May 22, 2017

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Poor Louie by Tony Fucile | SLJ Review

FUCILE, Tony. Poor Louie. illus. by Tony Fucile. 40p. Candlewick. Apr. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763658281.

PreS-Gr 1 –Louie is a cute and cuddly Chihuahua in crisis. He speaks directly to readers and tries to solicit their sympathy. The pup recounts his idyllic life as the apple of his human parents’ eye. Walks in the park, eating ice cream, and shopping excursions are all part of their normal family routine, along with dinner, movies, and plenty of snuggle time. […]

Book Review: Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld and Alex Puvilland

From the publisher: Three years ago an event destroyed the small city of Poughkeepsie, forever changing reality within its borders. Uncanny manifestations and lethal dangers now await anyone who enters the Spill Zone.The Spill claimed Addison’s parents and scarred her little sister, Lexa, who hasn’t spoken since. Addison provides for her sister by photographing the […]

Book Review: Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld and Alex Puvilland

From the publisher: Three years ago an event destroyed the small city of Poughkeepsie, forever changing reality within its borders. Uncanny manifestations and lethal dangers now await anyone who enters the Spill Zone.The Spill claimed Addison’s parents and scarred her little sister, Lexa, who hasn’t spoken since. Addison provides for her sister by photographing the […]

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale | SLJ Audio Review

HALE, Shannon & Dean Hale. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World. 7 CDs. 7:53 hrs. Listening Library. Feb. 2017. $24.99. ISBN 9781524734077. digital download.

Gr 4-7 –Fans of the Squirrel Girl comics, which feature a college-bound Squirrel Girl, will rejoice to learn of her superhero beginnings at age 14. Abigail Ravasch inhabits Doreen Green and her alter ego, Squirrel Girl, with finesse. Using her higher range, Ravasch creates a convincing teen voice that fills with snark or trembles […]

Book Review: The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Publisher’s description Michael likes to hang out with his friends and play with the latest graphic design software. His parents drag him to rallies held by their anti-immigrant group, which rails against the tide of refugees flooding the country. And it all makes sense to Michael. Until Mina, a beautiful girl from the other side […]

Dept. H: Vol. 1: Pressure by Matt Kindt | SLJ Review

KINDT, Matt. Dept. H: Vol. 1: Pressure. illus. by Matt Kindt & Sharlene Kindt. 168p. Dark Horse. Jan. 2017. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781616559892.

Gr 7 Up –Matt Kindt delivers another amazing graphic novel with an imaginative premise. This is a highly unusual locked-room mystery, centering on an unexplained death that occurred in an undersea research station. Mia is sent down to the station to find out exactly what happened to her father. She doesn’t know if his death was […]

32 Stellar Titles | May 2017

Andrea Cheng’s lovely sequel to The Year of the Book, the skinny on our canine companions, Rita Williams-Garcia’s newest work of middle grade fiction.

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

Little Pig Saves the Ship by David Hyde Costello | SLJ Review

COSTELLO, David Hyde. Little Pig Saves the Ship. illus. by David Hyde Costello. 32p. Charlesbridge. May 2017. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781580897150.

PreS-Gr 1 –The adorable protagonist of Little Pig Joins the Band returns as his brothers and sisters head off to sailing camp for the summer. Little Pig is too small to join his siblings, so his brother leaves him a book of sailors’ knots, and his grandfather carves him a miniature boat. Each day Little Pig and his […]

Wordplay by Ivan Brunetti | SLJ Review

BRUNETTI, Ivan. Wordplay. illus. by Ivan Brunetti. 40p. TOON. May 2017. Tr $12.95. ISBN 9781943145171.

K-Gr 2 –The fun begins with the title—Wordplay—a compound word for a book about compound words. Annemarie and her classmates work on their assignment to compile lists of compound words. “How about housework?” asks a boy. “YES!” responds the teacher as Annemarie quietly giggles, imagining cheery houses vacuuming and dusting. Each new word conjures up another humorous imagining—two boys playing catch with a foot […]

Book Review: How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

Publisher’s description Grace, tough and wise, has nearly given up on wishes, thanks to a childhood spent with her unpredictable, larger-than-life mother. But this summer, Grace meets Eva, a girl who believes in dreams, despite her own difficult circumstances.   One fateful evening, Eva climbs through a window in Grace’s room, setting off a chain […]

Book Review: Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman

Publisher’s description Fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen will fall in love this contemporary debut about finding yourself-and finding love-in unexpected places. Ocean breeze in her hair and sand between her toes, Anise can’t wait to spend the summer before her senior year surfing and hanging out on the beach with friends. Santa Cruz […]

Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix by Jacqueline Briggs Martin & June Jo Lee | SLJ Review

MARTIN, Jacqueline Briggs & June Jo Lee. Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix. illus. by Man One. 32p. bibliog. further reading. photos. websites. Readers to Eaters. May 2017. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9780983661597.

Gr 1-5 –Spicy, sweet, colorful, tangy—all the words that authors Martin and Lee use to describe Roy Choi’s Korean Mexican cuisine apply just as accurately to the book they’ve created along with L.A. street artist Man One. Choi’s parents came to the United States from […]

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk | SLJ Review

WOLK, Lauren. Beyond the Bright Sea. 304p. Dutton. May 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781101994856.

Gr 5-8 –The definition of family and one young girl’s struggle to find out who she really is take center stage in Wolk’s follow-up to her Newbery Honor book, Wolf Hollow. As long as she can remember, Crow has lived her whole life on the sleepy island of Cuttyhunk, part of the Elizabeth Islands off the coast of Massachusetts. When she was a baby, only […]

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 […]

Maker Spaces, STEM, Library Management | Professional Reading

Maker space projects galore; “a fascinating look at the intersection of science and the maker movement”; and an accessible guide on management for school librarians.

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

YA: Mean Girls, “Mad Miss Mimic,” and Mars | May 2017 Xpress Reviews

Eve Darrows delivers a poignant, gripping exploration of bullying; Sarah Henster’s latest is sure to please fans of Victoriana; and Jonathan Maberry takes a trip to Mars.

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