July 24, 2017

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I’m Just No Good at Rhyming by Chris Harris | SLJ Review

HARRIS, Chris. I’m Just No Good at Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups. illus. by Lane Smith. 192p. index. Little, Brown. Sept. 2017. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780316266574.

Gr 3-8 –Those who claim to hate poetry will enjoy this riotous compilation just as much as those who love the form. Fans of Ogden Nash, Shel Silverstein, and Jack Prelutsky will rejoice in finding another member of their gang. Wordplay abounds: “If ever I find myself holding a gecko…/I’ll lecko.” Typography […]

Mama Lion Wins the Race by Jon J. Muth | SLJ Review

MUTH, Jon J. Mama Lion Wins the Race. illus. by Jon J Muth. 56p. ­Scholastic. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545852821.

PreS-Gr 2 –Mama Lion and Tigey are excited: it is race day! They examine their route, take a gander at the prizes, greet the competition in the town square, and drive off with Tigey behind the wheel. The Knitted Monkeys are up to mischief and try to get ahead in the race, but others soon take the lead. When Tigey swerves to […]

Ear Snacks: Songs from the Podcast | SLJ Music Review

Ear Snacks: Songs from the Podcast. Performed by Andrew Barkan & Polly Hall. 38 min. Palindrome Records. 2016. $12.

PreS-Gr 5 –Like nothing you may have ever heard before, this collection of 16 original songs pulled from Los Angeles–based Andrew & Polly’s podcast for preschoolers is a great mashup of musical styles: a fresh find, filled with fantasy and fun—sophisticated yet relevant. Barkan and Hall’s fourth album injects humor and passion into each song, making it just right and “real” for youngsters […]

36 Stellar Titles | July 2017

Jennifer Mathieu’s YA novel Moxie is an empowering take on feminism; Dashka Slater uses a devastating crime to examine race, gender, and socioeconomic status in Oakland, CA, in The 57 Bus; and Gareth Hinds presents a masterly graphic novel look at some of Edgar Allan Poe’s most well-known works.

This article was published in School Library Journal's July 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Making the Most of Duolingo’s Updates

Chatbots, clubs, and a flashcard app provide more options for language learning.

This article was published in School Library Journal's June 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore | SLJ Review

MCLEMORE, Anna-Marie. Wild Beauty. 352p. Feiwel & Friends. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250124555.

Gr 7 Up –Set in an undisclosed time period, this new magical realism story featuring characters of color across the gender and sexuality spectrum draws on Latin American culture and language. Relying on lyrical prose, McLemore weaves an intricate tale of family, love, loss, and flowers. The Nomeolvides women have lived on and tended the enchanted gardens of La Pradera for generations. They are also hiding a dangerous secret: […]

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds | SLJ Review

REYNOLDS, Jason. Long Way Down. 320p. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Bks. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481438254.

Gr 8 Up –Fifteen-year-old Will’s big brother has been shot and killed. According to the rules that Will has been taught, it is now his job to kill the person responsible. He easily finds his brother’s gun and gets on the elevator to head down from his eighth-floor apartment. But it’s a long way down to the ground floor. At each floor, a different person gets on to […]

New Advocacy to Save School Librarians, One Click at a Time

Save School Librarians, a project of EveryLibrary, Follet Learning, and state library associations, is an online activist site for librarians, parents, and others.

Poulo Warali | SLJ Music Review

Poulo Warali. Performed by Poulo Warali. CD. Approx. 34 min. Awesome Tapes from Africa. 2017. $13.

PreS-Gr 8 –This is singer Awa Poulo’s first internationally distributed record. On this, her most recent recording, the popular singer of Peulh origin from Dilly Commune, Mali, shows off her beautiful, lilting voice as she sings traditional Malian music and original songs written by either Poulo or her mentor, the celebrated Malian singer Inna Baba Coulibaly. All songs are performed in Poulo’s native language. The opening […]

Strong as Sandow by Don Tate | SLJ Review

TATE, Don. Strong as Sandow: How Eugen Sandow Became the Strongest Man on Earth. illus. by Don Tate. 40p. bibliog. notes. photos. Charlesbridge. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781580896283.

Gr 1-4 –Sparked by his own passion for bodybuilding and physical fitness, Tate recounts the story of Eugen Sandow (1867–1925) in this inspirational picture book. The biography begins during Sandow’s childhood in Prussia, where he used sports and exercise to develop from a frail, skinny child into a robust, physically active young man and […]

The Magician and the Spirits by Deborah Noyes | SLJ Review

NOYES, Deborah. The Magician and the Spirits: Harry Houdini and the Curious Pastime of Communicating with the Dead. 160p. bibliog. index. notes. photos. Viking. Aug. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780803740181.

Gr 6 Up –Harry Houdini is best remembered as a magician and escape artist, but he also spent more than half his life tirelessly investigating mediums and séances—charlatans in disguise. Noyes’s narrative blends the history of the spiritualism movement in the early 20th century with a biographical account of Houdini. Early in Houdini’s […]

Friendshape | SLJ DVD Review

Friendshape. 7 min. Weston Woods. 2017. $59.95. ISBN 9781338184501. POP

PreS-Gr 1 –Never have circles, triangles, squares, and rectangles had such personality! Author Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrator Tom Lichtenheld’s picture book has become a fully animated, joyfully scored video. Rosenthal narrates, but children voice the shapes, who bounce and wiggle adorably when they laugh. Their outlines give and bend, suggesting a wide range of movement, and their simple facial features move expressively. They wrinkle when they have a disagreement and straighten […]

The Way to Bea by Kat Yeh | SLJ Review

YEH, Kat. The Way to Bea. 352p. Little, Brown. Sept. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780316236676.

Gr 5-8 –Seventh grader Beatrix Lee puts a lot of faith in haiku. Since her family and friendships are changing dramatically, Bea abandons her love of free verse poetry and takes solace in the haiku’s dependable five-seven-five rhyme scheme. After an embarrassing incident at a pool party causes a painful rift with her longtime best friend, Bea writes most of her poetry in invisible ink, a reflection of […]

Why Am I Me? by Paige Britt | SLJ Review

BRITT, Paige. Why Am I Me? illus. by Selina Alko & Sean Qualls. 40p. Scholastic. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781338053142.

PreS-Gr 2 –Britt tackles the metaphysical for the picture book crowd. Two (presumably) parent/child pairs approach a subway from different directions: an African American father and son and a light-skinned mother and daughter. The boy reads a book while riding a skateboard; the girl has a musical instrument case strapped to her back. As the kids notice each other, he wonders: “Why […]

Full of Fall by April Pulley Sayre | SLJ Review

SAYRE, April Pulley. Full of Fall. photos by April Pulley Sayre. 40p. bibliog. S. & S./Beach Lane. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481479844.

PreS-Gr 2 –The pages in this beautiful tribute to autumn virtually throb with color at every turn. A seasonal companion to Raindrops Roll and Best in Snow, this title highlights the glorious show that is performed each year by trees around the world. Simple, elegant poetry leads readers through the progression of changing leaves as the […]

The American Writers Museum | Pictures of the Week

A number of librarians made time during the ALA 2017 conference in Chicago last week to stop in at 180 Michigan Avenue, the home of the new American Writers Museum.

Right Footed | SLJ DVD Review

Right Footed. 82 min. Nick Spark Productions. Rightfootedmovie.com. 2015. $200. ISBN 827377000583.

Gr 5 Up –Jessica Cox was born without arms, and this documentary traces her journey, beginning as an angry, frustrated child. As time went on, she embraced her differences, eventually becoming a renowned motivational speaker as an adult as well as a disabilities activist traveling the globe. The program highlights Cox’s amazing ability to use her feet in place of her hands to do everything from opening […]

The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken | SLJ Review

LUYKEN, Corinna. The Book of Mistakes. illus. by Corinna Luyken. 56p. Dial. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780735227927.

PreS-Gr 3 –It starts with a mistake, but page by page, one slightly too large eye, a wonky elbow, and feet a little too far off the ground transform and combine into a larger picture—one that not only is functional but also works perfectly. Illustrations rendered in ink, colored pencil, and watercolor are the focal point. They start small—just a circle, […]

YA: New Titles from Joseph Bruchac, Victoria Schwab, & More | July 2017 Xpress Reviews

This month’s YA Xpress Reviews are bound to please fans of ongoing series. Joseph Bruchac brings his “Killer of Enemies” trilogy to a close, Victoria Schwab presents the latest installment in the “Monsters of Verity” series.

This article was published in School Library Journal's July 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Chapter Books: A Class Pet Runs Amok, Adventures in the Toy Kingdom | July 2017 Xpress Reviews

Readers learn about a land where toys come to life; a class pet named Fergus takes a trip; and Blake Hoena presents a tale of four unexpected monster heroes.

This article was published in School Library Journal's July 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.