March 24, 2017

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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 Best Bear in All the World by Paul Bright, Brian Sibley, Jeanne Willis & Kate Saunders | SLJ Review


BRIGHT, Paul, Brian Sibley, Jeanne Willis, & Kate Saunders. The Best Bear in All the World. illus. by Mark Burgess. 128p. ebook available. Dutton. Oct. 2016. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9780399187476.

Gr 2-5 –As Winnie-the-Pooh turns 90 years old, four respected children’s authors have imagined entertaining new adventures for the iconic bear and his friends. Echoing the voice of A.A. Milne and illustrated in the style of E.H. Shepard, this new volume invites readers to “join Winnie-the-Pooh for a year […]

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 […]

Motor Miles by John Burningham | SLJ Review

Motor Miles by John Burningham

Burningham, John. Motor Miles. illus. by John Burningham. 32p. Candlewick. Sept. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763690649. 

PreS-Gr 2 –After Alice Trudge and her son Norman give Miles a home, they realize he is a difficult dog. Miles doesn’t like walks, other dogs, or much of anything except car rides. The next-door neighbor solves the problem by building the pup his own car. Once Miles masters driving, he takes Norman to school and on trips in the […]

A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers & Sam Winston | SLJ Review

A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers & Sam Winston

Jeffers, Oliver & Sam Winston. A Child of Books. illus. by Oliver Jeffers & Sam Winston. 40p. Candlewick. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763690779. 

Gr 1 Up –A gorgeous, innovative musing on the power of storytelling. A nameless young girl who calls herself a child of books narrates in lyrical, spellbinding verse. Some, she says, have forgotten the importance of stories, but she finds a boy and introduces him to her world, a land created through […]

Yellow Time by Lauren Stringer | SLJ Review

PB-SP-Stringer-Yellow Time

Stringer, Lauren. Yellow Time. illus. by Lauren Stringer. 40p. S. & S./Beach Lane. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481431569.

PreS-Gr 2 –Stringer re-creates those last days of autumn when the trees are no longer putting on a fiery show of colors and the leaves are one gusty day away from shuddering to the ground. Short, declarative, yet lyrical sentences set the stage (“The squirrels are too busy to notice, and the geese have already gone.”). Stringer […]

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas | SLJ Review

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles

Cuevas, Michelle. The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles. illus. by Erin E. Stead. 40p. Dial. Aug. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780803738683.  

K-Gr 2 –A man who lives at the seashore has a unique—but lonely—job. The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles spends his days watching the waves for a glint of glass and delivering messages near and far. His only companions are an orange tabby cat and a cow. Befitting the slightly melancholy tone, Cuevas’s text is appropriately […]

Where, Oh Where, Is Rosie’s Chick? by Pat Hutchins | SLJ Review

Where, Oh Where, Is Rosie’s Chick by Pat Hutchins

Hutchins, Pat. Where, Oh Where, Is Rosie’s Chick? illus. by Pat Hutchins. 32p. S. & S. Aug. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481460712. 

PreS-Gr 1 –When Rosie the hen finally hatches an egg, she cannot find her baby chick. She looks everywhere, and all the while, her chick is looking for her—sort of. Baby chick is still wearing half of his shell over his head and walking around blindly. Rosie does not even recognize him, but an […]

The Sound of Silence by Katrina Goldsaito | SLJ Review

The Sound of Silence by Katrina Goldsaito

Goldsaito, Katrina. The Sound of Silence. illus. by Julia Kuo. 40p. Little, Brown. Aug. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316203371; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780316271295. 

K-Gr 4 –On a rainy, bustling morning in Tokyo, a young boy is surrounded by a symphony of sounds: boots squishing, raindrops pattering, cars rushing, and, to his delight, a koto player producing a range of high, low, and “twangy and twinkling” notes as she tunes her instrument. When Yoshio asks the musician […]

Owl Sees Owl by Laura Godwin | SLJ Review

Owl Sees Owl by Laura Godwin

Godwin, Laura. Owl Sees Owl. illus. by Rob Dunlavey. 40p. Random/Schwartz & Wade. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780553497823. 

PreS-Gr 1 –“Soar/Glide/Swoop/Swoosh.” A young owlet leaves his nest one night for a solo adventure—and, by the light of the moon, sees his reflection in the water. “Owl/Sees/Owl.” Startled, he makes his way back home, where he finds safety in the comfort of his nest. “Sister/Brother/Mama/Home.” With only a few words per page, this poetic picture book […]

Duck on a Tractor by David Shannon | SLJ Review

Duck on a Tractor by David Shannon

Shannon, David. Duck on a Tractor. illus. by David Shannon. 40p. Scholastic/Blue Sky. Sept. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545619417. 

PreS-Gr 2 –A daring duck gets the wild idea to ride an unattended bike down on the farm in Shannon’s Duck on a Bike. At the very end of that now classic storytime title, the mischievous drake spies a tractor, thereby setting the stage for this delightful follow-up. Duck decides to drive the massive red vehicle into […]

The Not So Quiet Library by Zachariah OHora | SLJ Review

The Not So Quiet Library

OHora, Zachariah. The Not So Quiet Library. illus. by Zachariah OHora.40p. Dial. Jul. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780803741409. 

PreS-Gr 1 –Oskar, a boy, and Theodore, a bear, are companionable reading buddies. They love waking up early Saturday mornings to visit the library—after a “proper breakfast” of delectable doughnuts. They are just settling into a typically quiet library day when the “Boom! Crash! Growl!” of a loud, angry, and disruptive monster disturbs their solitude. It appears that […]

The Summer Nick Taught His Cats To Read by Curtis Manley | SLJ Review

The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read

Manley, Curtis. The Summer Nick Taught His Cats To Read. illus. by Kate Berube. 32p. S. & S./Paula Wiseman Bks. Jul. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481435703. 

PreS-Gr 2 –Book-loving Nick teaches his cats, Verne and Stevenson, to read in this debut picture book. Nick loves spending time with his cats, but he notices that they seem bored every time he pulls out a book. He decides that teaching them to read will not be too difficult, […]

Life Without Nico by Andrea Maturana | SLJ Review

Life Without Nico

Maturana, Andrea. Life Without Nico. illus. by Francisco Javier Olea. 36p. Kids Can. Apr. 2016. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781771386111. 

K-Gr 2 –When best friends are separated, it may be difficult for them to express their feelings. When Maia learns that her closest friend Nico will be moving with his family to the other side of the world while his father pursues further education, she is heartbroken. Without her friend, Maia feels that there is a hole […]

The Storyteller by Evan Turk | SLJ Review


Turk, Evan. The Storyteller. illus. by Evan Turk. 48p. ebook available. S. & S./Atheneum. Jul. 2016. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781481435185. 

Gr 1-4 –Folktales involving water abound in all cultures, but this tale is unusual in using water as a metaphor for story: just as we need water to nourish our physical selves, we need stories to feed our spirits. In Turk’s fable, a lone storyteller remains in a Moroccan city where the water sources have all […]

This Is Not a Picture Book by Sergio Ruzzier | SLJ Review

This Is Not a Picture Book

Ruzzier, Sergio. This Is Not a Picture Book. illus. by Sergio Ruzzier. 40p. Chronicle. May 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781452129075. 

PreS-Gr 2 –In this winsome examination of the power of words, a little duckling is delighted to find a red book lying on the ground. “Where are the pictures?!” the fuzzy yellow bird exclaims in dismay upon opening it up. The duck flips through the pages, scanning the plethora of print, and begins to recognize some […]

The Blobfish Book by Jessica Olien | SLJ Review

The Blobfish Book

Olien, Jessica. The Blobfish Book. illus. by Jessica Olien. 40p. websites. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. May 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062394156. 

PreS-Gr 2 –A misunderstood deep-sea dweller gets its moment in the sun in this tongue-in-cheek informational picture book. The bubble-gum pink blobfish is sketched onto the pages of a nonfiction work that presents facts about and photos of the fascinating creatures that live miles beneath the ocean surface. Snappy dialogue balloons and humorously exaggerated cartoon features […]

Best Frints in the Whole Universe by Antoinette Portis | SLJ Review

Best Frints in the Whole Universe

Portis, Antoinette. Best Frints in the Whole Universe. illus. by Antoinette Portis. 40p. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks. Jul. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626721364. 

K-Gr 2 –Employing eye-catching imagery and space lingo that will have children and their adults giggling, Portis emphasizes that friendship can be tricky yet rewarding. Yelfred and Omek, residents of the planet Boborp, have been pals (or “frints”) since they were young. Though these two buddies love to engage in a variety of […]

BFFS | SLJ Spotlight

PB-Harry and Walter

Kindred spirits come in all shapes and sizes (and ages!) and help make every activity and new discovery that much more fun. These picture book tributes to making and keeping old friends and new.