October 22, 2016

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Luann Toth

About Luann Toth

Luann Toth (ltoth@mediasourceinc.com) is Managing Editor of SLJ Reviews. A public librarian by training, she has been reviewing books for a quarter of a century and continues to be fascinated by the constantly evolving, ever-expanding world of publishing.

Going to the Movies with Katherine Paterson | “The Great Gilly Hopkins”


A conversation with the award-winning author on the release of a major motion picture adaptation of The Great Gilly Hopkins.

Sleep Tight! | SLJ Spotlight


For babies, toddlers, and even elementary-age children, preparing for bed, settling down to rest, and calming fears of the dark are perennially popular picture book themes. This month brings a plethora of soothing stories to spark the imagination and usher in sweet dreams.

In Plain Sight: A Game by Richard Jackson | SLJ Review


JACKSON, Richard. In Plain Sight: A Game. illus. by Jerry Pinkney. 40p. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626722552.

PreS-Gr 2 –Sophie’s grandfather lives in her house, and while his mobility is restricted, his tender feelings for his granddaughter know no bounds. He waves her off to school from his second-floor window, and she comes to visit him every afternoon. Their daily routine includes the man asking for the child’s help in retrieving an everyday object […]

Duck, Duck, Porcupine! by Salina Yoon | SLJ Review

Duck, Duck, Porcupine! by Salina Yoon

Yoon, Salina. Duck, Duck, Porcupine! illus. by Salina Yoon. 64p. Bloomsbury. May 2016. Tr $9.99. ISBN 9781619637238. 

PreS-Gr 1 –This wonderfully engaging easy reader, starring the titular trio, is divided into three short chapters. The two duck siblings and their purple porcupine pal go on an all-weather picnic, celebrate Porcupine’s birthday in style (well, eventually), and gather all of the things they need for a campout. The stories are told almost exclusively in dialogue, with the […]

Oh, Baby | SLJ Spotlight

PB-SP-Swanson-Babies Ruin Everything

There are loads of books about the arrival of cute bundles of joy into a household. These titles address some of the less charming aspects of infants. They disrupt established routines, demand (and command) constant attention, terrorize the family pets, and drive their siblings bonkers.

Rita Meade on Popular Pick “Edward Gets Messy”


Librarian and first-time author Rita Meade discusses creativity, the importance of taking risks, and how libraries can foster a sense of adventure.

This article was published in School Library Journal's August 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

A Girl and Her Furry Amigo | Up Close with Juana Medina


Author/artist Juana Medina talks about her new, illustrated chapter book, which pubs in September.

This article was published in School Library Journal's July 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Wild Things! | SLJ Spotlight

Finding Wild

Whether large or infinitesimally tiny, predators or helpful plants and creatures, all offer something to stimulate the senses and secrets to be discovered in these selected titles about exploring the natural world.

Railhead by Philip Reeve | SLJ Review

Railhead by Philip Reeve

Reeve, Philip. Railhead. 352p. ebook available. glossary. Capstone/Switch. Apr. 2016. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781630790486.  

Gr 5-8 –In this vividly realized interstellar adventure, Reeve grabs hold of readers’ imaginations early on and takes them on an exciting ride through time and space. The novel is set in a dystopian future in which the far reaches of the solar system have been mined and terraformed; artificial intelligence and vast connected internets called dataseas control most movement, research, […]

Meg Rosoff Receives Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in Stockholm


In accepting the award, Rosoff spoke about the importance of play and imagination in the lives of children and bemoaned what she described as “an assault on childhood” in the UK.

BFFS | SLJ Spotlight

PB-Harry and Walter

Kindred spirits come in all shapes and sizes (and ages!) and help make every activity and new discovery that much more fun. These picture book tributes to making and keeping old friends and new.

A Sneak Peek at Melissa Sweet’s Splendid Biography of E.B. White


“Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White” is bound to be one of the biggest books of the fall season. We are thrilled to share these engaging snippets.

This article was published in School Library Journal's May 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Literary Classics, Short and Sweet with Scott Nash|Up Close


With wit, style, and a healthy dash of humor, Nash retells nine classic works of literature including The Odyssey, Frankenstein, Moby-Dick, and Jane Eyre and brilliantly illustrates them with vibrant digital cartoons.

This article was published in School Library Journal's May 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

The Thank You Book by Mo Willems | SLJ Review

thank you book

WILLEMS, Mo. The Thank You Book. illus. by Mo Willems. 64p. (An Elephant & Piggie Book). Disney-Hyperion. May 2016. Tr $9.99. ISBN 9781423178286.
PreS-Gr 2–A sweet and pitch-perfect swan song to a wildly popular series. Reflecting on her good fortune and many blessings, Piggie decides to thank everyone who is important to her. Gerald thinks this is a bad idea, in that she runs the very big risk of forgetting someone. Piggie will not be dissuaded and embarks on her “Thank-o-rama!” She […]

As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds | SLJ Review


REYNOLDS, Jason. As Brave as You. 410p. S. & S./Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Bks. May 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781481415903.
Gr 5-8–Reynolds’s engaging middle grade debut stars 11-year-old African American Genie Harris, an inveterate worrywart who considers Google his best friend, and his older brother Ernie, who is well on his way to being a cool dude (sunglasses and all). The born and bred Brooklynites are to spend a month with their grandparents in rural Virginia while their parents take a long overdue […]

Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood | SLJ Review

NF_HOOD_ Ada’s Violin

Hood, Susan. Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay. illus. by Sally Wern Comport. 40p. photos. websites. S. & S. May 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481430951. 

Gr 2-5 –Hood tells the story of a real child growing up in an actual place—Cateura—a community of people who live and feed themselves by picking through the tons of trash generated by the capital city of Asunción, Paraguay, and salvaging items to recycle and sell. Despite […]

Hiding in Plain Sight | SLJ Spotlight

BARROUX. Where’s the Elephant

Whether it’s a story about a game of counting and scouting for hidden friends or looking for cleverly concealed visual clues, these books sharpen children’s observation skills and allow them to succeed vicariously by paying attention, honing sharp-eyed reflexes, and having fun along the way.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater | SLJ Review

Stiefvater, Maggie. The Raven King

Stiefvater, Maggie. The Raven King. 448p. (The Raven Cycle: Bk. 4). ebook available. Scholastic. May 2016. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780545424981. 

Gr 9 Up –The wait is over. The long-anticipated fourth and final volume in the engrossing Raven cycle is here, and it’s a doozy. If anything, it is even more steeped in dreams, magic, and possibility than the previous titles and none of the books’ ongoing dramas are simply resolved. The masterful Stiefvater juggles multiple plotlines, […]

Love Is in the Air! | SLJ Spotlight


Filled with reassuring sentiment, tender affirming language, and warm and fuzzy artwork, these titles are all about the joys that friendship, camaraderie, and caring can bring.

On the Road | Meet the Reviewer Catherine Callegari


SLJ’s Luann Toth interviews longtime reviewer, Catherine Callegari, who is changing her career trajectory.