September 17, 2017

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After the Fall by Dan Santat | SLG Review

SANTAT, Dan. After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again. illus. by Dan Santat. 40p. Roaring Brook. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626726826.

PreS-Gr 2 –Humpty Dumpty, a spindly-limbed pale egg, copes with anxiety after his “Great Fall.” Though his shell has mostly healed, a newfound fear of heights prevents him from enjoying his birdwatching, and even from choosing the delicious cereal on the top shelf at the store. But he still yearns for the skies, and Santat employs a variety […]

Patina by Jason Reynolds | SLJ Review

REYNOLDS, Jason. Patina. 240p. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Bks. Aug. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781481450188.

Gr 5-8 –Twelve-year-old Patina Jones not only loves to run, she needs to run—and win. She’s a gifted athlete, and since the death of her father and her mother’s life-altering health problems, Patty’s track club has become the focal point of her life. Running helps her to navigate the changes she and her younger sister, Maddy, are experiencing. They have left their urban neighborhood to live in a different part […]

The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine by Mark Twain & Philip C. Stead | SLJ Review

TWAIN, Mark & Philip C. Stead. The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine. illus. by Erin Stead. 160p. Doubleday. Sept. 2017. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780553523225.

Gr 4-8 –Using 16 pages of abbreviated handwritten notes from 1880 and outlining a tale Twain made up for his daughters, Stead has created a rhythmic and imaginative story seamlessly blended with intermittent “discussions” between the two authors. Twain’s story is set in a land where “the luckless and hungry remain luckless and hungry for all of their lives,” while “in […]

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 […]

Light Years by Emily Ziff Griffin | SLJ Review

GRIFFIN, Emily Ziff. Light Years. 304p. S. & S./Simon Pulse. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781507200056.

Gr 10 Up –A lyrical science fiction novel about a sensitive and creative teenager tasked with saving herself—and the world. In a near future, Luisa Ochoa-Jones, 16, is a brilliant coder and has just been accepted into a high-profile internship program at a leading tech company. She is eager to begin her career and get out from under the thumb of her controlling mother. But Luisa’s plans […]

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. […]

Felix Yz by Lisa Bunker | SLJ Audio Review

BUNKER, Lisa. Felix Yz. 5 CDs. 6:03 hrs. Listening Library. Jun. 2017. $35. ISBN 9781524775258. digital download.

Gr 5-8 –Felix Yz would be an absolutely normal 13-year-old, if an accident in his father’s lab had not fused him with Zyx, a superintelligent being from the fourth dimension, when he was three years old. This alien causes him to appear disabled; Felix is painfully bent, and he twitches when Zyx gets excited, and sometimes cannot speak, making him an easy target for bullies. But […]

The Wonderling by Mira Bartók | SLJ Review

BARTÓK, Mira. The Wonderling. 464p. Candlewick. Sept. 2017. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9780763691219.

Gr 3-6 –Thirteen, a fox groundling (creatures that are half animal, half human), has spent most of his life in “the Home,” a horrid orphanage/workhouse run by the evil Mrs. Carbunkle. When he saves a bird groundling named Trinket, the two hatch an escape plan, and Trinket renames him Arthur, in honor of the brave medieval king. Once Arthur and Trinket are free from Mrs. Carbunkle, they set off on an adventure […]

Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar | SLJ Review

KELKAR, Supriya. Ahimsa. 304p. Tu Bks. Oct. 2017. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781620143568.

Gr 4-6 –Ten-year-old Anjali’s comfortable life changes dramatically when her parents decide to honor Mahatma Gandhi’s request that every Indian family give one member to the fight for freedom from British rule. Anjali’s mother takes the active role, first learning to spin cotton on the charkha in order to make khadi, or homespun clothes, and teaching others to do the same. Her aspirations expand to helping the Dalit community, referred to […]

SLJ’s September 2017 Popular Picks

Daniel José Older’s Shadowshaper sequel will thrill old and new fans; Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is illustrated for a young audience; and a city mouse finds food and adventure in this month’s Popular Picks!

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

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 […]

Release by Patrick Ness | SLJ Review

NESS, Patrick. Release. 288p. ­HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062403193.

Gr 9 Up –Adam, a rising senior with complex social and familial relationships, experiences the worst day of his life to date. The former boyfriend for whom he still has romantic feelings, and his BFF—witty and wise Korean adoptee Angela who might be into both guys and girls—are both going away; his older brother, a seminary student, has gotten a new girlfriend pregnant and turns to Adam to help smooth the way […]

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 […]

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson | SLJ Review

Web excerpt

Miguel’s Brave Knight by Margarita Engle | SLJ Review

ENGLE, Margarita. Miguel’s Brave Knight: Young Cervantes and His Dream of Don Quixote.illus. by Raúl Colón. 32p. photos. Peachtree. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781561458561.

Gr 3-6 –In a collection of poems, Engle explores the great Spanish writer’s early beginnings. Miguel Cervantes’s vivid imagination and love of storytelling are presented against the backdrop of his difficult childhood as the son of a vagabond barber-surgeon who often gambled away his family’s money. Despite the constant relocation across Spain because of his father’s debts, […]

Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani | SLJ Review

CHANANI, Nidhi. Pashmina. illus. by Nidhi Chanani. 176p. First Second. Oct. 2017. Tr 16.99. ISBN 9781626720879.

Gr 4-8 –Priyanka is a teenage girl who loves to draw. Her mother emigrated from India years ago, leaving Pri’s father behind. Pri is eager to learn about her father and her Indian heritage, but her mother refuses to discuss the subject. Then Pri finds an old pashmina in her mother’s suitcase, and when she puts it on, she is magically transported to the India of her dreams. […]

Glow by Megan E. Bryant | SLJ Review

BRYANT, Megan E. Glow. 272p. Albert Whitman. Sept. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780807529638; pap. $9.99. ISBN 9780807529652.

Gr 8 Up –Two young women, a century apart, find themselves drawn to the same dangerous glow. Julie, a young woman in the present day, is unable to pay for college after sacrificing her savings to help save her family’s home. In her desperate attempt to forget about her circumstances, Julie looks for a project to occupy her thoughts. During a visit to a thrift store, […]

Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers | SLJ Review

EGGERS, Dave. Her Right Foot. illus. by Shawn Harris. 104p. Chronicle. Sept. 2017. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781452162812.

Gr 3 Up –This beautifully designed and conversational yet sophisticated book about the history of the iconic statue is also filled with humor and interesting trivia. Explanations of the construction, size, and eventual color of the statue are explained and illustrated in simple, accessible terms. While the first two-thirds of the book offer information about the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the green […]

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery | SLJ Review

MONTGOMERY, L.M. Anne of Green Gables. adapted by Mariah Marsden. illus. by Brenna Thummler. 232p. Andrews McMeel. Oct. 2017. pap. $10.99. ISBN 9781449479602.

Gr 3-7 –A jewel-toned graphic novel adaptation of the beloved classic. This abridged version of Anne of Green Gables appropriately condenses the longtime favorite into a more accessible volume, but it doesn’t cut out the spirit of Montgomery’s effervescent heroine. As chatty, imaginative, and scatter-brained as ever, the redheaded protagonist and her new family and town are brought to vivid life by the […]

The Explorer | Katherine Rundell

RUNDELL, Katherine. The Explorer. 336p. S. & S. Sept. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781481419451.

Gr 5-8 –The fiery crash of a six-seater plane, following the apparent heart attack of its pilot, leaves British adolescents Fred and Con and Brazilian children Lila and her brother Max stranded in the Amazon jungle, having escaped the flames and left relatively unhurt, but with little knowledge of how to survive. Strangers to one another, the three young teens must overcome their emotional baggage and learn to cooperate in […]