April 29, 2017

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The Big Bad Fox by Benjamin Renner | SLJ Review

RENNER, Benjamin. The Big Bad Fox. tr. from French by Joe Johnson. illus. by Benjamin Renner. 192p. First Second. Jun. 2017. pap. $15.99. ISBN 9781626723313.

Gr 3-6 –The proverbial fox may be a menace to the henhouse—but not the hero of this work. The titular character lacks gumption, guile, or cunning, and the chickens send him running each time he ventures into the farmyard. Taking pity on the fox, the wolf proposes playing the long game: stealing eggs and […]

Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson | SLJ Review

ANDERSON, Jodi Lynn. Midnight at the Electric. 272p. HarperCollins/­HarperTeen. Jun. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062393548.

Gr 9 Up –Adri’s, Catherine’s, and Lenore’s lives are intertwined but not in the way that one would think. Adri lives in 2065 Kansas, Catherine lives in 1930s Kansas, and Lenore lives in England in 1919. As Adri is preparing to go to Mars, she stays with her cousin in Kansas, where the training takes place. Upon settling in, she comes across letters written […]

What’s Your Favorite Color? by Eric Carle & others | SLJ Review

CARLE, Eric & others. What’s Your Favorite Color? illus. by Eric Carle & others. 40p. Holt. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780805096149.

PreS-Gr 2 –Carle and 14 other picture book artists share their favorite colors through memories, poems, and child-friendly snippets in this collection of testimonials. Despite the emphasis on the visuals, text and illustrations in each spread are equally strong. From Philip C. Stead’s gentle ode to the many shades of green to Jill McElmurry’s tactile imagining of […]

Return to the Secret Garden by Holly Webb | SLJ Audio Review

WEBB, Holly. Return to the Secret Garden. 4 CDs. 5:13 hrs. Dreamscape. Dec. 2016. $29.99 ISBN 9781520064765. digital download.

Gr 3-6 – Emmie and the other orphans of the Craven Home for Orphaned Children are being evacuated from London to Misselthwaite Manor on the eve of World War II. The chaos of displacement mirrors Emmie’s loneliness and frustration. This powerful historical setting is the backdrop for Webb’s lovely sequel to Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic The Secret Garden. As Emmie […]

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley | SLJ Review

CROWLEY, Cath. Words in Deep Blue. 288p. Knopf. Jun. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781101937648.

Gr 9 Up –An astonishingly realistic look at loss, grief, love, and the importance of words. Rachel Sweetie’s world changed forever the day her little brother Cal drowned. In the eight months since, she’s failed to graduate from school and alienated most of her friends. Rachel’s family seems to think returning to live with her aunt in their old hometown will help. She’s up for […]

A Huge Milestone for “The Outsiders” | Pictures of the Week

Fans gathered in New York City on April 25 to celebrate the golden anniversary of the publication of the classic by S.E. Hinton.

New Kid-Lit Landmarks To Be Named During Children’s Book Week

Sites connected to Mark Twain, Barbara Park, and Virginia Sorensen have been designated as the 2017 Literary Landmarks.

Goldfish Ghost by Lemony Snicket | SLJ Review

SNICKET, Lemony. Goldfish Ghost. illus. by Lisa Brown. 40p. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626725072.

K-Gr 3 –In a droll twist on the typical “beloved dead pet” story, this one opens with a death—reimagined as an otherworldly birth—of a boy’s pet goldfish. Born upside down and floating on top of his fishbowl, Goldfish Ghost, who remains in that position throughout, slowly drifts out of the boy’s bedroom and along the idyllic seascapes of Cape Cod […]

My Daddy Rules the World: Poems About Dads by Hope Anita Smith | SLJ Review

SMITH, Hope Anita. My Daddy Rules the World: Poems About Dads. illus. by Hope Anita Smith. 32p. Holt/Christy Ottaviano Bks. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780805091892.

PreS-Gr 3 –Dedicated to “every man ‘fathering’ a child,” this volume spotlights the bond between dads and their kids. Written in a child’s voice, the poems depict dads snoring, making breakfast, giving a haircut or guitar lesson, wrestling, playing catch, teaching a child to ride a bike, and reading. “Love Letter” is about […]

Go Sleep in Your Own Bed! by Candace Fleming | SLJ Review

FLEMING, Candace. Go Sleep in Your Own Bed! illus. by Lori Nichols. 40p. Random/Schwartz & Wade. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780375866487.

PreS-Gr 1 –Day is done, and the farm animals quietly take to their beds to get some much-needed rest. Pig toddles off to his sty, with all its glorious mud and slop, but finds a cow in his spot. “Go sleep in your own bed!” Pig demands. Cow clompety-stomps to her stall, but there she startles awake […]

Junie B. Jones First Ever Musical Edition! by Barbara Parks | SLJ Audio Review

PARKS, Barbara. Junie B. Jones First Ever Musical Edition! 2 CDs. 77 min. Listening Library. Jan. 2017. $20. ISBN 9780147523440. digital download.

Gr 1-3 –This fabulous 15-song production is centered on four previous stories—First Grader (at Last!), Boss of Lunch, One-Man Band, and Top Secret Personal Beeswax—and features the songs from Junie B. Jones, the Musical. In First Grader (at Last!), listeners discover that first grade can be a scary place, but it also offers new beginnings. The irrepressible […]

The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein | SLJ Review

WEIN, Elizabeth. The Pearl Thief. 336p. Disney-Hyperion. May 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781484717165.

Gr 8 Up –In this prequel to Code Name Verity, set in 1938, Julia Beaufort-Stewart, 15, returns home from school in Paris for summer break to unhappy changes. The family’s house and land have been sold and are being converted into a school. Julie, finding no one at home to welcome her, heads to the river. The next thing she remembers is waking up in the […]

You’ve Come a Long Way, “Feminist Baby”!

Loryn Brantz’s Feminist Baby tackles gender equality for the youngest set.

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

How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child by Sandra Uwiringiyimana with Abigail Pesta | SLJ Review

UWIRINGIYIMANA, Sandra with Abigail Pesta. How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child. 304p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. May 2017. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780062470140.

Gr 7 Up –The greatest storytellers connect with readers through universal truths, and Uwiringiyimana tells her own profound story with clarity and honesty. After a heart-pounding cliff-hanger opening, Uwiringiyimana goes back in time to revisit her childhood in Uvira, a city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Although occasionally interrupted by bouts of […]

A Spy Called James: The True Story of James Lafayette, Revolutionary War Double Agent by Anne Rockwell | SLJ Audio Review

ROCKWELL, Anne. A Spy Called James: The True Story of James Lafayette, Revolutionary War Double Agent. 1 CD. 14 min. Dreamscape. Jan. 2017. $14.99. ISBN 9781520066172.

Gr 2-5 – The true story of James Lafayette, a Revolutionary double agent, will captivate and anger young listeners as they learn about the incredible dangers that James, an American enslaved person, took while trying to secure America’s freedom from the British and earning his own from his masters. At great danger to […]

4 Novels on the Trials and Tribulations of Middle School

The following novels feature characters smack-dab in the middle of those tumultuous middle school years.

Eco-conscious Poetry Books for Earth Day

Just in time for April, here are two titles that are perfect for both National Poetry Month and Earth Day–related lessons.

2 YA Tales of Some Not-so-Witchy Witches

Teen witch books aren’t all “hocus pocus” and “eye of newt.”

5 Picture Books Celebrating Dads (and Granddads)

5 warm and tender titles with male-focused parent-and-child interactions that celebrate the special bonds between father (or grandfather) and child

Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce | SLJ Review

COTTRELL BOYCE, Frank. Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth. 336p. HarperCollins/Walden Pond. Jun. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062643629.

Gr 4-7 –Prez Mellows is a list expert. He’s been making lists for years on sticky notes to help his granddad remember important life facts, such as “Prez is your grandson” and “Do not go out without trousers.” His lists help save the planet when a space-traveling alien, Sputnik, shows up on Earth and enlists Prez’s help to come up with […]