January 18, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

No Kimchi for Me! by Aram Kim | SLJ Review

KIM, Aram. No Kimchi for Me! illus. by Aram Kim. 40p. Holiday House. Sept. 2017. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9780823437627.

PreS-Gr 2 –Their grandmother announces lunch featuring delicious Korean dishes while Yoomi and her brothers play. Yoomi enjoys grandma’s dried seaweed, soft egg omelets, and even the seasoned bean sprouts, but she does not like “stinky spicy kimchi!” Her older brothers, Jun and Yoon, won’t let her play with them because she’s too little; “big kids eat kimchi.” Despite trying various ways to mask […]

After the Fall by Dan Santat | SLJ Review

Humpty Dumpty, a spindly-limbed pale egg, copes with anxiety after his “Great Fall.”

We Love Books about Books! | SLJ Spotlight

Seven picture book titles perfect for young bookworms.

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

Hey Black Child by Useni Eugene Perkins | SLJ Review

PERKINS, Useni Eugene. Hey Black Child. illus. by Bryan Collier. 40p. Little, Brown. Nov. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316360302.

PreS-Gr 3 –Collier’s characteristic watercolor-and-collage masterpieces bring joy and gravity to Perkins’s inspirational poem. With a compelling rhythm that begs for recitation, the verse (often misattributed to Countee Cullen) celebrates the power and potential of black children. The illustrations pair young black faces with visions of their successful futures as astronauts, artists, politicians, and more and feature some of the artist’s favorite motifs, including […]

When the Moon Comes by Paul Harbridge | SLJ Review

HARBRIDGE, Paul. When the Moon Comes. illus. by Matt James. 40p. Tundra. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781101917770.
Gr 2-5 –As ducks fly south for the winter, kids wait impatiently for the full moon and the promise of ice on the beaver flood. When it finally arrives, they trek through the fresh-fallen snow to play hockey under the moonlight before clambering back to the warmth of their beds. This seemingly straightforward tale about a group of children playing hockey is grander than it first appears. […]

The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse by Mac Barnett | SLJ Review

BARNETT, Mac. The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse. illus. by Jon Klassen. 40p. Candlewick. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763677541.

K-Gr 2 –When a little mouse gets gobbled up by a hungry wolf, all seems lost until he makes an unexpected friend in the belly of the beast: a duck that may have been swallowed but has “no intention of being eaten.” Indeed, life is not so bad inside the wolf. There’s a comfortable bed, a grand dining room table, and a fully […]

Where’s Halmoni? by Julie Kim | SLJ Review

KIM, Julie. Where’s Halmoni? illus. by Julie Kim. 96p. Little Bigfoot. Oct. 2017. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781632170774.

K-Gr 2 –In this fun adventure story inspired by Korean folktales, young Noona and her little brother Joon step into a fantastical land to find their missing Halmoni (“grandmother”). Their journey partitions into three sections, each highlighting lovable or distrusted figures from traditional stories who help or hinder the kids as they search. Where’s Halmoni? has all the thrills, laughs, and morals that you could want from a […]

Read the Book, Lemmings! by Ame Dyckman | SLJ Review

PreS-Gr 2 –Another delightful collaboration by the team behind Wolfie the Bunny and Horrible Bear! This story is set in the Arctic on a whale-shaped boat and it focuses on a trio of lemmings named Jumper, Me Too!, and Ditto!, who do not know that lemmings do not jump off of things because they cannot read. After repeated failed admonishments to get the lemmings to read the book…

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes | SLJ Review

BARNES, Derrick. Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut. illus. by Gordon C. James. 32p. Agate/Bolden. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781572842243.

K-Gr 3 –Rhythmic text describes the feeling of a young African American boy as he gets a “fresh cut” and how a trip to the barbershop changes the way he feels about the world and in turn how the world perceives him. He might just “smash that geography exam” or “rearrange the principal’s honor roll” and, of course, the cute girl in […]

A Different Pond by Bao Phi | SLJ Review

PHI, Bao. A Different Pond. illus. by Thi Bui. 32p. Capstone. Aug. 2017. Tr $15.95. ISBN 9781623708030.

K-Gr 2 –This gorgeous tale about a father/son fishing trip shows the interconnectedness of family and the inexorable way that generational history impacts the present. The story is told from the boy’s perspective, as his father wakes him long before dawn to go fishing. Although the child enjoys the outing as a special adventure with his dad, they are fishing for food, not sport, and they […]

In the Middle of Fall by Kevin Henkes | SLJ Review

HENKES, Kevin. In the Middle of Fall. illus. by Laura Dronzek. 40p. HarperCollins/­Greenwillow. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062573117.

PreS-Gr 2 –In this lovely companion to When Spring Comes, poetic text and lush-hued acrylic paintings depict a rural setting fully turned to autumn. Leaves shimmer orange and yellow, “the sky is mostly gray/and the air is chilly,” “frisky” squirrels gather nuts, plump pumpkins stand ready for the picking, and apples hang from tree branches “like ornaments.” A red-jacketed girl and her dog, along with […]

Perfect Picnic Picture Books | SLJ Spotlight

Six perfect picture books for a family outing.

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

Seamus’s Short Story by Heather Hartt-Sussman | SLJ Review

HARTT-SUSSMAN, Heather. Seamus’s Short Story. illus. by Milan Pavlović. 32p. Groundwood. Aug. 2017. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781554987931.

PreS-Gr 2 –In this hilarious tale, Seamus, a big-headed and blue-haired kid, hates being short. He can never reach what he needs to, including a “horrid” baby picture of himself. He explores a few ineffectual options until he discovers his mom’s high heels and, suddenly, he is “having a blast.” Seamus’s being a boy in pumps passes without comment; high heels are simply a tool that […]

Robinson by Peter Sís | SLJ Review

SÍS, Peter. Robinson. illus. by Peter Sís. 48p. Scholastic. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545731669.

K-Gr 3 –Sís’s latest picture book fuses an episode from his childhood with the plot of Robinson Crusoe—a favorite novel when he was young. Sequential panels lead to full-bleed double spreads as the first-person accounts describe the way a group of five diverse friends play pirates in every conceivable setting, from a backyard tent to the bathtub. When the school costume party is announced, the collective choice is obvious, […]

I’m Smart! by Kate McMullan | SLJ Review

MCMULLAN, Kate. I’m Smart! illus. by Jim McMullan. 40p. HarperCollins/Harper. Jun. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062449238.

PreS-Gr 2 –Oozing confidence and energy, a big-eyed, grinning school bus describes his morning route, informing listeners that it “takes BRAINS to do my job—drive you to SCHOOL and keep you SAFE!” As with previous titles, the McMullans (I’m Brave!; I Stink!; I’m Cool!) infuse everyday activities with an infectious excitement bound to entice vehicle-loving youngsters. When the bus’s lights flash amber, it means “Cars and trucks, […]

Pup and Bear by Kate Banks | SLJ Review

BANKS, Kate. Pup and Bear. illus. by Naoko Stoop. 32p. Random/Schwartz & Wade. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399554094.

PreS-Gr 2 –At the close of an Arctic winter, a wolf pup, stranded on an ice floe, is rescued by a polar bear. “I am not your mother,” says the bear, but she assures the fearful pup that she will care for and shelter him. As the seasons turn, she protects the pup, plays with him, and teaches him to fish until at last […]

Windows by Julia Denos | SLJ Review

DENOS, Julia. Windows. illus. by E.B. Goodale. 32p. Candlewick. Oct. 2017. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780763690359.

PreS-Gr 1 –In this story, a boy of color dons a red hoodie, leashes his eager dog, and ventures out into the twilight, where the windows are “blinking awake as the lights turn on inside: a neighborhood of paper lanterns.” Readers get to peer in at the small, diverse figures making dinner, throwing a party, dancing, even stretching tin cans on a string between houses to talk on […]

The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABC’s by Patrick McDonnell | SLJ Review

MCDONNELL, Patrick. The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABC’s (the Hard Way). illus. by Patrick McDonnell. 48p. Little, Brown. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316502467.

PreS-Gr 1 –McDonnell’s abecedarian tale takes a small scarlet cat on a breathtaking adventure. The clever tale—wordless except for two signs and one warning shout—begins when the feline notices his home’s front door standing open and takes to the hills. He almost immediately comes upon a gape-mouthed Alligator, a climbing Bear, and an agitated […]

When’s My Birthday? by Julie Fogliano | SLJ Review

FOGLIANO, Julie. When’s My Birthday? illus. by Christian Robinson. 40p. Roaring Brook. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626722934.

PreS-Gr 1 –An exuberant ode to children’s anticipation for the most special day each year: their birthday. Fogliano’s insistent verse wastes no time and doesn’t even stop for traditional capitalization—just like the young narrators, who want to know, “when’s my birthday?/where’s my birthday?/how many days until/my birthday?” They continue breathlessly, wondering if they will “sing so happy happy?” on the big day. The exaggerated excitement […]

In Your Hands by Carole Boston Weatherford | SLJ Review

WEATHERFORD, Carole Boston. In Your Hands. illus. by Brian Pinkney. 32p. S. & S./Atheneum. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481462938.

PreS-Gr 3 –From award-winning Weatherford (Voice of FreedomMoses), this poem from a black mother to her firstborn son will resonate as a prayer for all black boys. A mother holds her child’s hand while expressing her hopes for his safety, his confidence, and a world that will see him as a “vessel to be steered rather than a figure to be feared.” The narrative […]