October 21, 2017

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Can an Aardvark Bark?

Can an Aardvark Bark? Written by Melissa Stewart and Illustrated by Steve Jenkins Published in 2017 by Beach Lane Books ISBN 978-1481458528 Grades PK – 4 Book Review: Bark, grunt, squeal, roar…. A chorus of animal vocalizations emanates from science writer Melissa Stewart’s latest picture book, a concept book focusing on the sounds that animals […]

Lines

Lines Written and illustrated by Suzy Lee Published by Chronicle Books, 2017 ISBN #978-1-4521-5665-1   Grades K and up   Book Review   Suzy Lee, acclaimed illustrator and virtuoso of the wordless picturebook, delivers another spectacular visual masterpiece in her latest book, Lines. A young girl revels in the freedom and creativity of ice skating […]

15 Spooky Halloween Titles for Young Readers

Lots of treats in this roundup of Halloween titles just right for a variety of revelers, from toddlers to veteran trick-or-treaters.

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

Where, Oh Where, Is Baby Bear? by Ashley Wolff | SLJ Review

WOLFF, Ashley. Where, Oh Where, Is Baby Bear? illus. by Ashley Wolff. 32p. S. & S./Beach Lane. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481499163.

PreS –When night falls, the sweet and curious black bear cub and his mother go looking for food. Mama hunts and Baby Bear explores. “‘Where, oh where, is Baby Bear?’ calls Mama.” Readers won’t worry, because Wolff has hidden Baby Bear in the spread for them to find. “Here I am, Mama,” he replies each time. The sky subtly darkens as […]

Smiles of Bibliophiles: Celebrating Books and Reading

Share these titles to celebrate the importance and empowerment of literacy and to set the tone for a book-loving school year.

Double takes

We saw the 40th anniversary release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind* this weekend, which seemed like a great end-of-summer thing to do. I swear that movie has been cut differently every time I’ve seen it, but I was once again thrilled to see one of my favorite shots in cinema: that early scene […]

Review of the Day: After the Fall by Dan Santat

After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again By Dan Santat Roaring Brook (an imprint of Macmillan) $17.99 ISBN: 978-1-62672-682-6 Ages 4 and up On shelves October 3rd Sometimes its easy to forget in the midst of all those picture books about farting dogs, night kitchens, and giant dance parties that initially literature […]

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.

Flora and the Chicks & Flora and the Ostrich by Molly Idle | SLJ Review

IDLE, Molly. Flora and the Chicks. Mar. 2017. ISBN 9781452146577.

––––. Flora and the Ostrich. Sept. 2017. ISBN 9781452146584.

ea vol: illus. by Molly Idle. 20p. Chronicle. Board $9.99.

PreS –With the latest offerings starring the beloved Flora, Idle tackles the concepts of counting and opposites. Donning a yellow kerchief and a pair of red overalls in Chicks, Flora attempts to keep track of a bevy of chickens as they hatch and cavort around the farmyard. Readers will enjoy counting the chicks as page by page […]

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 […]

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 […]

Review of the Day: What’s My Superpower? by Aviaq Johnston, ill. Tim Mack

What’s My Superpower? By Aviaq Johnston Illustrated by Tim Mack Inhabit Media $16.95 ISBN: 978-1-77227-140-9 Ages 4-7 On shelves August 4th I credit Booger Beard. I will explain. While many children’s librarians will tell you that they have strived to make their book collections diverse and inclusive, they have always been hampered by what was […]

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 […]

Sing, Don’t Cry by Angela Dominguez | SLJ Review

DOMINGUEZ, Angela. Sing, Don’t Cry. illus. by Angela Dominguez. 32p. Holt. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781627798396.

PreS-Gr 2 –In this semiautobiographical picture book, Dominguez honors the memory of her grandfather Apolinar, whose music and optimism had a great effect on her. Every year, Abuelo visits from Mexico, bringing his guitar and his joyful outlook. “He would tell us about his life, and if we were sad about something, he would say, ‘Sing, don’t cry. Because singing gladdens the heart.’ ” Abuelo advises […]

Review of the Day: Accident! by Andrea Tsurumi

Accident! By Andrea Tsurumi Houghton Mifflin Harcourt $17.99 ISBN: 978-0-544-94480-0 Ages 4-7 On shelves October 3rd There is no accident so small that a forward thinking six-year-old can’t turn it into World War III. You see, there are certain things they won’t tell you when you prepare to become a parent. They’ll conveniently fail to […]

Why Am I Me? by Paige Britt | SLJ Review

BRITT, Paige. Why Am I Me? illus. by Selina Alko & Sean Qualls. 40p. Scholastic. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781338053142.

PreS-Gr 2 –Britt tackles the metaphysical for the picture book crowd. Two (presumably) parent/child pairs approach a subway from different directions: an African American father and son and a light-skinned mother and daughter. The boy reads a book while riding a skateboard; the girl has a musical instrument case strapped to her back. As the kids notice each other, he wonders: “Why […]

The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken | SLJ Review

LUYKEN, Corinna. The Book of Mistakes. illus. by Corinna Luyken. 56p. Dial. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780735227927.

PreS-Gr 3 –It starts with a mistake, but page by page, one slightly too large eye, a wonky elbow, and feet a little too far off the ground transform and combine into a larger picture—one that not only is functional but also works perfectly. Illustrations rendered in ink, colored pencil, and watercolor are the focal point. They start small—just a circle, […]