April 30, 2017

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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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

SLJ’s April 2017 Popular Picks

The latest thriller from Cristin Terrill, a feminist primer for little ones, and a heartfelt memoir by a BuzzFeed editor.

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

The Giant Jumperee by Julia Donaldson | SLJ Review

DONALDSON, Julia. The Giant Jumperee. illus. by Helen Oxenbury. 32p. Dial. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780735227972.

Toddler-PreS –When Rabbit hears a booming voice coming from his burrow, from someone who claims to be the Giant Jumperee, he’s terrified. Cat, Bear, and Elephant each attempt to investigate but are sent running by the unseen occupant. Luckily, Mama Frog puts things right and reveals that the Giant Jumperee isn’t nearly as terrifying as he sounds. Though the ending will be […]

Far Apart, Close in Heart: Being a Family When a Loved One Is Incarcerated by Becky Birtha | SLJ Review

BIRTHA, Becky. Far Apart, Close in Heart: Being a Family When a Loved One Is Incarcerated. illus. by Maja Kastelic. 32p. websites. Albert Whitman. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780807512753.

PreS-Gr 3 –How can a family stay intact if a parent is incarcerated? This tale follows children as they deal with bullying, isolation, fear, guilt, and uncertainty. In one scene, Xavier has his face down and is worried because he needs to keep his father’s incarceration a secret while […]

Lucía the Luchadora by Cynthia Leonor Garza | SLJ Review

GARZA, Cynthia Leonor. Lucía the Luchadora. illus. by Alyssa Bermudez. 32p. POW! Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781576878279.

PreS-Gr 2 –Lucía can zip through the playground and jump off the monkey bars and land on her feet every single time, but the boys ignore her and tell her that girls can’t be superheroes. Lucía and her Abu—short for abuela—hatch a plan that will involve learning all about luchadores, the stars of a popular Mexican style of wrestling (lucha libre). […]

Be Quiet! by Ryan T. Higgins | SLJ Review

HIGGINS, Ryan T. Be Quiet! illus. by Ryan T. Higgins. 40p. Disney-Hyperion. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781484731628.

PreS-Gr 3 –Rupert the mouse is excited to finally have the opportunity to create his very own book. He decides that it will be wordless, since wordless books are “very artistic.” Rupert cannot wait to get started. However, his dream project is interrupted by two well-meaning but extremely chatty little friends. They are so excited to offer Rupert ideas that they […]

The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt | SLJ Review

DAYWALT, Drew. The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors. illus. by Adam Rex. 48p. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062438898.

K-Gr 3 –In the ancient kingdom of Backyard live many warriors, including Clothespin, Apricot, and the mighty and unbeatable Rock. After many battles, all won by Rock, he eagerly sets out to seek a more formidable opponent. Meanwhile, in the Empire of Mom’s Home Office and the Kitchen Realm, Paper and Scissors are also finding themselves to […]

Flowers for Sarajevo by John McCutcheon | SLJ Review

MCCUTCHEON, John. Flowers for Sarajevo. illus. by Kristy Caldwell. 32p. notes. score. w/CD. Peachtree. Apr. 2017. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781561459438.

Gr 2-5 –Based on a true story, this picture book relates an uplifting tale of how music can help people rise above the horror of war. Twenty-five years ago, civil war raged in Sarajevo. A young boy, Drasko, helps his father sell flowers in the market square. He watches as his father speaks to everyone, regardless of ethnicity or […]

Picture Books Xpress Reviews | April 2017

An artful alphabet book; a little girl imagines she has a dinosaur as a pet (don’t we all?); and a Spanish-language book about a horse who is mistaken for a unicorn by the other farm animals.

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

9 Refugee Stories for Kids and Teens

These nine titles—from picture books to YA—explore the many dangers, factors, and effects that refugees and immigrants face every day.

3 Adorably Fox-y Picture Books

Dispel the negative connotations surrounding foxes in children’s stories with these three cuddly tales.

Morris Mole by Dan Yaccarino | SLJ Review

YACCARINO, Dan. Morris Mole. illus. by Dan Yaccarino. 40p. HarperCollins. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062411075.

PreS-Gr 2 –Morris the mole is unique in his family. His brothers spend their days digging, eating, and sleeping. Morris is smaller than his siblings and follows a slightly different routine. One day the moles discover that they have run out of food. Morris has a suggestion that he thinks can save the day. When Morris attempts to inform his brothers about his […]

Walk with Me by Jairo Buitrago | SLJ Review

BUITRAGO, Jairo. Walk with Me. tr. from Spanish by Elisa Amado. illus. by Rafael Yockteng. 32p. Groundwood. Mar. 2017. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781554988570.

Gr 1-4 –A girl invites an imaginary lion, a metaphor for her missing father, to accompany her on her long walk home. Along the way, she must pick up her baby brother from child care and purchase groceries, and when they arrive home, she prepares dinner before her mother returns from the factory. The illustrations are […]

That Neighbor Kid by Daniel Miyares | SLJ Review

MIYARES, Daniel. That Neighbor Kid. illus. by Daniel Miyares. 32p. ebook available. S. & S. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481449793.

PreS-Gr 2 –The illustrations tell the story in this subtle, heartwarming, nearly wordless picture book. The tale opens with a moving van parked in front of a house, and readers see a boy sitting beneath a huge tree in his new yard, engrossed in a book called Living in Trees. His neighbor, a girl, timidly watches him, first […]

Pig & Goose and the First Day of Spring by Rebecca Bond | SLJ Review

BOND, Rebecca. Pig & Goose and the First Day of Spring. illus. by Rebecca Bond. 48p. ebook available. Charlesbridge. Mar. 2017. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781580895941.

PreS-Gr 2 –This delightful transitional reader, dedicated to Arnold Lobel, celebrates the joy of new friendship. In the first chapter, Pig fixes herself a picnic on a beautiful day. The small white dot she spies turns out to be Goose, who lands right beside her. When Pig admires her new acquaintance’s flying skills, Goose […]

The Blue Hour by Isabelle Simler | SLJ Review

SIMLER, Isabelle. The Blue Hour. tr. from French. illus. by Isabelle Simler. 42p. Eerdmans. Feb. 2017. Tr $19. ISBN 9780802854889.

K-Gr 3 –This stunning ode to the “blue hour” celebrates the time of day between sunset and night. Beginning with endpapers that itemize more than 30 evocatively named shades of blue (peacock, azure, periwinkle, celadon), the striking oversize spreads feature richly textured images of blue mammals, sea creatures, birds, insects, and plants, many of whose “blueness” extends to their […]

The Tree by Neal Layton | SLJ Review

LAYTON, Neal. The Tree. illus. by Neal Layton. 40p. Candlewick. Feb. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763689520.

PreS-Gr 2 –This sweet and simple story (only 38 words) conveys an important and powerful message. A man and woman come upon a plot of land for sale. They make plans to build a magnificent home, bring in their supplies, and eagerly set to work. However, when the couple begin to cut down a tree that is right in the middle of their […]