June 22, 2017

Subscribe to SLJ

Round by Joyce Sidman | SLJ Review

SIDMAN, Joyce. Round. illus. by Taeeun Yoo. 32p. HMH. Mar. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544387614.

PreS-K –Sidman delivers a captivating homage to the many round things found in nature and in the world around us. Told in the voice and sensibility of a young child, the simple text follows a girl as she comes across round objects, feels their smoothness, and wraps her fingers around their curves. Some she appreciates from afar (turtle eggs and sunflowers), watching how they […]

All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle | SLJ Review

ENGLE, Margarita. All the Way to Havana. illus. by Mike Curato. 40p. Holt. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781627796422.

PreS-Gr 2 –Accompanied by the vibrant onomatopoeia of an old rebuilt car, a brown-skinned boy travels with his family from their village in Cuba to the capital city, Havana, to celebrate the “zero-year birthday” of his cousin. The focus of this colorful picture book is on the car (nicknamed “Cara Cara”), one of Cuba’s many mid-20th-century American vehicles maintained through […]

Me and You and the Red Canoe by Jean E. Pendziwol | SLJ Review

PENDZIWOL, Jean E. Me and You and the Red Canoe. illus. by Phil. 32p. Groundwood. Aug. 2017. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781554988471.

PreS-Gr 2 –Two siblings, a lush forest, a red canoe, and a love of adventure and exploration. These are the elements that Pendziwol weaves into this stunning book celebrating friendship across the backdrop of the Canadian landscape. Narrated by one of the boys, the story is structured into paragraphs arranged like poetry, with frequent use of rhymes and […]

Pandora by Victoria Turnbull | SLJ Review

TURNBULL, Victoria. Pandora. illus. by Victoria Turnbull. 32p. Clarion. Apr. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544947337.

PreS-Gr 1 –Pandora, an anthropomorphic fox, finds slivers of beauty in a wasteland of discarded objects. From piles of detritus, she ferrets out treasures—a teddy bear, a van Gogh painting—repairs broken objects, and fills her house, a rickety cottage on stilts, with them. Her solitary existence is interrupted when an injured bird drops from the sky. Pandora nurses the bird, and as he becomes […]

The Bad Seed by Jory John

JOHN, Jory. The Bad Seed. illus. by Pete Oswald. 40p. HarperCollins/Harper. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062467768.

K-Gr 2 –Corn kernels, pistachios, peanuts, and other seeds gasp and point as a “baaaaaaaaaaad seed” goes by. When others mumble about him, he can hear them because he has “good hearing for a seed.” The bad seed tells “long jokes with no punch lines,” lies “about pointless stuff,” and never puts things back where they belong. But he did not start […]

Download SLJ’s Sneak Peek Guide to Fall 2017 Books

Download this handy guide to over 150 of the most hotly anticipated fall titles, curated by SLJ editors. With info on ALA author signings and galley giveaways.

No, the places YOU’LL go.

When I say, as I do with some regularity, “I hate Dr. Seuss,” I don’t mean it as criticism of his work for any kind of aesthetic or political shortcoming, and obviously I don’t have anything against the man himself. What I mean is that The Cat and the Hat, etc. made five-year-old me very, very […]

Review of the Day: Town is By the Sea by Joanne Schwartz, ill. Sydney Smith

Town Is by the Sea By Joanne Schwartz Illustrated by Sydney Smith Groundwood Books $19.95 ISBN: 978-1-55498-871-6 Ages 4-9 On shelves now There’s been a lot of talk lately about how a parent can engender empathy in their children. It’s a good question and worth a lot of discussion and listening. As a parent I’ve […]

Now by Antoinette Portis | SLJ Review

PORTIS, Antoinette. Now. illus. by Antoinette Portis. 32p. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks. Jul. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626721371.

PreS-Gr 1 –A young girl names all her favorite things as she joyfully lives out her days. “This is my favorite mud…my favorite rain.” Other treasured objects include a worm and a paper boat. Mostly, the girl loves these things because they are what she is experiencing in the moment. For example, of the several holes she’s dug, her favorite is […]

Balderdash!: John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books by Michelle Markel | SLJ Review

MARKEL, Michelle. Balderdash!: John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books. illus. by Nancy Carpenter. 44p. bibliog. further reading. Chronicle. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780811879224.

K-Gr 2 –This winning picture book takes on a subject that one wouldn’t think, at first glance, would be of interest to modern-day audiences—a look at the life of an 18th-century publisher and shopkeeper. But said publisher is none other than John Newbery, who embraced the teachings of John Locke and is […]

Charlotte the Scientist Is Squished by Camille Andros | SLJ Review

ANDROS, Camille. Charlotte the Scientist Is Squished. illus. by Brianne Farley. 40p. Clarion. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544785830.

PreS-Gr 2 –Young rabbit Charlotte considers herself a serious scientist, complete with a lab coat and goggles, a clipboard, and a healthy understanding of the scientific method. There’s just one small detail holding her back: her large, rambunctious bunny family. Tired of being squished at the dinner table and finding her beloved beakers and test tubes accidentally broken, Charlotte hypothesizes, […]

Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus | SLJ Review

NABERHAUS, Sarvinder. Blue Sky White Stars. illus. by Kadir Nelson. 40p. Dial. Jun. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780803737006.

K-Gr 2 –Naberhaus, an Indian American immigrant, and Nelson, an African American illustrator, collaborate on this timely homage to the relationship among America’s majesty, its hopefulness and diversity, and its flag. Beginning with iconic images of the country (rows of autumn-burnished trees, a white trail of wagons moving west under the blue sky), the spreads feature descriptive phrases paired with illustrations […]

Picture Books: New Reads from Cynthia Rylant, Adam Rubin, & More | June 2017 Xpress Reviews

Adam Rubin delivers another taco-loving dragon tale; Cynthia Rylant retells “Beauty and the Beast.”

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

Review of the Day: The Ring Bearer by Floyd Cooper

The Ring Bearer By Floyd Cooper Philomel Books (an imprint of Penguin Books USA) $16.99 ISBN: 978-0399167409 Ages 4-7 On shelves now. Decent, hard-working, necessary picture books are, in many ways, the hardest books I review. Decency, should anyone ask, is not exciting. Deplorable books are exciting. Madcap horrendous books are exciting. Dirty, indecent, awful, […]

Over and Under the Pond

Over and Under the Pond Written by Kate Messner Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal Published in 2017 by Chronicle Books Grades PreK-5 ISBN: 978-1-4521-4542-6 Book Review “Over the pond, cattails rustle and shush in the wind…Under the pond, a caddisfly larva builds a home of her own–a secret shelter of pebbles and sand.” As with […]

7 Ate 9: The Untold Story by Tara Lazar | SLJ Review

LAZAR, Tara. 7 Ate 9: The Untold Story. illus. by Ross MacDonald. 32p. Disney-Hyperion. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781484717790.

K-Gr 3 –Private investigator Al F. Bet relates a recent case history—the mysterious disappearance of Number 9. It all starts with Client Number 6, who comes into the office visibly agitated about Number 7. Has shady 7 committed a horrific crime? Are his own days “numbered”? In search of some leads, the PI heads to Café Uno, and after […]

4 Picture Books Celebrating the Importance of Family

A wide array of titles that show the warm and sometimes wacky world of familial interactions.

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall | SLJ Review

CORNWALL, Gaia. Jabari Jumps. illus. by Gaia Cornwall. 32p. Candlewick. May 2017. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780763678388.

PreS-Gr 2 –An African American boy and his baby sister and father head to an urban community pool. Jabari has completed his swim lessons and tests and is ready to jump off a diving board. In his zigzag swim trunks and swim goggles, the boy tells his dad that diving looks easy. But when he stands at the ladder and looks up, up, […]

Hatching Chicks in Room 6

Hatching Chicks in Room 6 Written by Caroline Arnold Published by Charlesbridge in 2017 Grades PreK – 3 Book Review   Who can resist the sweet yellow fuzziness of a tiny chick? Caroline Arnold’s photo essay lets readers share the experiences of a lucky Kindergarten class whose teacher has provided them with sixteen chicken eggs […]

Poor Louie by Tony Fucile | SLJ Review

FUCILE, Tony. Poor Louie. illus. by Tony Fucile. 40p. Candlewick. Apr. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763658281.

PreS-Gr 1 –Louie is a cute and cuddly Chihuahua in crisis. He speaks directly to readers and tries to solicit their sympathy. The pup recounts his idyllic life as the apple of his human parents’ eye. Walks in the park, eating ice cream, and shopping excursions are all part of their normal family routine, along with dinner, movies, and plenty of snuggle time. […]