February 20, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Late Fall and Early 2015 Picture Books, Easy Readers, and Early Chapter Books | Fiction Preschool to Grade 4

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redstarEngle, Margarita. Orangutanka. illus. by Renée Kurilla. 40p. further reading. websites. Holt. Mar. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780805098396.

PreS-Gr 2–A sprightly introduction to orangutans through nimble wordplay and attractive book design. Kurilla’s pen-and-ink illustrations frame Engle’s tanka verses, which relate a simple story of an orangutan family in an animal sanctuary in Borneo. Massive papa, whose “great weight makes/low branches waltz slowly” and mama, baby, inquisitive big sister, and watchful grandma live an idyllic existence amid the tall trees. Child-friendly verse evokes the habitat and should have wide appeal: “Imagine/rain forest music—/insects/buzz, zoom, and hum/while green leaves swish.” Teachers will also appreciate the page of orangutan facts, where they can find print and online suggestions for further reading. Readers learn that the long-term outlook for this species of gentle primates is in doubt as deforestation threatens their rainforest habitats in Borneo and Sumatra. Engle also includes a note describing tanka poetry, an ancient Japanese format; the modern form is unrhymed and consists of five lines (short, long, short, long, long) of linked poems. She concludes by inviting children to write their own poems and dance like orangutans “with energetic arms and legs.” This well-crafted book, with its accomplished verses and smattering of facts, should earn a wide audience.–Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA

redstarJenkins, Emily. A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat. illus. by Sophie Blackall. 40p. Random/Schwartz & Wade Bks. Jan. 2015. lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9780375968327; Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780375868320; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780375987717. LC 2011023589.

Gr 1-3–More than mere confection, A Fine Dessert is a rich and satisfying journey across four centuries, told through the eyes of four families. Beginning with a young girl and her mother picking wild blackberries in Lyme, England in 1710 and ending with a father and son in modern day San Diego, each story is explored through the lens of making Blackberry Fool, a treat consisting of berries, cream, and sugar. Jenkins keeps the text tightly focused on the task at hand: gathering the ingredients, mixing them, presenting the finished dessert, and enjoying the sweet rewards. Each story follows the same pattern, allowing children to observe similarities and differences in across time periods. Technological progress is highlighted in the evolution of the mixing process: from a bundle of clean, soft twigs in the 18th century to a metal whisk made by a blacksmith in the 19th century to a cast-iron rotary beater in the 20th century and finally to the nearly effortless electric mixer in the 21st century. Blackall’s ink and watercolor illustrations, accented with real blackberry juice, provide the details that both unify and differentiate the various historical periods. The story set on a Charleston plantation could have been uncomfortable in less capable hands. A spread shows a white family sitting down to supper as a slave family waits upon them. Jenkins and Blackall show rather than tell, allowing young readers to draw their own conclusions about the fact that the characters must hide in a closet to enjoy the dessert they’ve worked so hard to make. The final spread depicts a modern multigenerational, multicultural gathering. A recipe for Blackberry Fool is included. Simply delectable.–Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal

redstarMcNamara, Margaret. A Poem in Your Pocket. illus. by G. Brian Karas. 40p. ebook available. Random/Schwartz & Wade Bks. Jan. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780307979476; lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 9780307979483. LC 2014005745.

Gr 1-3–Elinor is a perfectionist. She loves school and takes her assignments very seriously. For Poetry Month, Mr. Tiffin teaches his class about different kinds of poetry, similes, and metaphors. Anticipating an upcoming author visit by a real poet, students are asked to write a poem and put it in their pocket. Elinor plans to wear her jeans with many pockets so she can have one in every pocket, but her obsession with perfection impedes her creativity. On the day of the visit, the child has not created anything that she considers good enough to share. When the guest asks her to read her poem, Elinor reveals that she “has a poem in the pocket of her mind.” When she recites it, her words flow beautifully. This is a great book to share during National Poetry Month. Brief explanations are given for the more common poetry forms and the idea of a “Poem in Your Pocket Day” is inspiring. Pair this book with the works of Shel Silverstein, Paul B. Janeczko, Jack Prelutsky, Douglas Florian, or Robert Louis Stevenson, among others, to make a persuasive unit on the delights of the genre. Colorful illustrations of a busy classroom filled with enthusiastic students and a determined child keep the subject light and humorous. This title shines a light on a subject worthy of discussion.–Mary Hazelton, formerly at Warren & Waldoboro Elementary Schools, ME

redstarSarcone-Roach, Julia. The Bear Ate Your Sandwich. illus. by Julie Sarcone-Roach. 40p. Knopf. Jan. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780375858604; lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 9780375958601; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780307982421.

PreS-Gr 2–“It all started with the bear,” begins this story of what happened to a sandwich. Bear wakes up to the delectable aroma of freshly picked berries. He sniffs out a red truck, the back of which is filled with boxes of perfectly harvested berries. After having a berry party, Bear falls asleep. The truck drives him to a new forest—the city. When Bear begins to explore, he sees things in the city framed by his own experiences: a telephone pole becomes a tree, and bricks on the side of a building make great bark for scratching. In a park, he finds a lunchbox with a delicious sandwich, which he eats ravenously. When he climbs a tree, he can see his forest home in the distance and desperately wants to return. Somehow, he finds a boat, which carries him to the familiar sights and sounds of home. “So that’s what happened to [the] sandwich.” This is a fun story that children will enjoy, though they’ll need to  suspend logic a bit. The illustrations in this book are terrific: color-drenched and bold slashes that cover the pages. The funny Bear is sympathetic and  is only doing what bears do—eating and sleeping. And making us laugh. This book is a fine addition to any collection.–Mary Hazelton, formerly at Warren & Waldoboro Elementary Schools, ME

The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue:


Adler, David A. Danny’s Doodles: The Squirting Donuts. illus. by David A. Adler. 112p. (Danny’s Doodles: Bk. 2). Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. 2014. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781492614012; pap. $4.99. ISBN 9781402287282; ebk. $4.99. ISBN 9781402287299.

Anthony, Joseph. The Dandelion Seed’s Big Dream. illus. by Cris Arbo. 32p. Dawn. 2014. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781584694960; pap. $8.95. ISBN 9781584694977. LC 2013050074.

Antony, Steve. Betty Goes Bananas. illus. by Steve Antony. 32p. Random/Schwartz & Wade Bks. Dec. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780553507614; ebk. $19.99. ISBN 9780553507621. LC 2014005747.

Appelt, Kathi. Counting Crows. illus. by Rob Dunlavey. 40p. S. & S./Atheneum. Mar. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781442423275; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781442483323. LC 2014002094.

Arnold, Tedd. Fly Guy’s Amazing Tricks. illus. by Tedd Arnold. 32p. (Fly Guy: Bk. 14). Scholastic/Cartwheel. 2014. Tr $6.99. ISBN 9780545493291; ebk. $6.99. ISBN 9780545732451. LC 2013051319.

Ashman, Linda. Little Baby Buttercup. illus. by You Byun. 32p. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Bks. Jan. 2015. RTE $16.99. ISBN 9780399167638. LC 2014009896.

Atteberry, Kevan. Bunnies!!! illus. by Kevan Atteberry. 32p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. Jan. 2015. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9780062307835.

Bahk, Jane. Juna’s Jar. illus. by Felicia Hoshino. 32p. Lee & Low. Jan. 2015. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781600608537. LC 2014012484.

Banks, Kate. Max’s Math. illus. by Boris Kulikov. 40p. Farrar/Frances Foster Bks. Mar. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780374348755.

Barton, Byron. My Bike. illus. by Byron Barton. 40p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Apr. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062336996. LC 2014013919.

Bertier, Anne. Wednesday. illus. by Anne Bertier. 48p. Enchanted Lion. 2014. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781592701520.

Boldt, Claudia. Max’s Mix and Match. illus. by Claudia Boldt. 28p. NorthSouth. Jan. 2015. Board $12.95. ISBN 9780735841949.

Boyle, Joanna. The Tip-Tap Dancing Cat. illus. by Joanna Boyle. 32p. Pavilion Children’s. Dec. 2014. pap. $8.99. ISBN 9781843652755.

Bradley, Sandra. Henry Holton Takes the Ice. illus. by Sara Palacios. 32p. Dial. Jan. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780803738560; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780698401556. LC 2013049147.

Bramsen, Carin. Just a Duck? illus. by Carin Bramsen. 40p. Random. Jan. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780385384155; lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9780375973444; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780385384162.

Brantz, Loryn. Not Just a Dot. illus. by Loryn Brantz. 32p. ebook available. Sky Pony. 2014. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781629146225.

Brown, Tricia “Nuyaqik.” Charlie and the Blanket Toss. illus. by Sarah “Anuyaq” Martinsen. 32p. glossary. photos. Alaska Northwest. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781941821077. LC 2014012775.

Capucilli, Alyssa Satin. Katy Duck’s Happy Halloween. illus. by Henry Cole. 24p. (Ready-to-Read). Simon Spotlight. 2014. pap. $3.99. ISBN 9781442498068; Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781442498075; ebk. $3.99. ISBN 9781442498082; lib. ed. $13.55. ISBN 9780606357692. LC 2013045346.

Casey, Dawn. A Lullaby for Little One. illus. by Charles Fuge. 32p. Nosy Crow. Feb. 2015. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9780763676087. LC 2014939345.

Chapin, Tom & John Forster. The Backwards Birthday Party. illus. by Chuck Groenink. 40p. score. S. & S./Atheneum. Feb. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781442467989; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781442468009. LC 2012043784.

Chapman, Jared. Pirate, Viking & Scientist. illus. by Jared Chapman. 40p. Little, Brown. 2014. Tr $17. ISBN 9780316253895. LC 2013022289.

Church, Caroline Jayne. I Am a Big Brother! illus. by Caroline Jayne Church. 24p. Scholastic. Jan. 2015. Tr $6.99. ISBN 9780545688864.

Clarkson, Stephanie. Sleeping Cinderella and Other Princess Mix-Ups. illus. by Brigette Barrager. 40p. Orchard. Jan. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545565646.

Cullen, Lynn. Dear Mr. Washington. illus. by Nancy Carpenter. 32p. reprods. Dial. Jan. 2015. RTE $16.99. ISBN 9780803730380. LC 2012001098.

Drews, Judith. The Zoo’s Grand Opening: An ABC and Counting Book. tr. from German by Jen Metcalf. illus. by Judith Drews. 64p. Die Gestalten Verlag/Little Gestalten. 2014. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9783899557145.

Dumont, Jean-François. The Sheep Go on Strike. illus. by Jean-François Dumont. 33p. Eerdmans. 2014. Tr $16. ISBN 9780802854704. LC 2013044350.

Elliott, Rebecca. Eva’s Treetop Festival. illus. by Rebecca Elliott. 80p. (Owl Diaries: Bk. 1). Scholastic/Branches. Jan. 2015. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780545683630; pap. $4.99. ISBN 9780545683623; ebk. $4.99. ISBN 9780545683784. LC 2013050684.

Friester, Paul. Owl Howls Again! tr. from German. illus. by Philippe Goossens. 32p. NorthSouth. Jan. 2015. Tr $15.95. ISBN 9780735841291.

Fulford, Jason & Tamara Shopsin. This Equals That. photos by Jason Fulford. 80p. Aperture. 2014. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781597112888.

Graves, Keith. Second Banana. illus. by Keith Graves. 32p. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks. Feb. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781596438835. LC 2014009899.

Griffin, Molly Beth. Rhoda’s Rock Hunt. illus. by Jennifer A. Bell. 32p. Minnesota Historical Society. 2014. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9780873519502.

Hamburg, Jennifer. Monkey and Duck Quack Up! illus. by Edwin Fotheringham. 32p. Scholastic. Feb. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545645140; ebk. $17.99. ISBN 9780545645157. LC 2013035362.

Harper, Charise Mericle. Superlove. illus. by Mark Chambers. 32p. Knopf. Dec. 2014. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9780375869235; lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 9780375969232; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780375987267. LC 2012019671.

Hartman, Bob. The Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing. illus. by Tim Raglin. 28p. Lion. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780745965154.

Heap, Sue. Mine! illus. by Sue Heap. 32p. Candlewick. 2014. pap. $15.99. ISBN 9780763668884. LC 2013955682.

Hoffman, Mary. Welcome to the Family. illus. by Ros Asquith. 28p. Frances Lincoln/Janetta Otter-Barry Bks. Dec. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781847805928.

Hood, Susan. Mission: New Baby: Top-Secret Info for Big Brothers and Sisters. illus. by Mary Lundquist. 32p. Random. Feb. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780385376723.

Kimmelman, Leslie. Everybody Says Shalom. illus. by Talitha Shipman. 40p. Random. Dec. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780385383363.

Krall, Dan. Sick Simon. illus. by Dan Krall. 48p. S. & S. Jan. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781442490970; ebk. ISBN 9781442490987. LC 2013041862.

Kurtzman-Counter, Samantha & Abbie Schiller. Miles Is the Boss of His Body. illus. by Valentina Ventimiglia. 32p. The Mother Company. 2014. Tr $12.95. ISBN 9780989407137. LC 2013957740.

Landau, Orna. Leopardpox! illus. by Omer Hoffmann. 40p. Clarion. Feb. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544290013.

Lang, Suzanne. Families, Families, Families! illus. by Max Lang. 32p. Random. Mar. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780553499384; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780553499391.

Lewis, Naomi , retel. Tales from Hans Christian Andersen. illus. by Emma Chichester Clark. rev. ed. 78p. (The Classics). Frances Lincoln. 2014. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781847805102.

London, Jonathan. Froggy’s Birthday Wish. illus. by Frank Remkiewicz. 32p. (Froggy). Viking. Mar. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780670015726; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780698162938.

Loory, Ben. The Baseball Player and the Walrus. illus. by Alex Latimer. 32p. Dial. Feb. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780803739512. LC 2014002796.

McCormick, Scott. Slacks, Camera, Action! illus. by R.H. Lazzell. 128p. (Mr. Pants: Bk. 2). Dial. Feb. 2015. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780803740099. LC 2013038372.

Mack, Jeff. Look! illus. by Jeff Mack. 32p. Philomel. Apr. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780399162053.

Martin, Susi. Animal 123. illus. by Susi Martin. 32p. Firefly. 2014. Tr $9.95. ISBN 9781770854543.

Martin, Susi. Animal ABC. illus. by Susi Martin. 32p. Firefly. 2014. Tr $9.95. ISBN 9781770854567.

Meschenmoser, Sebastian. Mr. Squirrel and the Moon. tr. from German by David Henry Wilson. illus. by Sebastian Meschenmoser. 48p. NorthSouth. Jan. 2015. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9780735841567.

Mueller, Kirk Jay. Harriet Can Carry It. illus. by Sarah Vonthron-Laver. 40p. Tor/Forge/Starscape. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781595726759; pap. $6.99. ISBN 9781595726766. LC 2014014178.

Nordqvist, Sven. The Birthday Cake. tr. from Swedish by Tara Chace. illus. by Sven Nordqvist. 32p. (The Adventures of Pettson and Findus). NorthSouth. Feb. 2015. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9780735842038.

O’Connor, George. If I Had a Triceratops. illus. by George O’Connor. 32p. Candlewick. Feb. 2015. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780763660130. LC 2013957318.

Parish, Herman. Amelia Bedelia’s First Valentine. illus. by Lynne Avril. 32p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. 2014. Tr $6.99. ISBN 9780061544606. LC 2009009050.

Petty, Dev. I Don’t Want to Be a Frog. illus. by Mike Boldt. 32p. Doubleday. Feb. 2015. lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 9780375973345; Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780385378666. LC 2014012949.

Ray, Mary Lyn. A Violin for Elva. illus. by Tricia Tusa. 32p. Houghton Harcourt. Jan. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780152254834.

Reagan, Jean. How to Surprise a Dad. illus. by Lee Wildish. 32p. Knopf. Mar. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780553498363.

Rosen, Michael J. The Forever Flowers. illus. by Sonja Danowski. 32p. Creative Editions. 2014. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781568462738. LC 2013047407.

Rose, Nancy. The Secret Life of Squirrels. photos by Nancy Rose. 32p. Little, Brown/Megan Tingley Bks. 2014. Tr $17. ISBN 9780316370271; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780316257763. LC 2013046302.

Russo, Marisabina. Little Bird Takes a Bath. illus. by Marisabina Russo. 40p. Random/Schwartz & Wade Bks. Mar. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780385370141.

Sayres, Brianna Caplan. Tiara Saurus Rex. illus. by Mike Boldt. 32p. Bloomsbury. Feb. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781619632639. LC 2014009654.

Schertle, Alice. Such a Little Mouse. illus. by Stephanie Yue. 32p. Orchard. Mar. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545649292.

Schneider, Josh. Everybody Sleeps (But Not Fred). illus. by Josh Schneider. 32p. Clarion. Apr. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544339248.

Smith, Sarah. The Butterfly House. illus. by Sarah Smith. 32p. Tate. 2014. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781849762052.

Sperring, Mark & Sarah Warburton. Mabel and Me: Best of Friends. 32p. HarperCollins. Apr. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780007468362.

Sperring, Mark & Sarah Warburton. Max and the Won’t Go to Bed Show. 32p. Scholastic. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545708227; ebk. $16.99. ISBN 9780545749466.

Stead, Philip C. Special Delivery. illus. by Matthew Cordell. 40p. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks. Mar. 2015. spiral $17.99. ISBN 9781596439313.

Sweeney, Linda Booth. When the Wind Blows. illus. by Jana Christy. 32p. Putnam. Feb. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780399160158; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780698173392. LC 2013040049.

Tourville, Jacqueline. Albie’s First Word: A Tale Inspired by Albert Einstein’s Childhood. illus. by Wynne Evans. 40p. ebook available. glossary. Random/Schwartz & Wade Bks. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780307978936. LC 2013007891.

Trine, Greg. Willy Maykit in Space. illus. by James Burks. 208p. Houghton Harcourt. Mar. 2015. Tr $13.99. ISBN 9780544313514.

Tse, Brian. This Is the Greatest Place!: The Forbidden City and the World of Small Animals. tr. from Chinese by Ben Wang. illus. by Alice Mak. 44p. Tuttle. 2014. Tr $12.95. ISBN 9780989377621.

Tullet, Hervé. 10 Times 10. illus. by Hervé Tullet. 128p. Tate. 2014. Tr $15.95. ISBN 9781849762472.

Verde, Susan. You and Me. illus. by Peter H. Reynolds. 32p. Abrams. Jan. 2015. RTE $14.95. ISBN 9781419711978. LC 2014000491.

Viswanath, Shodha. The Monkey King. illus. by Uma Krishnaswamy. 28p. Karadi Tales. 2014. Tr $15.95. ISBN 9788181900333.

Warldaw, Lee. Won Ton and Chopstick: A Cat and Dog Tale in Haiku. illus. by Eugene Yelchin. 40p. Holt. Mar. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780805099874.

Wells, Rosemary. Use Your Words, Sophie! illus. by Rosemary Wells. 32p. Viking. Mar. 2015. RTE $16.99. ISBN 9780670016631. LC 2014011450.

Willard, Nancy. The Three Mouths of Little Tom Drum. illus. by Kevin Hawkes. 48p. Candlewick. Feb. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763654764. LC 2014944794.

Witek, Jo. In My Heart: A Book of Feelings. tr. from French. illus. by Christine Roussey. 32p. Abrams Appleseed. Jan. 2015. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781419713101.

Yolen, Jane. How Do Dinosaurs Stay Safe? illus. by Mark Teague. 40p. Blue Sky Pr. Feb. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780439241045.

Young, Judy. Digger and Daisy Go to the Doctor. illus. by Dana Sullivan. 32p. Sleeping Bear. 2014. Tr $9.99. ISBN 9781585368457; pap. $4.99. ISBN 9781585368464. LC 2013050680.

Graphic Novels

Bianco, Guillaume. The School Nonsense. illus. by Antonello Dalena & Cecilia Giumento. 48p. (Ernest & Rebecca: Bk. 5). Papercutz. 2014. Tr $10.99. ISBN 9781629910451.

Martz, John. A Cat Named Tim: and Other Stories. illus. by John Martz. 52p. Koyama. 2014. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781927668108.

This article was published in School Library Journal's December 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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