July 31, 2015

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Fable Comics edited by Chris Duffy | SLJ Review


Duffy, Chris, ed. Fable Comics. 124p. First Second. Sept. 2015. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781626721074.

Gr 3 Up–This title rounds off the successful Nursery Rhyme Comics (2011) and Fairy Tale Comics (2013, both First Second) collections, which contain short tales adapted by popular cartoonists. The majority of the fables in this installment are from Aesop, but there is also a sampling of selections from countries including Angola and India and famous writers such as Ambrose Bierce. Fables lend themselves well to graphic […]

The Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski | SLJ Review


Zagarenski, Pamela. The Whisper. illus. by Pamela Zagarenski. 40p. HMH. Oct. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544416864.

Gr 1-3–A sweet-faced girl in a red hood borrows a special book from her teacher. As she runs home, oblivious to what is happening, the words escape. While a fox nets the jumbled letters, readers can discern “once upon a time,” “wizard,” “bears,” etc. At home, the child is disappointed, thinking the book lacks a story. Then she hears the whisper: “You can imagine the […]

Lizard Radio by Pat Schmatz | SLJ Review


Schmatz, Pat. Lizard Radio. 288p. ebook available. Candlewick. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763676353.

Gr 8 Up–All great heroes begin with mythical origins. Fifteen-year-old Kavali is no exception. When she was a baby, she was abandoned on a sidewalk, swaddled in a T-shirt with a lizard printed on the front. Since then, she has questioned her true identity. Is she a boy or a girl? A lizard or a human? This work is set in the not-too-distant future, in which the […]

Review: Piper Green and the Fairy Tree by Ellen Potter

Piper Green and the Fairy Tree By Ellen Potter Illustrated by Qin Leng Knopf (Random House) ISBN: 9780553499230 $14.99 Grades 1-3 Out August 4, 2015 Find it at: Schuler Books | Your Library You know what’s normal? Being weird. Kids know this. But as we grow older we do our best to shed anything that […]

Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, & Deborah Biancotti | SLJ Review


Westerfeld, Scott, Margo Lanagan, & Deborah Biancotti. Zeroes. 560p. (Zeroes: Bk. 1). ebook available. S. & S./Simon Pulse. Sept. 2015. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781481443364.

Gr 9 Up–This may not be the first tale of a group of crime-fighting teenagers with supernatural powers, but its talented writing team get points for creating some fresh and original superpowerd abilities. Scam has a seemingly omniscient inner voice, which can speak for him and get him out of trouble or, all too often, into it. […]

“The Last One” explores fascinating history of AIDS quilt and community|DVD Pick


The Last One. 71 min. Dist. by the Video Project. 2014. $89. ISBN unavail.
Gr 7 Up–This documentary covers the history of the AIDS Quilt and Names Project, while providing a revealing look at the effects of ignorance, stigma, and discrimination, which cause the disease to spread. Conceived by San Francisco gay rights activist Cleve Jones, the AIDS Quilt began in 1985 with a single panel dedicated to Jones’s lover, Marvin Feldman. The quilt now numbers more than 48,000 panels and […]

The Girl Who Could Not Dream by Sarah Beth Durst | SLJ Review


Durst, Sarah Beth. The Girl Who Could Not Dream. 384p. Clarion. Nov. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544464971.

Gr 4-6–Middle school is rough even for ordinary kids, but Sophie is anything but ordinary. For one thing, her parents run a secret underground shop, where they distill, bottle, and sell dreams. Sophie herself has a special power that allows her to bring elements of the dream realm into the real world with her. Worries about getting her homework done and not having anyone […]

Lenny & Lucy by Philip C. Stead | SLJ Review


Stead, Philip C. Lenny & Lucy. illus. by Erin E. Stead. 40p. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks. Oct. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781596439320.

PreS-Gr 2–Peter and his dog Harold are unhappy to find themselves on a journey with their dad through the dark woods on their way to a new home. Peter thinks the move is a terrible idea and if Harold weren’t a dog, even he would do something about it. However, the decision has been made and Peter strongly dislikes […]

Six Eclectic Debut Novels | Adult Books 4 Teens


Adult Books 4 Teens features six debut novels for adults with teen appeal—with an emphasis on “novels,” since all of these first-time novelists have already established themselves in other forms or writing. These offerings range from a “Stephanie Plum” series read-alike by a Hollywood screenwriter to literary postapocalyptic titles.

App Review: A Beautiful Mess

Last week while discussing the Candy Camera app, suggested by The Tween and the Bestie, librarian Maria Selke reminded me of the A Beautiful Mess photo app. I am a huge fan of the A Beautiful Mess (ABM) blog, so I had actually purchased the app well over a year ago. The only problem is […]

Serpentine by Cindy Pon | SLJ Review


Pon, Cindy. Serpentine. 262p. (Serpentine: Bk. 1). ebook available. Month9. Sept. 2015. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781942664338.

Gr 9 Up–Skybright never knew her parents. She was raised by an affluent Chinese family who took her into their home to be a handmaid to their daughter, Zhen Ni. The two grew up as close as sisters, best friends and confidants who shared everything. Skybright loves her mistress, but as both girls grow up, changes start to occur. While Zhen Ni finds love in […]

Review: ‘Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories’

Sora, Donald, and Goofy continue on their journey to find their friends Riku and King Mickey, who were locked in the darkness. They are detoured along the way by a mysterious hooded stranger who leads them to the ominous Castle Oblivion. There, they may find clues that will lead them to their friends—but at the […]

What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss | SLJ Review


More than 20 years after Theodor Geisel’s death, a newly unearthed Dr. Seuss book hits the shelves.

Jump Back, Paul: The Life and Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar by Sally Derby | SLJ Review


Derby, Sally. Jump Back, Paul: The Life and Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar. illus. by Sean Qualls. 128p. bibliog. chron. index. notes. Candlewick. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763660703. LC 2014952480.

Gr 5-8–Derby asks, ”Did you ever hear anyone whose way of talking was kind of like that poem? I’m guessing not. Seems to me, first thing you know we’re all going to talk like the reporters and the pretty people they call anchors on TV—everybody all the same.” Paul Laurence […]

Kindoma: a shared reading experience

I love the idea of expanding the reading experience–of making it a special, social, connected experience even when the kids we love are not in our laps. Parents, grandparents and read-aloud buddies of all flavors, will want to take a look at Kindoma. Available for iPhone and iPad, the free app allows two users to […]

Rules for Stealing Stars by Corey Ann Haydu | SLJ Review

Stealing Stars

Haydu, Corey Ann. Rules for Stealing Stars. 336p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062352712.

Gr 4-7–Silly’s family is in distress. Moving to their New Hampshire summer house, which was supposed to help, has only exacerbated her mother’s drinking problem. Silly’s father finds refuge in his academic study of fairy tales, leaving 11-year-old Silly and her three sisters to fend for themselves. Silly resents the fact that her siblings view her as the baby, and exclude her from the […]

Zen Socks by Jon J. Muth | SLJ Review

Zen Socks

Muth, Jon J. Zen Socks. illus. by Jon J. Muth. 40p. Scholastic. Oct. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545166690. LC 2014022423.

Gr 1-3–The sage giant panda, Stillwater, returns to bestow knowledge through storytelling, this time while occasionally donning a pair of red-and-white striped socks. As Muth explains in the author’s note, Zen Socks was inspired “by all of the unexpected way I have benefitted from those who have ‘socked it to me.’” Readers meet Leo and Molly, siblings who have moved into […]

Manic Pixie Girl Rising | “Paper Towns” Movie Review

Quentin (Nat Wolff) and Margo (Cara Delevingne)  in Paper Towns (Photo: Michael Tackett)

Quentin (Nat Wolff) and Margo (Cara Delevingne) in Paper Towns. Photo by Michael Tackett

The box office success and the generally well received critical response of the first film adaptation of a John Green novel, The Fault in Our Stars, provides ample evidence that there is an audience to be found for somber, darker YA subject matter that has nothing to do with lottery killings or armed insurrections. Although the filmmakers of the new Paper Towns, based on Green’s third novel […]

Book Review: Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swensdon

 Publisher’s Book Description: A sixteen-year-old governess becomes a spy in this alternative U.S. history where the British control with magic and the colonists rebel by inventing. It’s 1888, and sixteen-year-old Verity Newton lands a job in New York as a governess to a wealthy leading family—but she quickly learns that the family has big secrets. […]

Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton | SLJ Review


Tate, Don. Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton. illus. by Don Tate. 36p. bibliog. Peachtree. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781561458257. LC 2015002407.

Gr 2-5–This picture book biography of poet George Moses Horton (1798–1884), a slave and the first African American poet to be published in the South, recounts his fascinating long life and masterly way with words. Tate’s distinctive illustrations feature gently curving horizons, bucolic washes of color, and figures with oversize heads and stylized, expressive faces. The […]