” by becoming a star (the Star of Bethlehem, in fact). McGhee conflates the Christmas and Epiphany stories, with the Magi already in attendance at Jesus’ birth. But those willing to overlook that detail will still take enjoyment from the sweet text and Reynolds’s endearing pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations, rendered in a soothing blue and violet palette with plentiful white space. KATIE BIRCHER

moore night before christmas Holiday High Notes 2014The Night Before Christmas
by Clement C. Moore; 
illus. by Roger Duvoisin
Preschool, Primary    Knopf    40 pp.
9/14    978-0-385-75459-0    $16.99
Library ed.  978-0-385-75460-6    $19.99
e-book ed.  978-0-385-75461-3    $10.99

First published in 1954, this is a wholly pleasing version of the classic Christmas poem, with all of Caldecott Medalist Duvoisin’s gifts for color and composition in evidence. The book’s tall, narrow shape makes it ideal for vertical-chimney, steep-rooftop, and reindeer-flight scenes. Full-color spreads alternate with one-color (red plus black and white) spreads, giving the book additional pacing and rhythm (and the red—for the chimney, the curtains, Santa’s suit and cheeks — adds an appropriate and welcome warmth). Everything here is exactly as it should be: jolly, homey, unpretentious, and full of good cheer. MARTHA V. PARRAVANO

perkins my true love gave to me Holiday High Notes 2014My True Love Gave to Me:
Twelve Holiday Stories

edited by Stephanie Perkins
High School    St. Martin’s Griffin    323 pp.
10/14    978-1-250-05930-7    $18.99    g
e-book ed.  978-1-4668-6389-7    $9.99

Holiday romance is the connecting link for the twelve tales included in this highly enjoyable anthology by a dozen well-known young adult authors, including Rainbow Rowell, Matt de la Peña, David Levithan, Gayle Forman, Laini Taylor, and Stephanie Perkins. 
The short stories feature teen protagonists of different races, sexual identities, and ethnicities confronting various obstacles and insecurities in their pursuit of new love amidst celebrations of Hanukkah, Christmas, Winter Solstice, New Year’s, and even Krampuslauf. And in keeping with the spirit of the season, the eclectic collection of stories — some fantastical, some realistic — all end with hopeful, if not always happy, endings. CYNTHIA K. RITTER

pham twelve days of christmas Holiday High Notes 2014The Twelve Days of Christmas
illus. by LeUyen Pham
Preschool, Primary    Doubleday    40 pp.
9/14    978-0-385-37413-2    $17.99

What starts as a classic Victorian setting for this cumulative song ends by showing lots of diversity — the eight ladies dancing, for example, wear traditional dress from eight different cultures, including Japanese and Dutch, and the eleven pipers piping appear to be Scottish, Peruvian, and colonial American, among others. Pham’s watercolor and ink illustrations capture the burgeoning cast with grace and a bit of humor — watch those hens and turtledoves. The palette is Christmassy with lots of red, green, and gold. Music and an author’s note appear at the end of the book. LOLLY ROBINSON

pinkwater beautiful yettas hanukkah kitten Holiday High Notes 2014Beautiful Yetta’s Hanukkah Kitten
by Daniel Pinkwater; 
illus. by Jill Pinkwater
Preschool, Primary    Feiwel    32 pp.
10/14    978-0-312-62134-6    $17.99

In this sequel to Beautiful Yetta: The Yiddish Chicken (rev. 7/10), the Brooklyn-based Jewish-mama hen and her Spanish-speaking parrot pals find a cold, lost kitten during Hanukkah. The parrots are trepidatious (“Can it fly up to our nest?”), but Yetta knows just what to do: “We will take her to the old grandmother!” Kitten and Bubbie find companionship — and the birds all benefit from some homemade potato latkes. The breezy speech-bubble text is in English and, depending on who’s talking, Spanish or Yiddish (including, for both foreign languages, phonetic pronunciation). Energetic marker, brush pen, and pen-and-ink illustrations in a limited palette — parrot green, hen white-and-red, kitten orange, and Hanukkah blue — fly off the pages. ELISSA GERSHOWITZ

raczka santa clauses Holiday High Notes 2014Santa Clauses:
Short Poems from the North Pole

by Bob Raczka, 
illus. by Chuck Groenink
Primary    Carolrhoda    40 pp.
9/14    978-1-4677-1805-9    $16.95
e-book ed.  978-1-4677-4621-2    $17.32

Readers are offered a day-by-day “glimpse of life at the North Pole” in twenty-five festive haiku “penned” by Santa himself. The poems are rich with tender emotions (“Mrs. Claus making / an angel, becoming a / little girl again”) and crisp imagery (“Sprinkling sand on my / snow-covered steps, thinking of / nutmeg on eggnog”), all reflected affectionately and vividly in Groenink’s art: a smiling, rosy-cheeked, bundled-up missus makes snow angels while textured grains of sand are strewn over the icy cottage stairs beside her. A warm seasonal collection notable for its clever, gently comical visual details (note St. Nick’s adult beverage as he relaxes in an armchair on December 26th). KATRINA HEDEEN

stark yule tomte and the little rabbits Holiday High Notes 2014The Yule Tomte and the Little Rabbits
by Ulf Stark; illus. by Eva Eriksson; trans. from the Swedish by 
Susan Beard
Primary, Intermediate    Floris    101 pp.
10/14    978-1-78250-136-7    $24.95

“In Swedish tradition it is a tomte…who brings Christmas presents to children,” according to the brief note that begins this entertaining Advent book. Our tomte is named Grump, and the tidy, precise illustrations (some spot art, some full pages neatly contained within red frames) show a little gnomelike man with a white beard, a red hat, and a perma-scowl. First, Grump grudgingly saves a bumblebee from a spider web. Next, his hat blows away. Two little bunnies, Binny and Barty, find the hat, and with the help of their extended family and the woodland creatures, they try to entice the tomte to their burrow for Christmas. Brief chapters relate the rabbits’ efforts and the tomte’s gradual change of heart. It’s an old-fashioned type of illustrated story (with a picture-book trim size) that doesn’t feel the least bit dated or sentimental. ELISSA GERSHOWITZ

thong twas nochebuena Holiday High Notes 2014’Twas Nochebuena
by Roseanne Greenfield Thong; 
illus. by Sara Palacios
Preschool, Primary    Viking    40 pp.
10/14    978-0-670-01634-1    $16.99    g

Peppered with Spanish words, this reimagining of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” relates the Christmas Eve celebrations of a young girl’s Latino family: making tamales, decorating 
their home with tree and crèche, caroling, swinging at a piñata, attending midnight Mass, and more. Thong’s humorous verse follows Clement Moore’s strong rhythm without 
faltering — despite the metrical challenges of working in two languages at once. Palacios’s warm, earth-toned illustrations of a happy multigenerational family invite readers into the festivities, whether these tradiciones are familiar or new to them. A glossary and author’s note are appended. KATIE BIRCHER

underwood here comes santa cat Holiday High Notes 2014Here Comes Santa Cat
by Deborah Underwood; 
illus. by Claudia Rueda
Preschool    Dial    88 pp.
10/14    978-0-8037-4100-3    $16.99    g

Cat was jealous of the Easter Bunny’s job in Here Comes the Easter Cat (rev. 3/14). Now the naughty feline figures that if he dresses up as Santa Claus, he can give himself a present. But he quickly abandons the idea when he realizes Santa’s job entails not only getting sooty but also delivering gifts to others. After a few failed last-ditch attempts at good deeds to get on the nice list, Cat discovers the true Christmas spirit just in time to receive a special present from Santa. Once again the humorous banter between an offstage narrator, who addresses Cat directly, and the silent-yet-expressive Cat, who lets his illustrated signs do the talking, will keep kids giggling. Underwood and Rueda’s spot-on use of comedic timing, page turns, white space, and layout creates another holiday winner. CYNTHIA K. RITTER

yacowitz i know an old lady who swallowed a dreidel Holiday High Notes 2014I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Dreidel
by Caryn Yacowitz; 
illus. by David Slonim
Primary    Levine/Scholastic    32 pp.
9/14    978-0-439-91530-4    $17.99

The American Gothic parody on the 
first wordless spread — showing Ma 
and Pa, a boy, a cat…and a menorah — previews this freewheeling volume, part warm family holiday story, part art appreciation book, and part cumulative rhyme. Yacowitz’s clever Hanukkah-themed text lists the items swallowed by the bubbie: latkes, gelt, candles, dreidel (“Perhaps it’s fatal” is the refrain). Slonim’s humorous cartoony illustrations — a well-designed mix of spreads and panels—tell their own story, courtesy of the old masters. Bubbie stands in for the Mona Lisa, the figure in The Scream, and Rodin’s Thinker; homages to Warhol, Rockwell, van Gogh, Wyeth, Hopper (“Mel’s All-Night Latkes” diner), and others make cameo appearances. An artist’s note is appended. ELISSA GERSHOWITZ

From the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

share save 171 16 Holiday High Notes 2014

The post Holiday High Notes 2014 appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Holiday High Notes 2014 as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
17. Starred reviews, January/February 2015 Horn Book Magazine

SissonSagan Starred reviews, January/February 2015 Horn Book MagazineThe following books will receive starred reviews in the January/February 2015 issue of the Horn Book Magazine. Coming this Wednesday: Fanfare, our choices for the best books of 2014.

Once Upon an Alphabet; written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (Philomel)

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich; written and illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach (Knopf)

Supertruck; written and illustrated by Stephen Savage (Roaring Brook)

The War That Saved My Life; by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley  (Dial)

Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny; written and illustrated  by John Himmelman (Holt)

Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future; by A. S. King (Little, Brown)

Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos; written and illustrated by  Stephanie Roth Sisson (Roaring Brook)

share save 171 16 Starred reviews, January/February 2015 Horn Book Magazine

The post Starred reviews, January/February 2015 Horn Book Magazine appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Starred reviews, January/February 2015 Horn Book Magazine as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
18. Review of Gracefully Grayson

polonsky gracefully grayson Review of Gracefully GraysonGracefully Grayson
by Ami Polonsky
Intermediate, Middle School    Hyperion    247 pp.
11/14    978-1-4231-8527-7    $16.99

Grayson, a sixth grader at Porter Middle School, passes the time doodling and daydreaming about what it would be like to go through life as a girl, despite being seen by everyone else as male. Struggling with the total isolation that comes with harboring a secret, Grayson keeps people at a distance until Amelia moves to town. The two develop a friendship that awakens Grayson’s need for companionship and acceptance. When that friendship falls apart, Grayson tries out for (and lands) the female lead in the school play as a means of testing out a female persona. Facing abuse and derision from classmates and resistance from members of her adoptive family (both birth parents were killed years before), Grayson fights for the right to present her truest self to the people around her — both on and off the stage. Luckily, an invested teacher and several open-minded cast mates offer understanding and support as Grayson begins to sort out the complexities of her own identity. Polonsky captures the loneliness of a child resigned to disappear rather than be rejected, and then the courageous risk that child eventually takes to be seen for who she is. The first-person narration successfully positions readers to experience Grayson’s confusion, fear, pain, and triumphs as they happen, lending an immediate and intimate feel to the narrative.

From the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

share save 171 16 Review of Gracefully Grayson

The post Review of Gracefully Grayson appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Review of Gracefully Grayson as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
19. Review of The Right Word

bryant right word Review of The Right Wordstar2 Review of The Right WordThe Right Word:
Roget and His Thesaurus

by Jen Bryant; illus. by Melissa Sweet
Primary    Eerdmans    48 pp.
9/14    978-0-8028-5385-1    $17.50

Apt language and ingenious imagery combine to tell the life story of Peter Mark Roget, creator of the thesaurus. A solitary, though not unhappy, child, Roget spends his time keeping lists and ordering the natural and cultural wonders he finds in abundance. He studies to become a doctor, teaches, joins academic societies, raises a family, and continues to capture and classify the universe, eventually publishing his Thesaurus, a catalog of concepts ordered by ideas, in 1852. Bryant’s linear telling follows Peter closely, expressing his curiosity, sensitivity, and populist spirit in language that is both decorous and warm. Clever book design and visionary illustration add layers of meaning, as images come together in careful sequence. On the cover a cacophony of iconographic ideas explodes from the pages of a book. The opening endpapers arrange these same concepts in a vertical collage that recalls spines on a bookshelf. The title spread features the letters of the alphabet as stacked blocks, as a child manages them, and from there the pages grow in complexity, as Roget himself grows up. Sweet embellishes her own gentle watercolors with all manner of clippings and realia, corralling the pictures into order according to concept, number, or color. A timeline and detailed author and illustrator notes follow the narrative, with suggested additional resources and a facsimile page of Roget’s first, handwritten book of lists. And the closing endpapers, with the comprehensive classification scheme of the first thesaurus, fully realize the opening organizational promise.

From the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

share save 171 16 Review of The Right Word

The post Review of The Right Word appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Review of The Right Word as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
20. Fanfare!

The Horn Book Magazine‘s choices for the best books of 2014. Sign up now to receive  the fully annotated list in next week’s issue of Notes from the Horn Book:

Picture books:

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Jon Klassen (Candlewick)

My Bus written and illustrated by Byron Barton (Greenwillow)

The Baby Tree written and illustrated by Sophie Blackall (Paulsen/Penguin)

Draw! written and illustrated by Raúl Colón (Wiseman/Simon)

Gaston written by Kelly DiPucchio; illustrated by Christian Robinson (Atheneum)

The Farmer and the Clown written and illustrated by Marla Frazee (Beach Lane/Simon)

Once Upon an Alphabet  written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (Philomel)

Viva Frida written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales, with photos by Tim O’Meara (Porter/Roaring Brook)

Bow-Wow’s Nightmare Neighbors written and illustrated by Mark Newgarden and Megan Montague Cash (Porter/Roaring Brook)

 

Fiction:

The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis (Scholastic)

The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza by Jack Gantos (Farrar)

My Heart Is Laughing written by Rose Lagercrantz; illustrated by Eva Eriksson; translated from the Swedish by Julia Marshall (Gecko)

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (Delacorte)

Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire (Candlewick)

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin (Feiwel)

The Turtle of Oman written by Naomi Shihab Nye; illustrated by Betsy Peterschmidt (Greenwillow)

West of the Moon by Margi Preus (Amulet/Abrams)

This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki; illustrated by Jillian Tamaki (First Second/Roaring Brook)

 

Folklore:

Little Roja Riding Hood written by Susan Middleton Elya; illustrated by Susan Guevara (Putnam)

 

Poetry:

Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko; illustrated by Melissa Sweet (Candlewick)

How I Discovered Poetry written by Marilyn Nelson; illustrated by Hadley Hooper (Dial)

 

Nonfiction:

Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth written by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm; illustrated by Molly Bang (Blue Sky/Scholastic)

El Deafo written and illustrated by Cece Bell; color by David Lasky (Amulet/Abrams)

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus written by Jen Bryant; illustrated by Melissa Sweet (Eerdmans)

The Story of Buildings: From the Pyramids to the Sydney Opera House and Beyond written by Patrick Dillon; illustrated by Stephen Biesty (Candlewick)

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming (Schwartz & Wade/Random)

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker written by Patricia Hruby Powell; illustrated by Christian Robinson (Chronicle)

Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands written and illustrated by Katherine Roy (Macaulay/Roaring Brook)

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (Paulsen/Penguin)

 

share save 171 16 Fanfare!

The post Fanfare! appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Fanfare! as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
21. Liniers on What There Is Before There Is Anything There

liniers what there is before there is anything there Liniers on What There Is Before There Is Anything ThereIn the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine, editor Martha Parravano asked Argentinian cartoonist Liniers about the inspiration for his “deeply unsettling” but “bravely existential” new picture book, What There Is Before There Is Anything There: A Scary Story. Read the full review here.

Martha V. Parravano: What made you decide to make such a realistic — and thus dark — picture book on this topic for children?

Liniers: I don’t like children’s books that treat them as tiny ignorant human beings. 
They are smart, and as Mr. Sendak used to say, you can “tell them anything you want.” 
I remember enjoying being scared by movies and books when I was a child. Witches and vampires! Also, the story I decided to tell actually used to happen to me. I must have been three or four because I have a very vague memory of this. When my parents would turn out the lights I thought the ceiling disappeared, and I recall imagining — almost seeing — a tiger coming down in a spiral downfall. A very weird kid I was. Or not.

From the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

share save 171 16 Liniers on What There Is Before There Is Anything There

The post Liniers on What There Is Before There Is Anything There appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Liniers on What There Is Before There Is Anything There as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
22. Review of What There Is Before There Is Anything There: A Scary Story

liniers what there is before there is anything there Review of What There Is Before There Is Anything There: A Scary StoryWhat There Is Before There Is Anything There:
A Scary Story

by Liniers; illus. by the author; trans. from the Spanish by Elisa Amado
Primary    Groundwood    24 pp.
9/14    978-1-55498-385-8    $18.95

Argentinian cartoonist Liniers’s (The Big Wet Balloon, rev. 9/13) bravely existential picture book eschews cute monsters in closets to capture the true reality of night terrors — the relentless, all-consuming, staring-into-the-void kind. “It’s the same every night”: a small boy’s parents tuck him into bed and turn off the light, and then “where there was a ceiling, now there is nothing…Now there’s only a black hole…black and infinite.” Down from that blackness floats a succession of bizarre creatures who perch at the bottom of the boy’s bed and stare at him. Finally — as happens every night the ceiling disappears — comes something dark and shapeless, “blacker than blackest darkness,” announcing, “I am what there is before there is anything there.” At this point the terrified boy hightails it to his parents’ room; they groan, “Not again,” but allow him to get into bed with them. A more conventional picture book would end here, but Liniers provides a more realistic if deeply unsettling conclusion: as the boy lies safely between his sleeping parents, another creature floats down from the ceiling. This is a scary story indeed — and the crosshatched ink and wash illustrations are as unflinching as the text, effectively interweaving the banal with the nightmarish — but for those kids who suffer through similar tortured bedtimes, it may provide validation. And though there is no happy ending, some young readers may find comfort in the mother’s reassurance — “It’s just your imagination…It’s good to be able to make things up” — suggesting they may grow up, like Liniers, to use their imaginative powers for good.

From the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

share save 171 16 Review of What There Is Before There Is Anything There: A Scary Story

The post Review of What There Is Before There Is Anything There: A Scary Story appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Review of What There Is Before There Is Anything There: A Scary Story as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
23. Horn Book Fanfare 2014

fanfarebanner 2014 500x95 Horn Book Fanfare 2014

Although we didn’t plan it this way, this year’s Fanfare, the Horn Book’s list of the best books for children and teens published in 2014, has something for just about everyone. From a picture book about a bus driver to another about a haunted dog to a historical novel about Baba Yaga to a contemporary novel about an Omani boy to nonfiction about sharks, Romanovs and growing up black in America, the twenty-nine choices offer plenty of scope in genre, subject, age level, and mood. There, your holiday shopping list is DONE.

roger signature Horn Book Fanfare 2014

Roger Sutton
Editor in Chief


Picture Books

barnett samanddave Horn Book Fanfare 2014Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
written by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen; Candlewick
(Primary)

Sam and Dave dig a hole in hopes of finding something spectacular, but even though their dog notices the indeed-spectacular buried gems all around them, the boys pass obliviously by. Text and illustration are perfectly balanced; earthy tones work with understated wit to create a funny, smart, mind-blowingly open-ended work. Review 11/14.

barton my bus Horn Book Fanfare 2014My Bus
written and illustrated by Byron Barton; Greenwillow
(Preschool)

This companion to My Car (rev. 11/01) is pitched just as perfectly to its young audience. Along with a friendly bus driver, cat and dog passengers, and different vehicles (bus, boat, train, plane), Barton incorporates some math and counting concepts in this toddler joy-ride. Clear compositions, vibrant colors, and an engagingly simple text welcome listeners aboard. Review 3/14.

blackall baby tree Horn Book Fanfare 2014The Baby Tree
written and illustrated by Sophie Blackall; Paulsen/Penguin
(Preschool, Primary)

When a young boy asks various grownups where babies come from, he gets some confusing answers. Finally, Mom and Dad provide the boy — and young listeners — with an age-appropriate and reassuring explanation. Blackall’s fanciful illustrations bring the boy’s funny misinterpretations to life, and her graceful, respectful handling of “the facts” is about as good as it gets. Review 5/14.

colon draw Horn Book Fanfare 2014Draw!
written and illustrated by Raúl Colón; Wiseman/Simon
(Primary)

In this vividly imagined wordless story, a boy sits, confined to bed, with a book about Africa and lots of art supplies. As he sketches, he’s transported (along with sketchbook, easel, and pencils) to Africa — and adventure. Colón’s signature lush saturated colors and scratched-in textures depict a budding artist communing with his jungle-animal muses and reveal the power of art. Review 9/14.

dipucchio gaston Horn Book Fanfare 2014Gaston
written by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Christian Robinson; Atheneum
(Preschool, Primary)

DiPucchio and Robinson play off the “one of these things is not like the other” trope in this lively tale of a rough-and-tumble bulldog in a refined poodle family. The story’s takeaway: it’s not your breed that makes you a family. Robinson’s illustrations are classic yet contemporary, bold and expressive; DiPucchio’s text begs to be read aloud. Review 5/14.

frazee farmer and the clown Horn Book Fanfare 2014The Farmer and the Clown
written and illustrated by Marla Frazee; Beach Lane/Simon
(Preschool, Primary)

What happens when a crotchety old farmer rescues a toddler clown who has fallen off a circus train? Rarely has posture been used so well in a picture book, here used to wordlessly portray the kindness of strangers thrown (literally!) together by happenstance but then changed forever. Review 11/14.

jeffers once upon an alphabet Horn Book Fanfare 2014Once Upon an Alphabet
written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers; Philomel
(Primary, Intermediate)

Each letter gets a drily delivered four-page story in this intricately conceived picture book for advanced alphabet aficionados. Careful readers will spot connections between far-apart letters, often involving aspiring astronaut Edmund. Insouciant illustrations, in ink (with occasional digital spot colors added) on oversized pages, add to the abundant absurdity. Review 1/15.

morales VivaFrida 300x300 Horn Book Fanfare 2014Viva Frida
written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales, with photos by Tim O’Meara; Porter/Roaring Brook
(Primary)

With the sparest of impressionistic texts in both Spanish and English (“busco / I search // Veo / I see… // Juego / I play”) and stunning digitally manipulated, three-dimensional art, Morales captures the essence of Frida Kahlo — and of an artist’s very soul. Ethereal, imagistic, and virtuosic. Review 9/14.

newgarden bow wows nightmare neighbors Horn Book Fanfare 2014Bow-Wow’s Nightmare Neighbors
written and illustrated by Mark Newgarden and Megan Montague Cash; Porter/Roaring Brook
(Preschool)

This wordless picture book with graphic novel–like paneling, brilliant colors, and a cinematic flair is supremely energetic, packed with movement, and populated by a cast of sassy (ghost) cats and one perplexed pup. Bow-Wow’s nightmare is surrealistic and goofy with a hint of the gothic, creating a multi-layered narrative that will have readers returning again and again. Review 9/14.


Fiction

curtis madman of piney woods Horn Book Fanfare 2014The Madman of Piney Woods
written by Christopher Paul Curtis; Scholastic
(Intermediate, Middle School)

An unlikely friendship develops, in Buxton, Ontario, 1901, between thirteen-year-old black Canadian boy Benji Alston and Irish Canadian boy Alvin “Red” Stockard. Both nature lovers, they encounter the (supposedly mythical) Madman of Piney Woods. Curtis’s poignant, often very funny companion to Elijah of Buxton (rev. 11/07) stands on its own, though familiarity with Elijah deepens emotional resonance. Review 9/14.

gantos key that swallowed joey pigza Horn Book Fanfare 2014The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza
written by Jack Gantos; Farrar
(Intermediate)

He’s still wired, but Joey Pigza is growing up, assuming the role of “man of the house” and caring for his baby brother — solo — until his friend Olivia (the “meanest blind girl in the world”) shows up. “Crummy parents,” “roachy row house,” and expired meds notwithstanding, Joey soldiers on in his inimitable, imperfect way, in a series-ender that lets readers know this kid will be okay. Review 11/14.

lagercrantz my heart is laughing Horn Book Fanfare 2014My Heart Is Laughing
written by Rose Lagercrantz, illustrated by Eva Eriksson, translated from the Swedish by Julia Marshall; Gecko
(Primary)

First-grader Dani (My Happy Life, rev. 7/13) is always happy…but not now: she misses her moved-away best friend Ella, and the class mean-girls are bullying her. The text is funny and full of fresh, convincing detail; profuse line drawings brilliantly capture emotions through facial expressions and body language. Sweet and salty — umami for the emerging reader. Review 11/14.

lockhart we were liars Horn Book Fanfare 2014We Were Liars
written by E. Lockhart; Delacorte
(High School)

This taut psychological mystery about a wealthy but broken family revolves around an unspecified accident that left eldest granddaughter Cadence with memory loss. Just as unforgettable as the book’s explosive ending is Lockhart’s unreliable narrator, Cady, whose arresting voice will stick with readers long after the shock wears off. Review 5/14.

maguire egg and spoon 170x242 Horn Book Fanfare 2014Egg & Spoon
written by Gregory Maguire; Candlewick
(Middle School)

Wealthy Ekaterina and destitute Elena accidentally exchange lives in 1907 Russia. In Maguire’s hands, what could have been a simple story of mistaken identity becomes a multilayered tale that draws from Russian folklore and features a wickedly funny Baba Yaga. Rich, consistently surprising prose propels readers through the complex but always intriguing story. Review 9/14.

martin reign rain Horn Book Fanfare 2014Rain Reign
written by Ann M. Martin; Feiwel
(Intermediate)

Rose (whose “official diagnosis is high-functioning autism”) loves homonyms, consistency, and her dog, Rain (“rein,” “reign”). When a superstorm upends Rose’s world, she must face many things that scare her — including losing Rain. Martin’s fully realized characters, and particularly Rose’s voice, make this an engaging read — or, as Rose would say, “read (reed).” Review 9/14.

nye turtle of oman Horn Book Fanfare 2014The Turtle of Oman
written by Naomi Shihab Nye, illustrated by Betsy Peterschmidt; Greenwillow
(Intermediate)

His family is packing up for a three-year stint in America, but Aref isn’t ready to leave his Oman home or his grandfather, Sidi. The bond between grandparent and child is a stalwart of children’s literature, and this novel quietly but surely evokes the classic theme against a sensuously rendered landscape that feels like home. Review 11/14.

preus west of the moon Horn Book Fanfare 2014West of the Moon
written by Margi Preus; Amulet/Abrams
(Intermediate, Middle School)

In nineteenth-century Norway, young teen Astri is determined to go to America, but first she must escape the brutish goat herder to whom her greedy relatives have sold her. Norwegian folklore and myth are seamlessly integrated into the lyrically narrated story, which features a protagonist as fearless as any fairy-tale hero. Review 5/14.

tamaki this one summer Horn Book Fanfare 2014
This One Summer

written by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki; First Second/Roaring Brook
(Middle School, High School)

This graphic novel captures Rose’s summer on the cusp of adolescence, caught between her younger friend’s childish interests and the compelling (but confusing) adult world. Episodic vignettes, contextualizing flashbacks, and Rose’s own musings — all related in spare text and dynamically paced, indigo-hued illustrations — build to a poignant conclusion. Review 7/14.


Folklore

elya little roja riding hood Horn Book Fanfare 2014Little Roja Riding Hood
written by Susan Middleton Elya, illustrated by Susan Guevara; Putnam
(Primary)

“There once was a niña who lived near the woods. / She liked to wear colorful capas with hoods.” This modern-day Little Red, along with her sassy-senior abuela, foils the wicked lobo“¡No problema!” Elya’s rhyming text, liberally sprinkled with Spanish words, never stumbles; Guevara’s sly illustrations wink at Western folklore and Hispanic culture. Review 7/14.


Poetry

janeczko firefly july2 Horn Book Fanfare 2014Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems
selected by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet; Candlewick
(Preschool, Primary)

Thirty-six brief, memorable, mostly familiar poems thoughtfully arranged into seasons meet their match in Sweet’s glorious gouache, watercolor, and mixed-media illustrations. As arresting as the poems themselves, the accompanying art is expansive yet intimate, rendered in luminous colors on oversized pages. Review 3/14.

nelson how i discovered poetry Horn Book Fanfare 2014How I Discovered Poetry
written by Marilyn Nelson, illustrated by Hadley Hooper; Dial
(Middle School)

Unrhymed sonnets tell the story of Nelson’s 1950s youth, spent mostly on air force bases and in predominantly white communities. A culminating scene — in which she must read aloud a poem containing racist language — leads to a realization of the power of words. Black-and-white photographs and spare, blue-tinted illustrations allow readers space to visualize Nelson’s detailed imagery. Review 1/14.


Nonfiction

bang buried Horn Book Fanfare 2014Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth
written by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm, illustrated by Molly Bang; Blue Sky/Scholastic
(Primary, Intermediate)

The latest book in this series about energy on Earth tackles the concept of fossil fuels. The text (narrated by the Sun) explains large ideas with clarity, while the sumptuous art illuminates both the science and the dire situation brought on by our rapid consumption of a resource millions of years in the making. A breathtaking wake-up call for young environmentalists. Review 9/14.

eldeafo Horn Book Fanfare 2014El Deafo
written and illustrated by Cece Bell, color by David Lasky; Amulet/Abrams
(Intermediate, Middle School)

Bell’s graphic memoir about growing up deaf, fictionalized only in that the people look like large-eared rabbits, depicts a childhood involving friendships, insecurities, and a “Phonic Ear” that lets her hear her teacher from anywhere in the school. Bell clearly demonstrates, through plenty of relatable humor, that “our differences are our superpowers.” Review 11/14.

bryant right word Horn Book Fanfare 2014The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus
written by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet; Eerdmans
(Primary)

This picture-book biography traces Peter Mark Roget’s journey from a lonely and solitary child, coping with loss through a compulsive keeping of lists, to the adult creator of the Thesaurus. Sweet’s visionary illustrations add layers of meaning to Bryant’s clear, linear text; gentle watercolors are embellished with all manner of realia and, appropriately, hundreds of words (the tour-de-force closing endpapers alone contain a stunning one thousand). Review 11/14.

dillon story of buildings Horn Book Fanfare 2014The Story of Buildings: From the Pyramids to the Sydney Opera House and Beyond
written by Patrick Dillon, illustrated by Stephen Biesty; Candlewick
(Intermediate, Middle School)

Biesty’s talents have never been put to better use or subtler effect than in these endlessly perusable drawings of buildings from the past and present (complete with wow-factor fold-out pages). The fact that the book is a by-the-way history of humankind is a bonus. Review 7/14.

fleming romanov Horn Book Fanfare 2014The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia
written by Candace Fleming; Schwartz & Wade/Random
(Middle School, High School)

This intimate portrait of Russia’s last imperial family seamlessly integrates telling details of the Romanovs’ daily lives with the sobering sociopolitical context of their reign, downfall, and eventual murders. Into this narrative, Fleming masterfully intersperses vignettes that illuminate Russian peasants’ experiences, resulting in a compelling and poignant narrative that humanizes the haves and the have-nots alike. Review 7/14.

powell josephine Horn Book Fanfare 2014Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker
written by Patricia Hruby Powell, illustrated by Christian Robinson; Chronicle
(Intermediate, Middle School)

A dazzling book for a dazzling subject: Powell and Robinson depict, in words and pictures, the wit, the vivaciousness, the “razzmatazz,” of Josephine Baker. The text’s jazzy rhythm and the illustrations’ humor and theatricality allow Baker’s talent — along with her hustle, and her social consciousness — to shine. Review 5/14.

roy neigborhood sharks 170x217 Horn Book Fanfare 2014Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands
written and illustrated by Katherine Roy; Macaulay/Roaring Brook
(Primary, Intermediate)

Dramatic text and motion-filled illustrations in blues, grays, and blood-reds follow a great white shark as it hunts a seal off the coast of San Francisco. Along the way, sections organized by physical feature — accompanied by clear (and frequently witty) diagrams — explain the science of the great white’s predatory prowess. Informative, fascinating, and beautiful. Review 9/14.

woodson brown girl dreaming Horn Book Fanfare 2014Brown Girl Dreaming
written by Jacqueline Woodson; Paulsen/Penguin
(Intermediate, Middle School)

In Woodson’s eloquent, steeped-in-American-history verse memoir, we watch her childhood unfolding within the larger world (amidst the burgeoning civil rights movement; the deep South and urban Brooklyn) and her own particular one (of family, friends, and neighborhood). Most compelling, perhaps, is her development as a nascent writer, poised to make her mark: “My name is Jacqueline Woodson / and I am ready for the ride.” Review 9/14.

From the January/February 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine. For previous years’ Fanfare lists, click on the tag Fanfare list.

share save 171 16 Horn Book Fanfare 2014

The post Horn Book Fanfare 2014 appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Horn Book Fanfare 2014 as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
24. Review of Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel

farizan tell me again how a crush should feel Review of Tell Me Again How a Crush Should FeelTell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel
by Sara Farizan
High School    Algonquin    296 pp.
10/14    978-1-61620-284-2    $16.95    g
e-book ed.  978-1-61620-435-8    $16.95

Sixteen-year-old Iranian American Leila Azadi is, in her own words, a “Persian scaredy-cat.” Afraid to tell her best friends and her conservative family that she is gay, Leila finds herself in a secret relationship with Saskia, a gorgeous, sophisticated new girl with a decidedly wicked side. As Saskia reveals herself to be a master manipulator, Leila turns to an unexpected ally, Lisa, an old friend who recently lost her brother in a car accident. When Lisa and Leila’s friendship turns romantic, a spurned Saskia threatens the couple as well as their friends, who rally in support of the girls. The humor and cleverness of Leila’s first-person narrative lightens what, in less capable hands, could be an angsty story, while well-drawn secondary characters balance the novel’s more extremely rendered villain. While Leila’s coming-out process provides narrative tension, this is not a problem novel. Instead, Farizan’s second book (If You Could Be Mine, rev. 11/13) is more of a David Levithan–style romance in which a character’s sexual identity is neither problematic nor in question, and coming out is just one of many obstacles affecting the course of true love.

From the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

share save 171 16 Review of Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel

The post Review of Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Review of Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
25. Review of I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Dreidel

yacowitz_i know an old lady who swallowed a dreidelI Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Dreidel
by Caryn Yacowitz; 
illus. by David Slonim
Primary   Levine/Scholastic   32 pp.
9/14   978-0-439-91530-4   $17.99

The American Gothic parody on the 
first wordless spread — showing Ma 
and Pa, a boy, a cat…and a menorah — previews this freewheeling volume, part warm family holiday story, part art appreciation book, and part cumulative rhyme. Yacowitz’s clever Hanukkah-themed text lists the items swallowed by the bubbie: latkes, gelt, candles, dreidel (“Perhaps it’s fatal” is the refrain). Slonim’s humorous cartoony illustrations — a well-designed mix of spreads and panels — tell their own story, courtesy of the old masters. Bubbie stands in for the Mona Lisa, the figure in The Scream, and Rodin’s Thinker; homages to Warhol, Rockwell, van Gogh, Wyeth, Hopper (“Mel’s All-Night Latkes” diner), and others make cameo appearances. An artist’s note is appended.

From the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Share

The post Review of I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Dreidel appeared first on The Horn Book.

0 Comments on Review of I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Dreidel as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts