SLJ’s January 2018 Popular Picks

Harrison spotlights brave black women; two teen boys struggle with an evolving friendship; an aquatic twist on "There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly" and more in our first 2018 Popular Picks!

Picture Books

Adler, David A. Pass the Ball, Mo! illus. by Sam Ricks. 32p. (Mo Jackson: Bk. 3). Viking. Jan. 2018. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780425289785. POP PreS-Gr 2 –The newest title about the protagonist of Don’t Throw It to Mo! and Get a Hit, Mo! is all about basketball. Mo is the shortest player on the Bees basketball team, but he has big dreams. He practices passing all the time (“’throw it higher,’ Coach Emma tells him”)—at school, at home, even with blueberries into his cereal bowl. When the Bees play the Ducks, Mo is benched for most of the game but gets to come in at the end, when the score is tied. When Mo finally gets the ball, he passes it high—so high that he actually makes a basket and wins the game! The story ends with Coach Emma playfully telling him “it was a very bad pass. But your bad pass won the game.” This charming story has many funny and relatable moments for sports lovers and underdogs, and shows the power of practicing and having the support of family, caring adults, teammates, and friends. There is a great deal of diversity featured in the illustrations—Mo and his family are African American, both basketball teams are coed, and the characters are majority people of color. The spot and full-page illustrations are simple, but with great character expression and movement. VERDICT Another enjoyable “Mo” sports story for beginning readers.–Jenny Berggren, Longfellow Middle School, Berkeley, CA

Bang, Molly. When Sophie Thinks She Can’t… illus. by Molly Bang. 40p. Scholastic/Blue Sky. Jan. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781338152982. POP

Gr 1-3 –Bang and her eponymous character have guided children through the emotional ups and downs of When Sophie Gets Angry—Really, Really Angry and When Sophie’s Feelings Are Really, Really Hurt, now address frustration and feelings of inadequacy when the child is unable to complete a tangram puzzle at home, then a math challenge at school. However, under the guidance of a teacher with a positive, can-do attitude who encourages her students to try harder and use the word “yet” when faced with a difficult challenge (as in, “I haven’t solved it yet”), Sophie and classmates are introduced to a growth mind-set approach to problem solving. Readers and listeners can attempt to try the puzzle on their own (“build a bigger rectangle out of twelve small squares”), and will observe that there is more than one way to solve this particular challenge (and perhaps others) as evidenced in the story. As in other titles by this author/illustrator, vibrant colors form the backdrop of many spreads and the figures, outlined in these yellow, red, or green, radiate energy and emotion. An author’s note discusses the book’s origin and explains the difference between “fixed” and “growth” mind-sets. Endpapers include a picture of a tangram and a definition, and some of the animal shapes said to have been created “from traditional tangram puzzle pieces.” VERDICT While purposeful, this book belongs on classroom and school library shelves and should be shared, especially with children who are easily frustrated.–Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal

Barrett, Judi. Lots More Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing. illus. by Ron Barrett. 40p. S. & S./Atheneum. Mar. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481488662. POP PreS-Gr 2 –This funny follow-up to Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing presents readers with a new selection of animals who should never, ever wear clothing. They would simply be faced with too many problems! After all, clothing would hamper a horse, fluster a flamingo, be unbearable for a bear, and is unnecessary because a penguin is already dressed. Most of all, it would be absurd for an armadillo. The best-selling author/illustrator duo of the award-winning “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs” series have crated another winner. Ron Barrett’s humorous illustrations of animals struggling while wearing clothing paired with Judi Barrett’s big, bold text create the perfect combination and convincingly prove their point. Alliteration and plays on words make the pages with text just as laughable as the corresponding art. VERDICT This is a light and enjoyable picture book with the takeaway that animals are better off just the way they are—without clothing! Recommended for fans of the first book and anyone who likes to laugh.–Elizabeth Blake, Brooklyn Public Library

Colandro, Lucille. There Was an Old Mermaid Who Swallowed a Shark! illus. by Jared D. Lee. 64p. (An Old Lady Book!). Scholastic. Mar. 2018. Tr $8.99. ISBN 9781338129939. POP K-Gr 2 –This underwater romp is at once funnier and more educational than “There was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly.” The mermaid’s marine diet is skillfully inserted into the old rhyme (“There was an old mermaid who swallowed a squid./That’s what she did!/She swallowed a squid./She swallowed the squid to romp with the shark…”) and her antics are observed by a boy and girl in a boat who add commentary on the target animals’ habits and features. Closing nonfiction additions complement the silliness with a paragraph each of facts about the creatures featured in the story— sharks, squid, tropical fish, eels, crabs, sea stars, and clams—and a search-and-find game. Lee crams delightful cartoon details onto the undersea spreads. His zany style is reminiscent of Quentin Blake’s work; its inclusion here tips a solid text into “read it again” territory. VERDICT The rare book that’s perfect for at-home reads and rereads as well as for storytime.–Henrietta Verma, National Information Standards Organization, Baltimore

Gravett, Emily. Old Hat. illus. by Emily Gravett. 32p. S. & S. Feb. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534409170. POP

PreS-Gr 2 –A sweet and simple book with a strong message about being yourself. Harbet the dog has a favorite hat that his Nana knitted for him. It is a perfect fit and keeps him cozy in the cold weather. Unfortunately, the rest of the Harbet’s friends find his cap to be passé and make it well known that it is an old one. So, the pup sets out to find the perfect new hat. Many of them make him happy with their outlandish style and special features. But none of them seem to please his friends, who move on to the next trend at lightning speed. Finally, while sitting on a humongous pile of discarded new hats, Harbet decides to ditch headgear all together and go out into the world as his fabulous self (keeping his original old hat for the winter months, of course)! His friends try, but they cannot outshine Harbet as his true self. VERDICT With its vibrant watercolor illustrations and witty storytelling style, this book is sure to please a wide variety of children. Its message of self love makes it a must-buy for any library collection.–Jasmine L. Precopio, Fox Chapel Area School District, Pittsburgh

Paul, Baptiste. The Field. illus. by Jacqueline Alcántara. 32p. glossary. North South. Mar. 2018. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9780735843127. POP

K-Gr 3 –An open field in a lush Caribbean setting calls to a group of children. They chase away grazing animals, bring out the soccer ball and goals, and begin a spirited game of soccer. Rain and a muddy, slippery field cannot stop their game; only the repeated calls from the mamas and a setting sun can. Dirty but satisfied, the children return home for baths and bed, knowing that the field will call again for another rousing game. Illustrations in deep, saturated colors with energetic lines accompany a spare but rhythmic English text, sprinkled with Creole. The narrative and images evoke the islands and the joy of playing a game regardless of weather. In a concluding note, Paul recalls his native Saint Lucia where, he explains, Creole is spoken but is rarely written down. A brief glossary is included, though most of the words will be understandable in context and in the animated paintings. ­VERDICT This engaging book is sure to resonate with children who are passionate about soccer and even those who simply enjoy lively play.–Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library

Trimmer, Christian. Teddy’s Favorite Toy. illus. by Madeline Valentine. 40p. S. & S./Atheneum. Feb. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481480796. POP PreS-Gr 1 –Inspired by a favorite childhood toy, this book tells the typical story of a lost and found plaything. What makes this particular version of an age-old tale stand out it that Teddy’s favorite toy is a pink Barbie–esque doll whom he has named “Bren-Da, Warrior Queen of Pacifica.” Not only is she Teddy’s coolest toy, but she also has the best manners, the sickest fighting moves, and the ability to pull off a number of stylish looks. When Bren-Da is accidentally broken and then thrown away by the boy’s mother, Teddy is heartbroken. Then, as his mother swings into action to retrieve the doll, astute readers will notice that she is really the inspiration for Bren-Da’s fabulousness. VERDICT With a triumphant text declaring “Yas, queen,” this is a very modern take on the lost and retrieved favorite toy. Recommended as a general purchase for children’s collections.–Jasmine L. Precopio, Fox Chapel Area School District, Pittsburgh

Chapter Books

Sheinkin, Steve. Abraham Lincoln, Pro Wrestler. illus. by Neil Swaab. (Mixed-Up History). 160p. Roaring Brook. Jan. 2018. Tr $13.99. ISBN 9781250148919; ebk. $6.99. ISBN 9781250152466. POP

Gr 3-5 –Everyone in Abby’s class hates history, especially her stepbrother, Doc. At the end of the school day, when Abby and Doc are waiting for their mom in the library storage room, they hear a thump coming from inside one of the cardboard boxes. Suddenly, out jumps Abraham Lincoln. He has traveled through time to let the students know that because of their complaints, he and other famous people have decided to quit history. This is where Abby’s and Doc’s exciting adventure begins. They must undo the damage they have done so that Abraham Lincoln will show up to the election and win the presidency. In this first book of the “Mixed-up History” series, Sheinkin combines historical facts with outlandish time travel antics. His historical note at the end encourages readers to “look it up” to find evidence of the unbelievable facts he shares about notable historical figures. Black-and-white line drawings reinforce the silliness of the story, while the short chapters will keep reluctant readers hooked. VERDICT A fun way to entice students to embrace what might seem, at first glance, like boring history.–Annette Herbert, F.E. Smith Elementary School, Cortland, NY

Middle Grade

Balliett, Blue. Out of the Wild Night. 320p. glossary. Scholastic. Mar. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545867566. POP

Gr 4-7 –A lyrical, suspenseful ghost story and a love letter to Nantucket. A windless November has settled upon the shores of the island, as Mary W. Chase awakens from the afterlife to fulfill the role of Town Crier and narrator. One night, mysterious footprints shuffle ashore, piquing the interest of the children on the island. These ghosts have returned in response to renovations of historical island houses, an effort headed by the sneaky Eddy Nold. Phee, her grandfather Sal, and friend Gabe, along with the other members of the North End Gang, conspire to help the ghosts in preventing the renovations. Soon, the increasingly violent nature of the ghost’s actions become alarming. Balliett’s vivid descriptions and stunning prose capture the sense of place extraordinarily, casting Nantucket and its rich lore as a character itself. Back matter consists of an authentic Nantucket recipe and glossary of old language. The clever technique of a ghost narrator will appeal to many, yet the meandering plot with several deviations and the introduction of various nonessential tertiary characters require the sustained attention of sophisticated readers. Plenty of spooky scenes punctuate the story and a surprising twist at the end will have readers flipping back through the pages to revisit the clues buried deep within Balliett’s nuanced descriptions. VERDICT Hand this to strong readers who enjoy being transported to another place and who love old ghost stories.–Amy McInerney, Falmouth Elementary School, ME

Bates, Ron. The Unflushables. 320p. Little, Brown. Apr. 2018. Tr $13.99. ISBN 9780316510004. POP Gr 4-6 –In the fictional metropolis of Nitro City, it’s all about plumbing. And toilets. And bodily functions. There are mutant creatures living in the pipes and sewers, one of many challenges facing the city’s citizens. Sully Sullivan is a 13-year-old with a deep passion for plumbing who worships the craft’s heroes of years past—legendary folks who were taken down by a nefarious corporation called Ironwater. Sully is so into plumbing that he becomes the go-to for his school’s principal when plumbing problems arise, and collects plumber trading cards. Sully becomes embroiled in a plot to save the city from Ironwater and much adventure ensues. This story is not just full of toilet and bathroom humor and puns—they are the entire story and plotline. VERDICT Hand this to avid fans of Captain Underpants who are looking for something longer but with ample potty humor and slapstick comedy.–Kate Olson, Bangor School District, WI

Smith, Ronald L. Black Panther: The Young Prince. 272p. Marvel. Jan. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781484787649. POP

Gr 4-6 –Twelve-year-old T’Challa, Prince of the warrior nation Wakanda, is content to spend his days running races, playing games, and getting into mischief with his best friend M’Baku. But he is also quite aware of his destiny. Wakanda is a technologically advanced African land, once struck by a meteor that brought with it a material so strong it had no equal. The material, called Vibranium, is now a much-desired resource and there are many who would fight to possess its power. T’Challa’s father, also known as the Black Panther, is King of Wakanda and the descendant of the great warrior Bashenga who protected the isolated nation from evil spirits when the meteor struck. Prompted by rumors of an invasion, his father summons T’Challa and tells him he will be sent away to Chicago along with his friend M’Baku. There, he will be safe until the uprising is settled. But the south side of Chicago is a far cry from Wakanda, and South Side Middle School has its own demons. Faced with making new friends while hiding his true identity, T’Challa must also deal with a bully, Gemini Jones, who has a few secrets of his own, one of which may challenge T’Challa to choose between his best friend and his destiny. Energetic, fast-paced, and adventurous, this volume will keep readers riveted. VERDICT Fans of the Marvel Universe will be thrilled to read about this superhero at the very beginning of his calling. A must-purchase for all collections.–Carol Connor, Cincinnati Public Schools

Vernon, Ursula. Hamster Princess: Whiskerella. illus. by Ursula Vernon. 256p. Dial. Jan. 2018. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9780399186554. POP

Gr 3-6 –Harriet the hamster princess faces her greatest tribulation yet: a fancy masquerade ball. She’d rather be slaying Ogrecats or fighting giants than wearing elegant gowns and dancing with dull, clumsy princes, but the party gets a boost with the arrival of the lovely Whiskerella, who exits right before midnight, leaving behind several disappointed suitors. Curious Harriet and her friends Wilson and Ratpunzel investigate only to discover a fairy godmother hell-bent on obtaining Whiskerella a happy-ever-after ending at all costs. Like previous titles in the series, this cheerfully irreverent “Cinderella” spoof hilariously deconstructs fairy-tale tropes (“And who falls in love with somebody because of their shoe size?!”). The humor turns delightfully silly at times, too, with plenty of bathroom jokes. The depiction of female characters is thoughtful: though take-charge Harriet, who eschews stereotypically feminine traits, is the star of the show, gentle Ratpunzel gets her due as well. Whimsical illustrations break up the action-packed narrative and add a comic book–like flair. VERDICT Both series fans and newcomers with a taste for snark will devour this one. Multiple copies are a must.–Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

YA

Castle, Jennifer. Together at Midnight. 352p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Jan. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062250513. POP

Gr 8 Up –Set between Christmas and New Year’s in New York City, this novel centers on friends Kendall, Max, and Jamie who witness a quarrel that turns into an accident in which a woman is severely injured. Kendall and Max continue to stay in New York—Kendall with her brother and his boyfriend, who may be on the brink of a breakup, and Max with Big E, his curmudgeonly grandfather, who has scared away yet another caregiver. Feeling guilty over witnessing the quarrel and doing nothing, Kendall and Max accept a kindness challenge in which they will perform seven random acts of kindness by New Year’s Day. Separately and together, the pair start looking at situations in terms of how they can positively intervene. The work is told in alternating chapters and readers are privy to not only the main characters’ actions, thoughts, and emotions, but also to those of the people they are helping. This adds a powerful nuance to the novel. Participating in this challenge helps not only the people they meet but also the protagonists as they deal with personal challenges in their own lives. Although relationships and romance play a part, the scenes are appropriate for younger teens. VERDICT Recommended for collections where realistic fiction such as Eleanor & Park or Jennifer Castle’s other novels are popular.–Erica Thorsen Payne, Albemarle High School,VA

Clayton, Dhonielle. The Belles. 512p. Freeform. Feb. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781484728499. POP

Gr 8 Up –When the Goddess paid more attention to her children, the humans, the God of the Sky became jealous and cursed them to have skin of colorless sky. Never one to abandon her children, Beauty created The Belles to bring beauty back to the damned. Camillia Beauregard and her sisters are Belles, vessels of beauty, and their time has come to save Orleans from a life of unbearable sameness, but they must first be placed in houses. The coveted position is The Favorite, and to serve the royal family. Camillia desires to be chosen Favorite like her mother and when her time comes to shine, she is unforgettable. Sophia the Queen Regent does not forget her. As Camillia begins her life of royal servitude, she starts to see the underbelly of her world—mysterious cries within the walls, veiled Belles of a time passed, and people who risk their lives to be beautiful. The grandest realization is the volatile temperament of Sophia. Camillia must make a choice—be the vessel of beauty and follow every command or use her powers to save her world from Sophia. Clayton has created a world full of lush colors, beautiful people, and delicious desserts. Strong themes are interwoven in this fantasy, including choice and envy. This work challenges readers to reflect on their notions of beauty. Through the actions of the characters, teens will understand what a beauty-obsessed world really looks like and that possessing conviction and selflessness is just as beautiful as outward appearances. VERDICT A must-have addition to libraries with fans of The Selection by Kiera Cass.–Dawn Abron, Zion-Benton Public Library, IL

Kaufman, Amie & Meagan Spooner. Unearthed. 336p. Disney-Hyperion. Jan. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781484758052. POP Gr 9 Up –Mia, a scavver from the dregs of dystopian future Chicago, and Julian, a genius British student with a family history he wants to hide, are an unlikely pair to explore the hidden depths of an ancient Undying temple on Gaia. Decades ago, Earth intercepted a message sent by an alien race known as the Undying—a message that was both a promise of greatness and also a warning. Since then, scientists and scavvers alike have been traveling to Gaia, attempting to uncover the treasures promised in the Undying message. Jules and Mia have different missions, but as they continue to unravel the temple’s—and Undying peoples’—secrets, their combined strength and intelligence prove critical to escaping the temple to share their earth-shattering discovery with humanity before it’s too late. A fast-paced plot, likable characters, and creative world-building guarantee this volume will find a following, especially with readers of Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s “The Illuminae Files” and the authors’ “Starbound” trilogy. Mia, an intelligent, physically and emotionally strong female lead takes agency over her life and thinks on her feet, while Jules provides a gentler, quieter counterbalance. Their careful romance enhances, rather than overshadows, the intriguing mystery surrounding the Undying and the temple’s hidden dangers. While the story drags slightly in the middle, interesting discoveries keep the plot moving forward in exciting, unpredictable ways. A twist ending leaves the door wide open for an equally engaging sequel. VERDICT A first choice, likely to be popular with teens.–Kelsey Johnson-Kaiser, St. Paul Public Library Lawson, Richard. All We Can Do Is Wait. 288p. Penguin/Razorbill. Feb. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780448494111. POP Gr 9 Up –Relationships built out of a common tragedy are not uncommon, and this is the boat that teens Jason, and Alexa, Scott, and Skyler are in. They meet in the waiting room at Boston General Hospital after a terrible disaster, and are anxiously awaiting any news about their loved ones. After a storybook summer on the Cape, siblings Jason and Alexa are now more distant than ever. Scott is waiting to hear about his on-and-off girlfriend Aimee, because while their relationship is tumultuous, he is sure they have a future. The last thing Skyler needs in her life is for her sister, Kate, to be in trouble. Kate is Skyler’s support system, especially lately. Skyler needs Kate’s strength, but Skyler might have more strength than she realizes. Together along with another teen, Morgan, they meet and learn more about one another in a few hours than some people share in a lifetime. Hospitals are great equalizers, and in this novel, the waiting room is an ideal setting for flashbacks and world-building. The teens’ individual stories are written well, and the city of Boston is almost another character. The protagonists are realistic, their actions are sympathetic and believable. The ending lacks closure but accurately represents the nature of relationships based on circumstance. VERDICT A solid debut, purchase and recommend to teens wanting a fast and enjoyable reading experience.–Morgan Brickey, Arlington Public Library, TX

redstarRibay, Randy. After the Shot Drops. 336p. HMH. Mar. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781328702272. POP

Gr 8 Up –A dually narrated story of two teen boys, Bunny and Nasir, struggling with a dying friendship shapes Ribay’s latest. Nasir feels abandoned after Bunny leaves their school to attend an upscale private school to play basketball and is dating Keyona, a girl he had always been interested in. The season is going well and the team, led by Bunny, is on its way to winning a state title. But Nasir’s friend Wallace is digging himself deeper into debt and physical trouble, placing bets on high school games and against Bunny’s specifically. Nasir then becomes complicit in sabotaging Bunny’s chances with explosive and life-altering consequences. Not only is the book well-paced with short chapters switching perspectives, the secondary characters are rich in detail, and Bunny and Nasir are fully realized protagonists with families, friendship, school, and sports. Drama propels the story forward while its emotional appeal builds empathy for both boys’ circumstances. Seamlessly, tension exacerbates the weighty choices that come with their responsibilities. And while the climax is predictable, it feels inevitable. The trajectory of each boy’s future is in the hands of the third teen, Wallace. Without a doubt, Ribay’s compelling book belongs on the shelf alongside contemporary heavy-hitters like Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give, Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds’s All-American Boys, and Nic Stone’s Dear Martin. VERDICT A must-have for YA shelves.–Alicia Abdul, Albany High School, NY

redstarShusterman, Neal. Thunderhead. 512p. (Arc of a Scythe: Bk. 2). S. & S. Jan. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781442472457. POP Gr 9 Up –A year has passed since the events of Scythe and Scythe Anastasia, once known as Citra Terranova, lives with her mentor, Scythe Marie Curie, and performs her gleanings in relative peace despite causing a rift in the Scythedom by giving her subjects a month to choose how they want to be gleaned, aka killed. Anastasia argues that it is more humane this way which earns her the favor of the “old world” scythes, those who feel they perform their job with dignity and humility rather than with joy and pride, like the “new world” scythes. Still, she cannot escape the tidbits of news surrounding her fellow apprentice Rowan Damisch, who now goes by the name Scythe Lucifer. He is hunting down corrupt scythes as a vigilante who deals death to those whom he feels besmirch the title. Ruling over this world is the Thunderhead, an omniscient artificial intelligence. However, it has no jurisdiction over the Scythedom and therefore has done nothing to stop Rowan. When an old enemy resurfaces, throwing the Scythedom into chaos, and Rowan unable to stem the flow of corruption on his own, the world begins to wonder if the Thunderhead will break its own laws and intervene. Shusterman wields his magic once again in this continuation. The exploration of how the Thunderhead operates and thinks, told through “diary entries,” gives the story an extra dimension: how would an all-knowing, all-powerful AI think, and how would it process a flawed humanity? The climax and twist ending will leave fans of the series begging for the next installment. VERDICT A rare sequel that is even better than the first book.–Tyler Hixson, Brooklyn Public Library redstarWyk, C.V. Blood and Sand. 320p. Tor Teen. Jan. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780765380098. POP Gr 8 Up –Weaving two stories together—that of Attia, a 17-year-old Thracian warrior princess, and of Xanthus, a gladiator—Wyk crafts a cast of relatable characters whose lives have been thrown together as a result of massacre. Within a matter of days, Attia goes from being the princess of Thrace to being a slave girl in a gladiator household. She is purchased at an auction by the House of Timeus to be given as a gift to Xanthus, the Champion of Rome. A skilled fighter, Attia immediately escapes by breaking the bones of her captors, climbing buildings, and running as fast as possible. She is ultimately caught and branded and learns that she needs to follow instructions and lie low until she is able to kill Timeus and seek revenge on Crassus Flavius, the man responsible for the murder of her Thracian comrades. Meanwhile, Attia gets to know Xanthus, only to find out that he is also a slave to Timeus, bought as a child and forced to learn how to fight as a gladiator. Xanthus is training for the fight of his life: a chance to battle the man who murdered his people, Decimus. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius changes everyone’s plans and each character must fight to survive. A surprise ending will leave readers wanting more. Only slightly similar in theme to Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Curse, this debut is a unique addition to Ancient Roman historical fiction. This stunning series starter reads like a movie, with lengthy action scenes and strong imagery that allow readers to enjoy the narrative on a different level. VERDICT Recommended for all young adult collections.–Kristin Unruh, Siersma Elementary School, Warren, MI

Graphic Novels

Bruel, Nick. Bad Kitty Camp Daze. illus. by Nick Bruel. 160p. Roaring Brook. Jan. 2018. Tr $13.99. ISBN 9781626728851. POP Gr 2-4 –Bad Kitty returns in a complicated tale of amnesia, mistaken identity, and camping fun. After Kitty’s bowl hits her on the head, she believes she is a dog and imitates everything Puppy does. Baby notices how Kitty is acting and says, “Kitty no cad! Kitty dog!” but no one will listen. Puppy goes to camp, and Kitty tags along for sing-alongs, campfires, games of fetch, and swimming in the lake. Even camp director Uncle Murray believes that Kitty is a small dog. Interspersed throughout are fun facts from Uncle Murray about why dogs are better at fetch or like to swim more than cats, and why cats like catnip. Fans of the series will love this newest adventure. The role reversal of Kitty wearing Puppy out with demands to play and the antics of the dogs at camp create plenty of hilarious moments. Bruel’s images of Kitty with unfocused eyes, droopy ears, and tongue hanging in classic dog fashion complement the uproarious story. VERDICT A seamless melding of text and illustrations. A must-have for early chapter book readers.–Suzanne Costner, Fairview Elementary School, Maryville, TN

redstarO’Connor, George. Hermes: Tales of the Trickster. illus. by George O’Connor. 80p. (Olympians: Bk. 10). bibliog. notes. First Second. Jan. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781626725249; pap. $10.99. ISBN 9781626725256. POP

Gr 4-8 –Hermes, Greek god of thieves and liars (and much more), gets his due in the latest installment of the “Olympians” series. A wandering traveler, accompanied by a dog, relates tales of the roguish yet charismatic deity to entertain the watchman Argus, a giant covered in eyes. As a newborn, Hermes steals a herd of his half brother Apollo’s cows, then cleverly covers his tracks. Though the impish youngster provokes his older sibling’s rage, he charms his way into his father Zeus’s good graces and a throne on Mount Olympus. Readers, and Argus, learn of Hermes’s other talents and his offspring, including the mischievous half-goat, half-human Pan. The playful tone soon turns ominous as Hermes plays a pivotal role in the epic showdown between the Olympians and the monstrous Typhon. O’Connor retells well-known legends with panache, crafting an affectionate portrait of a complex figure and presenting the Olympians as a surprisingly tight-knit and loving family. The book ends with an appropriately witty twist that’s bound to have readers seeking out more information on the tale of Argus and Io. Vibrant, energetic illustrations portray athletic gods and goddesses, grotesque beasts, and frenzied battles, veering between cartoonish humor and intense drama. As always, O’Connor’s copious research is evident and his love of all things Greek is contagious. VERDICT Another stellar addition to graphic novel shelves, especially where previous titles in the series are popular.–Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

Nonfiction

redstarHarrison, Vashti. Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History. illus. by Vashti Harrison. 96p. filmog. further reading. notes. websites. Little, Brown. Dec. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780316475112. POP

K-Gr 4 –An artist’s social media sensation is lovingly brought to life in this standout title. Initially a personal project for Black History Month, Harrison’s collection highlights 40 notable black women throughout U.S. history. Each entry includes two to three paragraphs of biographical text, opposite which nearly identical figures (most are drawn facing forward with cherubic smiles and closed eyes) hold center stage of their full-page portrait, framed by simple yet clever backgrounds that contextualize their achievements. Audre Lorde, for example, stands before muted brown bookshelves—keen eyes will discern that the books displayed feature her poetry and prose. Leadership is embraced in forms past and present and across various disciplines; renowned abolitionists Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth are joined by Air Force General Marcelite J. Harris and filmmaker Julie Dash. A concluding “More Little Leaders” segment addresses the difficulty of selecting 40 women to represent a historical legacy and offers miniature renditions of additional icons, including Gabby Douglas, Lorraine Hansberry, and the Williams sisters. Useful back matter provides multimedia sources for inevitably curious readers. The amount of information included makes this book ideal for budding researchers or for small groups, although the heartwarming digital images will garner a younger audience, too—kids of all ages will love poring over Harrison’s tender artwork. VERDICT Beautifully designed and chock-full of information, this is a fantastic survey of black women who made and continue to make history. A must-have for youth nonfiction collections.–Ashleigh ­Williams, School Library Journal Kensky, Jessica & Patrick Downes. Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship. illus. by Scott Magoon. 32p. photos. Candlewick. Apr. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763696047. POP K-Gr 3 –The author’s true story of her friendship with her service dog. Rescue, a young pup is training to become a service dog, learning to fetch things, to open doors, and even to turn on lights. Jessica is recovering from an injury to both of her legs and is getting acclimated to using prosthetics and walking again. Each is worried about their skills and their futures, but when they are eventually paired, it is an instant connection and realization that they can do so much together. The power of their relationship is made quite clear throughout the book. Kensky, and her coauthor and husband Downes, were both injured in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and have chosen to leave that particular detail out of the primary narrative. Instead, they focus on the work that Rescue does to aid Jessica every day and the intensity of their relationship. Magoon’s digital illustrations are a lovely accompaniment to the text, providing rich detail to the spare story, and the scenes of Jessica and Rescue playing and working with the Boston skyline as a backdrop only add to the poignancy. ­VERDICT This is a strong selection for any collection, and stories about working dogs never get old; this will be appreciated and enjoyed by a wide variety of young people.–Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA
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Vanessa

Hello, For The Belles, "Camillia" is spelled "Camellia". I noticed your blurb was featured on Amazon.com On Amazon the spelling is incorrect. So I found your post here to let you know and see if you can correct it, please. Thank you.

Posted : Apr 16, 2018 09:30


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