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

Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market by Michelle Schaub | SLJ Review

SCHAUB, Michelle. Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market. illus. by Amy Huntington. 32p. Charlesbridge. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781580895477.

Gr 3-5 –A multiethnic crowd of people saunter through a farmers’ market, investigating produce, accompanied by cheerful poetry. Does the “smell of a melon give clues you can use”? Are free-range eggs truly “eggs-traordinary,” and is honey really “liquid-gold alchemy”? Along with this delectable sampling of sweet corn and the search for gooseberries are a list of […]

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 […]

Anywhere Farm

Anywhere Farm Written by Phyllis Root and Illustrated by G. Brian Karas Published by Candlewick Press in 2016 ISBN 978-0-7636-7499-1 Grades PreK – 3 Book Review Just in time for Earth Day and in anticipation of the coming growing season, Phyllis Root’s new picture book celebrates the simplicity and power of the act of gardening. […]

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 […]

Some writer, artist, friend!

I hope you’ll join me for the 2017 Zena Sutherland Lecture, to be held on Friday, May 5 at 7:30PM at the Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago. Our lecturer is the wonderful Melissa Sweet; her chosen topic is “To Inform and Delight: The Elements of Story.” Tickets are free but you gotta reserve your […]

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 […]

Wolf in the Snow

Wolf in the Snow Written and Illustrated by Matthew Cordell Published in 2017 by Feiwel and Friends ISBN 978-1-250-07636-6 Grades preK-3   Book Review Get ready to challenge all of your assumptions about stories of girls in red-hooded jackets and wolves. Counter to traditional fairy tales that caution (and condition) us to be fearful of […]

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.

John Ronald’s Dragons: The Story of J. R. R. Tolkien

John Ronald’s Dragons: The Story of J. R. R. Tolkien Written by Caroline McAlister; Illustrated by Eliza Wheeler Published by Roaring Brook Press, 2017 ISBN # 978-1626720923   Grades K-5   Book Review “John Ronald was a boy who loved horses. And trees. And strange sounding words. But most of all, John Ronald loved dragons.” […]

Toy “Sleepovers” Boost Kids’ Reading Skills, Says New Study

Children’s librarians are leveraging an old favorite, stuffed animals, to impart a love of reading. A new study shows their efforts make a measurable difference.

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.