March 30, 2017

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Chapter Books Xpress Reviews | April 2017


A story about a likable girl who’s finally old enough to ride a horse; a Dutch classic children’s book featuring a boy named Pluck; and Super Turbo fights off a hoard of flying ninja squirrels

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

15 STEM Titles To Celebrate Women


A splendid mix of fiction and nonfiction female-centered STEM books for children and teens.

A Case in Any Case by Ulf Nilsson | SLJ Review


NILSSON, Ulf. A Case in Any Case. tr. from Swedish by Julia Marshall. illus. by Gitte Spee. 108p. (Detective Gordon: Bk. 3). ebook available. Gecko. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781776571086.
Gr 1-4 –Everyone’s favorite cake-eating toad, Detective Gordon, has retired from police work and has embarked upon a life of leisure. Buffy, his stalwart deputy, is now chief detective, and the little mouse takes her job most seriously. Unfortunately, she is plagued by strange noises at night and longs for her […]

Yours Sincerely, Giraffe by Megumi Iwasa | SLJ Review


IWASA, Megumi. Yours Sincerely, Giraffe. tr. from Japanese by Cathy Hirano. illus. by Jun Takabatake. 104p. ebook available. Gecko. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781927271889.
Gr 1-4 –An extremely bored giraffe becomes curious about what lies on the other side of the horizon and recruits a pelican to be his own personal courier. The pelican, equally bored and eager for new business, offers to travel anywhere and takes Giraffe’s letter far across the ocean to Whale Sea. A correspondence begins between Giraffe […]

Chapter Books Xpress Reviews | March 2017


The Super Happy Party Bears return; animal adventures galore.

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

Barkus by Patricia MacLachlan | SLJ Review


MACLACHLAN, Patricia. Barkus. illus. by Marc Boutavant. 56p. ebook available. Chronicle. Jun. 2017. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781452111827.

Gr 1-3 –MacLachlan has taken her love of animal stories and created an engaging early chapter book for young readers. This is the tale of a family caring for Barkus, a big brown dog given to them by a favorite uncle. Each chapter finds Barkus and Nicky, his young owner, embarking on silly adventures, from a raucous dog birthday party to an […]

The Bad Guys in Mission Unpluckable by Aaron Blabey | SLJ Review


BLABEY, Aaron. The Bad Guys in Mission Unpluckable. illus. by Aaron Blabey. 144p. ebook available. Scholastic. Mar. 2017. pap. $5.99. ISBN 9780545912419. POP

Gr 2-4 –The “Bad Guys” return for another rescue mission. This time their goal is to free 10,000 chickens from Sunnyside Chicken Farm. Readers new to the series will benefit from the summary that kicks off the story. However, fans of the original will also delight in one of the most creative synopses appearing in serial […]

Princess Cora and the Crocodile by Laura Amy Schlitz | SLJ Review


SCHLITZ, Laura Amy. Princess Cora and the Crocodile. illus. by Brian Floca. 80p. Candlewick. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763648220.

Gr 1-4 –Little Cora is an old-fashioned princess with a decidedly contemporary problem: her well-meaning parents have overscheduled her with improving experiences, and she just wants a day off. Failing at her less than assertive attempts to convince the adults of her castle to give her a break, she calls on her fairy godmother for assistance. The help comes […]

Download SLJ’s Sneak Peek Guide to Spring/Summer 2017 Titles


Over 150 of the most hotly anticipated spring and summer titles, hand-picked by the SLJ editors. With info on ALA author signings and galley giveaways.

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton | SLJ Review


CLANTON, Ben. Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea. illus. by Ben Clanton. 64p. (A Narwhal and Jelly Book: Bk. 1). Tundra. Oct. 2016. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781101918265; pap. $7.99. ISBN 9781101918715. POP

Gr 1-3 –Readers new to graphic novels will be richly rewarded with this series opener about a delightfully quirky duo. Earnest and down-to-earth Jelly the jellyfish is the perfect foil for endearingly airheaded Narwhal. Divided into three tales, the book is light on plot but brimming with a […]

Chapter Book Xpress Reviews | November 2016


A funny follow-up for fans of My Pet Human, a new chapter book heroine, and more.

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

Captain Pug by Laura James | SLJ Review


JAMES, Laura. Captain Pug. illus. by Églantine Ceulemans. 128p. Bloomsbury. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781681193809; pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781681193816.

Gr 1-3 –Meet Pug. He lives with his best friend, Lady Miranda; her housekeeper; and two running footmen. Today, the two friends have been invited to go pedal boating. Lady Miranda dubs her canine pal Captain Pug. Being terrified of water, the dog isn’t so thrilled. Soon Pug gets separated from Lady Miranda before he can become a real […]

Book Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami | SLJ Review


KRISHNASWAMI, Uma. Book Uncle and Me. illus. by Julianna Swaney. 152p. Groundwood. Sept. 2016. Tr $14.95. ISBN 9781554988082; ebk. $12.95. ISBN 9781554988105.

Gr 2-4 –Nine-year-old Yasmin is a self described book-a-day reader. Every day after school she likes to stop by Book Uncle’s lending library on the corner by her apartment complex. Book Uncle has been on the corner as long as Yasmin can remember, and his motto of Right book for the right person for the right day” […]

Chapter Books Xpress Reviews | October 2016


Check out our online-only chapter book reviews for October, including Book Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami and Julianna Swaney.

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

Frightfully Good Reads | Chapter Book Chat


Librarian Abby Johnson suggests several chapter book series—paired with activities or lesson extenders—that deliver chills and thrills.

Gold Medal Reads | Chapter Book Chat


Just in time for the Olympics, librarian Abby Johnson spotlights several sports series for chapter book readers and suggests accompanying activities, including fun ways to stay active this summer.

Skunked! by Jacqueline Kelly | SLJ Review


Kelly, Jacqueline. Skunked! illus. by Teagan White & Jennifer Meyer. 112p. (Calpurnia Tate, Girl Vet). Holt. Oct. 2016. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781627798686.

Gr 2-4 –Award-winning author Kelly introduces the “Calpurnia Tate” series to a younger audience. The year is 1901, and Calpurnia lives in a big white house in Texas with her mother, father, grandfather, and six brothers. Living with so many brothers can bring excitement and, at times, trouble. High jinks ensue when Cal’s younger […]

Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina | SLJ Review

CHAP-Medina-Juana and Lucas

Medina, Juana. Juana and Lucas. illus. by Juana Medina. 96p. Candlewick. Sept. 2016. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780763672089.

Gr 2-4 –Juana lives in Bogotá, Colombia, with her dog Lucas. She loves brussels sprouts, drawing, and especially the comic book superhero Astroman. She most definitely does not like learning “the English.” When her teacher says learning English is going to be a “ton of fun,” Juana knows that it will really be “nada de fun.” Her abuelo, or […]

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey | SLJ Review

CHAP-GN-Pilkey-Dog Man

Pilkey, Dav. Dog Man. illus. by Dav Pilkey. 240p. (Dog Man: Bk. 1). Scholastic/Graphix. Sept. 2016. Tr $9.99. ISBN 9780545581608. POP 

Gr 1-4 –Part canine, part human, Dog Man is a crime-fighting sensation. He fights crime, sniffs out wrongdoing, and battles his doglike tendencies. His nemesis is Petey, a cat who cooks up devilish plans in his secret lab. The pages are filled with bold lines and colorful artwork that has a childlike feel and will […]

Chapter Books Xpress Reviews | July 2016


Wrestling, fantasy, and princesses all take center stage in this new chapter book series.

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