You are on page 1of 112


HC: 9780399554193

HC: 9781524772031

HC: 9781524715182

HC: 9781524769550
Emily Jenkins; Jory John; Illustrated by Lane Smith Troy Howell Kerascoët
Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky + Booklist + Kirkus Reviews + Booklist + Kirkus Reviews + Publishers Weekly
+ Kirkus Reviews + Booklist + Publishers Weekly + Publishers Weekly + Bulletin + School Library Journal
+ Publishers Weekly + School Library Journal + School Library Journal

HC: 9781524715953

HC: 9781524719371

HC: 9780525580423

HC: 9781524767570
Kekla Magoon Chad Sell Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Stacy McAnulty
+ School Library Journal + Kirkus Reviews Hudson + School Library Journal
+ Kirkus Reviews + School Library Journal + Kirkus Reviews + Kirkus Reviews
+ Horn Book + Publishers Weekly + School Library Journal + Publishers Weekly
+ Publishers Weekly + Bulletin + Booklist + Publishers Weekly + Horn Book

HC: 9781984830159

HC: 9781524717797

HC: 9780399555770

HC: 9780525580034

Markus Zusak Sara Saedi Brandon Sanderson Brian Stevenson

+ Publishers Weekly + Booklist + Kirkus Reviews + Kirkus Reviews + Kirkus Reviews + Booklist
+ Booklist + Bulletin + School Library Journal + Publishers Weekly + School Library Journal
HC: 9780525580959

HC: 9781101931288

HC: 9781524700386
HC: 9781524766283
Art © 2018 by Kerascoët

Arwen Elys Dayton Rachel Hartman + Booklist Vesper Stamper

+ Kirkus Reviews + Booklist + School Library Journal + Kirkus Reviews
+ Booklist + Kirkus Reviews + Shelf Awareness + Publishers Weekly
+ Publishers Weekly + Shelf Awareness + School Library Journal + School Library Journal
+ School Library Journal + Bulletin
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    
Volume 265
★ November 27, 2018
Number 49
ISSN 0000-0019


“How I Landed in
Children’s Books”
We asked a variety of industry veterans President
to tell us about what initially drew them George Slowik Jr.
to children’s publishing. Executive V-P, Publisher
Cevin Bryerman

V-P, Editorial Director
Jim Milliot
V-P, Children’s Book Editor
Picture Books Diane Roback
Children’s Reviews Editor
Reviews of illustrated books by Ekua
Amanda Bruns
Holmes, Maira Kalman, Jon Klassen,
Associate Editor, Children’s Books
Yuyi Morales, Brian Pinkney, Dan Santat, Emma Kantor
Brian Selznick, and many more, along Art Director
with interviews with Ryan T. Higgins and Clive Chiu
Jillian Tamaki. Managing Editor
Daniel Berchenko

41 Publishing Experts
Middle Grade Next Steps Marketing
Web Engineering
Books by Christopher Paul Curtis, Mediapolis
Alex Gino, Cynthia Kadohata, Rebecca IT Support
Stead, and Jacqueline Woodson, among ACS International
others, plus q&as with Jonathan Auxier, Business Manager
Veera Hiranandani, Daniel José Older, Esther Reid
Jewell Parker Rhodes, and Aisha Saeed. Licensing Director
Christi Cassidy
Marketing & Events Director

58 Bryan Kinney


71 W. 23rd St., Suite 1608,
Reviews of titles for teens by Tomi Adeyemi, New York, NY 10010
Gayle Forman, Justina Ireland, Emily X.R. Phone: 212-377-5500; fax: 212-377-2733
Pan, Neal and Jarrod Shusterman, and To subscribe, change an address,
more, as well as conversations with report delivery problems,
or inquire about back issues,
Jen Doll, Marie Lu, Courtney Summers,
call 800-278-2991 or 818-487-2069,
Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, Siobhan Vivian, or fax 818-487-4550.
and Markus Zusak.

Reprints & permission:


Books by Vera Brosgol, Eoin Colfer, ADVERTISING

Andrew Donkin, Jarrett J. Krosoczka,
Cevin Bryerman 212-377-5703
Chad Sell, Sara Varon, Tillie Walden, Ian Littauer 212-377-5706
and many others are reviewed, plus an Julia Molino 212-377-5709
interview with Matt Phelan. Joseph Murray 212-377-5708
Shaina Yahr 212-377-2691

Online Inquiries:
Cevin Bryerman 212-377-5703

Reviews of informative books for young
readers, including titles by Kate Farrell,
Martin Gayford, David Hockney, Elizabeth
Partridge, and KaeLyn Rich.

PW Publishers Weekly USPS 763-080 (ISSN 0000-0019) is published weekly, except for the last week in December. Published by PWxyz LLC, 71 West 23rd Street, Suite 1608, New York, NY 10010. George Slowik Jr., President; Cevin Bryerman,
Publisher. Circulation records are maintained at ESP, 12444 Victory Boulevard, 4th Floor, North Hollywood, CA 91606. Phone: (800) 278-2991 or +001 (818) 487-2069 from outside the U.S. Periodicals postage paid at New York, N.Y. and additional
mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Publishers Weekly, P.O. Box 16957, North Hollywood, CA 91615-6957. PW PUBLISHERS WEEKLY copyright 2018 by PWxyz LLC. Rates for one-year subscriptions in U.S. dollars drawn on a
U.S. bank: U.S. $289.99, Canada: $339.99, all other countries: $439.99. Except for special issues where price changes are indicated, single copies are available for $9.99 US; $16.99 for Announcement issues. Extra postage applied for non-U.S.
shipping addresses. Please address all subscription mail to Publishers Weekly, P.O. Box 16957, North Hollywood, CA 91615-6957. PW PUBLISHERS WEEKLY is a (registered) trademark of PWxyz LLC. Canadian Publications Mail Agreement No.
42025028. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: IMS, 3390 Rand Road, South Plainfield, NJ 07080 Email: PRINTED IN THE USA.
A roundup of PW’s 2018 children’s starred reviews
Edited by Amanda Bruns, Emma Kantor, and Diane Roback
Welcome to Publishers Weekly’s sixth Children’s Starred Reviews Annual! In these pages, you’ll find
nearly 350 reviews of books for children and teens published in 2018 that received a star from PW, indicating
that they are titles of exceptional merit. We’ve arranged these reviews into five categories—Picture Books,
Middle Grade, Young Adult, Comics, and Nonfiction—and further grouped them by intended age range, topic,
and theme, making it easy to find your new favorite read, from compendia to comics and more.
Our issue also includes a look back at publishers’ paths to working with children’s books, interviews with some
of today’s top children’s book authors and illustrators, and a list of our 50 Best Books of 2018. Happy reading!

Management, who is now her agent,

© meredith jenks
too. Van Beek brought the book to
LUCY RUTH Justin Chanda, v-p and publisher at
S&S Children’s Publishing, who liked
CUMMINS what he saw. “The rest is history,”
Cummins says.

A self-described night owl, Cummins
ucy Ruth Cummins is the children’s says she balances her day job at S&S with
publishing equivalent of a triple threat: her personal projects, and raising her
an author, an illustrator, and an execu- three-year-old son, by taking vacation
tive art director. Since 2003, she has time here and there and working
worked at Simon & Schuster Books for Young overnight, fueled by “espresso, showers,
Readers and Paula Wiseman Books. Her creative and naps.” For her sophomore book,
mark can be seen in the design of picture books Stumpkin—a Halloween tale of a stemless
by Ben Clanton, Stuart Gibbs’s Spy School series pumpkin, and
for middle graders, and YA author Jenny Han’s an homage to
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy. her neighborhood in Brooklyn—
Cummins stayed within the S&S family for her 2016 Cummins repeated her ritual of
author-illustrator debut, A Hungry Lion, or A Dwindling visiting her family upstate, hashing
Assortment of Animals. She credits friend and literary agent out the thumbnails and rough
Alexandra Penfold with encouraging her to make the shift to sketches for the book on the way
creating her own books. “Alexandra was visiting me at my there and back, and setting up
office one day, and I had a bunch of thumbnails for a story shop in her old room.
idea lying on my desk,” Cummins recalls. “When I asked her Cummins says her
who might want to write or draw a story based on the art, next project is about a
Alexandra said, ‘You should do it!’ I hadn’t considered it penguin, and she has
before; she gave me that initial push.” plans for another
Cummins took a week’s vacation to stay with her parents productive trip to see
in upstate New York, where she set about making the book. her folks. “That’s been a
“I worked in my childhood bedroom,” she says. Another real driving force, to have
push, this time from Jenny Han, led Cummins to show her that bus ride, and that
dummy to Han’s agent, Emily van Beek at Folio Literary place to go work.” —E.K.

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 1
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

“How I Landed in
Children’s Books”
Industry veterans tell us about the surprising twists
that led them to publishing, from a failed CIA test to
chance advice at a midnight bowling party



Brenda Bowen
Literary agent, Sanford J. Greenburger



came to New York six months after I graduated from
Colby College with a BA in English and art history.
I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life,
although I did dream that one day I would step out
of a taxi in Midtown while wearing a suit. That was
as far as my imagination took me. I only had $150 in my
bank account to last me until I found my career, so I called
an employment agent. Her name was Glad, and by the
time I had made the rounds to the many insurance agen-
cies to which she sent me, I found myself at a pay phone at Macy’s, calling my sister in tears, convinced I
would never find a job.
The next day, my roommate’s sister’s roommate told me, “You’re a publishing type. You should be in
publishing.” She had just left a publishing job for a position as an investment banker, and so she gave me
three names to call. For a week, I was too scared to call any of them. When at last I called Basic Books—part
of Harper & Row at the time—they asked me to come in. They needed a “warm body” to type and file. I
walked into Harper and thought: This is where I should be. This is what I should do.
I ended up getting a job at Basic. My pay was in the high four figures. I adored publishing, but I wasn’t
cut out for nonfiction social sciences. After a year at Basic, typing, filing, and taking dictation, I saw a listing
on the job board (literally a bulletin board in the bathroom) that read, “Reader needed, Harper Junior Books.”
I went down to the kids’ book floor, and suddenly it all made sense. That was the job I was meant to do. I
read three manuscripts for Nina Ignatowicz, got the job, increased my compensation by $500 a year, and have
never left kids’ books. I’ve even achieved my ambition of getting out of a taxi in Midtown, though I don’t
wear suits much anymore.

2 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

Yolanda Scott
Associate publisher, Charlesbridge Publishing

t was May 1995, and I had just finished an intense year-long
application process to work with the CIA. I had been flown down
to Langley for all kinds of physical and mental tests, including
being strapped into a reclining chair while hooked up to electrodes
for a polygraph. After months of waiting for a job offer, I finally
got a slim envelope in the mail, in which a woman who identified
herself only as Crystal unceremoniously told me that my application
had been denied. I was crushed. Only a few weeks out from graduation,
I began a desperate search for employment.
A lifelong bookworm with a forthcoming degree in Russian lan-
guage and literature, I figured, “What the heck, I may as well try
publishing.” Working my way alphabetically through a library copy
of Literary Market Place, I struck gold at Charlesbridge, where I was
told the publisher was looking for an assistant. It turned out his
daughter was my age, had attended my college, and had studied
Russian as well. Despite my utter lack of publishing experience, I
got the job. Twenty-three years later, I’m now associate publisher
and a strong believer that fate puts you where you’re meant to be.
(Either that or I’m in deep cover. You decide.)

David Levithan
V-p, publisher, and editorial director, Scholastic

ended up in children’s publishing because within the


long, long row of loose-leaf binders in my college’s
career library—meant to steer students towards
careers in finance, finance, science, and finance—
there was a single three-hole-punched sheet
detailing an internship at Scholastic. I applied, got the
gig, and then fortuitously asked if I could come in over
my spring break to talk to HR about the job. To my
horror, the HR person cheerfully told me I’d been
assigned to a classroom magazine focusing on fifth grade
science. My distress must have been quite visible,
because she asked me how I felt about that, and I care-
fully explained to her that I’d chosen my college in part
so I’d never have to take a science class again, and that
I wasn’t sure my proficiency in science was something
that the magazine-reading fifth graders of America
should be forced to rely upon. She said she’d get back
to me, made some phone calls, and switched me over to the editorial department in the book divi-
sion, where, come June, I found myself working on the Baby-sitters Club—something I could understand
much better than photosynthesis. That was 1992; I’m still here.

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 3
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

Cathy Goldsmith
President and publisher of Beginner Books,
Random House Children’s Books

graduated from college with a degree in anthropology, which was very
interesting—I spent a summer on an archeological expedition in
Greece—but did not give me many job options. I moved back in with
my parents and began graduate studies in package design at Pratt
Institute while working part-time in my father’s architecture office.
Shortly thereafter, one of my college roommates moved to New York City.
She had a degree in English and was a recent graduate of the Radcliffe
Publishing Procedures program. She quickly landed a job at Random
House as an editorial assistant. We were sharing an apartment in the city,
which made working for my father in Westchester inconvenient. My room-
mate, Susan, said that I should apply for a job at Random House, too. After

all, she said, “You like books.” I asked her what kind of job I should apply
for, and she said I could work in the design department. I had no idea there
even was such a thing as a book designer. So I applied and got a job as a
design assistant in the art department for the children’s books published
by Alfred A. Knopf and Pantheon.
That was 46 years ago. With the exception of a two-year break early on, I’ve been in children’s publishing
the whole time. I guess you can say I owe my career to Susan Bolotin.


Elise Howard
Editor and publisher, Algonquin Young

fter graduating from journalism school in the recession-
stricken 1980s, I was working as a writer’s researcher. That
writer landed a contract to do some practical nonfiction
books for a packager: Computers for Doctors, ...Lawyers, ...Real
Estate Agents, etc. (These were machines with two floppy
disk drives that each held about 256KB of data, networking with
modems that connected via a telephone cradle and a bing bong.)
When that assignment ended, I arrived in New York with a job
at packager Cloverdale Press, where I was to be owner Dan Weiss’s
assistant. It was the height of Cloverdale’s Sweet Dreams and Sweet
Valley High bestseller-dom, and as someone with a vivid recollec-
tion of a childhood and adolescence that had barely ended, soon I
was working almost exclusively on the kids’ side, cranking out
series proposals at a rapid clip: Sleepover Friends, Couples, Sorority Sisters, and Fifteen were some
in the earliest days, Thoroughbred and Vampire Diaries later... and many that never sold (Mall
Rats, anyone?). The necessity of editing books for unmissable monthly publication, and the ability
to work with virtually every paperback publisher in town under Dan Weiss’s supportive and gen-
erous watch, was the best training I could have wished for.

4 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

Abigail McAden Susan Van Metre

Associate publisher, Executive editorial director,

Scholastic Walker Books U.S.

y entry into children’s
books was both unex- was sitting in my college library late
pected and inevitable: one night, pondering if I would finish
my mom was a children’s my paper before I fell asleep, and what
librarian and I grew up a I could possibly do for a living armed
reader. I think she pushed a little too only with modesty, persistence, and a
hard, because I dropped out of AP love of books. I looked over at a display case
English in high school and avoided all where Paul O. Zelinsky’s Rumpelstiltskin
literature classes in college. I majored sat with a shiny medal sticker on its cover.
in religion and minored in geology, It had recently won a Caldecott Honor.
managing to underperform in both Looking at that bewitching cover, I
areas of study and squeak out with a dreamily thought for the first time:
diploma and no idea what I wanted to someone helps authors (and illustrators) make books—maybe I could
do with myself. An acquaintance had be that someone? And, as if by magic spell, my winding path led me from
been a publicity assistant in adult pub- the library to graduation to the Radcliffe Publishing course to a dozen job
lishing, and she said, “You should get interviews, and finally to Dutton Children’s Books, publishers of Paul O.
into publishing!” I was so lacking in Zelinsky’s Rumpelstiltskin.
direction that it was enough! I had a
plan! I carefully cut out the teeny tiny
ads in the New York Times jobs section
and mailed my resume and cover letters
off. During the first interview I went
for, Elise Howard asked me if I liked Jennifer Greene
series books. I misheard her, and Senior editor, Clarion Books

thought she said “serious” books. Uck,
no! Despite that, she hired me. I left was a junior in college studying psychology and not really excited
with armloads of Avon Romances and about becoming a therapist or a researcher. I went to a cocktail party
a new direction. My mom was so at a cabin down the dirt road from my own family’s cabin, in Maine.
pleased. And a little bit smug. I had been close with Suzy, a daughter of the neighbors, but I hadn’t
seen her in a few years. As kids, we’d spent countless summer days

together swimming, waterskiing,

playing in the woods, having
sleepovers—as well as reading. Lots
of reading. At the party, my mom
called me over and said, “Did Suzy
tell you what she’s doing for work?”
It turned out she was an editorial
assistant at Dutton. I had never lost
my love for children’s books, but for
some reason it hadn’t occurred to
me that such a job existed. I decided
then that a job as a children’s book
editor would be the perfect job for
me, too. And thank you to Suzy—
my dear friend Susan Van Metre—
for the inspiration!

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 5
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

Hilary Van Dusen Donna Bray
Executive editor, Candlewick Press V-p and

was a typical college kid back in the ’80s. I came Balzer + Bray,
home for the summer with a vague plan of get-
ting an internship or job or something. At that
point, I was vastly inexperienced in the art of Children’s Books

getting an internship, and I
wasn’t really even sure what I fter graduation, I
wanted to do—something in lived and worked
journalism, maybe? My in France for a few
mother gently suggested I months while I
contact Stephanie Loer, who thought about my next move. I’d had jobs in tele-
was, at that time, the chil- vision during college but could not see myself working in
dren’s book reviewer for the that field. Student loans were coming due, though, so I had
Boston Globe and had been one to figure it out quickly. One night after moving back to the
of my childhood playgroup States, I went to a midnight bowling party with friends,
mothers. I hadn’t spoken to and a guy who’d graduated a couple years before me (and
her since I was about five whose name I can’t remember) casually suggested I look
years old and pressing leaves into publishing. Despite being an English major, it had
into wax paper in her kitchen. never occurred to me that there might be a whole industry
It just so happened that dedicated to the creation of books, and that I might even
Stephanie was friends with be qualified to work in it! In the end, I got two interviews
Anita Silvey, who was just starting her new job as and two job offers: one in adult publicity, the other in chil-
editor-in-chief of the Horn Book. One internship at the dren’s marketing. The latter paid a whopping thousand
Horn Book led to a second, as well as my first job out dollars a year more, so it was no contest: I was going into
of college, and the rest is history. children’s books.

Dinah Stevenson
Editor-at-large and former publisher, Clarion Books

eing a children’s book editor was the furthest thing from my mind until I actually
was one.
I did graduate work in English—assuming, of course, that my future would be in
academia. During college and graduate school, I worked part-time at the Chicago
Assyrian Dictionary, where I was responsible for cleaning up the scholarly papers of
the Assyriology and Sumerology professors, almost none of whom were native English speakers.
This task was referred to as Englishing.
Contemplating my unwritten doctoral dissertation, I let go of my academic goal. I had to get
a full-time job. A friend of my parents told me about an opening for a copy editor at J.B. Lippincott Books for Young Readers.
In preparation for my interview, I read up on copy editing and discovered that it was pretty much the same as Englishing. I
liked the idea of working with books. I got the job.
Gradually my focus shifted from copy editing to editorial work, and I was promoted up the ladder to editor. But I didn’t
want to be a children’s book editor. I wanted to edit books for adults. On some level, I was waiting for my real future to begin.
I can’t remember exactly when the scales fell from my eyes, only that I was a children’s book editor for years before I under-
stood that I was on a career path, not merely the path of least resistance. Nor do I understand why it took me so long to own
my profession. Maybe my infection with the “adult books are real books” virus was deeply rooted. But I can safely say I was
cured in time to become absolutely committed to who and what I was. And, after 46 years in the industry, I still am.

For more stories from industry veterans, visit

6 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY 2 0 1 8
December 18 March 26 April 16 April 30 April 30
9781335541543 9781335017567 9781335017574 9781335012555 9781335661340

Stories that move you.

Stories that inspire you.


March 12 March 26 March 26 April 30 April 30

9781335499073 9781335556776 9781335499066 9781335499080 9781335180537
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

Board Books
cookie tray from an oven. Finally, the
cookies are ready (two cookies can be
a flap, which readers can lift to “peek” at
a baby llama underneath. The impact of
grasping the meaning behind each pic-
ture acts as a veritable tickle to the
brain, while the board book’s sizable for-
mat lends it gratifying heft. Ages 2–4.
Animal Colors removed from die-cut spaces). The
Christopher Silas Neal. Little Bee, $11.99 satisfying tactile experience mimics the Play! Play! Play!
(40p) ISBN 978-1-4998-0535-2 real process of baking cookies—which Douglas Florian, illus. by Christiane
Neal takes the evergreen concept of readers are likely to crave after reading. Engel. Little Bee, $6.99 (18p)
animal mashups and integrates a color Ages 2–4. ISBN 978-1-4998-0484-3
lesson. Text and images work in tandem Florian uses repetition and rhyme to
for maximum effect: “When a blue rhino Four Little Pigs deliciously fun effect in this rip-roaring
and a green tortoise mix, they made a...” Carmen Crowe, illus. by Jessica celebration of playtime. “Let’s go out
A tortoise in mid-descent looks as sur- Gibson. Cottage Door, $6.99 (12p) and play! play! play!/ We’ll have fun all
prised as ISBN 978-1-68052-153-5 day! day! day!” he begins, adopting the
the rhino A baby pig insists on joining the story collective voice of the children in verse
he’s about of the Three Little Pigs in this entertain- that wants to be shouted or chanted as
to land on. ing padded board book. “What are you much as read. Engel’s bold digital col-
The result going to build your house out of, baby leges have an equally childlike energy as
of their pig?” asks the accommodating narrator. she shows a racially diverse crew of kids
collision is “Blocks,” replies the pig, dressed in a running, riding bicycles, playing dress-
turquoise T-shirt and propeller beanie. Those up, and more. The takeaway: there’s no
rhortoise, blocks come in handy: after the wolf is wrong way to “play! play! play!” and
an animal unable to blow the pigs’ brick house everyone is invited. Simultaneously
with a tortoise’s shell and a rhino’s horn. down, he settles for building block tow- available: Bath! Bath! Bath! Ages 3–6.
The animal hybrids get more preposter- ers with the baby pig (“Guess what!
ous, when a yellow kangaroo and a green That ol’ wolf was only in a bad mood Why the Face?
moose mix, making a chartreuse kan- because he didn’t have any friends”). Jean Jullien. Phaidon, $14.95 (32p)
gamoose, and when a blue grizzly bear Crowe’s solid sense of humor and ISBN 978-0-7148-7719-8
and a purple bee are combined, the Gibson’s bright digital cartooning make In this playfully designed outing, the
result is a violet brizzly. A final animal this lightly irreverent retelling a winner. titular query appears on the left page,
conglomerate combines all of the ani- Up to age 5. while on the right, cartoon children
mals and colors featured so far, which make silly expressions. Flaps open to
results in a beast with a yellow trunk, LlamaPhones reveal answers
blue wings, and the green legs of an ele- Janik Coat. Appleseed, $15.99 (12p) to the ques-
phant, which Neal doesn’t attempt to ISBN 978-1-4197-2827-3 tion, hinted at
name. A wildly entertaining spin on Coat follows up Rhymoceros and by the chil-
color theory. Also available: Animal Hippopposites with another chunky board dren’s reac-
Shapes. Ages 3–6. book focused on wordplay. This time, the tions. One
subject is homophones, and Coat casts a child smiles,
Cookies! An Interactive blocky green llama in simple scenes to reacting to a
Recipe Book visually express the meanings behind bounty of
Lotta Nieminen. Phaidon, $16.95 (16p) each word presented. Homophone pairs warm baked
ISBN 978-0-7148-7773-0 appear opposite one another in each goods (“Mmm
This addition to the Cook in a Book spread. For rose, the llama holds a pink yum”); elsewhere, a girl plugs her ears
board series uses interactive elements to flower in its mouth. In the facing image, and squishes up her face, reacting to
show very young readers the steps involved the llama is patterned with tactile “rows” pink-haired members of a wailing band
in cookie making. Nieminen’s mixed- of stripes. For fairy and ferry, the llama (“Aah! Too loud!”). Jullien, a graphic
media graphics lay out ingredients and first wears glittery fairy wings; in the artist, illustrates with solid background
required measurements. The preparation second scene, the llama stands on the colors and thick outlines that bring the
occurs through hands-on interactive ele- bow of passenger ferry boat. For the faces front and center. Wagering guesses
ments: a tab makes eggs crack into the homophones peak and peek, the llama about the why behind each facial
bowl; a wheel shows the dough mixing; stands atop a jagged mountaintop; in the expression is almost as much fun as
and another tab allows readers to pull a other image, the llama is blanketed with finding out the answers. Ages 2–4.

8 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

Claire Zucchelli-Romer. Chronicle, PW’S BEST CHILDREN’S BOOKS 2018 In the October 29 issue
$14.99 (26p) ISBN 978-1-4521-6475-5 of Publishers Weekly, our editors selected the 50 best children’s and young adult
books of the year, reviews of which can be found throughout this collection.
This addition to the TouchThinkLearn
series of chunky, hands-on board books Picture Books
invites readers to trace shallow die-cut A Big Mooncake for Little Star. Grace Lin...................................................................... page 10
Carmela Full of Wishes. Matt de la Peña, illus. by Christian Robinson..................................... 12
lines and shapes along the pages, by The Crocodile and the Dentist. Taro Gomi.............................................................................12
following lively and gently encourag- The Day You Begin. Jacqueline Woodson, illus. by Rafael López............................................. 13
ing instructions: “Right finger takes Dreamers. Yuyi Morles....................................................................................................... 14
the pink. Up, down. Up, down. Up, Fox & Chick: The Party and Other Stories. Sergio Ruzzier ....................................................... –
Hello Lighthouse. Sophie Blackall ....................................................................................... 19
down! Fast, faster, wheeee!” Zucchelli- Julián Is a Mermaid. Jessica Love....................................................................................... 23
Romer suggests that small, die-cut cir- Kitten and the Night Watchman. John Sullivan, illus. by Taeeun Yoo....................................... 23
cles are raindrops (“Pitter Patter Pitter The Patchwork Bike. Maxine Beneba Clarke, illus. by Van Thanh Rudd................................... 29
Patter”) and by tracing swooshing The Rabbit Listened. Cori Doerrfeld..................................................................................... 31
Stumpkin. Lucy Ruth Cummins........................................................................................... 36
lines with their fingers, readers can Thank You, Omu! Oge Mora................................................................................................. 37
“ride the waves.” More complex die-cuts Up the Mountain Path. Marianne Dubuc............................................................................... 38
include swirling, bulls-eye patterns The Wall in the Middle of the Book. Jon Agee........................................................................ 39
and free-form squiggles that beckon
Middle Grade
readers to “dance with your fingers.” Amal Unbound. Aisha 41
Baby-blue background pages and The Book of Boy. Catherine Gilbert Murdock......................................................................... –
fluorescent pink, yellow, and green Dactyl Hill Squad. Daniel José Older..................................................................................... 44
Front Desk. Kelly Yang........................................................................................................ –
offer high contrast, while the kinetic
It Wasn’t Me. Dana Alison Levy............................................................................................ 47
design encourages readers to practice Merci Suárez Changes Gears. Meg Medina........................................................................... 49
hand-eye coordination, motor skills, The Parker Inheritance. Varian Johnson................................................................................ –
and to develop rhythm sense. Sanity & Tallulah. Molly Brooks............................................................................................ 86
Ages 2–4. Small Spaces. Katherine Arden............................................................................................. –
Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster. Jonathan Auxier................................................. 55
The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle. Leslie Connor.................................................................. 56
Picture Books
Young Adult
The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge. M.T. Anderson, illus. by Eugene Yelchin.............. page 60
All the Animals Where I Live The Boneless Mercies. April Genevieve Tucholke................................................................... 61
Philip C. Stead. Roaring Brook/Porter, Children of Blood and Bone. Tomi Adeyemi........................................................................... 62
$18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-62672-656-7 Darius the Great Is Not Okay. Adib Khorram.......................................................................... 64
In the meditative manner of his Ideas Dry. Neal and Jarrod Shusterman ........................................................................................ 65
The Light Between Worlds. Laura E. Weymouth ..................................................................... 69
Are All Around, Caldecott-winner Stead On a Sunbeam. Tillie Walden .............................................................................................. 86
looks at the animals in his neighborhood, The Poet X. Elizabeth Acevedo ............................................................................................ 72
and at his own life. He recalls the only Pride. Ibi Zoboi .................................................................................................................. 72
bear he’s ever met, a stuffed bear named The Prince and the Dressmaker. Jen Wang ........................................................................... 86
Sadie. Courtney Summers.................................................................................................. 75
Frederick (“My Grandma Jane gave me
A Thousand Beginnings and Endings. Edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman .......................... 78
Frederick when I was three years old”). Truly Devious. Maureen Johnson ........................................................................................ 79
He remembers Grandma Jane’s house, The War Outside. Monica Hesse ......................................................................................... 82
which had a room that “always smelled A Winter’s Promise: Book One of the Mirror Visitor Quartet. Christelle Dabos, trans. from
the French by Hildegarde Serle........................................................................................... 84
like maple syrup.” He examines the crea-
tures he sees, and the changing seasons Nonfiction
(“Summer comes and goes. The wind Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam. Elizabeth 92
knocks the apples to the ground”). Soon, The Elephant. Jenni Desmond .......................................................................................... 102
The Eye That Never Sleeps: How Detective Pinkerton Saved President Lincoln.
there’s “nothing but snow. And the smell Marissa Moss, illus. by Jeremy Holmes .............................................................................. 94
of maple syrup.” This quiet closing line Herstory: 50 Women and Girls Who Shook Up the World. Katherine Halligan,
evokes Grandma Jane’s love and the way illus. by Sarah Walsh....................................................................................................... 100
it follows him into adulthood; if she were Hey, Kiddo. Jarrett J. Krosoczka........................................................................................ 105
A History of Pictures for Children: From Cave Paintings to Computer Drawings.
a hummingbird, he muses earlier in the David Hockney and Martin Gayford, illus. by Rose Blake........................................................ 91
book, “she would fly to where I live now.” Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein. Linda Bailey, illus. by Julia Sarda............................................ 92
Stead’s thoughts wander, and so do his Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year. Edited by Fiona Waters,
drawings. His dog’s whiskers and mild illus. by Frann Preston-Gannon....................................................................................... 98
We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices: Words and Images of Hope. Edited by
gaze are captured with scribbly charcoal Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson......................................................................... 106
lines; blades of grass behind a cricket

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 9
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

under the full moon are brushed in unerr- (“Purple is my favorite color”) fall flat. pictures exude the giddiness of an imagi-
ing ink strokes. It’s a journey with an art- Hill (Spring for Sophie) creates a gender- nation unleashed. Ages 3–5.
ist who sees the eternal in the everyday. neutral narrator—a shaggy-haired child
Ages 4–8. in an oversize purple football jersey—who A Big Mooncake for
goes on to debate methods of kindness, Little Star
Alma and How She Got how tricky it can be, and how far a chain Grace Lin. Little, Brown, $17.99 (40p)
Her Name of generous actions might go: “all the ISBN 978-0-316-40448-8
Juana Martinez-Neal. Candlewick, way... around the world. Right back to Nighttime paintings by Lin (Where the
$15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9355-8 Tanisha and me.” The child says that Mountain Meets the Moon) add magic to
Her full name is Alma Sofia Esperanza “Mom always tells me to be kind,” and this fable about why the moon waxes and
José Pura Candela, and it’s so long that “it Miller lets the student parse what that wanes. The story’s events unfold against
never fits,” as the girl explains to her means without adult intervention; the the velvety black of the night sky as
father. (When she writes it on a sheet of child’s musings (“Maybe it’s giving.... Mama and Little Star, dressed in black
paper, she has to tape an extra piece to the Maybe it’s helping”) let readers do their pajamas spangled with yellow stars, work
bottom.) But as Daddy explains that own reflecting. A spirit of diversity, on their mooncake (an Asian holiday
there’s a remarkable relative behind each global and at the community level, per- treat, Lin explains in an author’s note) in
of her names, Alma realizes that she vades Hill’s images, a visual reminder of the kitchen. Mama takes the cake out of
embodies their talents and character, and the importance of kindness regardless of the oven and lays it “onto the night sky
she com- perceived otherness. Ages 3–6. to cool.” She tells Little Star not to touch
fortably it, and Little Star attends but awakens in
communes Big Bunny the middle of the night and remembers
with the Rowboat Watkins. Chronicle, $16.99 the cake. A double-page spread shows
spirits of (40p) ISBN 978-1-4521-6390-1 Little Star’s speculative glance on the left
the In this inventive, clever outing, and the huge golden mooncake—or is it
departed. Watkins (Rude Cakes) ponders what’s scary the round, golden full moon?—on the
She loves to and how much context matters. We right. Whichever it is, Little Star takes a
draw like hear—but don’t see— what seems to be a nibble from the edge, another the next
her pater- parent and child bickering over the fright night, and so on until the moon wanes to
nal grandfather, José, and she’s so inspired quotient of a bedtime story involving a a delicate crescent. Lin successfully com-
by her activist maternal grandmother, big bunny—or, as the child prefers, “a bines three distinctive and memorable
Candela, that she strikes the classic ginormously SCARY bunny.” The parent elements: a fable that avoids seeming
Norma Rae pose and declares “I am tries to pull the story back from the brink contrived, a vision of a mother and child
Candela!” surrounded by her stuffed ani- by insisting that the rabbit wants to eat living in cozy harmony, and a night
mals. Best of all, Daddy concludes, she is carrots and carrots only, but the young kitchen of Sendakian proportions. Ages
“the first and only Alma. You will make reader pushes for something more terrify- 4–8.
your own story.” Martinez-Neal’s first ing. “Big Bunny ate ten carrots in one!
outing as author is a winner—her velvety bite!”’ proclaims the parent, trying to Blue Rider
and largely monochromatic pencil draw- drum up drama. “Not scary,” retorts the Geraldo Valério. Groundwood, $19.95
ings, punctuated with cherry red, teem child. The parent finally capitulates (44p) ISBN 978-1-55498-981-2
with emotional intimacy. It’s an origin (“Fine... you tell it”), and the bunny This wordless story opens with a spread
story that envelops readers like a hug. becomes a giant omnivore, devouring a of city buildings in quiet blues and grays.
Ages 4–8. bridge, trucks, and an entire cityscape. A girl stands at an apartment window
Who could possibly find such a raven- surrounded by dozens of identical win-
Be Kind ously monstrous bunny scary? A page dows. Venturing outside, she’s jostled by
Pat Zietlow Miller, illus. by Jen Hill. turn provides the answer: the parent and crowds of people staring at their phones,
Roaring Brook, $17.99 (32p) child are listening to music, or walking their dogs
ISBN 978-1-62672-321-4 lettuce. As and babies. Suddenly, she spots a book on
A child contemplates the nature of the story the street, picks it up, and holds it close.
kindness and how it can spread in this descends That night in bed she opens it; readers
lovely exploration of empathy and into a view it with her. Across its pages gallops
thoughtfulness. “Tanisha spilled grape child’s ver- a blue horse with mane and tail like fire-
juice yesterday,” the young narrator sion of works—orange, yellow, magenta. It leaps
begins. “All over her new dress.” Their Grand from the pages and across the city sky,
classmates laugh, Tanisha flees the room, Guignol, shedding shapes of turquoise, magenta,
and the narrator’s efforts to comfort her Watkins’s and lime. The colors and shapes that

10 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ Great Spotties!
It’s snowing!
make up the Bus! Stop! And that means your
horse grow James Yang. Viking, $17.99 (32p)
bigger and ISBN 978-0-425-28877-1 giraffe wants to ski.
brighter, dis- Yang (Puzzlehead) dedicates his graphi-
solving into cally inventive book to “all the nice bus
increasingly drivers who waited as I ran toward the
abstract col- bus.” Alas, such is not the good fortune of
lages. At last his young hero, who has just missed his
the girl is seen bus to school (hence the title). Oh well,
on the horse there’s always another bus, right? But the
herself, gallop- vehicles that subsequently show up don’t
ing away. Back in her room, she closes her seem to be headed to school. Triangular
eyes in blissful reflection. Like an urban creatures use their propeller heads to board
companion to his rural dreamscape adven- one that rides on tall, spindly legs; there’s
ture, Turn on the Night, Valério’s fantasy a covered wagon bus for cowpokes; and
offers the girl all the splendor that’s miss- one that resembles a bounce house holds
ing from her cookie-cutter surroundings. passengers who look and move like big
It’s a dazzling vision of the way art tran- rubber balls. As reality becomes increas-
scends the everyday. Ages 4–7. ingly fungible and funny (an ocean liner
pulls up at one point), the boy finally hops
The Breaking News on a bus that looks like a cross between a //US

Sarah Lynne Reul. Roaring Brook, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon
$18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-250-15356-2 and a spaceship. The book’s low-slung
Something bad—really bad—has hap-
pened in the world. “Mom is glued to the
television. Dad can’t stop checking his
format echoes the horizontal shape of the
buses, the text’s word balloons, and the
long stretches of city streets, and Yang’s
phone,” says the narrator, a girl with a
little brother. The next day, the school
bus feels dark and cavernous, with kids
stylized, offbeat characters and “buses”
give this story of transportation lost and
found a quirky universality. Ages 2–5.
anxiously peering over their seats at their
friends. In her picture-book debut, Ruel
doesn’t specify the nature of the event,
but her astutely composed, wonderfully
sympathetic cartoon-style drawings cap-
ture how kids are impacted by worried
and distracted adults, and how it feels to
be small in the face of something too big
to grasp. Ruel also understands that
many readers will yearn to feel some
sense of agency; the narrator decides she A Busy Creature’s Day
wants to “help in a BIG way” and tries to Eating: An Alphabetical
cheer up the worried, sleepless adults Smorgasbord
around her. She soon realizes, however, Mo Willems. Hyperion, $17.99 (32p)
that while people can’t turn off their feel- ISBN 978-1-368-01352-9
ings, small acts of kindness—reading to G is for gluttony (ok, “gravy,” techni-
her brother, cheering up the dog, bright- cally) in Willems’s madcap abecedary,
ening up her block with plants—can built around a youngster who devours
make a difference. “Small things don’t everything in sight, then suffers the con-
solve everything,” she says. “The bad sequences. Purple, wide-eyed, and resem-
news is still there. But then again... so bling a cross between a monkey, dog, and
are we.” Featuring a multi-ethnic neigh- Muppet, the young creature explodes out
borhood of individuals connected—for of bed and into an alphabetical meal of
better or worse—through their shared “Apples! Berries! Cereal!” It isn’t pretty:
disquiet, this is a wise and timely book. Granny Smiths and strawberries go fly-
Ages 4–8. ing, and the creature dives face-first into
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

its cereal bowl. The text is limited to place of possibility, and Robinson’s “The truth is that the story took place
whatever the creature is eating at the acrylic-and-cutout spreads introduce here in China, and without any tricky tai-
moment (and the accompanying alphabet readers to street vendors, workers in the lors,” she writes, promising to reveal the
letter), and Willems captures each fields, and sweeping views of the sea. “real story.” In this version, the child
moment in frenetically cartooned Sensitively conceived and exuberantly emperor’s ministers take advantage of
vignettes and larger scenes. Soon, food executed, Carmela’s story shines. Ages Ming Da’s youth to plunder the treasury,
isn’t enough: “Jacket! Kilt! Lunch Box!” 4–8. which he wants to use to feed the poor.
(Hilariously, the creature dumps the food The plan to make modest clothing
out of the lunch box before devouring it.) Cat Wishes belongs to the young emperor: he enlists
Queasiness follows (just in time for Q), Calista Brill, illus. by Kenard Pak. the help of his tailors to dress him in rice
and parental consolation is required: V is Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99 sacks. “Honest people will see their true
for “vomit,” a much tidier affair than all (40p) ISBN 978-0-544-61055-2 splendor,” he explains to the ministers,
of the eating that precedes it. There are a While wandering through soft, sepia- whose vanity, of course, gets the better of
lot of laughs in this feeding frenzy, but toned woods, a gray-and-white-striped them. Roberts (The Prince and the Porker)
just as much tenderness in the final cat surprises a snake. “Spare my life,” the has marvelous fun with the details of the
scenes, which poignantly reflect the ABCs snake pleads. “I’ll grant you what you Chinese court, rendering the robes, hats,
of TLC. Ages 3–5. wish.” Cat is skeptical: “No such thing as and architectural flourishes of the palace
a wish,” he declares. Yet the next three with wit and style. The hero of the origi-
Carmela Full of Wishes things Cat nal tale was a child, too—but in this ver-
Matt de la Peña, illus. by Christian wishes for— sion he’s the author of the plan and the
Robinson. Putnam, $17.99 (40p) something to focus of the action, and the story is the
ISBN 978-0-399-54904-5 eat, shelter better for it. Ages 6–9.
It’s Carmela’s birthday, and she’s finally from the rain,
old enough to accompany her big brother a friend— The Crocodile and the
on his errands. On their way to the laun- mysteriously Dentist
dromat, Carmela finds a puffy white dan- appear, and Taro Gomi. Chronicle, $16.99 (40p)
delion to blow. De la Peña captures with a the cat’s side- ISBN 978-1-4521-7028-2
fine ear the tone of their sibling dialogue: ways glances The phrase “two sides of the same coin”
“Did you even make a wish?” her brother signal that his doubts may be shifting. aptly describes this clever, skitlike story
asks scornfully. With delicious inspira- The friend who arrives turns out to have from Gomi (I Really Want to See You,
tion, Robinson renders the wishes had a trio of wishes granted herself; some Grandma). On the left side of every spread
Carmela considers as papel picado decora- kind of mysterious intervention has is a crocodile with a painful cavity who
tions like those hung for her birthday. She brought the two together. Illustrations by doesn’t want to see the dentist—but
wishes for a candy machine; she wishes Pak (Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter) recall knows he has to. On the right side is a
her mother could sleep in one of the hotel the work of Jon Klassen with their dentist who doesn’t want to treat the
beds she makes every day; she wishes her emphasis on contours rather than on mass crocodile—but knows he has to. As the
father could get his papers fixed “so he or volume, creating a world with shifting appointment proceeds, the dialogue and
could finally be home.” Carmela jingles veils of translucent color. Brill (Tugboat art offer a mirror image: “I’m scared,” says
her bracelets: “Why do you have to be so Bill and the River Rescue) writes with crisp the queasy-looking crocodile sitting down
annoying?” her brother snaps. “It’s a free economy, using sound and sense words in the chair; “I’m scared,” says the den-
country!” she retorts. But when she takes effectively (“Shuff, shuff, shuff came a tist, clutching his stomach in anticipation
a tumble, crushing her dandelion, his footstep”). Her story fulfills its characters’ of working on this patient. But both sides
impatience melts—“You okay?”—and deepest yearning with quiet magic—one bravely persist, and after a mutual “ouch!”
they share a magical wish-making that readers might find for themselves, and “whew” they part with a genial bow,
moment. The award-winning team she hints, if they believed there were such waiting until they’re out of each other’s
behind Last things as wishes. Ages 4–7. earshot to
Stop on add, “I
Market The Chinese Emperor’s don’t want
Street por- New Clothes to see him
trays Ying Chang Compestine, illus. by David again.”
Carmela’s Roberts. Abrams, $17.99 (32p) Gomi’s
Spanish- ISBN 978-1-4197-2542-5 protago-
speaking Compestine (Secrets of the Terra-Cotta nists are
community Soldier) offers her retelling as a corrective remarkably
as a vibrant to Hans Christian Andersen’s account. expressive:

12 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

the crocodile’s snaggletoothed fearfulness it’s Tank in this perceptive, probing series of obser-
is especially endearing. Some grown-ups Tuesday, and vations from a child’s viewpoint. Ages
may be tempted to use this book to teach she’s casual 4–8.
the concept of empathy, but only one about the
moral seems to interest the whimsically rules (“Dear Don’t Eat That!
pragmatic author: “So you must remem- Class Rules, Drew Sheneman. Viking, $17.99 (40p)
ber to brush your teeth!” Ages 3–5. We have you ISBN 978-1-101-99729-1
for a reason”). The latest from Sheneman (Nope!) looks
The Dam Still, she and reads like an extended classic Sunday
David Almond, illus. by Levi Pinfold. somehow comic. His story has two protagonists: an
Candlewick, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978- spots the narrator trading food at lunch- unflappable girl determined to get a
0-7636-9597-2 time (“Dear Miss Pelly, Now you care nature merit badge and the hulking
In lilting prose, Andersen Medalist about rules?”). It’s a tense moment (“Dear brown bear she encounters in the woods.
Almond (Skellig) begins with a father who Tears. Not here. Not now”). Yet Miss But this is no ordinary bear; even though
wakes his daughter at dawn: “Bring your Pelly has some tricks (and great readal- he’s famished, he’s incapable of feeding
fiddle,” he tells her. The dam that will ouds) up her sleeve (“It turns out that I himself. The book’s endpapers and title
flood their valley in the north of England really like poetry. Especially funny page show that he’s a former denizen of
is almost done. The buildings are empty, poetry”). The turnaround is as swift as it is the city zoo. After preventing Bear from
their inhabitants rehoused. The father warmhearted. Caldecott Medalist Raschka eating a rock (hence the title) and calmly
pulls the boarded door off a deserted stone paints dreamy watercolor scenes with explaining that Bear can’t eat her (“That
cottage, and they enter. “Now play,” he feeling and whimsy, imagining the class would be terribly rude,” she says, without
tells his daughter. “Play for all that are turtle looking exasperated and Miss Pelly flinching), the girl takes him on as a proj-
gone/ and for all that are still to come.” with eyes in the back of her head. Each ect. From there, the ink-and-watercolor
Without condemning the dam (one day, shift in the narrator’s emotions—from drawings portray a kind of My Fair Lady
the inhabitants will play by the lake it suspicion to anger to intrigue—rings true set in the wild. Bear fumbles in his forag-
forms), Almond recounts the way one
family memorializes a cherished musical
landscape with the loveliest thing they The Day You Begin ute ago.” She has cared for her sister
know. Chilly, windswept spreads by Jacqueline Woodson, illus. by Rafael all summer, she tells her classmates,
Pinfold (Black Dog) keep to slate grays, López. Penguin/Paulsen, $18.99 reading and telling stories: “Even though
yellow browns, and stark light. Vignettes (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-24653-1 we were right on our block it was like/

in which a tiny boat is carried higher and Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming) we got to go EVERYWHERE.” And
higher, above the roof of a submerged imagines being “an only” in the class- “all at once” in the seconds after shar-
house, accompany the valley’s transforma- room—what it’s like to be the only one ing one’s story, something shifts, com-
tion (“The dam was sealed. The water with an accent (“No one understands mon ground is revealed, and “the world
rose. This disappeared...”). With riveting the way words curl from your mouth”), opens itself up a little wider/ to make
language and moody art, this true story the only one who some space for you.”
will evoke awe and reverence of place for stayed home during López (Drum Dream
even very young readers. Ages 5–9. summer vacation Girl) paints the book’s
(“What good is this/ array of children as stu-
Dear Substitute when other students dents in the same class-
Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey were flying/ and sail- room; patterns and col-
Vernick, illus. by Chris Raschka. ing”), the only one ors on the children’s
Disney-Hyperion, $17.99 (40p) whose lunch box is clothing and the grow-
ISBN 978-148475022-3  filled with food “too ing things around them
In a witty epistolary narrative, Scanlon strange or too unfa- fill the spreads with life.
and Vernick (coauthors of Bob, Not Bob!) miliar for others to Woodson’s gentle, lilt-
tackle the sometimes-unwelcome arrival love as you do.” ing story and López’s
of substitute teachers. “Dear Substitute,” Without prescribing sympathy, artistry create a stirring portrait of the
the first letter starts, “Where’s Mrs. Woodson’s poetic lines give power to courage it takes to be oneself: “There
Giordano, and why didn’t she warn us?” The each child’s experience. She describes will be times when you walk into a
substitute, Miss Pelly, can’t pronounce the moment when the girl who room and no one there is quite like you
her students’ names correctly (“Poor didn’t go on vacation speaks her truth, until the day you begin/ to share your
Charvi and Betje. Poor Eliandra”). She her “voice stronger than it was a min- stories.” Ages 5–8.
doesn’t clean the turtle tank even though

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 13
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

ing (even a rabbit gets the better of him)

and, in a moment of frustration, eats the Dreamers in the world. There, she says, “We
girl’s merit-badge logbook and spits it Yuyi Morales. Holiday House/ learned to read,/ to speak,/ to write,/
out with a supercilious “ptui.” Still, the Porter, $18.99 (40p) and/ to make/ our voices heard.” As

girl perseveres, ultimately proving she’s a ISBN 978-0-8234-4055-9 the languages blend, so do the images.
mentor ne plus ultra. Seamlessly blending In warm, sparkling prose that moves Mexican motifs—a genial skeleton, a
verbal and visual humor, Sheneman lands easily from English to Spanish and painted dog, embroidered flowers—
every joke—including some truly cringe- back, Caldecott Honor artist Morales dance through the pages, keeping
worthy puns. Ages 3–5. (Viva Frida) traces the journey that she mother and son company on their
and her small son took in 1994, when journey, and the library shelves swoop
Don’t Touch My Hair! they immigrated from and curve, embracing
Sharee Miller. Little, Brown, $17.99 Mexico to the United them. (Readers will rec-
(40p) ISBN 978-0-316-56258-4  States. (“My Story,” ognize favorite titles
Aria is an African-American girl who’s included after the text, among the carefully
proud of her showstopping hair “that supplies the details.) A painted book covers.)
grows up toward the sun like a flower.” woman and a child Many books about
But people keep confusing admiration struggle to understand immigration describe
with acquiescence: strangers, she laments, the rules as they the process of making
“are so curious about my hair that they explore San Francisco. new friends and fitting
try to touch it (When the two play in in; this one describes
without even a public fountain, a what it’s like to become
asking for per- policeman approaches, a creative being in two
mission!” It hands on hips; “Ay!” the mother cries languages, and to learn to love in
feels like the in dismay.) Then they discover the both. “We are two languages./ We are
entire universe library: “Suspicious./ Improbable./ lucha./ We are resilience./ We are
has lost its Unbelievable./ Surprising.” It’s a hope.” A Spanish-language version
sense of miraculous oasis—countless books to will be published simultaneously.
boundaries. In borrow, information about everything Ages 4–8.
a series of
expressive, humorous cartoons that mix about a Thai-speaking grandfather and that separates them and discover that they
full-page and spot art, Aria imagines his assimilated American grandson, testi- do not need to be able to speak in order to
encountering underwater creatures, forest fies to the mighty power of art. The open- communicate. Ages 4–8.
animals, and even aliens who reach for her ing sequence shows the boy getting
curls while cooing, “How do you get it so dropped off by his mother and glumly Duck Gets a Job
big?” She contemplates hiding; she loses ringing his grandfather’s doorbell. A gulf Sonny Ross. Templar, $16.99 (32p)
her temper (“That’s it. That’s enough. of age and language separates the two. ISBN 978-0-7636-9896-6
DON’T TOUCH MY HAIR!”). Then she Though the grandfather is dressed in Many stories deal with career pretend
resolves to set limits, and, in speaking up Western clothes, he puts his hands play, but Ross puts a clever spin on the
for herself, she begins to feel free, together in a traditional Thai greeting. In concept with his earnest titular character,
respected, and in charge of her own body the panel artwork that follows, the grand- Duck, who is full-grown and seeking his
again. Storytelling by Miller (Princess father’s speech appears in Thai script, the life’s work. Duck’s friends all have office
Hair) is frank, funny, and revelatory, with boy’s in English. In despair, the boy pulls jobs where they wear bowler hats, carry
a beleaguered but never beaten protago- out his sketchbook and draws a boy wiz- briefcases, and rave about spreadsheets, so
nist with whom readers will instantly ard with a peaked hat. Grandfather, it Duck figures he needs one of those jobs,
connect. And her book embraces audi- turns out, can draw, too. His wizard, too. With a little nervous planning, he
ences of all backgrounds, nudging them, clothed in magnificent Thai ceremonial finds himself hired at Office Corp., where
in different ways, to a new level of under- garb, is a showstopper. A phantasmagoric he dons a headset, works in a cubicle (a
standing. Ages 4–8. duel begins: “All the things we could “YOU ARE IMPORTANT TO THE
never say come pouring out.” Santat’s COMPANY—BOSS” poster adorns one
Drawn Together work dazzles with layers of color, exqui- of its walls), and is so bored he falls
Minh Lê, illus. by Dan Santat. Disney- sitely worked traditional designs, and asleep. But rather than despair, Duck
Hyperion, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1- ambitious scale. With the grandfather becomes determined: he quits after his
48476760-3  drawing in his idiom and the boy in his, first day, puts together a portfolio of
This story from Lê (Let Me Finish!), the two defeat the dragon of difference drawings, exchanges his bowler for his

14 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
A Dreadful
Fairy Book ISBN 978-1-948705-14-1

“This chubby brown protagonist

full of flaws and wit and heart
is quite welcome.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“This isn’t just any fairy book:

it’s dreadful . . .
A charming read with a quirky
narrator, a brazen heroine, and
eccentric characters.”

Back in Stock
Av a i l
able t
hrough y er
our preferred wholesal
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

jaunty bandana, and lands the job of his through “an but offer fine detail as well: brilliant
dreams at Creativity Magazine. It’s a story enormous, dawn breaking in the narrow space
that may be as inspiring to professionally ancient forest” between two dark buildings (“If you look
alienated adults as it is entertaining for where “explor- closely you can see it”), ripples in the
kids. Both audiences will appreciate the ers” travel an water, a shooting star over the forest. The
stylish Risograph drawings—which com- increasingly family’s regard for each other is felt on
bine bold graphic shapes with softly difficult jour- every page. It’s really two stories: one
speckled textures—and the plucky, if ney. On alter- about time, and another one about love.
slightly neurotic, protagonist who just nating spreads, Ages 3–5.
wants to do what he loves. Ages 3–7. subtly
embossed Found
Elmore images, faintly visible against white Jeff Newman, illus. by Larry Day.
Holly Hobbie. Random House, $17.99 pages, show the maturation of a human Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (48p)
(40p) ISBN 978-1-5247-1863-3 face from baby to elder, while die-cut eyes ISBN 978-1-5344-1006-0
“Friends Wanted” reads the sign that reveal startling glimpses of the wild, In this wordless tale about a child who
Elmore, a self-sufficient but solitary por- bright forest in the scenes that follow. learns to love a new dog, a girl gazes out
cupine, posts in the woods. There are no Young children may miss some of the her apartment window on a rainy day and
takers—everyone is scared of his quills. metaphorical links to a life’s passage, spots something below. A page turn
“I’m your friend,” says his elderly uncle. extended in astonishing visual details and reveals what she sees: a puppy wading
“That’s different,” replies Elmore in an dramatic gatefolds. But the sheer marvel miserably through a puddle. As the girl
exchange that should resonate with any of the design, together with the inclusive, brings it inside, she pauses to gaze at a
children familiar with the attempted con- open-ended mystery of what lies beyond bedside photo that shows her hugging
solations of adults. When Elmore’s uncle the forest, makes this a wondrous piece of another dog; a “Missing” poster on her
insists that his quills are “beautiful” and bookmaking for all ages. Much like a bulletin board reveals that dog’s destiny.
define who he is, Elmore is inspired. He poem, it will evoke new emotions and Despite a tough moment when the new
realizes that his “troublesome quills” layers of meaning with repeated readings. hound takes up her lost dog’s red ball, she
make great pens, and in what Hobbie (A Ages 4–up. shares an existing dog bed and food dish
Cat Named Swan) wryly refers to as “the with the newcomer—only to find, on a
quill event,” he gives away bundles of Forever or a Day trip to the pet shop, that this pup is
them to everyone in the forest. Elmore is Sarah Jacoby. Chronicle, $17.99 (40p) “Missing,” too. The girl not only allows
neither needy nor pathetic; in fact, he ISBN 978-1-4521-6463-2 herself to love but also understands that
emphasizes that the quills are “100% real Jacoby’s debut, a meditation on the her love isn’t as important as what this
porcupine quills” and reminds the other nature of time (“The more you try to hold pup needs most. The pair’s all-too-brief
animals, “Everyone loves getting a note it... the better it hides.... Where does it idyll is gently and memorably drawn, and
from a friend.” After having fun writing go?”), unfolds along with a visual story of the girl’s independence in a big city—
with Elmore’s once-feared quills, the ani- a family’s visit to a cherished set of grand- there are no parents in sight—allows
mals see him in a new way. Hobbie’s story parents. Two parents and their young son focus on her interior journey and genu-
is proffered with a light touch, a full set out from the city, joining the grand- inely noble decision. Ages 4–8.
heart, breezily charming artwork, and an parents for a day that starts at the beach,
ingenious protagonist. And her lesson continues with fishing off a dock, and Fruit Bowl
never loses its profundity: being appreci- ends under a starry sky around a campfire. Mark Hoffman. Knopf, $17.99 (40p)
ated by others starts with appreciating Goodbye hugs are exchanged as Jacoby ISBN 978-1-5247-1991-3
oneself. Ages 3–7. voices a clear-eyed truth about time After a mother enlists her child’s help
(“We’ve only got what we’ve got”), then in putting newly purchased vegetables
The Forest offers a warm postscript: “I love the time and fruits away, the young speaker, whose
Riccardo Bozzi, illus. by Violeta Lópiz I have with you.” Dry-brushed water- presence appears only as a word balloon,
and Valerio Vidali, trans. from the color-and- greets the fruits as old friends: “Oh, Pear.
Italian by Debbie Bibo. Enchanted Lion, pastel I’m glad you’re back in season.” The kid
$25.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59270-218-3 images makes sure each one gets safely into the
From its sumptuously colored vellum survey bowl, but why is Tomato trying to crash
jacket to its final, mysterious blank white sweeping the party? “You belong in the fridge with
spread, this uncommonly beautiful vol- views of the other vegetables,” says the child.
ume invites readers to marvel over both cityscapes Savvy Tomato has the facts on his side: he
its daring design and enigmatic messages. and coun- started out as a seed, he explains, as did
Bozzi’s minimal text walks readers try forests, many of his comrades who are usually

16 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

classified as vegetables and now demand debut opens with two words: “I’m mov- forms a heroic rescue and enters a career
their rightful place in the blue fruit ing.” They’re spoken by the title charac- suited to her big heart and even bigger
bowl, too. In his first foray as writer and ter while she swoons across her family’s size. Illustrations are in the tradition of
illustrator, Hoffmann (illustrator of You ottoman, and because Geraldine is a Steinberg and Sempé, the characters cap-
Can Read) offers a fun, brain-teasing food giraffe, her full-on melancholy mode is tured in economical, expressive ink lines,
literacy lesson that’s a cornucopia of pro- quite a spectacle. But while Geraldine with washed skies in various shades of
duce and wordplay. His naive-styled may be a drama queen (even her mother blue and rose. Gilda’s misfit status (“I’m
fruits—they look like generously propor- says so), it won’t take readers long to completely useless”) makes her final tri-
tioned cut-outs with stick arms and warm up to her. The move takes umph more satisfying; there’s a place for
legs—have vivid personalities, and their Geraldine from Giraffe City, where every- everyone, Urberuaga argues—one just
gouache colors are positively juicy. Ages one is like her, to a new school, where needs to find it. A Spanish edition will
3–7. everyone else is human. Suddenly, the publish simultaneously. Ages 4–8.
former extrovert becomes “That Giraffe
The Funeral Girl,” and all she wants to do is hide, Giraffe Problems
Matt James. Groundwood, $18.95 which is pretty much impossible. “Even Jory John, illus. by Lane Smith.
(40p) ISBN 978-1-55498-908-9 my voice tries to hide,” she says, in the Random House, $17.99 (42p)
In his first outing as author, Canadian book’s most poignant moment. “It’s got- ISBN 978-1-5247-7203-1
artist James (When the Moon Comes) exam- ten quiet and whispery.” Then she meets Nora Ephron felt bad about her neck,
ines the way the funeral of a distant rela- Cassie, who, though human, is also an and Edward the giraffe feels bad about
tive feels to a child. Great-uncle Frank outlier (“I’m that girl who wears glasses his, too. “Yes, my neck is too necky.
was old when he died, and Norma’s and likes MATH and always organizes Everybody stares at it,” he sighs. He con-
mother is sad (she “put a million kleen- her food”), and things begin to look up. fesses to embarrassment (“I’ve tried hid-
exes in her Lilly’s watercolor-and-ink drawings are as ing it away”) and compares his neck to
purse and vividly comic and emotionally astute as others’ (“Take a gander at this zebra’s
checked her her writing; just when readers think neck. Stripes always look good”). Cyrus, a
makeup”). there are no more ways for Geraldine to turtle, has almost no neck at all, but he
Norma isn’t contort her long neck, this highly prom- also feels bad: “I’ve felt like such a fool as
sad, however: ising talent comes up with something I stretched my neck toward those greedy
she’ll get a day new. Ages 4–8. branches, only to be limited by my own
off from school physical shortcomings.” It’s easy for
and she’ll see Gilda the Giant Sheep Edward to retrieve the banana Cyrus has
her cousin Ray. Emilio Urberuaga, trans. from the been eyeing for days, a moment that war-
Yet she under- Spanish by Ben Dawlatly. NubeOcho, rants a vertical gatefold, and being able to
stands that the occasion is somber, and $17.95 (44p) ISBN 978-8-41712-324-6 help Cyrus gives Edward more satisfac-
she sits through the long church service A dirigible-size sheep supplies the tion than all the empty reassurance he’s
patiently. James’s mixed-media spreads comic premise for this fable by Spanish been offered. In this follow up to Penguin
make the gravity of the occasion a back- artist Urberuaga (Carlota Wouldn’t Say Problems, Smith (Grandpa Green) uses
drop for Norma’s liveliness. He paints her Boo), published in English with new art earth-toned greens, golds, and browns to
with her head deep inside her mother’s 25 years after its European release. Gilda create all kinds of brushy, stroked, veined,
purse, breathing in “a mix of toothpaste is an industry of her own, requiring 20 and lined textures, and his characters’
and makeup and sweet warm leather.” shepherds to shear and milk her. When black eyes convey a wealth of emotions.
After the service, Norma and Ray turn they tire of the work and her “giant sheep Lighthearted palaver by John (The Bad
cartwheels; back inside, Norma sees a ears” overhear them scheming to kill her Seed) flows effortlessly, and the pair’s
photo of Uncle Frank that “smiles right at for her meat, she takes off for the nearest courtly manners (“That means a great
her.” James’s creation isn’t designed to metropolis. deal to me, Edward”) are sure to garner
start a discussion about death. It’s more a After a King laughs as their shared dismay rings true.
story about Norma that happens to Kong–style Ages 3–7.
involve a funeral, and it traces with a big skyscraper
heart the way she makes sense of this puz- climb (“She Good Rosie!
zling event. Ages 4–7. looked like a Kate DiCamillo, illus. by Harry Bliss.
huge woolly Candlewick, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-
Geraldine cloud”) and a 0-7636-8979-7
Elizabeth Lilly. Roaring Brook/Porter, failed attempt Rosie the terrier and her middle-aged
$17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-62672-359-7 to join the cir- owner, George, are loving companions
This funny, thoroughly accomplished cus, Gilda per- and creatures of habit. But when Rosie

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 17
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

sees her reflection in her empty food eyes that close tight after the letters rear- flowing from their mouths. Then a har-
bowl (“The other dog never answers”), range themselves into their anagram, poon’s barb slashes across the page to find
she yearns for companions of her own “asleep”). It’s the very definition of word- the mother, and the baby’s heart beats on
species. One day, George decides to visit play. Ages 4–8. without hers in panels of mournful gray.
the local dog park, and Rosie is more The young whale spends decades alone as
than a little hesitant (“Rosie does not Harriet Gets Carried Away its brethren are slaughtered for their oil,
like the dog park. There are too many Jessie Sima. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 which is burned for illumination around
dogs.”). Then she meets Fifi the (48p) ISBN 978-1-4814-6911-1 the world. Fast forward to the present: a
Chihuahua and Maurice the Saint Dress-up-loving Harriet wears cos- small girl with two pigtails leans from
Bernard. Though their friendship is not tumes everywhere; in one early scene, the bow of a boat, hears the lonely whale’s
without initial missteps (Rosie must Sima (Not Quite Narwhal) shows her in the song, and sings with it. Turk’s impactful
overcome her innate reticence, Maurice dentist’s chair, opening her mouth wide artwork reinforces the powerful, easily
must promise that he will not try to eat while inside an equally toothy dinosaur graspable metaphor of the heartbeat, rep-
Fifi—again), it changes Rosie’s world. outfit. Dressed as a penguin, Harriet— resenting the unity of human and animal
DiCamillo’s deep empathy for her shy, who has dark skin, curly hair, and two life. The more complex message about the
lonely protagonist will come as no sur- fathers—heads to the grocery store with commodification of ocean life, detailed in
prise, but her portrayal of Rosie as genu- her dads before her birthday party, where an appended note, will require careful
inely puzzled by the mechanics of friend- she discovers a group of actual penguins context setting and explanation. Ages
ship is particularly astute. Bliss (Diary of replenishing their supply of bagged ice. 4–8.
a Worm) works in a paneled comics for- Before she
mat, and it proves felicitous for his for- knows it, Hello Hello
mal drawing style and deadpan humor. Harriet is aloft Brendan Wenzel. Chronicle, $17.99
This is no shaggy dog story—it’s with them in (52p) ISBN 978-1-4521-5014-7
thoughtful and funny, and a real gift for their hot-air Wenzel starts with two cats and a
emerging readers. Ages 5–8. balloon, greeting: “Hello Hello.” They eye each
headed back to other across a white backdrop. A page
The Great Dictionary Caper their polar turn reveals a black bear, panda, zebra,
Judy Sierra, illus. by Eric Comstock. home. Readers and striped fish: “Black and White.” The
S&S/Wiseman, $17.99 (40p) who fear that next page provides a blast of color: more
ISBN 978-1-4814-8004-8 Harriet will be tropical fish, a brilliant parrot, a fuchsia
Bored with sitting in a dictionary “day marooned or miss her birthday party will lobster—and completes the rhyme
in, day out,” the words make a break for relax as an orca and a flock of pigeons (“Hello Color Hello Bright”). More crea-
it and organize a parade—which lets help bring her back to the store, and the tures and greetings bring the story into
Sierra (Wild About You!) and Comstock party goes off without a hitch. Harriet is a focus—it’s a celebration of the myriad
(the Charlie Piechart series) introduce lin- resourceful city child, the kind of girl forms of animal life this planet hosts. In
guistics terminology in just about the who has no problem negotiating with an richly textured mixed-media composi-
most playful way possible. Onomatopoeic orca (she trades her red bow tie for a lift). tions, Caldecott Honor recipient Wenzel
terms form a marching band (the c and g The narrator’s offhand, unruffled voice (They All Saw a Cat) balances realism and
in “clang” turn into arms that crash cym- (“So Harriet called in a favor from some engaging caricature. The animals’ coats
bals together). The action verbs are appro- friends she knew”) makes Harriet’s and features are rendered with careful
priately kinetic—“somersault” turns itself intrepid adventure a delightful readaloud. attention, and each animal face sports car-
into one—but the “no-action contrac- Ages 4–8. toonish, wide-open eyes, the better to
tions,” in phrases like “He couldn’t” give each other impish looks. In an
and “She won’t,” need some nudging. Heartbeat author’s note, Wenzel urges readers to
Homophones march “two by two and Evan Turk. Atheneum, $17.99 (56p) know the creatures they share the Earth
three by three,” depending on the sound. ISBN 978-1-4814-3520-8 with, especially those that are threatened
It’s all lexicographical fun and games, but Turk (The Storyteller) creates an achingly or endangered. (Official names are sup-
eventually Noah Webster himself herds poignant tribute to the beauty and dig-
the words back between the dictionary nity of whales. In powerful pastel spreads
covers. Working in a limited palette of of intense red, brilliant blue, and deep,
orange, olive, and pale blue, Comstock oceanic black, Turk shows a mother whale
brings the words to vivid anthropomor- with a yet-to-be-born baby visible inside
phic life while visually underscoring each her: “One heart beats. Two hearts beat.”
concept (the letters in “please” gaze at Once born, the baby and the mother sing
readers through eager, beseeching eyes— together, their song rendered as clouds

18 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

plied in two keyed drawings at the back.) learns after sticking his nose into a tree, ligerent series of sharp angles. He equips
It’s a joyful way to deliver a message where busy bees are working, and getting both with a repertoire of opera buffa ges-
about the fragility of life on Earth and stung. While he waits for honey season to tures and expressions (utter disdain!
what would be lost if more of it disap- arrive, Bear finds other sources of joy, indignation!) to great effect. Ages 4–8.
peared. Ages 3–5. including frolicking in the rain and under
a waterfall. But finally, at the sound of a How Mamas Love Their
Hello Lighthouse buzz, Bear goes running to the source: Babies
Sophie Blackall. Little, Brown, $18.99 “ ‘Honey!’ Just as good as he’d remem- Juniper Fitzgerald, illus. by Elise
(48p) ISBN 978-0-316-36238-2 bered.” Working in deceptively simple Peterson. Feminist, $16.95 (36p)
Painted with the featherlight touch visual vignettes enclosed in rough-edged ISBN 978-1-93693-200-9
that distinguishes Caldecott Medalist panels, Stein’s wriggly pen-and-ink lines First-time author Fitzgerald writes
Blackall’s work, this graceful account of a bring a quality of vitality to the natural about the work mothers do to care for
lighthouse keeper’s life celebrates a lost features of Bear’s habitat. This gentle out- their children and support them econom-
era. While it was lonely and sometimes ing about waiting and appreciating con- ically—work that is often unseen or
dangerous, watching the lighthouse was cludes in autumn, as Bear sits atop a hill, ignored. Peterson’s smart, sly collages
monastic in its simplicity: “He tends the bathed in moonlight, remembering sum- use patterned paper and scrawled-on
light and writes mer and “how good it had been.” Ages color accents to embellish vintage b&w
in the logbook.” 2–5. photos of women and children. The
The lighthouse mothers are black, brown, and white,
keeper readies his Horse Meets Dog heavy and skinny, urban and rural; they
home for the Elliott Kalan, illus. by Tim Miller. cook, fly planes, and sell ice cream.
arrival of his wife, HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 Fitzgerald writes simply, but in combina-
who nurses him (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-279110-8 tion with Peterson’s images, her words
when he falls ill; Self-centered much? Horse is convinced carry force: “Mamas use their bodies to
then he helps her that Dog is an infant horse—a “wittle care for their babies in so many ways,”
as she gives birth cutie tiny baby” horse—and patronizes she writes, next to a photograph of a
to their first him accordingly. Dog thinks that Horse mother nursing a toddler. She also makes
child. Soon the is a gargantuan dog with “weird feet.” a case for the acceptance of women’s work
family receives word that the lighthouse Neither stops to consider that there that has been censured or subject to
is to be fitted with a mechanical light, might be species other than their own, taboo. “Some mamas dance all night long
and their idyll comes to a serene end. and the miscommunication only contin- in special shoes. It’s hard work,” she
Many spreads, delicate as painted porce- ues as they try to patch things up: Horse writes, gently introducing a sex worker
lain, depict the lighthouse amid the gets “Tiny Baby” a miniature saddle “in mother amid images of stiletto heels, the
breaking waves and changing life of the case a tiny person wants to ride you,” and neon signage of an adult entertainment
ocean. Seals bask, whales pass, and the Dog gets “Big Pal” a ball to chase. Kalan, store, and a photograph of a worker on
aurora borealis flickers overhead. who has written for The Daily Show, strike, her placard reading, “Unfair to
Repeated images of circles echo the light- Mystery Science Theater 3000, and Marvel Strippers.” It’s a political statement, but
house’s circular rooms, from vignettes Comics, makes a terrific picture book one that flows from passion and love.
framed with nautical rope to a breathtak- debut, moving the wonderfully narcissis- Ages 4–8.
ing sequence of the lighthouse keeper’s tic dialogue along quickly as these two
wife walking through her labor, each huge—and I Am a Cat
moment like the hand on the face of a hugely Galia Bernstein. Abrams, $16.95 (32p)
clock. It’s a jewel of a creation and a gift mistaken— ISBN 978-1-4197-2643-9
to those who dream of retreat. Ages 4–8. egos battle A stout, green-eyed cat named Simon
it out meets a gang of much larger cats: a lion,
Honey (“ ‘Tiny cheetah, puma, panther, and tiger. “I am a
David Ezra Stein. Penguin/Paulsen, baby cat,” announces Simon. “Just like you!”
$16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5247-3786-3 horse!’ The big cats greet Simon’s announcement
Stein returns to the ursine protagonist ‘Very big with wide-eyed, stony silence. Then—
and forest setting of his picture book dog!’ ”). after a page turn—they erupt in guffaws.
Leaves. After waking up from hiberna- Miller (Moo Moo in a Tutu), essentially The lion explains huffily that cats have
tion, Bear goes on a quest for honey: charged with chronicling a comedy manes and tails, the cheetah that cats run
“spicy, aromatic,/ sparkling with sun- sketch, embraces the challenge by draw- faster, and so on; each identifies its own
light—Honey!” But it is not yet summer ing Horse as a preening ovoid with stick features as the essence of catness. Simon’s
and too early for honey—which Bear legs and fabulous hair, and Dog as a bel- reply is sharp: “So how can you all be

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 19
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

cats?” The lion begins listing features they I Got It! grabbing onto their clothes, hopping
have in common (“We have sharp teeth David Wiesner. Clarion, $17.99 (32p) from head to head, and—in a final, victo-
and claws”) and the big cats’ tails and ISBN 978-0-544-30902-9 rious leap—making the catch: “I got it!”
claws form graceful arabesques. “So do I,” Three-time Caldecott Medalist Although this nearly wordless story lacks
Simon snaps. “I have all of those things.” Wiesner looks at the interior anxieties of a the comedy of some of his previous cre-
The big cats are forced to admit that boy playing baseball with a new crowd of ations, Wiesner conveys with startling
Simon is right; he is a cat after all. kids. Assigned to the outfield, and with a immediacy how time slows in moments
Bernstein’s debut is a fresh, powerful twist fly ball heading toward him, the boy of crisis, and the way that people move
on the tension between in-groups and out- imagines himself uttering the words of back and forth between the outer world of
groups. The big cats threaten, but her hero the title—“I got it!”—but then tripping reality and the complicated, many-
shows no signs of compromise or apology. on a root. In his next vision of failure, a dimensional world of interior conscious-
And her spare, clean artwork shares the tree keeps him from snagging the ball. ness. Ages 4–7.
same sense of certainty. Ages 3–7. More surreal wordless spreads follow,
expressions of the boy’s fears of humilia- I Walk with Vanessa:
I Do Not Like Books tion and determination to succeed—all A Story About a Simple
Anymore! flashing by in the time it takes the ball to Act of Kindness
Daisy Hirst. Candlewick, $15.99 (40p) descend. In one, the ball looms, the size of Kerascoët. Random/Schwartz & Wade,
ISBN 978-1-5362-0334-9 a planet. Then the boy chases through a $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5247-6955-0
In this follow-up to Alphonse, That Is crowd of giant kids like a Lilliputian, In this powerful wordless tale by the
Not OK to Do!, siblings Natalie and
Alphonse have become heavily invested in
the prospect of Natalie learning how to reign of terror by what he calls “the
read. Both already avidly consume and Islandborn Monster” (dictator Rafael Trujillo) and
make stories. For Natalie, reading inde- Junot Díaz, illus. by Leo Espinosa. the courage it took to resist. As the
pendently means having “all the stories in Dial, $17.99 (48p) ISBN story moves between past and present,
the world, whenever I want them” (she 978-0-7352-2986-0 the Island and “the North,” and the

enviously eyes subway riders with reading From its very first sentence, this first microworlds of classroom, streets, and
material), while Alphonse looks forward picture book from Díaz (The Brief home, the sweep of experience and
to sharing the bounty as Natalie’s readal- Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao) is both emotion becomes unmistakably novel-
oud audience. But even with help from beautifully nuanced and instantly com- istic. Reminiscence, reality, and Lola’s
her teacher, Natalie struggles (“The words prehensible: “Every kid in Lola’s school imagination similarly merge in
looked like prickles or birds’ feet”), and was from somewhere Espinosa’s effervescent,
what she can read is a big snooze (“The else.” Lola is from a mural-like drawings
book was about a cat. The cat could sit”). place that she calls the (which eventually
She’s ready to chuck it all when a remark Island, which adult become the work Lola
from Alphonse—whose matter-of-factness readers will recognize as presents to her class):
makes him a terrific counterpart—opens the author’s native bats soar through the air
a pathway back into narrative and print. Dominican Republic, on blanket wings, and a
Straightforward, empathic prose and but she left as a baby. barbershop customer
screen-printed vignettes of biomorphic When her teacher asks tears up while clutching
family life (red Natalie is amphibious- everyone to draw a pic- a translucent mango.
looking; Alphonse resembles a chunky ture of “the country you With his tenacious,
blue rabbit) were originally from, curious heroine and a
by Hirst your first country,” voice that’s chatty, pas-
(The Girl Lola, who doesn’t remember the Island sionate, wise, and loving, Díaz entices
With the herself, embarks on a quest through her readers to think about a fundamental
Parrot on tight-knit city neighborhood to collect human question: what does it mean to
Her Head) memories. Many recall the Island with belong? Lola realizes it means both
reassure fondness: nonstop music, mangoes so being cherished by those around her
while giv- sweet “they make you want to cry,” col- and taking ownership of their collec-
ing an ors of every kind. “Even the people are tive memory. “Even if I’d never set foot
emotion- like a rainbow,” says one. But Lola also on the Island,” she tells the class, “it
ally fraught subject its full, unsentimen- hears stories of fear, hardship, and sad- doesn’t matter: The Island is me.” Ages
tal due. Natalie and Alphonse would ness; the super in her building recalls a 5–8.
approve. Ages 3–7.

20 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
9780735262676 | $17.99 | $21.00 (CAN) 9781101918722 | $17.99 | $21.99 (CAN)
9781770495593 | $17.99 | $22.99 (CAN)

9781770499225 | $17.99 | $21.99 (CAN) 9780735262591 | $12.99 | $15.99 (CAN) 9780735263543 | $17.99 | $21.99 (CAN)
9781101919255 | $17.99 | $21.99 (CAN)
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

French duo Kerascoët (Paul and tioned off. But she meets the boy again In a Small Kingdom
Antoinette), a child reaches out to a fellow in a triumphant moment that redeems Tomie dePaola, illus. by Doug Salati.
pupil who has been bullied. Vanessa isn’t their separation. Cooper’s lilting voice Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (48p)
the only child of color in her school, but dances through the story, while folk- ISBN 978-1-4814-9800-5
she is new; the teacher introduces her, naive watercolors by Eldridge, in her It is long ago, in a place “along an
and she sits by herself. On the way home, picture-book debut, capture the foal’s ancient road.” The beloved old king has
she’s accosted by a boy with yellow hair, lovely lines. Readers drawn to stories died, and the young prince is chosen to
cries, and runs about the unbreakable bonds between assume the throne. Though the prince is
back to her children and animals will remember young and shy—and not much older than
house. this one. Ages 4–8. some in this book’s target audience—he is
Another girl thoughtful and gentle. “All agreed that
sees what has Imagine! the kingdom would be in good hands,”
happened, Raúl Colón. S&S/Wiseman, $17.99 writes dePaola. But the legendary impe-
and, in an (48p) ISBN 978-1-4814-6273-0 rial robe has gone missing, and everyone
important Though Colón (Draw!) grew up in in the kingdom believes this “remarkable
series of New York City, he didn’t visit the city’s garment” gives the king magical powers
vignettes, the art museums until he was an adult. The to protect them. An evil plot is afoot—
artists make it powerful idea of encountering original can it be thwarted? Debut illustrator
clear how much the incident upsets modern masterworks as a child, his Salati, a former Sendak fellow, works with
her—one nighttime spread shows both author’s note says, inspired this wordless the assurance of a seasoned pro; his illus-
girls awake and despondent in their fantasy. Using the deeply saturated hues trations, rendered in delicately textured
bedrooms. In the morning, the girl and combed textures of his signature pencil and earth-toned digital color, com-
invites Vanessa to walk to school with style, the artist draws a brown-skinned bine an old-fashioned sense of setting and
her, and they are soon joined by other boy hopping onto his skateboard, sailing character with a contemporary approach
children. It’s not a story about bullying across the Brooklyn Bridge, and heading to casting (the kingdom is matter-of-
per se—although Vanessa’s pain is evi- into the Museum of Modern Art, check- factly multicultural, and the king’s chief
dent, her emotions are not its focus. ing his helmet and board at the entrance. counselor is a woman). With its themes of
Instead, it looks at stepping up and being Inside, he encounters Rousseau’s The ingenuity, generosity, and the enduring
an ally. The wordless pages and small, Sleeping Gypsy, power of community, the story is a lovely
toylike figures make this a good choice Picasso’s and pointedly relevant tribute to those
for young children who can work out for Three who truly confer legitimacy on any leader:
themselves what has happened, what Musicians, and the people. Ages 4–8.
Vanessa’s new friend does, and why it Matisse’s
works. Ages 4–8. Icarus. He’s Interrupting Chicken and
awed by the the Elephant of Surprise
If a Horse Had Words paintings— David Ezra Stein. Candlewick, $16.99
Kelly Cooper, illus. by Lucy Eldridge. Colón draws (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-8842-4
Tundra, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1- him with his In the eponymous Chicken’s post–
10191-872-2 hands clasped Caldecott Honor book, she learns some-
In her first book for children, Canadian behind his head—and is overjoyed thing new in school: “Every story has an
author Cooper offers a tale of a foal and when the figures burst from their frames. elephant of surprise.” Papa—whose
her boy that blends the scope of a novel After dancing with the boy out onto the bright red crest and spade-shaped feet
with the grace of a poem. Born on a street, they tour famous New York match Chicken’s—gently explains that
spring morning, the foal tries out her landmarks together—fast-moving stills it’s element, not elephant. To demon-
long legs and sinks into a badger hole, show the figures in improbable N.Y.C. strate, Papa reads “The Ugly Duckling.”
from which she’s hauled out by a man settings with humorous believability— The storybook open on Papa’s lap, Stein’s
and his freckled, cowboy-hatted compan- before returning to the museum. Back art transforms from the smudgy, warm
ion: “If a horse had words,” Cooper in Brooklyn, the figures remain in the tones of the cozy reading nook to a pasto-
writes, in a phrase that serves as the sto- boy’s mind, and he creates some mag- ral storybook scene rendered in pen and
ry’s title and leitmotif, “the word would nificent art of his own. Colón’s vibrant ink. As the Ugly Duckling is about to
be... boy.” Boy and foal watch the seasons scenes make it clear that visiting works glimpse his reflection, a page turn intro-
change contentedly together until one of art can breathe magic into the everyday duces a blue elephant wearing wings:
day, the boy tries to ride her, and she and inspire further creativity afterward. “Surprise! I’m an elephant!” The elephant
tosses him. She has to go, the man says, Ages 4–8. returns in readings of “Rapunzel” (with
and, in a wrenching moment, she’s auc- thick braids) and “The Little Mermaid”

22 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

(sporting a bikini). A final story—written reverie: he’s his family. Yoo (Strictly No Elephants) sets
by Papa and illustrated by Chicken— under the a lovely mood, taking readers from sunset
demonstrates that, despite Papa’s best sea, and to dawn through washes of orange, pink,
efforts, the “elephant of surprise” is here amid a daz- and blue, the watchman’s compassionate
to stay. Stein masterfully builds suspense zling demeanor assuring them that all’s well.
with each imbedded story, for a gag that school of Ages 4–8.
only gets more fun with each reveal. Ages fish, he
4–8. sprouts a The Little Barbarian
radiant Renato Moriconi. Eerdmans, $17 (48p)
Is That You, Eleanor Sue? orange ISBN 978-0-8028-5509-1
Tricia Tusa. Roaring Brook/Porter, fishtail and waist-length curly hair. The little barbarian of the title runs
$17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-250-14323-5 While Abuela takes a bath, Julián takes across the bottom of the page, helmet on,
Disguised in an impressive bouffant matters into his own hands. He strips shield and sword at the ready. His black
wig and a green dress, Eleanor Sue down to his underpants, paints his lips horse awaits him. A page turn, and the
climbs out her bedroom window, knocks purple, fashions a fishtail costume from barbarian is off: he’s up
on her own front door, and introduces curtains, and creates a headdress from at the top of the page,
herself to her mother as Mrs. McMuffins, ferns and flowers. He is, in a word, fabu- leaping across a gaping
a new neighbor. Eleanor’s mother has lous. Love lets an anxious beat pass before chasm! A turn later,
lots of time and a deep well of patience, Abuela takes Julián by the hand, leading he’s at the bottom of
and she invites her visitor in for tea. But him to what some readers may recognize the page, attacked by a
that’s just the beginning: throughout the as the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. flock of murderous
day, Eleanor’s mother opens her door to a “Like you, mijo,” says Abuela. “Let’s join birds! Then, top, leap-
witch, a wizard, and a bear; accepts a them.” Love’s deep empathy for her char- ing across a nest of
delivery of flowers from her own garden; acters and her keen-eyed observations of vipers; then, bottom,
greets a cat; and at last answers the door urban life come together in a story of under a rain of arrows.
in a costume of her own. Imaginative love, understanding, and embracing the Loosely stroked water-
but never too precious talk shared mermaid within us all. Ages 4–8. colors by Brazilian artist Moriconi give
between mother and daughter under- impish humor to the nightmarish dangers
scores realistic character play (“I wore Kitten and the Night the little barbarian faces, while the visual
my shoes right through, ma’am,” Watchman up-and-down rhythm hints at what’s to
Eleanor-as-delivery-person says as her John Sullivan, illus. by Taeeun Yoo. come. When the barbarian’s secret is
mother proffers a footbath), and S&S/Wiseman, $17.99 (40p) revealed, readers will want to return to
Eleanor’s hints at the personas to come ISBN 978-1-4814-6191-7 his adventures for another look. The
reward alert listeners. Artwork by Tusa A night watchman hugs his family and wordless pages, tall and narrow, provide
(Follow Me) in a palette of rose, sienna, goes to work, where he methodically dramatic white backdrops for the action.
and green offers instant accessibility to makes his rounds through an empty con- And Moriconi’s simple, even wise, adven-
the characters’ emotions and all the struction site. His flashlight’s warm yel- ture salutes the power of a child’s imagi-
warmth of the Sunday funnies. Eleanor’s low beam illuminates the darkness: “He nation, which unspools endless visions of
mother takes obvious delight in her checks the doors. He checks the work- danger, courage, desperate rescue, and
daughter’s inventiveness in this celebra- shop.” Debut author Sullivan, who based victory. Ages 4–8.
tion of creative play, simple pleasures, the story on his own experience, illumi-
and bighearted love. Ages 4–8. nates the inner life of his character as Little Robot Alone
well, using concise, poetic language. The Patricia MacLachlan and Emily
Julián Is a Mermaid watchman “thinks of his boy and girl, safe MacLachlan Charest, illus. by Matt
Jessica Love. Candlewick, $16.99 (40p) and asleep at home.” He’s alert to the Phelan. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,
ISBN 978-0-7636-9045-8 beauty of the darkness, too: the big $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-544-44280-1
Riding home on the subway, Julián is trucks’ fanciful-looking shadows (“A Little Robot has a head made from a
transfixed by three mermaids—volup- backhoe rises like a giant insect”), the full toaster with a lightbulb stuck in it, a
tuous and self-possessed, with flowing moon that “shines like an old friend,” the rotund body with riveted orange pants,
tresses of black, pink, and red, and wear- way the air fills with a sound of a train and tractor treads for feet. He leads an
ing aqua fishtail costumes (the book is and then becomes still again. Most of all, idyllic life in a cottage by the pond, and
printed on a Kraft-like paper, so the col- he is kind: a stray gray kitten joins him he’s developed satisfying little rituals to
ors seem to literally glow). “Julián loves on his rounds (“ ‘Back again?’ he asks”), fill his days, such as singing a breakfast
mermaids,” writes debut author-illustra- and after worrying when it disappears, the song: “Oats with oozy oil are yummy/
tor Love, and her protagonist falls into a watchman takes the kitten home to join slipping slowly down my tummy.” But

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 23
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

letters, the baby’s cries of “WAAAH!”

Little Man, Little Man: (“WT always want to sound like he so scream across the pages, evoking both
A Story of Childhood grown-up”), but he loves him, too Scandinavian runes and sonic daggers.)
James Baldwin, illus. by Yoran (“He a pain but he really beautiful”). When nothing else works, older brother
Cazac. Duke Univ., $22.9 (120p) Seen through TJ’s eyes and written in Sven seizes on his love of stories to lull

ISBN 978-1-4780-0004-4 the black English Baldwin celebrated, the baby to sleep with a tale of “fantastic
"Uncle Jimmy, Uncle Jimmy!” the story views the life of his family voyages and epic feasts and all the adven-
James Baldwin’s nephew, Tejan Karefa- and their neighborhood in a swirl of tures they would have.” Penfold folds in
Smart, pestered him, “When are you impressions, memories, and anxieties fun ancient analogues to tried-and-true
going to write a book about me?” (“He always got this feeling that methods of appeasing cranky little ones
Baldwin took up the project with utter maybe something awful done hap- (“She was not amused by shiny plunder. A
seriousness, and the pened to his Mama ride on the great ship did not soothe
result has the weight and Daddy”). Raw her”), and Roxas’s liberal use of a color
and significance of a moments—the drug- perhaps best described as neon snot
novel. Originally pub- induced stupor of WT’s brings a punk edge to her scenes of
lished to little fanfare in older brother, the Viking family life. Irreverent yet tender.
1976, the book went fraught marriage of the Ages 4–8.
out of print soon after- janitor, Mr. Man, and his
ward; Duke University wife, Miss Lee—alter- Love
Press is now reissuing nate with scenes of deep Matt de la Peña, illus. by Loren Long.
it, following its discov- warmth: TJ’s Daddy Putnam, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-
ery in the writer’s saying “I want you to be 5247-4091-7
archives by a young proud of your people” De la Peña’s prose poem speaks right to
scholar. Baldwin’s day- and the description of young children. “In the beginning there
in-the-life account of his nephew’s TJ’s Mama (“She love TJ and she tell is light/ and two wide-eyed figures stand-
New York City neighborhood revolves him everything he need to know, like ing/ near the foot of your bed,/ and the
around four-year-old TJ, the youngest every time he ask her a question she sound of their voices is love,” he opens as
boy on the block; seven-year-old WT, give him a straight answer”). French an interracial couple looks down at a crib.
watched over by TJ’s family (“WT artist Cazac’s scribbly-line spreads The rest of de la Peña’s poem is accompa-
father gone. His Mama work till past and vignettes, tinted with watercolor, nied by images of families and friends of
dark”); and their neighbor, eight-year- seem charged with electricity. many different ages and appearances who
old Blinky. The three spend hours Through luminous prose and fine live in cities and in rural or warm places,
together playing ball, jumping rope, observation, readers come to care such as the group of men seen throwing
and making each other laugh. WT deeply about TJ and his friends, and horseshoes under palm trees. The expres-
and Blinky look out for TJ, and TJ they’ll wish their story didn’t end so sions worn by Long’s characters and the
chafes under WT’s constant gaze soon. Ages 10–up. way their shoulders are stooped with care
make them seem full of love, even when
they’re playing instruments or fishing.
he’s lonely. Then one day, the lightbulb sive, sweet but never cloying, and in ser- It’s not always smooth sailing, and some-
literally goes off: he can make himself a vice to a higher and very relatable pur- times scary things happen (“One day you
friend. The resulting robot pet dog is pose. Ages 4–7. find your family/ nervously huddled
every bit as cute as Little Robot himself; around the
when Little Robot presses the button on The Littlest Viking TV”), but
the dog’s nose, it leans over and licks Alexandra Penfold, illus. by Isabel comfort is
Little Robot “on his smooth metal Roxas. Knopf, $17.99 (40p) there. “It’s
cheek.” And that’s pretty much the ISBN 978-0-399-55429-2 okay, it’s okay,
entire narrative arc—MacLachlan and A young Viking with a knack for story- it’s love,” says
Charest (Cat Talk) don’t take their char- telling steps into new roles when he gains a grown-up
acters on an adventure or portray a a baby sister. “What’s this? A fair offering a
moment of missed emotional signals. It maiden?” asks Penfold (We Are Brothers, child an
shouldn’t be enough—and yet it is. We Are Friends). “No, a warrior princess!” embrace.
Phelan’s gauzy, sunny watercolor-and- Roxas (Let Me Finish!) shows the scruffy People often talk to children about love;
pencil drawings set a cheery, energetic infant glaring cockeyed from underneath in these pages, they can see and feel what
mood, and ingenious Little Robot is a blanket—before she lets loose with a it’s like. And there’s plenty for everybody.
instantly winning—surprisingly expres- giant wail. (Scrawled in spiky, capitalized Ages 4–8.

24 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

Marwan’s Journey her worries (“I feel more and more lonely she overfeeds the class goldfish; and she
Particia de Arias, illus. by Laura every day. Fear says it’s because no one spills the paint water while cleaning up
Borràs. Minedition, $17.99 (36p) likes me”), a boy looks shyly at her. the art center. Small moments offer clues
ISBN 978-988-8341-55-9 Friendship and, soon, a feeling of belong- for all of this discombobulation: at lunch,
After tanks arrive and “swallow up ing follow. While Sanna articulates anx- Caroline lines up a tiny pea next to
everything,” a boy begins the harrowing, ious feelings about immigrating (“I don’t mom-, dad-, and daughter-sized stalks of
heartbreaking journey away from his understand anyone and they don’t under- broccoli, and in class, she practices feed-
home in an unnamed desert village: “I stand me”), this creative depiction shows ing a baby doll. At last, her parents arrive
take giant steps even though I am how friendship, empathy, and connection carrying a “bundle from far, far away,” a
small.... I don’t know when I will get can help bring the overwhelming down to new baby sister, who immediately grasps
there, or size for all. Ages 3–7. Caroline’s finger, winning her over.
where I am Mallery, a poet, makes expert use of
going. I Mommy’s Khimar rhythm and repetition to give a palpable
carry a Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, illus. by sense of Caroline’s anxiety, anticipation,
heavy bag.” Ebony Glenn. Salaam Reads, $17.99 and final acceptance, while Goodale’s
His mother (40p) ISBN 978-1-5344-0059-7 (Windows) standout ink-and-watercolor
is missing, Mommy, an African-American Muslim digital collages reflect both the particu-
but the boy woman, has a closet full of the beautiful lars of a child’s world and the sweeping
dreams of flowing headscarves called khimars enormity of her feelings. An adoption
her as they camp at night and imagines (another character refers to them as hijabs story from the fresh viewpoint of an older
her words urging him forward as he walks later in the story). Her imaginative sister, Mallery’s debut captures a child’s
during the day, joining “hundreds of peo- daughter’s favorite khimar is bright yel- universal feelings with remarkable
ple, thousands of feet, one in front of the low, and readers follow along as the young warmth and sensitivity. Ages 4–8.
other.” Finally, the boy reaches a border, narrator wears it in daylong dress-up play.
where an ambiguous ending suggests that Enveloped in the scents of coconut oil, Mrs. Noah’s Pockets
he finds a new home in a new country. cocoa butter, and cinnamon that linger in Jackie Morris, illus. by James
Readers may need help puzzling out a few the khimar, the girl feels protected, loved, Mayhew. Otter-Barry, $18.99 (40p)
metaphors in some of the spare, poetic and bigger than life. At her mosque, she ISBN 978-1-91095-909-1
lines (“I will build my house with the is welcomed into the world of pious Mr. Noah sets out to build an ark—
cement of my sure steps”). But Borràs, the women, as her mother’s friends greet her under no one’s orders but his own—
recipient of several international illustra- with, “Assalamu alaikum, Little Sis!” The unaware that his wife is busy with her
tion awards, creates powerful images in yellow khimar is also emblematic of the own plans. As rain pours down, “dark as a
fluid ink lines and textured paint washes unconditional love within the girl’s bruise, falling hard and fast,” Mr. Noah
that convey with uncommon sensitivity a extended family: when her grandmother thinks it a fine opportunity to “get rid of
young refugee’s fear, courage, and sense of stops by after church (“She doesn’t go to some of those more troublesome crea-
dislocation. Ages 5–7. the mosque like Mommy and Daddy do”), tures.” Mrs. Noah, meanwhile, breaks out
she greets the girl with a bright smile and her sewing machine. “How lovely,” thinks
Me and My Fear open arms, calling her “Sunshine.” Debut Mr. Noah. “Mrs. Noah is making curtains
Francesca Sanna. Flying Eye, $17.95 author Thompkins-Bigelow’s lyrical text for the windows of my ark.” In reality,
(40p) ISBN 978-1-911171-53-9 and Glenn’s lighthearted Disney-style she’s making a large, billowing coat “with
“I have always had a secret,” the dark- pictures are similarly sunny. Rather than a hood and a cape and very deep pockets.”
haired girl who narrates this story begins. offer an exegesis of the khimar or a plea Mayhew tracks the drama of the flood in
“A tiny friend called Fear.” She stoops to for acceptance and understanding, they boldly
see the small, lumpy white figure with an allow their heroine’s carefree confidence colored,
uncertain smile. After the girl arrives in a to speak for itself. Ages 4–8. multi-
new country, where it’s storming outside, textured
Fear grows as big as a room. “Fear hates A Most Unusual Day collages,
my new school. When the teacher says Sydra Mallery, illus. by E.B. Goodale. and
my name wrong, she grows angry.” In Greenwillow, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978- Morris
silkscreenlike spreads by Sanna (The 0-06-236430-2 builds
Journey), milky blues, pinks, and ochres Everything is off-kilter for Caroline slow,
gentle the force of the story’s feelings, and from the moment Grandma wakes her. In beguiling suspense. What are the trouble-
graceful curves give the compositions their rush for the bus, they forget her some creatures? What is Mrs. Noah up
pleasing rhythm. Observant viewers will socks and her lunch box (“Her feet were to? And who or what is in her pockets?
notice that while the girl wrestles with sweaty and she had to eat school lunch”); Finding out is worth the wait, and, in the

26 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

final pages, mythical creatures—dragons, luxurious museum pieces, and the family box among
griffons, unicorns, and more—repopulate is dressed all in black, with face masks. his toys.
the newly dry landscape. Mrs. Noah may The door on floor two is “always sur- With one key
not get a name of her own, but she never rounded by muddy footprints.” A gar- turn (“Click...
wavers in her moral resolve, and her clev- dener? No. “That is the home of an old and another
erness and compassion shine in this sly explorer and his pet tiger.” Each family click”), the
secular reimagining. Ages 5–up. enterprise is more unlikely than the next, lid flies up
and the spreads burst with appropriate and
My Friends Make Me Happy! domestic detritus; a vampire seamster’s “WHOOSH!
Jan Thomas. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, apartment (floor four) is littered with Day slips
$9.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-544-96655-0 notions and art deco furniture. The girl’s inside as Night sweeps out.” Night
“Yay! Look who’s coming! My friends!” own apartment, by contrast, has ordinary “soars, streams, and stretches” into the
cheers Sheep on the title page of this furniture and an ordinary set of parents. sky until, finally, it “gets sleepy too,” and
high-energy addition to Thomas’s Giggle Or does it? Tsarfati (An After Bedtime returns to the box, where Day has slept.
Gang series. After Donkey, Bear, and Story) offers accomplished execution, sure- In her picture book debut, Scottish poet
Duck show up, Sheep drops a question on ness of line, and restrained, urbane Greig’s text is reminiscent of Margaret
them: “Can you guess what makes me humor. Her story celebrates both imagi- Wise Brown’s work, with hypnotic, repet-
happy?” Readers will probably infer the native power and the way great imagina- itive lines that deftly personify the natu-
answer from the book’s title, but the tions sometimes miss what’s closest to ral world and evoke quiet anticipation:
other animals are stumped, even after them. Ages 4–8. “Day slips out of the leaves,/ out of the
Sheep hints that the answer begins with pond,/ out of the pink rose/ and the blue
an F. (“Turnips!” shouts Duck, not get- New Shoes ball.” Debut illustrator Lindsay creates
ting it at all.) Thanks to mounting frus- Chris Raschka. Greenwillow, $17.99 vibrant light and dark worlds, both wild
tration at all of the wrong guesses, Sheep (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-265752-7 and comforting, with saturated colors and
looks as frazzled as can be while eventu- With deep, intuitive understanding of spare spreads that contrast the skies’
ally yelling “My friends make me happy!” a child’s perceptions, Caldecott Medalist thrilling vastness with companionable
As always, Thomas’s thick-lined cartoon- Raschka explores the experience of buy- trees and creatures. Though the beautiful
ing brings over-the-top emotion to each ing new shoes. Readers see the child’s legs imagery in both the words and pictures
scene: readers young and old will recog- and feet from above as the story is told in invites readers to contemplate the mirac-
nize the truth that friendship can be both real time. Big, bold colors and free, ulous in every day, this is much more than
wonderful and exhausting. Simultaneously rounded forms give the spreads inviting a poetic meditation: it’s a full, luminous,
available: My Toothbrush Is Missing. Ages warmth. The child’s old shoes have worn reassuring story, and at its center is a
4–7. out (“Dirt could get in. Or water”), and child who is both profoundly powerful
they set off for the store, where feet get and deeply cared for. Ages 4–7.
The Neighbors measured on a size chart. “My feet are
Einat Tsarfati, trans. from the Hebrew bigger than before!” After trying on a yel- Night Out
by Annette Appel. Abrams, $16.99 low pair that’s “a little pinchy,” the child Daniel Miyares. Random/
(40p) ISBN 978-1-4197-3168-6 finds a red pair that is “comfy. I like Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (40p)
The girl with the bright-green frog them!” Raschka celebrates fully this small ISBN 978-1-5247-6572-9
umbrella who narrates this tightly but important moment of getting the In a forbidding boarding school, at a
focused story has invented tales about her chance to choose something for oneself. long table under a chandelier, a boy eats
building’s residents based on the distinc- It’s the kind of book that might become a alone while the other students chatter. In
tive appearance of their doors. The first battered, dog-eared favorite—like a well- the dormitory, he lies awake while the
has several locks and a surveillance cam- worn pair of shoes. Ages 4–8. others sleep. One night, his pet turtle
era. “That escapes, leaving an invitation behind. The
apartment The Night Box boy reads it,
belongs to a Louise Greig, illus. by Ashling clambers out
family of Lindsay. Clarion, $17.99 (32p) the window,
thieves,” the ISBN 978-1-328-85093-5 and finds his
girl announces; In a wide, quiet yard at dusk, a boy turtle, who
the apartment, watches as “yellow sinks behind the roof- has grown
revealed in a tops.” Inside his snug house, his mother large and
page turn, tucks him in with a mug of milk and carries the
contains a bedtime kisses, but Max has one more job boy to a
symphony of before sleep: to open the midnight blue party hosted

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 27
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

by animals who welcome him with cake ing of a family from a young child’s point all sail serenely for eternity—and the full
and music. He returns at dawn with new of view (“They couldn’t wait to meet moon contains the smiling face of his
confidence and stories to share. Keeping me”), comparing the tranquility of life in grandfather. Meticulous draftsmanship by
the text minimal (“Come in! Come in! a two-adult household with the uproar the Fan brothers (The Night Gardener)
You’re just in time”), Miyares (That that a baby brings. “Before” spreads are gives the spreads genuine majesty; Finn’s
Neighbor Kid) concentrates on developing rendered in calm, cool shades, and “after” tiny craft is barely visible among the
quiet visual drama. The rich paintings spreads are shown against warm red. great vessels. The artists imagine not a
contain a succession of time-honored fairy “Breakfast used to be super dull” general, one-size-fits-all afterlife, but one
tale elements: a gothic school, a hand-let- describes a scene of parents drinking that Finn and his grandfather share—and
tered map, a secret moonlit journey, and green tea and espresso in quiet serenity; one that readers will feel privileged to
the peaceable kingdom the boy discovers “Now breakfast is so awesome” accompa- share with them. Ages 4–8.
among the creatures who welcome him— nies an image of a cluttered table with
including a golden-eyed owl, a bear, a fox, cereal puffs, the child’s paintings, and an On the Other Side of the
a goose, and a rabbit. Nighttime fantasy overturned juice glass. “Time to GET Garden
adventures often end with an “it was all a READY!” reads a banner above images of Jairo Buitrago, trans. from the Spanish
dream” moment, but this one lasts until the grown-ups hurrying to pull garments by Elisa Amado, illus. by Rafael
the book is closed. There aren’t any les- over their heads: “They are late again!” Yockteng. Groundwood, $19.95 (56p)
sons or morals—just the pleasure of the family bulldog complains. A cross- ISBN 978-1-55498-983-6
watching a lonely boy find the friendship cultural theme is subtly introduced: red- Late at night, Isabel’s father drives her
he wishes for. Ages 4–8. haired, freckled Dad eats leftovers for to her grandmother’s house and leaves her
lunch; Mom is Japanese and brings tama- there with a big duffel bag. Her grand-
Nobody’s Duck goyaki in her bento. Meshon’s rounded, mother shows Isabel to her room. “My
Mary Sullivan. Houghton Mifflin marshmallowy shapes carry cheerful, bedroom wasn’t my bedroom,” thinks
Harcourt, $14.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0- goofy energy that amplifies the cozy chaos Isabel, troubled and homesick. Three
544-79250-0 in this fresh perspective on how children creatures—an owl, a frog, and a mouse—
For no apparent reason, an idiosyncratic expand their parents’ lives. Ages 3–5. peer in the window at her. In a bewitch-
duck takes up residence on a fussy alliga- ing series of delicately etched blue and
tor’s lawn. Ignoring Duck’s insistence Ocean Meets Sky white spreads, the four take a long, moon-
that “I’m nobody’s duck!”, Alligator The Fan Brothers. Simon & Schuster, lit walk (“They looked like pretty good
plops Duck into a toy wagon and heads to $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4814-7037-7 guys”). The animals share their love for
town to find a responsible party (“You Young Finn’s grandfather, when he was the countryside, and Isabel explains that
must be somebody’s duck”). No one alive, had a white pointed beard that her mother is overseas and her father is
claims Duck, but the bird is far from made him look like a sage. He told Finn looking for work; they listen patiently.
dejected. In fact, each stop is an opportu- stories about “a place far away where The next morning, in the bright sunlight,
nity to treat Alligator to a new adventure, ocean meets sky.” Now, to celebrate the her grandmother’s welcome is warm:
including story time at the library, a 3-D day his grandfather would have been 90, “There, on the other side of the garden,”
creature feature, and a skydiving lesson. Finn creates a boat out of wood scraps, she tells Isabel, “you might see some ani-
It’s almost too much for the buttoned-up then drifts off to sleep inside it. In a mals.” Buitrago’s story reaches deep into
Alligator, but then it dawns on him: dream, a great, mustachioed golden carp Isabel’s feelings of abandonment. Though
Duck is the companion he’s been looking appears a fantasy, it’s not one that wipes her diffi-
for: “You are my duck!” For all of Duck’s to help cult circumstances away. Instead,
goofiness and the ostensible shaggy dog Finn Buitrago and Yockteng (Walk with Me)
plot, Sullivan’s broadly cartooned, all-dia- find the imagine the kinds of comfort that might
logue story is an exquisitely constructed place his console Isabel most, and readers share in
comedy, a twist on the unwelcome guest grandfa- the beginning of her healing. Ages 4–7.
plot with not a single beat or visual joke ther
out of place. Is it a lesson about being The Other Ducks
open to new people and experiences, or Ellen Yeomans, illus. by Chris Sheban.
just silliness done right? Think of it as a described: “It’s up and down and very Roaring Brook/Porter, $17.99 (40p)
twofer. Ages 4–7. far.” Finn sails through nautical fancies ISBN 978-1-62672-502-7
that attentive readers will recognize as In this tale from author Yeomans
Now That I’m Here curiosities from his grandfather’s study, at (Jubilee) and illustrator Sheban (I Met a
Aaron Meshon. Dial, $16.99 (32p) last reaching a starry, light-filled paradise Dinosaur), This Duck and That Duck are
ISBN 978-0-7352-2936-5 where schooners, hot-air balloons, dirigi- best friends trying to figure out the whole
Meshon (Delivery) celebrates the mak- bles, a blue whale, and even the Titanic duck thing, which is tough without other

28 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8

ducks around to show them the ropes. But This Duck—small
and brown compared to the bigger, green-headed That Duck—
has the right instincts and moxie. She knows, for instance, that
ducks are supposed to waddle in a line and that “Two is not a
line. Two is a follow. A line is better. A line is more ducky.” As
This Duck nudges her more dubious and dense friend, the two
soon get the hang of swimming, flying, and migrating. The fol-
lowing spring, they return to the pond with four adorable off-
spring, clearly having gotten their ducks in a row in more ways
than one (although That Duck still seems a little in the dark).
The central conceit—that the two ducks regard their reflections
as the eponymous “Other Ducks”—doesn’t add much by way of
narrative ballast, but the slightly addlepated patter proves
endearing, and the watercolor-and-pencil drawings combine
comic exaggeration and intricate, evocative textures to wonderful
effect. Ages 3–8.

The Patchwork Bike

Maxine Beneba Clarke, illus. by Van Thanh Rudd. Candlewick,
$15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0031-7
Under a “stretching-out sky at the edge of the no-go desert,” a
dark brown child with mirrored sunglasses gives readers a tour of
a desert village, from “our mud-for-walls home” to “the sand hill
we built to slide down.” But the best
thing? Soaring out into the sand on
the bike the kids have created from
cans, discarded wood, and “a bell that
used to be Mum’s milk pot.” In her
picture book debut, Clarke’s lines sing
with sound and rhythm, evoking the
“shicketty shake” sound of the bike on
sand hills. Street artist Rudd’s tex-
tured paint-and-cardboard collages
create a strong sense of a place (the
blaze and shadow of the desert) and the people who live there: the
narrator’s “fed-up mum” in a hijab and robe, and the “crazy
brothers” pictured bouncing on a police car, who write “BLM” on
the bike’s license plate—a reference to Black Lives Matter, Rudd
notes in an afterword. In an author’s note, Clarke writes about her
experiences with poverty: “What these times taught me was how
to make something out of nothing.” Without minimizing the
clear references to economic and racial struggle, the words and
images in this snapshot story pulse with resourceful ingenuity,
joyful exuberance, and layered meanings. Ages 6–9.

People Don’t Bite People

Lisa Wheeler, illus. by Molly Idle. Atheneum, $17.99 (40p)
ISBN 978-1-4814-9082-5
In a combination of listicle, admonishment, and pep talk, the
well-matched Wheeler (Babies Can Sleep Anywhere) and Idle (the
Flora books) remind children that they are too long in the tooth,
so to speak, to be chomping on others: “Puppies bite and babies
bite./ They’re much too young to know./ But you grow bigger
every day/ and know where teeth should go.” Wheeler’s four-line
stanzas deploy repetition and rhythm for maximum percussive

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 29
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

punch (“It’s good to bite a carrot./ It’s the simplest of texts and lighthearted, family-size mud puddle. “What a perfect
good to bite a steak./ It’s bad to bite your luminous watercolors, Phelan (What Are day for a pignic!” concludes Phelan, as the
sister!/ She’s not a piece of cake”). Idle’s You Waiting For?) lets readers find paral- happily muddied pigs head home. More
pert, radiant pictures alternate between lels between their own outdoor festivities than a few readers will wish that their
neatly divided worksheet-style grids and those of his characters. Both bring own picnics could end in a similarly
(which correspond to the bitable and non- out the best in everyone—the episodic messy manner, and even more will adore
bitable items and people mentioned in structure features a handful of “uh-oh” the easygoing exuberance of Phelan’s
the verse) and blithe vignettes: one moments, which are neatly and cheerfully story. Ages 4–8.
mother fends off her little one by wield- resolved (a blue wolf who seems intent on
ing a kitchen chair like a lion-tamer. The eating the piglets has a change of heart Pinny in Fall
aesthetic is reminiscent of 1960s educa- and uses his huffing and puffing to help Joanne Schwartz, illus. by Isabelle
tional films, with every character exuding them fly a kite). The pigs wait out a sud- Malenfant. Groundwood, $16.95 (32p)
comic, pedagogical earnestness. Whether den rainstorm in a tight, soaked huddle— ISBN 978-1-77306-106-1
readers are biters, bite-ees, or witnesses to a meteorologically and emotionally evoca- Schwartz (Town Is by the Sea) introduces
a biting incident, they’ll find this a tooth- tive watercolor, rendered in stormy each stage of this pensive tale through
some treat. Ages 4–8. streaks of brown and gray—and perk up chapter headings. In “A Chilly Morning,”
when they realize that they’re left with a Pinny, an impish, blonde child, observes
Marianna Coppo. Tundra, $17.99 (48p)
ISBN 978-0-7352-6267-6 Presto & Zesto in wedding of the sugar beets, and the
The heroes of adventure stories often Limboland friends set off to find the village’s only
have some control over their own fates; Arthur Yorinks and Maurice Sendak, suitable wedding present—a set of
Petra only thinks she does. She’s a illus. by Maurice Sendak. bagpipes possessed by the monster

smooth, egg-shaped rock who looks like HarperCollins/di Capua, $18.95 Bumbo. Sendak’s bold and hilarious
a beluga coming up for air. She makes (28p) ISBN 978-0-062-64465-7 artwork features apoplectic villagers,
airy pronouncements about her nature as In 1990, Maurice Sendak created 10 disgruntled barnyard animals, fire,
a rock: “Nothing can move me. Not the images for the performance of an sharp implements, and a proliferation
wind. Not time.” Then a dog appears orchestral suite of Czech nursery of goats (“Everybody has goats in
chasing a stick, and the view pulls back rhymes. Several years later, his friend Limboland”). Yet it’s not all shenani-
to reveal that Petra is small enough for and collaborator Yorinks (Company’s gans. Deep Sendakian emotions are at
the dog to pick up in its mouth—which Coming) pro- work: Bumbo
it does. The dog owner’s slingshot sends posed that they is a fleshy, ter-
Petra into a bird’s nest, and Petra cheer- write a story to rifying behe-
fully retools her image of herself: “I am go with them. moth; the
an egg of the world, in a world of possi- They knew that sugar beet
bility.” Italian author-illustrator Coppo in order to knit bride wears a
keeps her spreads simple, smooth, and the unrelated delicate white
stylish, painting pared-down forms on images together, veil and a Mona
clean white backdrops. Petra’s thoughts they’d have to Lisa smile.
are represented with quiet wit (she imag- resort to extrav- Narrating in
ines hatching into a penguin, or a platy- agant narrative unmistakable
pus), and her unplanned flights are traced invention. They Brooklynese
with dashed lines. Change may be the cast Presto and Zesto, their nicknames sprinkled with Yiddish (“He still owes
only constant in Petra’s peripatetic exis- for each other, as the story’s heroes and us five bubkes”), the storytelling voice
tence, but her bubbly optimism is as used Sendak’s panels to represent the evokes a particular—even poignant—
solid as Gibraltar. “I’m a rock,” she con- scenes Presto and Zesto encounter time and place. The images hold some
cludes, “and this is how I roll.” Ages when they arrive, inadvertently, in of the irrational, dreamlike childhood
3–7. Limboland: “They didn’t mean to go fears that Sendak returned to through-
there, who would go there, but they out his life as an artist (a bear with scis-
Pignic had a lot on their minds.” Despite the sors, a big man with an axe), but
Matt Phelan. Greenwillow, $17.99 artifice, the story hangs together Yorinks’s broad humor makes the men-
(32p) ISBN 978-0-06-244339-7 remarkably well—or at least stays true ace as easy to push aside as a theater
What’s the difference between a picnic to its own bonkers logic. A wild-eyed curtain. It’s a joy to have another
and a pignic, aside from the latter’s pre- shepherd boy tells them about the glimpse at Sendak’s magic. Ages 5–up.
dominance of porcine participants? With

30 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

“the air getting colder, little by little, day play the diverse princesses’ resourceful- they leave.
by day.” Packing a small bag, she takes a ness, confidence, and irreverence. Then along
journey to the shore in “Wind and Fog,” Murrow strikes a tone that is both ear- comes a rabbit
meeting her friends Annie and Lou along nest and good-humored as these royals who doesn’t say
the way. In the next episode (“The audaciously rewrite the rules. Ages 5–8. a thing, but in
Lighthouse”), they assist the lighthouse its willingness
keeper in leading a boat through thicken- The Princess and the to listen, per-
ing fog. Back home, Pinny observes “A Pit Stop sist, and be
Special Kind of Rain”—a shower of Tom Angleberger, illus. by Dan physically close
autumn leaves falling outside her win- Santat. Abrams, $16.99 (48p) (“It moved
dow. Malenfant illustrates in a delicate ISBN 978-1-4197-2848-8 closer, and
style, with figures and landscapes ren- Yes, the princess drives a race car, and closer. Until
dered in misty pastels and wispy lines. why not? This sizzling readaloud starts as Taylor could feel its warm body”), Taylor
Schwartz dreamily captures the small the Fairy Godmother tells the Princess senses genuine concern and respect for
wonders of childhood and the air of magic that she’s in last place with one lap to go. his feelings. He opens up in all of the
that can accompany season’s change. Ages “She might as well give up!” the narrator ways the animals previously suggested,
4–7. threatens. But when readers get a look at but now it’s on his terms—and then he’s
the expression of grim determination ready to build again. Each of Doerrfeld’s
Power to the Princess: behind the princess’s goggles, they’ll highly distilled and elegantly concise
15 Favorite Fairytales know all is not lost. As she roars off, a vignettes brims with emotional honesty
Retold with Girl Power frog with a shiny suit and a shinier and profound empathy. The result is a
Vita Murrow, illus. by Julia Bereciartu. microphone provides a breathless account story that’s wise, funny, and easy to take
Lincoln Children’s, $19.99 (96p) of her progress: “She passed Humpty to heart. Ages 3–5.
ISBN 978-1-78603-203-4  Dumpty! She passed all the King’s
Murrow opens this fairy tale collection Horses! She passed all the King’s Men!” Red
with a tongue-in-cheek note explaining Practically every major nursery rhyme Jed Alexander. Cameron Kids, $15.95
that these stories arose from her inter- character makes a cameo appearance: (32p) ISBN 978-1-944903-11-4
views with 15 fairy tale princesses who “She blew the doors off the Big Bad Riffs on “Little Red Hiding Hood” are
were fed up with hearing untruths about Wolf and smoked the Three Little Pigs.” many, but there’s always room for more,
themselves. While the stories follow the Rocket-fueled panel artwork by Santat especially when they’re as good as this. In
classic stories’ general narrative arc, they (After the Fall) gleams like carbon fiber. dense and delicate black lines, debut
stray early and playfully from more rigid His rendering of Angleberger’s (the author-artist Alexander constructs a for-
storylines, infusing them with a thor- Origami Yoda series) inspired injection est thick with trees for the small girl to
oughly modern sensibility. In “The Little of sports-network energy into fairyland traverse. But before readers even reach
Mermaid,” Princess Marisha, who wears a produces a shot of gleeful adrenaline the title page, there are hints that this
tuxedo-style suit jacket over her mermaid whose only fault, like the best of things, wordless story may not follow the
tail, joins land princess Melody: “The is that it’s over too soon. Ages 5–7. expected trajectory: an opening spread
princesses shared not only a vision for the shows the enormous and slyly smiling
future of their kingdoms, but also a The Rabbit Listened wolf walking toward Grandmother’s
vision for their Cori Doerrfeld. Dial, $17.99 (40p) cabin, bags of party hats and wrapping
lives together.” ISBN 978-0-7352-2935-8 paper in its jaws. Red herself is a squat,
In “Little Red It’s something people of all ages strug- no-nonsense heroine decked out in
Riding Hood,” gle with: what’s the best way to comfort heavy black boots and a red hoodie
both the titular someone? Taylor, a curly-haired boy in a sweatshirt. She’s intercepted by the wolf,
character and striped onesie, is miserable after a flock whose bulk and giant, lustrous tail
her grand- of birds knocks down his amazing almost seem to engulf her. The wolf
mother grow wooden-block tower. One by one, several seems to be toying with Red—or dis-
concerned that animals approach him with strategies for tracting her, perhaps. Foxes carrying red
the wolves are feeling better. A bear advises rage (“Let’s balloons sneak past as the two talk, and
starving, shout about it! Garrr! RARRR! squirrels scurry by with trailing stream-
because they “really shouldn’t have a GRAAAAR!”), and a snake suggests ers. Alexander dials back the danger
taste for human food,” and the princess making someone else miserable while still maintaining a degree of sus-
goes on to protect the welfare of wolves (“Shhhhh. Let’ssss go knock down some- pense: the only thing getting eaten in
and their environment. Bereciartu illus- one else’ssss”). Taylor refuses to be com- his version of the story is birthday cake.
trates in a gentle, wry style that fully dis- forted in the ways the animals see fit, and Ages 4–8.

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 31
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

The Rough Patch there are some tussles among the new sib- white lines on black ground, resembling
Brian Lies. Greenwillow, $17.99 (40p) lings, but Hesterman focuses more on the a chalkboard. Later, as Little Brother asks
ISBN 978-0-06-267127-1 birds’ growth and increasing indepen- heartbreaking questions (“What about
The polished, jaunty spreads that open dence. It’s a charmer of an animal family her basket? And her bowl? Is anyone up
this story by Lies (Gator Dad) give little story, with rhymes that are a pleasure to there giving Scout her food?”), readers
hint of the deep emotion to come. Evan, a read aloud. Ages 5–8. see Scout’s black form against light-
fox, cuts a handsome figure in his overalls hearted vignettes of things she’s chased
and wire- Run Wild and eaten and chewed. Tak’s tone remains
rimmed David Covell. Viking, $17.99 (40p) quiet and rational (“We don’t know,” the
spectacles, ISBN 978-0-670-01411-8 siblings say in answer to Little Brother’s
and he and Some nature books focus on careful, questions about heaven; “We don’t know
his beloved quiet observation. Covell (the Rat and what’s up there”), but the story’s final
black-and- Roach books) knows that nature makes moment offers a taste of the miraculous.
white dog kids want to move. Bold, exuberant Due to Watkinson’s excellent translation,
are always watercolor spreads burst with energy, Tak’s prose reads like poetic vignettes,
together. They drive in Evan’s red farm and a handwritten font makes the text with a graceful rhythm and distilled
truck and play games, “But what they look as if it’s dashed off in chalk. A boy meaning in each spare line. It’s a study of
loved the most was working in Evan’s sits indoors when a girl with dark, curly grief, but it’s also a portrait of a family
magnificent garden,” a lush, fertile enclo- hair sprints by his window. “Hey, you, able to talk about hard things with love.
sure studded with neat trellises. Then, Sky’s blue!/ (forget your shoes)/ Open Ages 4–8.
two terrible things happen: Evan’s dog that door and.../ Sprout, you’re out!”
dies—readers see the fox slumped over Now he’s outside, his bare feet pumping Sleepy, the Goodnight
the hound’s body—and in his grief, Evan through dandelions, catching up. The Buddy
destroys his garden, swinging a hoe that boy runs hard; they scare up a rabbit, Drew Daywalt, illus. by Scott Campbell.
fells the plants and snaps the trellises in painted in a few strong strokes. Girl and Disney-Hyperion, $16.99 (40p)
two. The story of how Evan finds his way boy emerge from the forest to the sea- ISBN 978-1-4847-8969-8
through his grief rings true, and Lies’s shore; then, a thunderstorm breaks. Top talents Daywalt (The Day the
atmospherically lit, exquisitely drafted Things can go wrong in the rain (and in Crayons Quit) and Campbell (Hug Machine)
paintings will absorb readers as they trace life, Covell suggests): “There’ll be/ slip- take on the familiar story of the reluctant
Evan’s journey through mourning. Some pery slumps./ Bruises./ Bumps.../ and sleeper, and things escalate quickly.
sensitive readers may draw back from Rotten/ Stumps!” But with the girl’s Presented with the eponymous stuffed toy
tragedy this stark, but others will be fas- encouragement (“Come on, then./ Let’s by his exasperated parents, ace bedtime
cinated by Evan’s mysterious world, in GO!”), the boy’s up and running again. avoider Roderick “couldn’t decide
which pumpkins grow into prize-winning Through powerful art and punchy text, whether it looked more like a moose or
behemoths and rubber boots come spe- Covell celebrates freedom, the out-of- more like a bear.” While Sleepy may seem
cially made for fox feet. Ages 4–8. doors, the joy of movement, and the goofy at first glance, bedtime proves him
importance of paying attention to the to be an even more insistent and success-
A Round of Robins present moment. Ages 3–up. ful procrastinator than his new owner.
Katie Hesterman, illus. by Sergio Sleepy never blinks (“No matter where
Ruzzier. Penguin/Paulsen, $16.99  Scout’s Heaven Roderick put him, he could still FEEL
(40p) ISBN 978-0-399-54778-2 Bibi Dumon Tak, trans. from the Sleepy looking at him”), he’s incredibly
Hesterman debuts with 16 poems that Dutch by Laura Watkinson, illus. by touchy (“Well, I can’t sleep even if you’re
lightheartedly chart the development of a Annemarie van Haeringen. Eerdmans, a little mad”), and his annoying rumina-
family of robins: “Three is too few./ Mama $15 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8028-5500-8 tions (“You ever wonder what it all
adds more./ Now it’s just right:/ One This deeply affecting story by Dutch means?”) fill a cascade of dialogue bal-
clutch of four.” Baby birds often look author Tak (Mikis and the Donkey) begins loons until the
ungainly and weird—a perfect fit for at the moment that Scout, the family increasingly
Ruzzier’s gently surreal brand of cartoon- dog, takes her last breath. Narrated by exhausted
ing. His newborn robins have big eyes, two older voices, the story focuses on Roderick loses
rubbery limbs, and (eventually) a fuzzy Little Brother’s puzzlement and grief, his temper—
carpet of feathers: “Changing, growing and the way the older characters help the and the reader
and it’s showing.../ Now they’re fluffs of younger one to understand what’s hap- begins to won-
plump perfection.” The action unfolds pened as they bury their dog together in der who,
against a backdrop of vaguely alien vege- the rain. Haeringen’s first drawings of exactly, is
tation and watery skies of pink and blue; Scout and her family appear as simple trolling

32 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

whom. As Roderick realizes he’s met his

match, Campbell’s digitally enhanced Sea Prayer Then the siege”). Now Marwan and

watercolor vignettes model perfect comic Khaled Hosseini, illus. by Dan his family sit on a beach, waiting for
pacing and a laugh-generating repertoire Williams. Riverhead, $15 (48p) a boat. The father reassures Marwan:
of character expressions for both the out- ISBN 978-0-525-53909-4 “Hold my hand./ Nothing bad will
of-control Sleepy and his increasingly Hosseini (The Kite Runner) says he happen.” Inside, though, he is in tur-
frustrated bedmate. Ages 3–5. was compelled to write about the ref- moil: “These are only words... all I can
ugee crisis after seeing the photograph think tonight is/ how deep the sea,/
Someone Farted of Alan Kurdi, the three- and how vast, how indif-
Bruce Eric Kaplan. Simon & Schuster, year-old Syrian who ferent.” In Williams’s
$15.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4814-9063-4 drowned off the coast of loosely stroked ink-and-
A lot can be said about farts, but one Turkey in 2015. Yet wash spreads, the corals
thing is certain: they reveal character. Hosseini’s story, aimed and greens of the Syrian
Case in point: Kaplan’s Krupke family. at readers of all ages, countryside give way to
While driving in silence to “their does not dwell on night- war’s gray shadows and
dreaded weekly food shopping,” some- marish fates; instead, its the sea’s blue hues.
one toots. Sally notices it, then denies it, emotional power flows Expansive views of sky
as do her parents and younger brother, from the love of a father and water both temper
Vinnie. The farting continues, and the for his son. Written as a the text’s emotional
Krupkes land in jail after nearly getting letter, the father begins build and render the
into a traffic accident (“They were put slowly, recalling for his figures in them small
in a cell with a couple of kidnappers and son, Marwan, the beauty and fragile. Together,
some thieves”). Pushed to the breaking of the Syrian town of Homs as it the evocative illustrations and
point, the Krupkes realize that they love once was (“We woke in the mornings/ graceful, compelling prose make it
each other—even if Sally continues to to the stirring of olive trees in the clear that Marwan and his parents
vehe- breeze”), then describing the war that have no choice but to trust the sea.
mently destroyed it (“First came the protests./ Ages 7–up.
deny any
responsi- picture book offering. Circle sees Square Ages 5–9.
bility. pushing stone blocks one after the other
Dad gives to the top of a hill among huge, ghostly A Stone for Sascha
“an boulders. She mistakes them for self-por- Aaron Becker. Candlewick, $17.99
impas- traits—“You are a genius! I did not know (48p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6596-8
sioned speech about blame and shame you were a sculptor!”—and insists that Becker’s wordless epic starts as a family
and love and family and, of course, fart- Square must make a sculpture of her. of color—mother, father, daughter, son—
ing” that brings the judge to tears. Anxiety overwhelms him. Slashes of rain bury their dog, Sascha. The daughter puts
Kaplan’s totemic watercolor-washed cut across the spreads as the stone disinte- flowers on the grave, and then the four set
characters may be blank eyed, but they’re grates under his hammer and chisel, off on a trip to the beach, where the girl is
fully capable of expressing fury and affec- amid his growing despair. In the morn- seen standing at the water’s edge under a
tion (although fury does seem to be their ing, his circular pile of rubble holds a starry sky. Now the action shifts. In nar-
métier). Soon enough, the Krupkes are pool of rainwater, which reflects Circle’s row, fast-moving panels, a meteor hurtles
back in their car and on their way to image as she gazes downward. “It is per- deep into the earth, a geological upthrust
dreaded shopping, having learned an fect,” Circle gushes. “You are a genius.” of a strange yellow stone results, and
important lesson about life and/or flatu- Is Circle a good friend who sees the small human figures are seen quarrying it
lence: this, too, will pass. Ages 4–8. worth in Square’s work that he can’t see and carving it into an obelisk. Over the
himself? Or is she just a flatterer? Poor centuries, the stone is destroyed, fitted
Square Square isn’t sure, and readers aren’t, into a bridge, rescued from a debris pile,
Mac Barnett, illus. by Jon Klassen. either. Square’s efforts to please are equal fashioned into a chest, brought to an
Candlewick, $15.99 (48p) ISBN 978- parts hilarious and cringeworthy, and the island, and lost in the ocean, where at
0-7636-9607-8 moment he topples over in exhaustion is last, polished by the waves, it’s discov-
Square, who squabbled with Triangle comic gold. The story’s decidedly ambig- ered—by the girl. In contrast to the
in the first volume of Barnett and uous conclusion leaves the door open for watercolors of his Journey series, Becker
Klassen’s Shape trilogy, suffers from a questions about what it means to be an uses digitally manipulated pastel strokes
case of imposter syndrome in this second artist—and that’s the whole point. to give his spreads a thick, supersaturated

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 33
★ PW 3.26.18 ★ PW 2.12.18
★ Kirkus 5.1.18 ★ Kirkus 3.1.18
★ Booklist 6.1.18 ★ Booklist 3.15.18
★ BCCB 6.1.18 ★ BCCB 4.1.18
★ SLJ 6.1.18 ★ SLJ 4.1.18
★ Shelf Awareness 6.8.18 ★ VOYA Perfect Ten 6.1.18

★ PW 4.16.18 ★ PW 4.16.18 ★ Booklist 2.1.18 ★ PW 12.18.17

★ Booklist 5.1.18 ★ Kirkus 6.1.18 ★ PW 1.22.18 ★ Kirkus 2.15.18
★ Horn Book 9.1.18 ★ Horn Book 9.1.18 ★ SLJ 4.1.18 ★ SLJ 3.1.18

★ PW 3.12.18 ★ PW 6.18.18 ★ Booklist 8.1.18 ★ Kirkus 8.15.18

★ Booklist 5.1.18 ★ SLJ 9.1.18 ★ SLJ 8.1.18 ★ PW 9.17.18
★ Shelf Awareness 6.15.18

★ Kirkus 9.15.18 ★ Kirkus 9.15.18 ★ Booklist 8.1.18 ★ Booklist 12.1.17
★ SLJ 10.1.18 ★ SLJ 9.1.18 ★ SLJ 8.1.18 ★ Kirkus 12.1.17

★ Booklist 6.1.18 ★ SLJ 6.1.18 ★ Booklist 6.1.18 ★ Kirkus 10.1.18 ★ Booklist 10.1.18

★ BCCB 9.1.18 ★ Booklist 10.1.18 ★ Kirkus 10.1.18

★ Booklist 9.15.18 ★ Kirkus 11.1.17 ★ PW 4.9.18

Art © Ryan T. Higgins

c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

feel. Yet, as in his previous work, the sat- makes up the heightening the story’s stakes as
isfaction flows from enchanting views of universe is the Halloween looms large. Amid the black-
action that unfolds in fanciful scenes that same as the stroked subway signs and storefronts of a
range across time and cultures. Remnants matter that cozy Brooklyn block, Stumpkin survives
of ancient history, readers will realize, may makes “All of his ordeal, and a final, brilliantly inven-
lie very close at hand, and, Becker sug- us/ the stuff of tive visual sequence reveals what it’s like
gests, perhaps nothing is ever truly lost. stars.” The to be a jack-o’-lantern from the inside
Ages 5–9. universe starts out. Ages 4–8.
with a single
Stories of the Night speck, “invisi- Surprise!
Kitty Crowther. Gecko, $17.99 (64p) ble as thought,/ weighty as God,” before Caroline Hadilaksono. Scholastic/
ISBN 978-1-776571-97-0 it explodes, forming stars and planets. Levine, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-
In this collection of original tales by But the planet we live on is a long way off 338-13919-8
Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award–winner yet, the narrator tells a beloved child: “no Bear, Raccoon, and Squirrel, “friends
Crowther, Little Bear asks for three bed- oceans,/ no mountains,/ no hippopotami.” for a really long time,” decide to enlarge
time stories, and Mother Bear obliges. In Finally, Earth’s magical combination of their circle of acquaintances. But empathy
the first, an old woman with long hair, the conditions lets it turn “that starry stuff/ clearly isn’t their strong suit, and when
Night Guardian, puts all the young forest into mitochondria,/ jellyfish,/ spiders,” other animals reject their overtures (a tur-
animals, and then herself, to bed (“Go to and, eventually, another speck grows into tle refuses to come out when Raccoon
bed, and then your sleep will catch you,” something else special: “YOU burst into prods it with a stick—imagine that), they
she tells a the world.” How to make these abstract turn their sights on a family that arrives
reluctant ideas visible? In a brilliant stroke of visual in the woods to camp. Determined to do
ermine). In the imagination, Caldecott Honor artist “something splendid” to woo their poten-
second, child Holmes (Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets) tial new pals, the animals plan a party
Zhora, lost in uses the swirls and waves of marbled while the humans are away. Raccoon,
the woods, is paper to represent the ebb and flow of charged with
given shelter cosmic matter. Her spreads appear to catering, eats
by her friend, move and shift on a grand scale, while or piles much
the bat Jacko Bauer suggests that, just possibly, the of the food;
Mollo, in his power of creation and the power of love Squirrel, the
treetop pine nest. In the last, Bo, a little are not so different. Ages 4–8. appointed
man in a huge overcoat, takes a swim in entertainer,
the ocean, fully clothed, before he can go Stumpkin unsuccessfully
to sleep. Each story fuses an uncanny wild- Lucy Ruth Cummins. Atheneum, juggles raw
ness with images of coziness and safety. $17.99 (56p) ISBN 978-1-5344-1362-7 eggs; and Bear
Using a mixture of fine, bright lines and a Stumpkin is a beautiful pumpkin, “as decorates the
startling shade of saturated pink that orange as... an orange! As big as a basket- tent with ketchup and mustard before
echoes the words’ sense of light, love, and ball! Round!” All he lacks is a stem—but making a toothy entrance, pinecone party
warmth, Crowther abstracts textures and people want stems on their Halloween hats in tow, that sends the surprised fam-
patterns found in the natural world. jack-o’-lanterns. Cummins (A Hungry ily fleeing. The woodsy setting and
Together with the appealing illustrated Lion, or A Dwindling Assortment of unaware characters in Hadilaksono’s pic-
animal nests, these distinctive bedtime Animals) paints Stumpkin looking con- ture book debut, rendered in digitally
litanies might become some families’ cerned as, one by one, the other pump- finished watercolor and gouache, offer all
favorite nighttime read: “The sky is all kins are bought, carved, and displayed in the fun of a classic farce. And readers
black now. But we can count on the stars apartment windows facing the store. needn’t worry about feeling sorry for this
to lead us into tomorrow.” Ages 3–7. Even the warty gourd gets bought. socially inept trio—the final scene sug-
Stumpkin’s philosophical attitude softens gests that they’ll be just “splendid” on
The Stuff of Stars the sting (“ ‘The gourd??’ thought their own. Ages 4–8.
Marion Dane Bauer, illus. by Ekua Stumpkin, ‘I guess that’s that’ ”), and the
Holmes. Candlewick, $17.99 (40p) portrayal of buyers as silhouettes helps, Teddy’s Favorite Toy
ISBN 978-0-7636-7883-8 too—readers don’t see the customers’ Christian Trimmer, illus. by Madeline
In spare, supple verse, Newbery Honor faces or hear what they say. Stories about Valentine. Atheneum, $17.99 (40p)
author Bauer (Winter Dance) tells a big being left behind usually include just ISBN 978-1-4814-8079-6
story—that of everything there is, how it enough distress to set the stage, but here Teddy’s favorite toy is Bren-Da,
all came to be, and how the matter that the ordeal continues for many pages, Warrior Queen of Pacifica. She’s a pink-

36 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

skinned titiered pop-up grove of trees; and, in a They Say Blue

Barbie-style particularly dramatic rendering, a black Jillian Tamaki. Abrams, $17.99 (40p)
doll, and horse with a flowing mane is pictured ISBN 978-1-4197-2851-8
Teddy’s play “jumping,” its pop-up parts folding up A girl weighs what she’s been told about
with her and out beyond the borders of the page, the world against what she observes and
ranges from while a rooster steers clear of the horse’s knows, leading to more questions and con-
action-hero trajectory. The final spread shows all 10 templations. Working in lush, watery
combat horses together—one very well hidden— acrylics, Tamaki (This One Summer) ini-
sequences around the periphery of the farm’s wel- tially paints the girl on a windy beach. She
(“She has the coming red and purple barn, modeled admits that
sickest fight- after the building that now serves as a the sky and
ing skills”) to extravagant fashion looks gallery. This is a beautifully engineered sea look
worthy of Project Runway or RuPaul’s pop-up gem. Ages 5–8. blue at the
Drag Race. (Teddy’s couture creations moment:
drape Bren-Da in mismatched socks, a Thank You, Omu! “But when
bath pouf, and pretzels in a plastic bag- Oge Mora. Little, Brown, $18.99 (40p) I hold the
gie.) After Bren-Da’s leg falls off, Teddy’s ISBN 978-0-316-43124-8 water in
mother mistakenly throws her away— Omu (pronounced AH-moo, it’s Igbo my hands,
and readers see the garbage truck take off for queen), the matriarch of her city it’s as clear
with the trash. Teddy’s mother takes his neighborhood, is making “thick red stew as glass.” Just because something is visi-
anguish seriously. Valentine’s gouache in a big fat pot.” As the delicious scent— ble doesn’t mean it’s true, the girl recog-
and pencil drawings blend action and rendered as an nizes, and there’s truth in the invisible,
comedy as Teddy’s mother chases the undulating too (“I don’t need to crack an egg to know
truck with daring moves worthy of strip of it holds an orange yolk inside”). Color and
Bren-Da herself. “Yas, queen!” Teddy paper—wafts nature—red blood, golden fields, a purple
shouts in exultation. Trimmer’s smart, through the flower—serve as a through line in a story
closely observed portrait celebrates a boy neighborhood, that takes a surreal leap when the girl
and a mother whose relationship grows a little boy throws off her winter layers, stretches, and
out of mutual respect. Although it’s left drops by, then grows into a tree, continuing her observa-
unsaid, Teddy’s play resists gender stereo- “Ms. Police tions as the seasons pass. In a quiet conclu-
typing in that he’s allowed the freedom Officer,” and sion, the girl (human once again) and her
to play with whatever toys he likes in then a deluge mother watch crows soar against a dawn
whatever way strikes his fancy—and the of hungry humans that eventually sky that’s far from blue. Thinking, imag-
result is an imaginative free-for-all. includes the mayor. Mora, a major new ining, noticing—these, Tamaki suggests,
Ages 4–8. talent making her debut as an author- are the tools we have to understand our
illustrator, gives her book a rhythmic, world. Ages 5–7.
Ten Horse Farm refrainlike structure: There’s a
Robert Sabuda. Candlewick, $29.99 “KNOCK!” at the door, a moment of Tiny Little Rocket
(20p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6398-8 thought on Omu’s part, the presentation Richard Collingridge. Scholastic/
Renowned pop-up engineer Sabuda of a bowl, and a hearty “Thank you, Fickling, $17.99 (32p)ISBN 978-1-
bases his latest creation on the Ten Horse Omu!” in brightly colored capital letters. 338-18949-0
Art Center in the Hudson Valley, a for- Dinnertime arrives, and a chagrined Omu On a bright green hill outside of a town,
mer farm named for the 10 horses that discovers that she’s given all her stew an astronaut climbs aboard a tiny rocket.
once resided there; Sabuda converted it away (“There goes the best dinner I ever The rocket zips the explorer out past Mars
into a facility that offers art classes and had!”). But she isn’t sad for long. The as the story transitions to a richly detailed
studio spaces. Sabuda’s own striking art- stew eaters arrive en masse at her door cockpit, leaving the reader to gaze out-
istry is on display in 10 pop-up scenes of with a bountiful potluck (the boy proffers ward with the pilot. Secondary to the
as many horses and additional farm ani- a handmade thank-you note), and broad expanse that spans the two-page
mals. Accompanying each spread is a sin- “together they ate, danced, and cele- spread and the many screens and levers
gle-word description of the horse in brated.” This sweet story of inclusivity, tucked cozily inside the rocket, the pilot
action: a dappled gray horse and a goat gratitude, and delicious fellowship is also fades away, leaving young readers room to
move their heads while “playing” tug-of- a feast for the eyes, with its warm colors easily insert themselves into the story: “It
war with an artful piece of pop-up laun- and inventive mélange of cut paper and whizzes out to deepest space/ while you
dry; a white horse appears peacefully other materials. Ages 4–8. hold on by the handle./ And there you’ll
“drinking” from a stream beneath a mul- find the golden sun,/ our ever-burning

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 37
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

senses that

Jillian Tamaki she’s being
Can you compare working on graphic novels “There’s
with the experience of writing and illustrating a enough for
picture book? both of us, if
They’re pretty different. The poetry and distillation you’re hun-
of kids’ books, in word and image, is a completely gry,” she says,
different challenge. A lot of comics work is just opening her
grinding out pages, if the images communicate spotted bindle
what’s happening, that’s usually good enough in and addressing
a pinch. A picture book’s images have to evoke, the air in front of her. Readers see who’s
which is much more ephemeral. lurking: a young, nervous kitten named
Lulu. Lulu joins Mrs. Badger on her
Where do you think the origins of They Say Blue Sunday walks, learning about wild plants
came from? Is the girl based on anyone in and making friends. And when Mrs.
particular? Badger is too frail to make the trips any-
The girl isn’t really based on anyone I know. I more, Lulu takes over, performing the
think she’s kind of representative of a certain same kinds of small favors that Mrs. Badger
state of being, when you’re feeling a heightened awareness and connection did before her, and inviting a new young
to your surroundings. I suppose I’m a fan of starting with a very basic con- friend to trek alongside. Lulu’s faithfulness
cept—in this case, colors—and trying to explore it in a way that feels new. and loving-kindness implicitly honors
But color feels like the starting point to the journey. Each color prompts a Mrs. Badger’s memory. Hand-lettered
train of thought, an association. —Matia Burnett text adds homey comfort, and so do small
side notes (“little, bare red head” reads a
■ For the complete interview, go to
description of a turkey vulture named
Will). It is, in essence, a guidebook to
amity and exploration. Ages 3–7.
candle.” Collingridge’s text offers a superb and soon there’s a library and ice rink, too.
sense of rhythm and pacing with strong They’re all rendered in expressionist Vacation
appeal as a readaloud, and his boldly col- spreads, drawn not for laughs but with a Blexbolex. Enchanted Lion, $24.95
ored illustrations hint at naturalism while sense of wonder. Turtle’s tower of creations (128p) ISBN 978-1-59270-246-6
retaining a comforting sense of whimsy. teeters precariously above his planet, and The enigmatic visual storytelling of
The peppy, little rocket—quickly dodg- soon everybody wants to visit. A giraffe, a French artist Blexbolex’s Ballad is more
ing glowing meteors, navigating between whale in a mobile aquarium, a painter, a prominent than ever in this reality-bend-
vibrant planets, and zooming readers sailor, and others move in, and an exuber- ing wordless outing, which can be read as
home to Earth—will leave adventurers ant vertical gatefold celebrates the new an extended picture book or as a graphic
eager for more journeys into outer space. community, where all seems possible and novel. In silk screens that call to mind
Ages 3–5. every living thing is welcome. Ages 4–7. Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo comics,
readers meet a dark-haired girl exploring
The Town of Turtle Up the Mountain Path the woods outside her grandfather’s stately
Michelle Cuevas, illus. by Cátia Chien. Marianne Dubuc. Princeton home. She’s abruptly summoned back to
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99 Architectural Press, $17.95 (72p) the house and is unhappy about the inter-
(40p) ISBN 978-0-544-74982-5 ISBN 978-1-61689-723-9 ruption; Blexbolex uses inset panels to
Turtle lives on his own planet in the Canadian writer Dubuc (The Fish and move the action
middle of a lonely galaxy. With only his the Cat), whose gentle work champions forward or
shadow to talk to, he decides “to make friendship and explores life stages, sug- bridge time and
some renovations to his shell.” Chien’s gests that kindness can become a tradition. distance—in
dreamlike mixed-media images move from In pencil, colored pencil, and water- this case, a cir-
grays to bright colors as Turtle imagines color-washed spreads, she introduces cular panel
a village of houses that she draws with Mrs. Badger, who lives in a hobbitlike shows the girl’s
wobbly splashes of lime, lavender, and dwelling and climbs Sugarloaf Peak every grandfather
fuchsia. Back in the waking world, Turtle Sunday, helping overturned turtles and calling to her.
orders paint, builds a deck, and installs a speaking with acquaintances along the Her mood
fireplace, garden, and pond atop his shell, way. On the trail one day, Mrs. Badger doesn’t improve

38 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

after they pick up a new arrival at the lurk. “The ing is his gentle reminder that precon-
train station—a small golf-club-toting wall protects ceived notions about things and people,
elephant, whom the girl treats like a dis- this side of the over a boundary or otherwise, are often
liked relative. Their emotive squabbles book” the distinctly wrong. Ages 4–8.
form the brunt of the book, leading the knight
elephant to disappear in a storm and explains, “from Wallpaper
require a rescue. Tracking the action calls the other side Thao Lam. Owlkids, $16.95 (32p)
for careful attention as the story dips in and of the book.” ISBN 978-1-77147-283-8
out of dreams and imagined journeys. The contrast A girl with brown skin moves into a
Puzzle-loving readers will adore teasing between the new neighborhood. Out her window, she
out the book’s mysteries, and many more knight’s sees three children in a tree house, and
will simply want to lose themselves in its cheery, confiding tone and the outsize they wave. But shyness overtakes her, and
enchanting images. Ages 8–up. dangers supply hilarity, and blocky she hides out in her new room, whose many
images in faded hues soften potentially layers of wallpaper are peeling. In a tour
Vernon Is on His Way: scary moments. As the animals flee, the de force of mostly wordless cut-paper art,
Small Stories knight’s side of the wall starts to fill up Lam (Skunk on a String) makes each layer
Philip C. Stead. Roaring Brook/Porter, with water. “The most dangerous thing come alive in an extended fantasy sequence.
$19.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-62672-655-0 on the other side of the book is the ogre,” A flock of lemony birds gives way to a
Vernon, the thoughtful toad who the knight says from his ladder, oblivious tropical forest, where the girl encounters
charmed readers in A Home for Bird, returns to the deepening flood, finger raised in a blobby monster with a toothy, under-
with his good friends Skunk and Porcupine. emphasis. Enter the ogre—uh oh. As ever, slung jaw. It pursues her until she realizes
In the first of three stories, Vernon waits Agee nails pacing and punch lines, mak- that running is futile. “Hello,” she greets
for one of the world’s slowest forms of ing inventive use of the famous fourth it bravely; its dejected face lights up. The
transportation (a snail). In the second, the wall as a literary device (and giving the fantasy ends, and the girl’s newfound
three friends go fishing, but in their own book a new wall altogether). Most satisfy- courage helps her greet her young neigh-
way: “If we see a fish,” Porcupine sug-
gests, “maybe we should say hello.” In the
third, Vernon pines for Bird, and Skunk
and Porcupine set out to cheer him up.
Stead’s expressive, openhearted drawings
reveal what Vernon works on when he’s
not fishing or remembering Bird. Scribbly
lines show green leaves hung from old
fishing hooks overhead; they’re part of
Vernon’s garden. He creates beauty by
foraging for things others have lost or
thrown away—red and white fishing bob-
bers, an old kite. The slow pace, the
moments of silence, and the quiet white
space in Stead’s spreads are an antidote to
frenetic busyness. For Vernon, what mat-
ters most is kindness, cherishing one’s
friends, and noticing what other people
miss. Ages 4–8.

The Wall in the Middle of

the Book
Jon Agee. Dial, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-
In this sly fable by Agee (Life on Mars),
a tall brick wall runs along the book’s
gutter, and the action takes place on either
side. On the verso, a short, perky knight
approaches the wall with a ladder. On the
recto, a menacing-looking tiger and rhino
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

bors with confidence. The subtle three- named While You Are Sleeping
dimensionality of Lam’s paper collages Piper, per- Mariana Ruiz Johnson. Chronicle,
makes the girl appear ready to jump off ceives what $16.99 (36p) ISBN 978-1-4521-6599-8
the page, and lines drawn on the paper Wednesday Painted in brilliant folk-art hues,
provide facial expressions and other needs. “You Argentinian illustrator Johnson’s wordless
embellishments, further clarifying the belong in story starts with a view through a window.
action. Lam’s rich visual storytelling illu- the sea,” Inside, a mother reads to her golden-haired
minates the way that children’s internal she tells son, then tiptoes away after he falls asleep.
lives help them move through loss and Wednesday. Now the view pulls back: the boy’s par-
anxiety. Ages 4–7. Wednesday ents share wine downstairs, a girl cycles
wonders, “What was the sea?” Howell by, and a jaguar and a deer play music
We Don’t Eat Our Classmates (Lizbeth Lou Got a Rock in Her Shoe) por- together on a nearby rooftop. The view
Ryan T. Higgins. Disney-Hyperion, trays the captive whale as puzzled rather again widens to reveal more buildings—
$17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-368-00355-1 than resentful, and Jones (Winter Dance) the city night is alive with activity, and
Children do get eaten in this new story further softens the emotional impact of the two brightly colored animals are
by Higgins (Mother Bruce), but only tem- Wednesday’s dilemma by painting the joined by four more. (Observant readers
porarily. Consumed by a young, extremely bowl and the surrounding buildings in may have spotted them earlier in the
cute T. rex named Penelope, they emerge quiet grays and blues. After a tremen- story.) They strike out across a placid sea
unharmed (although goopy and justifiably dous final leap, illustrated in a dramatic in a red dugout and head for a primeval
annoyed) after Penelope’s teacher tells her gatefold spread, Wednesday’s tank tips wilderness, where they light torches and
starchily to spit them out. Penelope has over and the water carries her to the make a bonfire in the dark. At last their
just started school, and eating is a preoc- ocean. Images of the cramped glass bowl dancing makes the bonfire rise up into
cupation; her school lunch is “three hun- give way to reaches of vast and endless the sky: it’s the morning sun. Back in the
dred tuna sandwiches and one apple blue. Wednesday, who filled her bowl, all city, the boy awakens. The story’s easy
juice.” She’s startled to find out that her but disappears into the ocean, and, for slide from reality to myth and back again
classmates are all children, “So she ate the first time, she sings. By reaching for recalls the magical realism of authors like
them. Because children are delicious.” emotional rather than documentary García Márquez—and more stories are
Understandably, this makes it difficult truth, this team explores the injustice of hinted at in the windows that fill the
for her classmates to trust her. It takes an captivity with a gentle touch. Ages 4–8. boy’s neighborhood. Ages 3–5.
encounter with a hungry goldfish to teach

Penelope how it really feels to be eaten. Ryan T. Higgins
Despite the fact that she’s a ravenous car-
nivore, Penelope’s stuffed-animal snout,
her tearful look of distress, and her pink Is this the first story you’ve written about a
overalls make her too adorable to dislike. specific problem?

It’s clear that she’s doing the best she can, Yes, and it was also the first story that I wrote
though she does have a few setbacks because of something that was happening in my
(“Mrs. Noodleman, Penelope ate William life. My son was getting ready to start kindergar-
Omoto again!”). Higgins once again ten. He was nervous, and I remembered being
delivers sassy dialogue, flawless comic nervous when I started school. Nobody goes to
pacing, and faith in the ability of children school and eats their classmates, of course, but
to learn and grow. Ages 4–8. the story is about making friends, and treating
people the way you want to be treated.
Whale in a Fishbowl
Troy Howell, illus. by Richard Jones. Have you read the book to any kids yet?
Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 Yes! I got to read it at my son’s school, and it was
(42p) ISBN 978-1-5247-1518-2 really entertaining watching the reactions. The
Wednesday the Whale lives in an enor- teacher hadn’t primed the kids or anything; it was
mous glass bowl in the middle of a busy the first time they’d heard the story, and when Penelope ate the children, they
urban interchange. If she leaps upward, didn’t laugh. The teachers laughed, but the kids didn’t. They were shocked!
she can see an expanse of blue beyond the The story’s moving along just fine and then, when she swallows them, those
city. What is it? The sight fills her with slack jaws and big eyes! Then, when she spits them out, then they laughed!
longing. Humans who watch her desper- —Antonia Saxon
ate leaps misunderstand: “People said she ■ For the complete interview, go to
was doing tricks.” Only one, a child

40 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

E a r ly r e a d e r s first of three stories, Jack steals the Lady’s
purse and goes wild with her lipstick.
The Adventures of a Girl
Called Bicycle
Christina Uss, illus. by Jonathan Bean.
Holiday House/Ferguson, $16.99
(320p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4007-8
When a three-year-old girl in a faded
Baby Monkey, Private Eye “Rex! Why are your lips red? Your lips are pink t-shirt with the word bicycle on it
Brian Selznick and David Serlin, bright red!” writes Barnett in the second, shows up at the Mostly Silent Monastery
illus. by Brian Selznick. Scholastic poking fun at repetitive early-reader lan- in Washington, D.C., Sister Wanda takes
Press, $16.99 (192p) guage. Barnett works wonders with a her in. The
ISBN 978-1-338-18061-9 limited vocabulary, packing the stories girl’s fondness
A nearly 200-page chapter book for with humor, tension—and admonish- for the word
emerging readers? Using a pared-down ments of Jack. Given Jack’s lipstick-pow- leads Sister
vocabulary and luxuriant, chiaroscuro ered vandalism, readers will guess that Wanda to give
drawings, Selznick (The Marvels) and hus- the Lady’s house won’t stay “nice” for her the
band Serlin make it work—brilliantly. long (“Here are her white walls. Here is unusual moni-
Four oddball robbery victims show up at her nice art”). Pizzoli’s scruffy-edged, ker for a name,
Baby Monkey’s emotive cartoons are just as funny, and and Bicycle
Sam Spade– he carries the comedy into drawing les- eventually
worthy office, sons and closing endpapers. Yep, more acquires a bike
including a lipstick is involved. Available simultane- of her own, a
chef whose ously: Jack at Bat. Ages 4–8. hefty orange number named Clunk.
pizza has gone When Bicycle is 12, Sister Wanda worries
missing and a Middle Grade about her lack of friends and arranges to
clown who has send her to sleepaway camp at the
had his red 24 Hours in Nowhere Friendship Factory (“Three Guaranteed
nose stolen. Dusti Bowling. Sterling, $14.95 (272p) Friendships or Your Money Back”).
Baby Monkey’s ISBN 978-1-4549-2924-6 Bicycle refuses and takes to the road with
basic MO is A blend of taut suspense and laugh- Clunk instead, mapping a route to San
always the same: look for clues, take notes, out-loud humor from Bowling (Insignificant Francisco to meet her hero, Polish cycling
eat a snack, put on pants, and solve the Events in the Life of a Cactus) proves a racer Zbig, at the Blessing of the Bicycles.
crime (generally by looking right outside winning combination in this 24-hour Along the way, she picks up a talkative
his office door). The tight, repeating struc- escapade set in Nowhere, “the poorest ghost, procures a bike that can launch
ture gives Selznick plenty of opportunity town in Arizona.” Thirteen-year-old Gus missiles and write, and flees from a
to riff on the details: in each chapter, Baby wants to leave Nowhere for more than one woman in black. She also cultivates friend
Monkey has a different (and triumphant) reason, but high on the list is muscular after friend, one mile at a time, as the
wrestling match with his pants, and the bully Bo, “a mean, ugly giant with blond story elegantly blends elements of mys-
furnishings of his office change to match hair and pork-and-beans-sprinkled-with- tery, adventure, and fantasy. Debut author
the profession of each client (for those who chewing-tobacco breath.” When Bo tries Uss, a long-distance cyclist herself, effec-
can’t guess these Easter eggs, a key and to force Gus to eat a cactus, classmate tively portrays the call—and toll—of self-
index are included). “Hooray for Baby Rossi saves the day by giving Bo her reliance and the open road, and fashions a
Monkey!” are the last words of this endear- beloved dirt bike in exchange for Gus’s resolute heroine to root for. Ages 8–12.
ingly funny graphic novel/picture book/ freedom. Gus is determined to get the
early reader—it’s a sentiment that readers bike back, but Bo demands a piece of Amal Unbound
of all ages will wholeheartedly affirm. gold from dangerous Dead Frenchman Aisha Saeed. Penguin/Paulsen, $17.99
Ages 4–8. Mine as ransom. Accompanied by Rossi, (240p) ISBN 978-0-399-54468-2
childhood friend Jessie, and one of Bo’s Saeed (Written in the Stars) infuses this
Hi, Jack! minions, Gus embarks on the quest, true-to-life story of unjust power dynam-
Mac Barnett, illus. by Greg Pizzoli. uncovering secrets from the past and fall- ics in a poor Pakistani village with a pal-
Viking, $9.99 (80p) ISBN 978-0-425- ing into many precarious situations, pable sense of dread regarding the fate of
28907-5 including a run-in with a mountain the inquisitive, industrious, poetry-loving
In this promising series opener, lion. With playful elements reminiscent titular character. Twelve-year-old Amal is
Barnett and Pizzoli introduce a mischie- of Richard Peck, this slightly larger-than- troubled by her parents’ obvious distress
vous monkey named Jack, a dog named life adventure offers plentiful surprises that her newborn sibling is yet another
Rex, and a lady named the Lady. In the and a lovable antihero. Ages 8–12. girl, and she is vexed that her responsibil-

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 41
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

pating the next installment. Ages 8–12.
Aisha Saeed
Betty Before X
The book has received a fair amount of prepub Ilyasah Shabazz, with Renée Watson.
buzz. Why do you think Amal Unbound is resonat- Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16.99
ing with readers? (256p) ISBN 978-0-374-30610-6
I began this novel in 2011. I had no way of know- The daughter of Betty Shabazz and
ing that by the time publication day would come, a Malcolm X, Shabazz (X: A Novel) joins
story about a Pakistani girl in the Punjab and her with Watson (Piecing Me Together) to tell
struggles would seem so relevant and would con- this absorbing fictionalized account of her
nect so much with people. But that’s what I am mother’s formative years. In a straightfor-
hearing time and again. ward but engaging narrative voice, Betty
I think these teens who are speaking up after describes living with three maternal fig-
the shootings in Parkland are inspiring so many ures, who offer different strategies for
others. All these young people are standing up coping with life’s difficulties. When
and saying enough is enough. The timing of a Betty sees the victims of a lynching as a
story like Amal Unbound, that’s what’s helping it child in Georgia, Aunt Fannie Mae tells
resonate with people. There’s injustice in the her, “Baby, some things we just have to
United States, too, and kids are taking a stand and trying to lead the way. This take to the Lord.” In Detroit, her stern
book is about resistance and about not giving up. That’s a message that a lot biological mother, Ollie Mae, tries to
of people are connecting to as well. —Claire Kirch shield her from knowledge of race riots
(“You have enough years ahead of you to
■ For the complete interview, go to
know pain, Betty Dean”). After a beat-
ing, Betty moves in with Mrs. Malloy, an
ities as eldest daughter require her to run action that have made Riordan’s own work inspiring leader in the Housewives
the household while her mother is bedrid- so successful. Twelve-year-old Aru Shah League. In response to her growing aware-
den. Amal unleashes her frustration on lives with her mother in the Museum of ness of racism, Betty ponders Malloy’s
the wrong person when she talks back to Ancient Indian Art and Culture in Atlanta. philosophy (“Have faith in the Lord and
Jawad Sahib, the wealthy landowner, who Aru’s tendency to bend the truth gets her find the good and praise it”) and develops
demands she work off her debt for the into trouble an affinity for community organizing.
insult. Amal’s experience navigating an when three of History comes alive in this illuminating
unfamiliar social hierarchy in the land- her classmates portrayal of the early life of this civil
lord’s lavish estate exposes her to perva- dare her to light rights activist, which is bolstered by sub-
sive gender inequities and unfair labor a supposedly stantial endnotes. Ages 10–14.
practices, like being charged for room and cursed lamp
board but receiving no pay. While her called a diya, Blended
growing indebtedness makes it unlikely which awakens Sharon M. Draper. Atheneum/Dlouhy,
she will ever leave, Amal’s ability to read the demonic $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4424-9500-5
grants her a dangerous opportunity to Sleeper. With Timely and genuine, this novel chroni-
expose the landlord’s extensive corruption, the help of her cles a biracial girl’s struggle to define her
if she dares. Saeed’s eloquent, suspenseful, guardian, a identity and find her voice amid personal
eye-opening tale offers a window into the pigeon named Subala, Aru learns that she and societal expectations. After her par-
contemporary practice of indentured ser- is the reincarnation of one of five Pandava ents’ divorce, competitive pianist Isabella,
vitude and makes a compelling case for brothers, each the child of a different god. 11, divides her time between her white
the power of girls’ education to transform Aru meets one of her “soul-related” sib- diner-waitress mother and her wealthy
systemic injustice. Ages 10–up. lings, smart but timid Mini, and they black father. The constant back and forth
head off to stop the Sleeper from reaching and her family’s tense weekly exchanges
Aru Shah and the End of Shiva, Lord of Destruction. With her cause her intense stress, as do the micro-
Time quick wit and big personality, Aru com- aggressions Isabella experiences regularly.
Roshani Chokshi. Disney-Hyperion/ mands the spotlight (“I’m an A student,” When a history class discussion about
Riordan, $16.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1- she boasts to a doubtful Subala. “In the student protests and the history of lynch-
368-01235-5 sense that she was a student whose name ing ends with a noose being placed in a
This series kickoff, which is also the started with an A”), and Chokshi (The black classmate’s locker, Isabella’s aware-
first book from the Rick Riordan Presents Star-Touched Queen) weaves an engrossing ness of racist behavior skyrockets, as does
imprint, expertly channels the humor and adventure that will leave readers antici- her need to define who she is for herself.

42 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

Draper (Out of Authors Mass (the Willow Falls series) ice cream and swimming. But after two
My Mind) and Stead (Goodbye Stranger) team up for inmates escape from the local maximum-
doesn’t shy this irresistible tale of magic, mystery, and security prison, where Nora’s father is the
away from friendship that poses timeless questions superintendent and Elidee’s brother is an
challenging or about identity and belonging. Ultimately, inmate, a new
uncomfortable the answers Livy and Bob seek are waiting side of the
topics; police in the pages of a cherished book—a tribute friendly com-
aggression, to the power of storytelling, which draws munity is
gun violence, readers into the imaginative investigation. slowly revealed.
the compli- Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. Elidee’s experi-
cated nature of ence of racism
divorce, and The Boy, the Bird, and the as one of the
socioeconomic imbalances are all candidly Coffin Maker only black peo-
addressed as real and important parts of Matilda Woods, illus. by Anuska ple in town
Isabella’s experience. Readers will identify Allepuz. Philomel, $16.99 (208p) makes Nora and
with Isabella’s journey to stand up for ISBN 978-0-525-51521-0 Lizzie rethink
herself, especially to her parents, whose In the beautiful town of Allora, where just how welcoming Wolf Creek is.
constant arguing and clear dislike for each fish fly and every house is a brilliant hue, Narrated by all three girls through let-
other often overshadow her needs: a plague has killed the family of carpenter ters, recorded conversations, and texts,
“Chocolate family meets vanilla family in Antonio. Thirty-one years later, Antonio this is an effective, authentically wrought
the artificial reality that is a mall,” has become the local coffin maker, spend- look at how fear and ignorance can lead
Isabella says. “Caramel daughter caught ing more time with the dead than with people to treat those of different races or
helplessly between the two.” Ages 8–12. the living. After he buries a young from different places with suspicion.
woman who had recently arrived in town, Messner (The Exact Location of Home)
Bob food begins disappearing from his home, shines a light on the ways that people are
Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead, illus. and he discovers that she has left behind blind to their own privilege while quick
by Nicholas Gannon. Feiwel and her 10-year-old son, Tito. The child is to judge others. Though the look at soci-
Friends, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1- skittish, distrustful, and afraid of being etal racism, as in the prison system, is
250-16662-3 discovered by his cruel father, who had well explained, it’s the racism Nora and
Ten-year-old Livy, who lives in abused his mother. But after Antonio Lizzie discover in themselves, and their
Massachusetts, hasn’t visited her Gran nurses the desperately ill boy back to desire to change it, that will linger with
Nicholas’s house in Australia for five health, Tito slowly begins to trust Antonio readers. Ages 10–14.
years. When she returns for a visit, Livy is and becomes his apprentice. Soon, the
struck by the feeling that something very two form their own family, but the arrival The Button War:
important is waiting for her. Sure enough, of Tito’s father threatens their bond. This A Tale of the Great War
a peek inside her closet reveals “a small magical tale, told from an omniscient Avi. Candlewick, $16.99 (240p)
zombie wearing a chicken suit,” perched viewpoint that roves among the charac- ISBN 978-0-7636-9053-3
atop a dictionary. “You’re back. Took you ters, is interspersed with a story that Tito Darker than the Newbery Medalist’s
long enough,” the creature says to the and Antonio share aloud of a magical land usual fare, this powerfully evocative
girl. Once upon a time, it seems, five- that just might be real. Elegantly told WWI novel set in Poland parallels a
year-old Livy discovered this strange from start to finish and enhanced by child’s game with the war raging in the
being, who goes by the comically under- Allepuz’s evocative images and decora- not-so-distant background. After the
stated name of Bob, and the two formed a tions, debut author Woods has created a Germans bomb the schoolhouse and the
secret bond. fairy tale that will linger with readers. long-residing Russian soldiers prepare to
Picking up Ages 8−12. leave the area, Patryk’s small, isolated vil-
where they left lage is suddenly a whirlwind of activity.
off, Livy keeps Breakout Inspired by the frequent comings and
Bob hidden Kate Messner. Bloomsbury, $16.99 goings of military men, Jurek, the cruel,
while they (420p) ISBN 978-1-68119-536-0 conniving leader of Patryk’s group of
hunt for clues In Wolf Creek, a small town in upstate classmates, declares a daring challenge:
about what he New York, middle school students learn whoever procures the best button from a
is, where he that they’ll develop a time capsule project soldier’s uniform gets to be king. Patryk
came from, as a summer letter-writing assignment. is determined to beat Jurek at his own
and how to get Best friends Nora and Lizzie, as well as game, but he is no match for Jurek’s
him home. new girl Elidee, imagine sharing tales of determination to win at all costs, even as

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 43
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

the game turns deadly. Told from Patryk’s
point of view, the novel captures the ways Daniel José Older
that war can forever alter a child’s sense of
order, morality, and security in the world. What inspired this particular blend of alternate
Strongly visual scenes, including the history and fantasy?
smoky forest after battle, the soldiers I was doing research on the Crow Hill neighbor-
marching in perfect formation, and a hood in Brooklyn for a different project that ended
chilling final image of Jurek, will long up being a rock opera. At the time, I lived in Crown
resonate in readers’ minds. Ages 10–14. Heights, which was part of what used to be called
Crow Hill. I thought it was kind of fascinating that
Checked there’s this whole history of autonomous, mostly
Cynthia Kadohata, illus. by Maurizio black communities in early Brooklyn, of people
Zorat. Atheneum/Dlouhy, $16.99 escaping from the racial violence that included
(400p) ISBN 978-1-4814-4661-7 the Civil War draft riots. That moment in history
Conor MacRae may not be a stellar stu- spoke a lot to me about what’s going on right now
dent, but the half-Japanese 11-year-old is with things like gentrification and police violence.
a champ on the ice. Conor lives and There was so much there, in terms of people
breathes hockey, especially with immi- really being heroes. And there’s so little in popular
nent tryouts for the Grizzlies, a AAA media about people of color in American history. They tend to be erased or are
team. When Conor’s pet Doberman gets victims or bad guys, and I wanted to change that narrative in a fun and fantasti-
cancer, he has to decide whether to give cal way in a kids’ book. So, dinosaurs! The idea of kids riding on pterodactyl-
up expensive hockey lessons to pay for back from rooftop to rooftop in 1863 Brooklyn is what really got me super
Sinbad’s chemotherapy. Revealing the excited about this project. —Michael M. Jones
sacrifices young athletes and their fami-
■ For the complete interview, go to
lies must often make, National Book
Award winner Kadohata (The Thing About
Luck) creates a deeply poignant story apparition who saved her life, and when- authorities. When the Colored Orphan
about a boy sorting out his priorities. ever she encounters a phantom, she feels Asylum is burned down during the draft
Conor fills readers in on a wealth of compelled to “cross the veil.” Constant riots of 1863, Cuban-born Magdalys
hockey details, slowing the pace some- specter activity exhausts Cassidy, so she is Roca and her friends must escape the
what, but his problems are deeply relat- dismayed to learn that her family is headed clutches of Magistrate Richard Riker.
able, and Kadohata never sugarcoats harsh for Edinburgh to film a haunted cities They soon find refuge in the Dactyl Hill
realities. Conor’s hockey commitments television show. There, Cassidy meets Lara community of Brooklyn, where they join
contributed to his father’s and stepmoth- Jayne Chowdhury, a girl with similar a growing resis-
er’s divorce (“When a kid plays travel skills. Jacob doesn’t trust Lara, but Cassidy tance against
hockey, it takes up a lot of space in your thinks the self-proclaimed ghost hunter racism and
life. Some people don’t like that”), and could shed light on her own abilities and oppression.
their precarious financial situation is vis- prove useful—particularly after they Magdalys has a
cerally felt. Despite its sad moments, attract the attention of a malevolent spec- secret talent:
Kadohata’s story is uplifting on balance, ter. This atmospheric ghost story from she can com-
sensitively showing how Conor’s hard- Schwab (the Monsters of Verity duology) municate with
ships have made him wiser and more real- chills and charms while challenging read- dinosaurs, giv-
istic without diminishing his passions. ers to face their fears. Courageous, quick- ing her team
Ages 10–14. witted Cassidy inspires, her relationship the edge they
with Jacob is tender, and the thrilling need to rescue
City of Ghosts conclusion is sure to gratify. Ages 8–12. their fellow orphans from Riker’s plan to
Victoria Schwab. Scholastic Press, sell them into slavery. In this series
$17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-338- Dactyl Hill Squad opener, Older (Shadowshaper) weaves his-
11100-2 Daniel José Older. Scholastic/Levine, torical fact with dinosaur-inspired fancy
Unbeknownst to her parents, who $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-338-26881-2 to create a society in which people fly on
write books about ghosts but have never In this delightful historical fantasy set the backs of pterodactyls, conduct naval
seen one, 12-year-old Cassidy Blake has in a Civil War–era New York City in warfare with mosasaurs, and use tyranno-
paranormal abilities: ever since she almost which dinosaurs never went extinct, a saurs as destructive weapons. Rooted in
drowned, she’s been able to visit the spirit diverse band of orphans fight to save real events and attitudes, and appended
realm. She is best friends with Jacob, the their friends from slavers and corrupt with facts about the time, this fast-paced

44 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

adventure makes for a memorable tale in and self-discovery, Bigelow (Starting from upright and can
which numerous characters of color take Here) shows an equally clear understand- talk, glide, and
the lead. Ages 8–12. ing of the dynamics of camp life and distinguish any
young adolescent emotions. Melly’s lie. When the
Drum Roll, Please responses to situations are authentic, curious Byx ven-
Lisa Jenn Bigelow. HarperCollins, $16.99 especially the excitement and confusion tures beyond the
(320p) ISBN 978-0-06-279114-6 she feels when she is attracted to confines of her
Middle schooler Melly has always fol- another female camper. Bigelow has a pack’s carefully
lowed the lead of her best friend, Olivia. graceful and genuine touch as her pro- hidden home, she
Olivia insisted that they join band in the tagonist processes new experiences and saves a humor-
fifth grade, and three years later, Olivia navigates changes in friendships and ously polite crea-
decides that they should go to rock-and- family. Ages 8–12. ture, a wobbyk
roll camp. Luckily, Melly loves playing named Tobble, meets a 14-year-old
music (“It felt like the drums were Endling: The Last tracker named Khara disguised as a boy,
pumping energy into me,” she says), but Katherine Applegate. HarperCollins, and misses the slaughter of her commu-
the timing for camp couldn’t be worse. $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06- nity that leaves her the last of her kind,
The day before she leaves, she learns that 233552-4  an endling. The conflicting motivations
her parents are divorcing. Carrying a The gripping first installment of of the strongly drawn characters prove
bundle of anger and confusion along Applegate’s (The One and Only Ivan) new compelling as Khara captures the griev-
with her drumsticks, Melly arrives at fantasy trilogy assembles a motley crew ing Byx and Tobble to take them to an
Camp Rockaway unprepared for the in a suspenseful, tautly drawn quest. The island city to consult a scholar whom
challenges she will face, including an narrative centers on Byx, the 11-year-old Khara believes will save Byx (while pay-
intimidating audition and working with runt of a litter of an almost extinct, ing a hefty price). Persuasive emotional
unlike-minded musicians. In a story threatened species of dairnes—highly underpinnings give depth and urgency to
about growing pains, turning points, intelligent doglike creatures who walk the adventure as the team unites against

Curiously good starred reviews

978-1-776572-06-9 978-1-776571-78-9
978-1-776572-16-8 Youth Services Shelf
Book Review Awareness 978-1-776571-97-0
Foreword Reviews
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
… sense of light, love,
and warmth. School Library Journal
New York Times … simply gorgeous in
… bursts with pictures and words.
beauty, absurdity,
generosity. A New York Times
Best Illustrated Book
Kirkus Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

Distributed by
Lerner Publishing Services
Curiously good children’s books from around the world 800-328-4929

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 45
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

sinister forces. Ages 8–12. not rest until this very funny series kickoff, Krulik
the world is tackles sexist double standards and plays
Everything Else in the swept clean of with fantasy tropes as the princess
Universe discriminatory attempts to become one of her father’s
Tracy Holczer. Putnam, $16.99 (272p) violence; Knights of the Skround Table (“perfectly
ISBN 978-0-399-16394-4 maybe Jerome square, but with carefully rounded cor-
Holczer’s perceptive novel, set in can help if he ners. Skround”). Before she can enter
1971, opens as 12-year-old Lucy Rossi’s can make Sarah Knight School, she must complete eight
father returns home from Vietnam miss- understand good deeds as part of a Quest of
ing his right arm. Lucy and her parents that her Kindness—easier said than done. Princess
have always been a mutually supportive father’s act Pulverizer only succeeds in achieving one
team. Expecting this dynamic to con- was a result good deed in this outing (though she does
tinue, careful Lucy (who relies on her of deeply ingrained racism. Rhodes befriend a timid knight and burp-prone
“behavioral comfort routines”) studies up writes in short, poetic chapters that offer dragon while trying to escape an ogre),
on amputees and prosthetics, only to find graphic depictions of avoidable trage- giving readers plenty to look forward to
her father resistant to her efforts. dies; her hope for a better world packs a in future installments. Exuberant car-
Bewildered by the change in her family, powerful punch, delivering a call to toons from newcomer Balistreri, an ani-
Lucy feels left out and unloved, particu- action to speak out against prejudice and mation veteran, add to the story’s big
larly after she’s relegated to spending the erase harmful misconceptions. Ages 10–up. sense of fun. Ages 6–8.
days next door with her uncle’s boister-
ous family. A new friendship with Milo, Grilled Cheese and Harbor Me
who tells her his father is fighting in Dragons Jacqueline Woodson. Penguin/Paulsen,
Vietnam, helps; his interest in dragon- Nancy Krulik, illus. by Ben Balistreri. $17.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-399-25252-5
flies mirrors Lucy’s in rocks, and after Penguin Workshop, $6.99 paper Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming) cele-
they discover a soldier’s personal effects, (144p) ISBN 978-0-515-15831-1 brates all that is essential and good for
they work together to find the owner. Born Serena, the rowdy princess of humanity—compassion, understanding,
Affectingly tracing Lucy’s struggles with Empiria prefers a name that better suits security, and freedom—in this touching
her altered family, Holczer also credibly her temperament: Princess Pulverizer. In novel about six children with special
portrays the conflicting views on the war,

from protestors to former vets. Well-
grounded in its era and peopled by fully Jewell Parker Rhodes
realized characters, the book is a reso-
nant historical novel and a thoughtful This novel is for middle grade readers, yet it
exploration of how war and injury affect deals with some intense issues. What do you
family, friendships, and individual hope young readers will take away from your
growth. Ages 10–up. novel?
Children do not live in a vacuum. History and
Ghost Boys current events both demonstrate racism and
Jewell Parker Rhodes. Little, Brown, racial biases. African-American families have to
$16.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-316-26228-6 prepare their children at a young age for the
Set in an impoverished Chicago neigh- possibility of prejudice and discrimination.
borhood, this somber story blends his- Cultural stereotypes about black people abound.
tory with current events. Jerome Rogers, In my novels, I always focus on seeing, really
a black 12-year-old, is playing outside seeing another human being. Forget labels, drop
with a toy gun when he is shot and biases, and connect as people.
killed by a white policeman who views I hope young readers will feel inspired and know
him as a threat. Now Jerome wanders that their thoughts and feelings matter. By their
the earth with other “ghost boys” whose presence and their actions, young readers can make (and are making) the world
deaths are all connected to bigotry. a better place. Whether the book is read by one child or a trillion children, young
Ironically, the only human who can see readers should know that this author and wonderful booksellers are honoring
Jerome is Sarah, the young daughter of them by fully and firmly believing that their lives, thoughts, and actions matter.
the officer who took his life. Jerome Children are the heroes of our time. It is a special grace to hand a child a book.
meets the ghost of Emmett Till and —Claire Kirch
learns the horrific details of his murder. ■ For the complete interview, go to
Emmett, like the other ghost boys, can-

46 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

needs. Sixth-grader Haley and her best family, stumbles into the brothers at a night, Ivy’s treasured notebook goes miss-
friend, Holly, don’t know much about Halloween bonfire, she strikes a deal with ing—a book where she brought all her
their four male classmates when they are them: if they help her investigate a mys- secrets to life, including the fact that Ivy
placed in a self-contained classroom. terious death, she’ll help them break the thinks she likes girls. Worse, the person
They soon discover the things that they Agreement. With expert pacing and who has her notebook starts leaving notes
do and do not have in common when, on detailed worldbuilding, the story unfurls in her locker, telling Ivy she should share
Friday afternoons, their teacher takes into a smart, thrilling mystery, equal her secret with someone she trusts. Blake
them to ARTT (a room to talk). Here, parts dark and gentle, that explores ques- (Suffer Love) gives Ivy the deep-thinking
without adult supervision, the class can tions about freedom, power, and choosing soul of an artist, gently examining the
have conversations about anything. one’s master. Ages 8–12. trauma of losing her home, Ivy’s excite-
Usually the students use the time to ment about her crush on June, and her
unburden themselves of problems rang- It Wasn’t Me fears that people will judge her if they
ing from a parent’s deportation to bully- Dana Alison Levy. Delacorte, $16.99 discover her secret. Blake dots Ivy’s world
ing in the schoolyard. Haley is the last to (336p) ISBN 978-1-5247-6643-6 with sensitive and knowing conversation
spill her secrets, about her mother’s When Massachusetts seventh-grader partners, young and old, with whom Ivy
death and why her father is in prison, and Theo’s self-portraits are vandalized with shares her questions and worries. This is
afterwards she is rewarded with a feeling gay slurs in the student gallery, and some- an emotionally sensitive and elegantly
of lightness, “like so many bricks had one destroys his long-exposure pinhole written novel about loss and the first
been lifted off me,” she says. Woodson’s cameras shortly afterward, it seems that stirrings of love. Ages 8–12.
skills as poet and master storyteller shine someone is out to get him. In a Breakfast
brightly here as she economically uses Club–like scenario, teacher Ms. Lewiston The Journey of Little
language to express emotion and delve calls Theo and the bystanders of the inci- Charlie
into the hearts of her characters. Showing dent—as Theo narrates “the Over- Christopher Paul Curtis. Scholastic
how America’s political and social issues achiever, the Jock, the Nerd, the Weirdo, Press, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-
affect children on a daily basis, this novel and the Screw-up”—to a five-day “Justice 545-15666-0
will leave an indelible mark on readers’ Circle” during school vacation. Framed by Echoing themes found in Curtis’s
minds. Ages 10–up. daily reflective assessments written by Newbery Honor–winning Elijah of
each bystander and told through Theo’s Buxton, this exceedingly tense novel set in
The House in Poplar Wood eyes, Levy (The Misadventures of the 1858 provides a very different perspective
K.E. Ormsbee. Chronicle, $16.99 Family Fletcher) subtly takes the reluc- on the business of catching runaway
(344p) ISBN 978-1-4521-4986-8 tant group from anger and suspicion to a slaves. Eking
In Boone Ridge, Tenn., 13-year-old moving level of friendship, vulnerability, out a living as
twins Lee and Felix Vickery live at oppo- and trust as the kids open up to one South Carolina
site ends of the same house. Per the another. Adults are virtually invisible, sharecroppers,
Agreement, Lee lives with his mother and save the venerable Ms. Lewiston, which the Bobo family
Memory in the warm west end, where he successfully creates an all-kid dynamic knows hard
jars and labels memories (“sealed tight”) peppered with laugh-out-loud moments. luck. After
before he leaves the house for school. Felix What at first seems like a novel solely 12-year-old
has it harder; he lives with his father in about bullying becomes a story about six Charlie’s father
the frigid east end, serving Death and kids who find their way to true friendship is killed in a
stirring healing broths (“brewed right”), and fierce loyalty, and why restorative jus- freak accident,
but never leaving the house except for one tice is worth the time and effort it takes. Charlie reluc-
day each year: on Halloween, Death takes Ages 10–up. tantly agrees to pay off his father’s debt
a holiday, and Felix can finally venture by accompanying a plantation overseer,
beyond their Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the despicable Captain Buck, on a hunt
home and the World for three runaways. Charlie’s journey takes
adjacent wood. Ashley Herring Blake. Little, Brown, him north to Detroit and Canada where
After $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-316-51546-7 black people and white people work and
Gretchen After 12-year-old Ivy’s rural Georgia live peaceably together. Sickened by the
Whipple, home is obliterated by a tornado, she dirty business of rounding up former
sworn enemy heads to a shelter for the night with her enslaved men and women, Charlie hatches
of the Vickerys parents, older sister, and twin baby broth- a risky scheme to steer them to safety.
and daughter ers. There, Ivy ends up hanging out with Curtis portrays Charlie as a product of his
of the town’s her classmate June, a budding poet who white Southern upbringing and values,
most powerful admires Ivy’s drawing talent. The same skillfully conveying how his widening

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 47
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

regularly. Sent back in time by Merlin
Matt Phelan for such embellishments, Sir Erec, Sir
Hector, the mysterious Black Knight,
Knights and dinosaurs are an unexpected pair- and Sir Bors (and squire Mel) know as
ing. What sparked the idea for this story and little about “terrible lizards” as they
combination? know about true feats of strength.
The spark was playing with my son, who was about Nevertheless, the team finds itself doing
four at the time. He had these really nice plastic spectacular battle with numerous recog-
knights and horses with lances and a jousting set. nizable prehistoric beasts, complete
I was lining them up in his room to play a joust. I with one-on-one bouts, team attacks,
was taking my time to make sure everything was and rescue missions (tricera-joust, any-
perfectly lined up, but he got bored with that, one?). Motion-filled art by Phelan (Snow
grabbed his T. rex, and started attacking the knights. White) depicts anachronisms side by side
It made me laugh and then I thought, ‘That’s a in standalone and sequential panels.
pretty good idea.’ It kind of went from there. And as the time-traveling knights try to
fight their way back to their true place in
What came first here: the images or the words? time, plot twists reveal the heroes’ true
The words. I wrote the manuscript first. I’ve done identifiers, adding depth to this hilari-
that with all my graphic novels, too, which people are always surprised by, ous slapstick romp. Ages 8–12.
because there are large stretches in my graphic novels that are told visually. I
always write a full manuscript before I start to draw anything. I do a lot of work Life According to Og the Frog
as an illustrator for other authors, which I enjoy as much as doing my own Betty G. Birney. Putnam, $16.99 (160p)
books, but I do it in the same way. Only after a manuscript I’ve written is edited ISBN 978-1-5247-3994-2
and ready do I hand it off to my illustrator self. —Sara Grochowski This sparkling offshoot of Birney’s
Humphrey the Hamster series reveals the
■ For the complete interview, go to
Room 26 goings-on from the perspective
of amphibian Og, a second classroom pet.
view of the world leads to a change in his the baseball field, and the Vermont The narrative leaps back in time to offer
thinking. Written in persuasive dialect woods where she helps make maple Og’s take on his arrival (a story
and piloted by a hero who finds the cour- syrup. The stakes increase as her grandfa- Humphrey relays in Friendship According to
age to do what he knows is right, Curtis’s ther’s memory lapses turn dangerous, Humphrey), and fans will find the affable
unsparing novel pulls no punches as it resulting in an accident while boiling frog a chirpy and perceptive raconteur.
illuminates an ugly chapter of American sap. An in-school therapy group helps Og’s daydreams transport him back to his
history. Ages 9–12. Robbie recognize that some of her class- former life in the swamp, and his interior
mates are also struggling with the family monologue is laced with nature-themed
Just Like Jackie tree project, as well as divorce, illness, wordplay (a cricket “tastes frogalicious,
Lindsey Stoddard. Harper, $16.99 and other problems. This emotionally and I am very hoppy”) and analogies
(256p) ISBN 978-0-06-265291-1 honest, sensitively written novel con- (sensing the teacher likes him makes Og
Stoddard’s gently powerful debut fronts a range of difficult topics and “feel as cozy as a lizard snoozing in a sun-
introduces a tough-as-nails fifth-grader offers an inclusive view of what family beam”). With candor and humor, the frog
coping with her grandfather’s worsening can look like. Ages 8–12. spills his (unwarranted) insecurity about
Alzheimer’s disease. Eleven-year-old being a good class pet to the students, his
Robinson “Robbie” Hart tries to emulate Knights vs. Dinosaurs envy of popular Humphrey’s mastery of
her cheek-turning namesake, Jackie Matt Phelan. Greenwillow, $16.99 the job, and his angst as the kids debate
Robinson, but her anger often explodes (160p) ISBN 978-0-06-268623-7 whether Og should live at a wildlife sanc-
at school, threatening to expose her In a highly illustrated chapter book, tuary. Laced with environmental facts,
guardian grandfather’s failing memory. A four braggart knights and one underap- this is a heartening tale of cross-species
family tree project brings Robbie’s anxi- preciated squire square off against dino- friendship, change, and belonging. Ages
ety to the forefront—she doesn’t even saurs, all while learning about team- 8–12.
know her deceased mother’s name. work and honesty. Confronted with a
Stoddard movingly contrasts Robbie’s dearth of foes in peacetime, Camelot’s Louisiana’s Way Home
anger (such as when she’s questioned lesser knights feel inclined to exaggerate Kate DiCamillo. Candlewick, $16.99
about why she’s white and her grandfa- the “battles with beasties, run-ins with (240p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9463-0
ther is black) with the places she feels rogue trolls, or fisticuffs with fierce Fans of Newbery Medalist DiCamillo’s
safe, including her grandfather’s garage, giants” that they purport to engage in Raymie Nightingale will delight in finding

48 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

out what becomes of Raymie’s orphaned intellect to save lightning at age eight, her brain was
friend Louisiana Elefante in this “story of them. Traveling damaged, resulting in her acquired savant
woe and confusion” that is also a “story of with a wounded syndrome. She becomes a mathematical
joy and kindness and free peanuts.” In knight aban- genius and develops obsessive-compulsive
Florida, 12-year-old narrator Louisiana is doned by the disorder; she’s been homeschooled ever
whisked out of bed at 3 a.m. by her grand- enemy contin- since. She feels safe at home with her
mother—her caretaker—who declares gent, Drest has uncle and grandmother, but Nana wants
that “the day of reckoning has arrived” five days to Lucy to become better integrated with
and they must leave straightaway. The trip reach the castle her peers and enrolls her in seventh grade.
is aborted in Richford, Ga., when suffer- and trade the Lucy hides her math abilities to blend in,
ing Granny has to have all her teeth knight for her and she’s bullied by popular girl Maddie,
removed. Stuck in a motel while her family’s free- but when she and another student,
grandmother recuperates, homesick dom. Drest’s drive to help those in need Windy, team up with classmate Levi for a
Louisiana seethes with resentment but is wins her devoted allies, including a canny community service project, a true friend-
distracted by young Burke Allen, who has boy named Tig and his raven companion. ship grows. The three help out at the Pet
a pet crow and knows how to get free food Empathetic, bold, and entirely herself at Hut, a no-kill shelter where Lucy, who
from the vending machine. Then Granny a time when women were dismissed as has never liked animals, bonds with Cutie
abandons Louisiana, leaving her with weak, Drest shines in this fast-paced Pi. After Cutie Pi is diagnosed with can-
nothing but a letter revealing that every- adventure. Ages 9–12. cer—which means that she will likely be
thing Louisiana knows about her past is a transferred to a state shelter and put
lie. Populated with unforgettable charac- Merci Suárez Changes down—and Windy betrays Lucy by
ters, including Gears revealing a secret, Lucy must learn how to
kindhearted Meg Medina. Candlewick, $16.99 solve problems of the heart. McAnulty
adults who (368p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9049-6 realistically portrays Lucy’s OCD, and her
recognize In this warmly told story, Medina struggles in middle school also ring true.
Louisiana’s dire (Burn Baby Burn) introduces 11-year-old Every character is fully formed, and Lucy’s
situation and Merci, descendent of Cuban immigrants, journey is beautifully authentic in this
offer options, who attends a Florida private school on debut brimming with warmth, wisdom,
this bitter- scholarship with her whip-smart older and math. Ages 8–12.
sweet novel brother. Merci doesn’t feel much pressure
shows a deep to be anyone but herself, but her self- Monstrous Devices
understanding assuredness (“It’s never too early to work Damien Love. Viking, $17.99 (352p)
of children’s on your corporate leadership skills,” she ISBN 978-0-451-47858-0
emotions and celebrates their resiliency. declares at one point) makes her a target: In an English suburb, 12-year-old Alex
Readers will feel as much empathy for rich kid Edna tries to put Merci outside collects toy robots and tries to avoid
Louisiana as they did for her friend the sixth grade girls’ friend circle, and the relentless bullying at school. After his
Raymie. Ages 10–up. clashes make school miserable (“No grandfather sends him an old tin robot
offense is what Edna says right before she with a note that says “this one is special,”
The Mad Wolf’s Daughter takes a hatchet to your feelings,” she mysterious and frightening things begin
Diane Magras. Penguin/Dawson, reports). Merci’s home life is also stress- to happen. Soon, Alex is swept along in
$16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7352-2926-6 ful—money is tight, her beloved grandfa- his grandfather’s wake, first to Paris and
Set in a rugged Scottish landscape in ther is failing, and familial obligations then to Prague, pursued by dangerous
the early 13th century, debut author (mostly babysitting twin cousins) mean people and the animated robots they are
Magras’s tale of courage and heroism cen- there’s no chance to try out for the school capable of pow-
ters on Drest, the youngest child and only soccer team. Through all this, Medina ering. Alex’s
daughter of Grimbol, the dreaded Mad keeps the tone light as Merci’s take- grandfather has
Wolf of the North. As fierce Drest charge personality helps her to succeed in ebullient
becomes a legend in her own right, she this coming-of-age tale about family and charm, and his
must confront difficult truths about her the perils of sixth grade. Ages 9–12. humorous pat-
family’s storied past. Always protected by ter leavens a
her father and five brothers, Drest has The Miscalculations of well-crafted
never ventured far from the headlands she Lightning Girl adventure that’s
calls home, but when her family is cap- Stacy McAnulty. Random House, filled with des-
tured by knights from Faintree Castle, she $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-5247-6757-0 perate chases,
must rely on her warrior training and When 12-year-old Lucy was struck by narrow escapes,

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 49
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

fight scenes, and twists. Over the course child. Since her overwhelmed mother him? What if that someone was the star
of the escapade, Alex struggles with has been pursuing a degree, it falls to quarterback and part-time bully at your
doubts about his grandfather’s remark- Fiona to keep her suddenly withdrawn high school, a guy who routinely calls you
able—but perhaps less-than-reputable— younger brother, Finn (and herself), afloat Neanderthal? That’s exactly what happens
past, his own possible connection to their over the summer. She receives rock-solid to 16-year-old Cliff Hubbard, and Norton
pursuers, and the allure of power and the help from Luke, a remarkably intuitive (Marrow) takes this unlikely premise,
newfound autonomy it offers. Drawing on neighbor; Emma, the rescue dog to loads it with even more unlikely events,
and modernizing stories of golems, debut whom Finn reads and sings at the local and makes it work in this funny and
author Love cleverly interweaves them shelter; and one of her father’s former sweetly oddball book. Cliff, who is
with the history of robots and leaves some patients, who pays the doctor’s kindness huge—250 pounds and 6’5”—has been
intriguing mysteries unresolved, hinting forward by calling Fiona for two minutes angry since his brother committed sui-
at further adventures to come. Ages 8–12. each week and passing on her dad’s indel- cide. But when the quarterback, named
ible sayings (“Let the whole thing float Aaron, returns from a near-death experi-
My Father’s Words down the river on a little boat”). ence with a list of things to do to make
Patricia MacLachlan. HarperCollins/ MacLachlan masterfully mingles core Happy Valley High School happier—
Tegen, $15.99 (144p) ISBN 978-0- themes in this slim volume: the power of which includes getting rid of bullies like
06-268769-2 words and song, memories and family, him, drug dealers, and the sanctimonious
Key relationships in her own life the mutually redemptive human-canine Christian students who think they’re bet-
inspired this characteristically taut and bond, and “the eternal fitness of things.” ter than everyone else—Cliff signs on.
resonant novel by Newbery Medalist Ages 8–12. Their utter cluelessness notwithstanding,
MacLachlan (Sarah, Plain and Tall). Life the two make inroads on the list, improv-
as Fiona has known and loved it comes Neanderthal Opens the ing not just their high school but them-
to a screeching halt over runny eggs one Door to the Universe selves, and even finding love along the
morning when Fiona’s psychologist Preston Norton. Disney-Hyperion, way. At the story’s core is an unsentimen-
father—her guiding light, singer of $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-4847- tal treatment of a bullied kid and his one-
“Dona Nobis Pacem” and player of 9062-5  time bully discovering their commonali-
driveway basketball—dies in a car acci- What if someone told you he was on a ties. That Norton accomplishes this with-
dent after swerving to avoid hitting a mission from God and you had to help out moralizing and in inventively rhyth-
mic and pop-culture–saturated language
only adds to the fun. Ages 14–up.

Veera Hiranandani
The Night Diary
In your author’s note, you explain that Nisha’s Veera Hiranandani. Dial, $16.99 (272p)
story was inspired in part by your father’s journey ISBN 978-0-7352-2851-1
from Pakistan to India in 1947, during the parti- After introverted Nisha receives a diary
tion. Why did now feel like an important time to for her 12th birthday, she begins to find
share his story and that of other refugees? her voice as she documents her family’s
It was probably five, maybe six years ago that I upheaval amid the 1947 Partition of
first attempted to write about it. I had wanted to India. Nisha’s journal entries, which are
tell the story for a while, and was finally feeling addressed to her deceased mother, take on
brave enough to attempt to do it justice. As I was new urgency as she witnesses India being
writing and revising, I started to realize that there “split in half like a log” along religious
were themes that were resonating with the present lines after gaining independence from
day—certainly the refugee crisis and the experience Britain. As the
of being a refugee. Also, the politically divisive feel- daughter of a
ings in our country and in the world. I was thinking Hindu father
about how quickly things can become so angry and a Muslim
and divided, and how useful it can be to look at mother, Nisha
mistakes made in the past, in different parts of the world—how it can be a questions which
cautionary tale. It’s sad, but it also felt really useful to explore that history and side of the
put it on top of what was happening right now. I think we forget history so Indian-Pakistani
quickly, especially if it happens in another part of the world. —Emma Kantor border to call
her own. But
■ For the complete interview, go to when her family
is no

50 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

longer safe in their home in the city ship in pres- passionate French horn player, possesses.
of Mirpur Khas (which became part ent-day Gusta is surprised by much in
of Pakistan), they set out for “the new Brussels. After Springdale (including that her grand-
India.” Hiranandani (The Whole Story of a bomb kills mother runs an orphanage), though
Half a Girl) places Nisha’s coming of age Ahmed’s nothing is more astonishing than her
against the violent birth of a nation. The mother and German-born union organizer father’s
diary format gives her story striking inti- sisters, he and sudden disappearance during their bus
macy and immediacy, serving as a window his father trip to Maine and the men who subse-
into a fraught historical moment as Nisha undertake a quently board the bus searching for
grapples with issues of identity and the treacherous “fugitive” August Neubronner. Buoyed
search for a home that remain quite timely. journey from by memories of his encouraging words
Ages 8–12. Syria to (“In war and struggle, we do what we
Greece, but Ahmed arrives alone, his must!”), Gusta adjusts to her new life,
Nightbooks father lost at sea and presumed dead. instinctively standing up for what she
J.A. White. HarperCollins/Tegen, Once in Belgium, desperate to avoid yet believes is right. Nesbet deftly weaves
$16.99 (304p) ISBN another “reception center... human pens disparate elements—music, orphans,
978-0-06-256008-7 where refugees were crowded together, labor unions, carrier pigeons, and a
In this clever synthesis of One Thousand given expired food, and hollered at by magic wish—into a richly developed
and One Nights and “Hansel and Gretel,” impatient guards,” he flees, sneaking into story set during a pivotal era in
a boy captured by a witch must tell a dif- the basement of a house on Avenue Albert American history. Ages 10–14.
ferent spooky story every night if he Jonnart, named after a man who hid a
wishes to stay alive long enough to Jewish teenager during WWII. Max, a Otherwood
escape her clutches. But even though he misfit American teen who has just arrived Pete Hautman. Candlewick, $16.99
has notebooks full of nightmare-inspired at this house with his family, is grudg- (320p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9071-7
tales, Alex needs to come up with new ingly repeating sixth grade at the nearby An isolated boy witnesses a strange,
material to appease his captor, whose “School of Misery.” Alternate chapters terrible event in the wood near his house
impossibly large apartment is filled with share each boy’s perspective with humor in this haunting novel by Hautman (Eden
lurking terrors. He finds a reluctant ally and pathos, capturing their sense of pro- West). No other children live in Stuey’s
in Yasmin, a fellow captive, but even she found isolation and fear until they meet neighborhood, so he has relied on his
may not be able to help him outwit the each other. Soon Max feels inspired to fol- grandfather for companionship. After
witch and return to the real world. Too low Jonnart’s example. Through the boys’ Gramps perishes during a storm, Stuey
bad he’s suffering from writer’s block. deepening friendship, Marsh (The Night feels empty and alone but finds a kindred
White (the Thickety series) skillfully Tourist) offers a timely and entertaining spirit in Elly Rose, who lives on the other
interweaves Alex’s peril with the stories tale of suspense and intrigue while elo- side of the wood and, he finds out, shares
he tells, which possess a juvenile gotcha quently conveying the courage necessary a piece of his family history: their great-
horror in their own right. (Possessed to trust another person in a climate rife grandfathers—one a bootlegger, one a
teddy bears, ghost-filled playgrounds, with fear, suspicion, and ethical dilem- district attor-
and vampires who steal reflections all mas. Ages 10–14. ney—were
make appearances.) The blend of folk and enemies who
fairy tale elements works extremely well The Orphan Band of disappeared
under the circumstances, and the protag- Springdale under mysteri-
onists share an enjoyable camaraderie as Anne Nesbet. Candlewick, $18.99 ous circum-
they attempt to thwart their common (448p) ISBN 978-0-7636-8804-2 stances in the
enemy. Despite the dark premise, the In this uplifting, multifaceted histori- very area
narrative never quite crosses the line into cal novel set in 1941, Nesbet (Cloud and where the chil-
horror, making it a safe bet for younger Wallfish) creates an arrestingly strong dren usually
readers. Ages 8–12. and sympathetic character in nearsighted play. When
11-year-old Augusta “Gusta” Hoopes Stuey tells Elly
Nowhere Boy Neubronner. Financial strains force Rose of their connection, she vanishes as
Katherine Marsh. Roaring Brook, Gusta to leave her parents and New York mysteriously as their ancestors. Only
$16.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-250- City for her grandmother’s home in Stuey knows what happened to her, but
30757-6 Springdale, Maine, where the townsfolk no one will believe his version of the
Uprooted from their homelands are wary of anyone different—especially story. As evocative as a David Almond
through vastly different circumstances, someone with an unusual name or novel, and as infused with heartache and
two teenage boys form an unusual friend- unusual talent, both of which Gusta, a affirmation, Stuey’s story will set imagi-

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 51
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

nations spinning with possibilities about the death of will feel Louie’s longing for his older
other worlds, ancient sins, and the power her beloved brother, who is serving in the military
of truth. Ages 8–12. dog and with and signs his letters, “Remember me”;
her parents’ Nora’s lack of hope, which stems from
Peasprout Chen, Future separation, losing her premature baby brother; and
Legend of Skate and Sword and wonders the children’s shared affection for each
Henry Lien. Holt, $16.99 (336p) where her fel- other and the tiny donkey. Animal lovers
ISBN 978-1-250-16569-5 low fourth- in particular will relish Louie’s hard-won
In this auspicious and massively enter- graders found triumphs and find joy in Winslow’s
taining series opener set in an Asian- their “sudden strength. Ages 8–12.
inspired fantasy world, a young woman confidence.” A
pursues her dream of mastering wu liu, comforting The Season of Styx Malone
which combines figure skating and mar- constant in her off-kilter life is Wings Kekla Magoon. Random/Lamb, $16.99
tial arts. Fourteen-year-old Peasprout and a Chair Used Books, where her (304p) ISBN 978-1-5247-1595-3
Chen and her younger brother, Cricket, mother works; Flora is happiest curled This memorable novel about three
are sent to the Pearl Famous Academy as up in the store’s eponymous armchair, African-American boys in small-town
part of an exchange between their home- reading “extra-vintage” children’s books. Indiana opens with a trade: Bobby Gene
land of Shin and the city of Pearl, where She shares the bookshop, and the worlds and his little brother, Caleb, swap their
they must prove themselves worthy by and words its books contain, with Yury, baby sister for a sack of fireworks.
passing numerous challenges. Hazards a compassionate new classmate from Though the child is returned immedi-
abound, including rival students, sabo- Ukraine, who in turn “shared his clever- ately, the brothers (ages 11 and 10) get to
tage, and diplomatic tensions. Peasprout ness” with Flora and makes her “feel keep the fireworks. But what to do with
attempts to protect her brother, avoid more certain.” Serenity, the stray cat she them? Enter Styx Malone, a charismatic
new enemies, adopts, brings another affirming change teen (who’s
prove her to Flora’s life, as does her parents’ recon- “sliding
innocence ciliation and their decision to purchase through the
when she’s an 1890 letterpress and open a paper and world like the
accused of printing shop. Eloquent and resonant, air around him
being a spy, Rylant’s writing is as timeless as the was greased”),
and excel at deceptively simple story she relays, who tells the
her studies, which celebrates objects and relation- siblings, “You
but her great- ships both old and new, and poignantly just gotta
est challenge underscores the significance of family, learn how to
may be over- friendship, and home. Ages 8–12. make people
coming her give you
own hubris and stubbornness. Building Saving Winslow things.” Styx convinces them that the
on a lushly described world introduced in Sharon Creech. HarperCollins, $16.99 trio can make a profit on the fireworks
several short stories, debut novelist Lien (176p) ISBN 978-0-06-257070-3 and, through a creatively convoluted
crafts a memorable setting and cast while Creech (Moo) spins a heartfelt yarn trade-up sequence (involving old car
delivering a fast-paced, tense plot full of about a boy’s struggles trying to raise a parts, a lawn mower, and some
surprises. The descriptions of wu liu are baby donkey. Ten-year-old Louie has Harley-Davidson memorabilia), could
elegant and cinematic, and Peasprout’s repeatedly struck out with animals: end up owning a snazzy moped.
moves are as sharp as her tongue. worms dried up, a parakeet passed on, a Beneath the entertaining shenanigans
Peasprout Chen is a future legend, found kitten ran away. But when his runs an affecting emotional current:
indeed. Ages 10–14. father brings home a sickly newborn Styx has ricocheted from one foster
mini donkey from Uncle Pete’s farm, home to another and aches for a loving
Rosetown Louie is determined to save the “pitiful- home; narrator Caleb grapples with the
Cynthia Rylant. Beach Lane, $16.99 looking” creature he names Winslow. fear that he is “ordinary” and feels
(160p) ISBN SBN 978-1-5344-1277-4 The infant requires bottle feeding, injec- smothered by his overprotective father.
A sensitive and perceptive girl tions, and almost constant nurturing, but Interweaving themes of risk taking and
searches for balance and order in this Louie refuses to listen to others’ pessi- trust, betrayal and forgiveness, Magoon
taut, graceful novel from Rylant, set in mism, including that of his new friend (How It Went Down) crafts a novel that
small-town Indiana in 1972. Flora, “who Nora. As always, Creech packs a tremen- is genuinely funny, heartbreaking,
sometimes felt quite acutely the stress of dous amount of emotion between the and uplifting—extraordinary, in fact.
being nine years old,” is grappling with lines of her understated prose. Readers Ages 8–12.

52 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8


Written by Patrick Guest Written and illustrated
Illustrated by Jonathan Bentley by Gilles Bachelet
March • 978-0-8028-5520-6 • $17.00 February • 978-0-8028-5512-1 • $16.00
hardcover picture book • Ages 4-8 hardcover picture book • Ages 4-7

w i k!
Ne rbac
p e


Written and illustrated OF HENRI ROUSSEAU Written by Constance Ørbeck-Nilssen
by Ronojoy Ghosh Written by Michelle Markel Illustrated by Akin Duzakin
April • 978-0-8028-5522-0 • $17.00 Illustrated by Amanda Hall March • 978-0-8028-5518-3 • $18.00
hardcover picture book • Ages 4-7 April • 978-0-8028-5523-7 • $10.00 hardcover picture book • Ages 5-9
paperback picture book • Ages 5-9


Written and illustrated Written and illustrated Written by Eileen Spinelli
by Katarina Strömgård by Isabelle Simler April • 978-0-8028-5513-8 • $16.00
February • 978-0-8028-5511-4 • $17.00 March • 978-0-8028-5517-6 • $19.00 hardcover novel • Ages 10-14
hardcover picture book • Ages 4-8 hardcover picture book • Ages 4-8

Available wherever books are sold.

c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

Secret Sisters of the stayed her student visa. When he sees So Done
Salty Sea her being taken away by two official- Paula Chase. Greenwillow, $16.99
Lynne Rae Perkins. Greenwillow, looking men, he assumes that she is (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-269178-1
$16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-06-249966-0 being sent back to Afghanistan, and he Growing up together in a housing
Newbery Medalist Perkins (Criss Cross) boards a train from New Jersey to Penn project, 13-year-olds Tai and Mila are
vividly captures the world through a Station, hoping to use a partial street longtime best friends, but they couldn’t
child’s eyes in this quiet novel chroni- address to locate his Auntie Seema. A be more opposite. Sassy Tai thrives on the
cling Alix Treffrey’s weeklong vacation concussion lands him in the hospital, neighborhood’s energy, while quiet,
on the beach with her parents and her where he meets the delightfully smart- reserved Mila can’t wait to get out. Their
“more mature” mouthed Max, a self-proclaimed genius differences increase after Mila spends the
sister, Jools. In who is hooked up to a slew of wires. summer in the suburbs with her aunt and
the first chap- Both strangers to New York City, they older sister; there, she feels free, unbur-
ter, Perkins escape the hospital together and are dened of a horrible secret that makes her
conveys the soon navigating the subways, the annual afraid to go to Tai’s house. When she
excitement marathon, and the Central Park Zoo returns home, Tai senses that something
and coziness of while being pursued by frantic adults. A in Mila has changed, and it causes a rift—
beginning a winsome supporting cast, snappy dia- it seems that
journey before logue, and nonstop adventures just shy the only things
dawn (“As the of fantastic make this a thought-pro- that unite
car began to voking, heartwarming page-turner. them now are
move, she Ages 8–12. their love of
snuggled under the sleeping bag.... dance and the
[Alix] pictured herself wearing her newer Snared: upcoming
bathing suit, floating maturely on her Escape to the Above audition for a
boogie board in the turquoise water”). Adam Jay Epstein. Imprint, $16.99 program
Each chapter that follows highlights a (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-14692-2 designed for
discovery or event that makes the trip In this engaging middle grade fantasy fine arts stu-
memorable. Some incidents, such as tem- series opener, 14-year-old Wily is a pro at dents.
porarily getting separated from her par- devising nonlethal traps to incapacitate Through successfully rendered dialogue,
ents at a crowded service plaza and hav- the unwary. He has never known any Chase (the Del Rio Bay Clique series) viv-
ing a giant june bug plant itself on her home other than Carrion Tomb and no idly conjures the triumphs, tensions, and
arm, aren’t very pleasant, but most expe- parent other than the devious sorcerer worries percolating in the girls’ low-
riences—making a new friend, holding Stalag. But when a valiant trio of dun- income neighborhood. Tai’s exuberance
an injured falcon in her arms, finding sea geon-delvers successfully evades his traps, forms an effective foil to Mila’s internal
glass on the beach—are wondrous they claim Wily as their prize. Intent on turmoil, and the building anticipation
reminders of how small miracles make using his skills to further their treasure about who will be chosen for the program
life worth living. Perkins draws on all hunting plans, they instead find them- and whether Mila will divulge her secret
five senses to evoke nature’s beauty and selves battling the bizarre mechanical will keep readers turning pages. Ages
show the ebb and flow of Alix’s emotions servants of the dreaded Infernal King, as 8–12.
as she eagerly explores new territory. As well as the vengeful Stalag. To survive,
in her previous novels, Perkins’ sensitive they must all become true heroes. A Stitch in Time
spot art illuminates the characters’ inner Epstein (coauthor of the Familiars series) Daphne Kalmar. Feiwel and Friends,
and outer worlds. Ages 8–12. delivers a clever deconstruction of popu- $16.99 (176p) ISBN 978-1-250-15498-9
lar fantasy gaming elements, while still Tautly written yet surging with emo-
The Sky at Our Feet offering a heartfelt tale filled with tion, this debut novel is set in 1927
Nadia Hashimi. Harper, $16.99 (304p) whimsy, wonder, and magic. As Wily Vermont, where an 11-year-old girl con-
ISBN 978-0-06-242193-7 struggles with the unfamiliar, unpredict- tends with wrenching past, present, and
Hashimi (One Half from the East) able nature of the outside world—“I was (she fears) future loss. After her mother
addresses the plight of undocumented always taught, if something moves and died in childbirth, Donut (nicknamed for
immigrants while taking readers on a you don’t know what it is... it’s probably the confection that alone could lull her to
glorious, madcap race through trying to kill you,” he says, regarding a sleep as a baby) was raised by her father,
Manhattan. Twelve-year-old Jason Riazi, fallen pinecone—and accepts his new whose recent accidental death brings a
the novel’s guileless narrator, has just companions as a makeshift family, his double-edged sadness: not only does
learned that although he is an American journey, both comic and sincere, becomes Donut miss him immensely, but without
citizen, his mother is not, having over- truly satisfying. Ages 8–12. the memories he shares, “She’d lost her

54 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

mother for independent streak is both celebrated and aspirations of his own, accidentally trig-
good, now.” Her tempered by the satisfaction of working ger a time machine that sends them back
stodgy aunt’s as part of a team. Durst presents engaging to the Stone Age. There, they befriend
decision that fantastical situations alongside ideas cavemen, defeat a saber-toothed tiger, and
Donut move to about how histories evolve and whose sto- try to figure out how to return to the
Boston to live ries are told, in a gently thoughtful man- present. Jam-packed with both writing
with her out- ner. Ages 10–up. advice and jokes, including a great run-
rages the girl, ning gag in which the cavepeople’s unin-
who recognizes Stuck in the Stone Age telligible language is translated into eru-
that leaving her The Story Pirates and Geoff Rodkey, dite English, this two-for-one tale is as
village means illus. by Hatem Aly. Rodale Kids, smart as it is entertaining. Art not seen
“I’ll be leaving $13.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-63565-089-1 by PW. Ages 8–12.
Pops, too. He’s here, everywhere.” In pro- Inspired by a story idea from real-life
test, Donut runs away to an abandoned kid Vince Boberski, “presented” by per- Sweep: The Story of a Girl
cabin, but she sinks her father’s home- forming troupe the Story Pirates, and and Her Monster
made boat midlake and inadvertently sets written by Rodkey (the Tapper Twins Jonathan Auxier. Amulet, $18.99
fire to the shack. Kalmar introduces a series), this madcap tale also serves as an (368p) ISBN 978-1-4197-3140-2
delightfully intricate character in Donut, instruction manual for children thinking A chimney sweep disappears from a
whose passions include bird taxidermy, of writing their own books. As the story London rooftop, leaving six-year-old Nan
memorizing tidbits from the atlas Pops unfolds, readers are invited to check out Sparrow alone, save for a hat and a lump of
gave her, and her friendships with affect- tips in the “Story Creation Zone” at the mysteriously ever-warm charcoal—her
ingly portrayed Vermonters. The author back of the book to learn about character char. To survive, Nan joins a gang of
leaves readers knowing that her insight- development, plot twists, and other com- “climbing boys” owned by the abusive
ful, articulate, and wry heroine will ponents of storytelling. Rodkey begins at Wilkie Crudd. By age 11, she is the finest
land—solidly—on her feet. Ages 8–12. a mysterious lab where Marisa, a shy sci- sweep of them all, but following a brutal
entist, and Tom, a janitor with scientific chimney fire, she discovers that her char
The Stone Girl’s Story

Sarah Beth Durst. Clarion, $16.99
(336p) ISBN 978-1-328-72945-3 Jonathan Auxier
Featuring a richly diverse cast, vividly
imagined worldbuilding, and passionate The book seems to be about finding a family
storytelling, Durst’s middle grade fantasy when you need it most, and the intense love of
is a feast for the senses. Readers are being a parent. Is there a connection to these
immersed into the world of Mayka, who themes in your own life?
has lived on the mountain above the great In terms of a deeper biographical connection, I
city of Skye with her stone friends from wrote what ended up being the first chapter of the
the time her flesh-and-blood father carved book, which talks about Nan’s early years with her
her from stone. After his death, the stories guardian, the Sweep, and the moment she wakes
and life force carved into the stone of up to discover she’s alone. And at that point in my
Mayka’s friends begins to fade. In search life, this was close to 10 years ago, I put the book
of a stonemason to recarve their marks, down because I knew that I was not mature enough
the lifelike girl pushes past her comfort as a writer or even a human being to really tell the
zone and travels to Skye with two flying story. I knew that, at some point, I would have my
stone friends, opening herself up to the own kids, and I would understand what it might
people and places beyond her mountain. feel like.
On the journey she learns secrets of her And lo and behold: I had kids, a bunch of them, and most crucially, our third
father’s past—and new ways to care for child was the sort of baby who was not really built to thrive. She had a serious
her chosen family. A storyteller at heart, congenital heart defect, and we spent the first couple years of her life very, very
Mayka is introduced to an entirely new frightened for her. Jumping ahead, she’s a healthy and happy two-year-old and
world, one filled with frightening experi- everything is good. But going through that experience of loving someone so much
ences and unexpected joys. Those she whom you might not be able to protect was driving me crazy, but it also was sort
encounters—both flesh and stone—chal- of conditioning me to understand how to write this book. —Shannon Maughan
lenge her views of reality, encouraging her
■ For the complete interview, go to
to reassess her perspectives to become
even more accepting. Mayka’s strong

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 55
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

has become a angel companionship) is the best way to golden bird with a beating heart. When
golem, which improve a person’s attitude and behavior. she is chosen by young Master Bly to
she names Almond’s dry wit will bring smiles, and leave the cloister to spin gold, she’s terri-
Charlie, and his underlying message about good and fied that her secret—that she can create
that he has evil may shake up some preconceived life with her song—will come out, but
saved her life. notions. Ages 8–12. wonder and shocking revelations await
As the two her on Blightsend, as does a friendship
hide from The Truth as Told by with a fellow outsider, a female Master
Crudd, Nan Mason Buttle named Linna Lundd. Writing in
grows to love Leslie Connor. HarperCollins/Tegen, Delphernia’s wry voice, Chewin, a poet,
Charlie and his $16.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-249143-5 weaves an unusual, beautiful debut that
particular In this sensitively written novel, sings with all the grace of the cloister-
brand of magic, and she learns that golems Connor (All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. wings that Delphernia brings to life with
are, by nature, ephemeral: if Charlie can Cook) introduces a learning-disabled her soaring voice. Entwining themes of
flame up, he can almost certainly flame 12-year-old who will warm readers’ hearts rebellion, freedom, identity, and finding
out. A cast of fully fleshed (and sooted) and earn their respect with his honesty one’s destiny are at the center of this
characters contribute texture and commu- and compassion. Mason Buttle may have lovely tale. Ages 10–14.
nity, and Auxier (The Night Gardener) trouble spelling words and be slow to
mixes moments of triumph and pure understand some things, but he knows Where the Watermelons
delight (new snow, rooftop vistas) with how to be a good friend. Ever since his Grow
dark, Dickensian themes (child labor, best friend and neighbor Benny died in an Cindy Baldwin. HarperCollins, $16.99
sickness, poverty). Told in two allusive accident in the Buttles’ apple orchard, (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-266586-7
sections—“Innocence” and “Experience,” Lieutenant Baird of the police department “I closed my eyes, trying to forget all
after Blake’s volume—that pivot between has been badgering Mason with questions. about those watermelon seeds, all about
Nan’s past and present, this dazzling, Writing from Mason’s point of view Mama yelling and acting crazier than she
warmhearted novel contemplates selfless- (including journal entries he composes had in a long, long time, wishing there
ness and saving, deep love and what makes using a speak-and-write computer pro- was anything in the world that could pull
a monster. Ages 8–12. gram), Connor paints a vivid picture of Mama’s brain back together.” It’s been
Mason’s world and the people who inhabit years since
The Tale of Angelino Brown it: the grief-stricken grandmother and 12-year-old
David Almond, illus. by Alex T. Smith. uncle who raise him, the neighborhood Della’s moth-
Candlewick, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978- boys who torment him, and social worker er’s schizophre-
0-7636-9563-7 Ms. Blinny, who provides a safe haven in nia took con-
Bus driver Bert Brown feels like he’s her office. When Mason’s new friend trol. Now, as a
having a heart attack at work, but the Calvin goes missing, Lieutenant Baird drought
fluttering in his chest turns out to be a returns with more questions for Mason. threatens their
tiny angel lodged in his pocket. When a Poignant and suspenseful, Mason’s story North Carolina
stunned Bert brings the creature home to crystallizes an adolescent boy’s joys and farm, her
his wife, Betty, she knows just what to do: fears as he comes into his own. Ages 8–12. mother once
fix him dinner, make him a little bed, and again becomes
give him a fitting name. It doesn’t take The Turnaway Girls preoccupied by germs and debilitated by
long for the angel, whom they name Hayley Chewins. Candlewick, $16.99 fear. Della tries to step up, taking care of
Angelino, to become a beloved member (272p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9792-1 her sister, Mylie, a rebellious toddler, and
of the couple’s family, as well as a popular Delphernia Undersea, 12, longs to letting her mother rest. She feels responsi-
student at the school where Betty works. escape the dank cloister where she must ble; after all, the doctors say that it was
But two villains are watching the angel’s silence her singing voice or be “swallowed Della’s birth that first woke the schizo-
every move, waiting for the opportunity by the sea.” As one of the turnaways, who phrenia. Still, she can’t help but wish for a
to kidnap him. Almond (Harry Miller’s are neither seen nor heard, Delphernia’s normal mother, and she is disappointed in
Run) once again works his magic to draw only function is to make shimmer: gold her father, whose own anxiety closes him
readers into a world of wonderful possi- molded from the music of the Masters, off, leaving Della abandoned. In her debut
bilities and dreadful obstacles, captured which pays the Custodian of Blightsend novel, Baldwin presents a realistic por-
in Smith’s whimsical pencil drawings. He for their upkeep. Delphernia can’t seem to trayal of life with a mentally ill parent; the
makes it clear that heroes, villains, and create shimmer, though, and is punished simultaneous confusion and frustrated
angels alike are products of their environ- cruelly for it. Then, while everyone sleeps, anger ring true. There isn’t an easy answer
ments, and that a little nurturing (or Delphernia frees her voice, creating a to Della’s guilt and her mother’s illness,

56 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8

but, with the help of family and friends, directly, Lizzie relates the unexpected
Della begins to view her mother as she events that unfold: the kidnapping of her
is—sick—and accept the support of those friend and uncle by two convicts escaped
who love her. Ages 8–12. from the nearby prison, the steps Lizzie
takes to rescue them, and the terrible
Why Can’t I Be You aftermath of the crime. Lizzie is an hon-
Melissa Walker. HarperCollins, $16.99 est, heroic character who is fascinated by
(208p) ISBN 978-0-06-256720-8 biology and the world around her.
Money changes everything, or at least it Kephart’s novel features passages told in
seems that way, in Walker’s (Let’s Pretend stirring poetic language and with a
We Never Met) heartfelt, honest look at how sophisticated, descriptive tone: “The
three pals assess the cost of appearances and shadows between the trees beyond the
the value of friendship. Claire believes her lake are not always bears or wolves or rats
summer before seventh grade is going to or snakes. The end of the world isn’t
be epic. She’s finally deemed old enough to always the end.” Lizzie’s story of friend-
be on her own at Twin Pines Trailer Park ship and family is also one of literary
while her mother works. But her friend depth; readers will be entranced by this
Ronan has been acting different ever since exceptional offering from National Book
his father returned home, and her other Award–finalist Kephart. Ages 10–14.
best friend, Brianna, has settled into a big
new house in a ritzy neighborhood and is You Don’t Know
hosting her glamorous cousin. Claire feels Everything, Jilly P!
left out and jealous, and until now, she has Alex Gino. Scholastic Press, $16.99
never doubted her friends or felt embar- (256p) ISBN 978-0-545-95624-6
rassed about where she lives. It’s only when Twelve-year-old Jilly may know every-
Ronan goes missing that Claire realizes thing there is to know about the charac-
what it means to be a true friend. With a ters of Magically Mysterious Vidalia, her
clear, compelling voice, Walker creates a favorite book trilogy, but she has a lot to
believable world where socioeconomic ten- learn about people and dynamics in her
sions challenge, but never defeat, her well- own world. In a novel that carries a strong
rounded characters. The young protago- social message, Gino (George) traces the
nists convey the anxiety, awkwardness, and stages of Jilly’s enlightenment across mul-
first glints of maturity that come with tiple events. As Jilly becomes aware of
being almost 12, and Claire’s caring par- racially charged microaggressions occur-
ents offer a steadfast support that help ring within her family, and a number of
anchor the story in its satisfying, happy police shootings target black teens, she
ending. Ages 8–12. finds her white parents unwilling to dis-
cuss either. Her growing friendship with a
Wild Blues black, Deaf boy she meets online (“Big-D
Beth Kephart. Atheneum/Dlouhy, Deaf is about community and ASL,” he
$17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4814- informs her) aligns temporally with the
9153-2 discovery that her infant sister has a hear-
Lizzie’s mom has been diagnosed with ing impairment, but she makes mistakes
cancer and needs treatment, and she asks in her enthusiasm to learn about Deaf cul-
her 13-year-old daughter where she wants ture. For the first time, Jilly comes to rec-
to spend the summer. Lizzie chooses to be ognize that people face different chal-
with her uncle Davy at his renovated lenges—and sees how her own actions can
schoolhouse cabin in the Adirondacks. impact situations for better and for worse.
Despite her worry over her mother, she is If the book’s dialogue sometimes seems to
excited to spend time with Uncle Davy, a exist in the service of its lessons, its
television star who specializes in antiques, thoughtful handling of characters and
and her friend Matias, an El Salvadoran dynamics offers fodder for further discus-
boy who suffers from proportionate sion about privilege in all its forms. As
dwarfism and paints beautiful watercol- Jilly’s Aunt Alicia says, “Nothing changes
ors. Addressing a mysterious listener if we don’t talk.” Ages 8–12.

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 57
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

The Accidental Bad Girl
Maxine Kaplan. Amulet, $18.99 (384p)
increase his chances of getting a full ride
to college. His best friend Nasir views
of intimacy and understanding, and then
take to the sea disguised as men to guar-
antee their autonomy. On New Year’s Eve
1999, amid Y2K fever, Turkish-American
Ezgi Olmez’s estranged best friend arrives
on her doorstep to declare her feelings as
ISBN 978-1-4197-2858-7 this choice as a defection and cuts ties what could be the end of the world
After getting caught with her best with Bunny. Ribay (An Infinite Number of approaches in Sara Farizan’s “The End of
friend’s ex-boyfriend, Grant Powers, Parallel Universes) conveys both boys’ iso- the World as We Know It.” This anthol-
17-year-old Kendall Evans starts her lation: Bunny struggles as one of the few ogy of distinct stories and experiences is
senior year at Brooklyn’s private Howell black students in his school (“Most days I exceptional in scope and quality, and
Preparatory School branded as a “slut.” don’t feel like anything more than their gives voice to the experiences that have
Her best friend, Audrey Khalil, won’t mascot”), and Nasir wrestles with rejec- long existed but often go unrepresented.
speak to her, while Grant is unscathed by tion and frustration, particularly as he Ages 14–up.
the scandal. Kendall plans to keep her compares Bunny’s good fortune with the
head down until she can escape to Rice dire circumstances facing his cousin All We Can Do Is Wait
University’s accelerated astrophysics Wallace: “He’s got the world looking out Richard Lawson. Razorbill, $17.99
senior semester program, but she’s for him. I’m the only one in Wallace’s (288p) ISBN 978-0-448-49411-1
wrongly corner.” As the boys take tentative steps Lawson’s empathetic, wrenching debut
accused of to salvage their friendship, they navigate zeroes in on five teenagers from various
stealing high-stakes choices and consider the value demographics and family situations, who
“doses” from of loyalty, integrity, and sacrifice in a meet in the waiting room at Boston
drug dealer story driven by fast-paced drama on and General Hospital, seeking news about
Mason Frye. off the court. Ages 14–up. whether their loved ones survived a
With help bridge collapse. Chapters shift among
from fellow All Out: The No-Longer- Lawson’s complex and carefully drawn
outcast Simone Secret Stories of Queer characters, offering distinct points of view
Moody and Teens Throughout the Ages and providing aching insight into the
theater geek Edited by Saundra Mitchell. Harlequin personal pain that colors their perspec-
Michael Teen, $18.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-335- tives. For Alexa, a wealthy high achiever,
“Gilly” Gilbert, Kendall sets out to clear 47045-4 the accident triggers guilt and rekindles
her name and discovers that her inner In this noteworthy collection, Mitchell an old grief; her brother, Jason—stoned,
“bad girl” may not be so bad after all. collects short stories from 17 authors, closeted, and miserable—suffers with
Kaplan’s sharply written, twisty thriller, including Malinda Lo, Alex Sanchez, guilt and grief of his own. Skyler, of
narrated by the savvy Kendall, deftly Mackenzi Lee, and Shaun David Cambodian heritage, fears facing the
explores the shades of gray between Hutchison, and presents queer characters world without her strong, dependable sis-
“good” and “bad” and the freedom of across a variety of historical settings. ter, and working-class Scott waits for
self-acceptance and shines a light on Anna-Marie McLemore sets the tone for information about the girl he loves.
issues such as rape culture, bullying, and the collection with “Roja,” a merging of Meanwhile, Morgan deals with a private
enduring sexual double standards. This the legend of la Carambada, a female tragedy while the world focuses on the
love letter to any girl who’s ever been Mexican outlaw in the 1870s who wore public catastrophe. Debut novelist
labeled “bad” will enthrall readers. Ages men’s clothing, and a spin on “Little Red Lawson, formerly of Gawker and current
14–up. Riding Hood,” in which a girl falls for a film critic at Vanity Fair, builds suspense
transgender as readers learn information the characters
After the Shot Drops soldier. don’t know, while twists and revelations
Randy Ribay. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Natalie about the teenagers’ motivations for com-
$17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-328-70227-2 Parker’s “The ing to the hospital result in a gripping
Told in alternating first-person narra- Sweet Trade” and emotionally invigorating story. Ages
tives, this layered and emotionally rich introduces two 12–up.
story gracefully captures its protagonists’ young women
external pressures and inner conflicts. in Virginia American Panda
Aware of his parents’ financial struggles, Colony, 1717, Gloria Chao. Simon Pulse, $17.99
high school sophomore and basketball who flee their (320p) ISBN 978-1-4814-9910-1
star Bunny accepts a full scholarship to wedding days, Mei is only 17 and already a freshman
St. Sebastian’s, a private school, hoping to share moments at MIT, but her Taiwanese immigrant

58 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8

parents won’t be satisfied until she has a medical degree, a
Taiwanese doctor husband, and children. To ensure the success
of this plan, Mei’s mother monitors Mei’s behavior, calling con-
stantly, nagging her to be more feminine, and engineering meet-

ups with approved boys. But there’s so much her parents don’t
know: the boy Mei likes is Japanese American, she’s too germo-
phobic to be a doctor, and she’d rather be dancing. Worse, she’s
in touch with the brother her parents disowned when he failed to
meet family standards. Chao’s effervescent debut explores topics
and themes that are salient for all teens—finding oneself and
establishing an identity separate from one’s family—and perhaps
Ages 13-18
even more so for children of immigrants, who have a foot in two
cultures and an ever-present awareness of the sacrifices their par-
ents have made. With sensitivity and an abundance of humor, “A gripping
Chao captures Mei’s growing realization that her desires are political thriller”
worth pursuing and the way that this discovery eventually brings —Kirkus
Mei and her mother closer together. Ages 12–up. Booklist

American Road Trip

Patrick Flores-Scott. Holt/Ottaviano, $17.99 (336p)
ISBN 978-1-62779-741-2
The past few years have brought many hardships to Teodoro
Avila, known as T, and his family. But during his junior year, T
develops high hopes for the future. He is enjoying a budding
romance, his grades are improving, and his brother, Manny, is
finally coming home from deployment in Iraq. But when Manny Ages 7-11
returns suffering from PTSD, his violent outbursts and bouts of
PB: $8.99
depression are messing up T’s plans to get himself and his family
back on the right track. As tensions mount and the school year “A zany, funny
draws to a close, T’s older sister, Xochitl, decides it’s time for her
and her brothers to hit the road. Unbeknownst to T and Manny,
she has a plan—but if it doesn’t work, there could be devastating
consequences. In a story about mending broken ties, making sac-
rifices, and visiting landscapes and loved ones from the past,
Flores-Scott (Jumped In) invites readers to follow T on a road trip
that brings to life the Avilas’ Latino heritage and Manny’s disor-
der. In addition to the book’s serious subject matter, it celebrates
many things: family love, realized dreams, and the taste of a
green chile cheeseburger. Ages 12–up.
Ages 6-10
The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza $19.99
Shaun David Hutchinson. Simon Pulse, $17.99 (448p)
ISBN 978-1-4814-9854-8 ”A must-
Sixteen-year-old Elena Mendoza doesn’t have a father—hers
picture book”
was a virgin birth (scientifically known as parthenogenesis), and —SLJ
Elena has never stopped feeling like an outsider or freak. Elena
also hears voices, and after her crush Winifred (aka Freddie) is
shot while Elena is working at Starbucks, the voice (coming from
the company’s corporate logo) tells Elena to heal her—which she
does. Caustically funny and irreverent, the voices urge Elena to
heal others, but people disappear from the planet every time she
does. As he did in At the Edge of the Universe and We Are the Ants,

Hutchinson uses an “Is this the end of all things?” premise to cre-
ate provocative and moving insights into the angst, wonder, and
uncertainty of being a teenager. Elena’s carefully developed rela-

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 59
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

tionships with her supportive best friend 15-year-old altogether. Then Rose arrives, fulfilling a
Fadil, her ex Javier, the conflicted Leigh travels desperate bargain made between her
Freddie, and her family bring additional from the U.S. impoverished merchant father and the
depth to a thoughtful story about choice to Taiwan, Beast, and Lucie must find a way to pro-
and destiny. Ages 14–up. where she tect her friend from falling in love,
hopes to come breaking his curse, and thus allowing the
The Assassination of to terms with cruel Jean-Loup to return. Jensen (The
Brangwain Spurge the tragedy Witch from the Sea) includes all of the
M.T. Anderson, illus. by Eugene Yelchin. while getting tale’s most significant elements—includ-
Candlewick, $24.99 (544p) ISBN 978- to know the ing the classic romance, evoking both the
0-7636-9822-5 maternal traditional story and the Disney ver-
In a witty, offbeat adventure, elfin his- grandparents sion—while still adding new twists and
torian Magister Brangwain Spurge is sent she has never met. Convinced that her depths. Haunting language and lush
by Lord Ysoret Clivers, of the Order of mother has been reincarnated as a great descriptions (“the petals are long-dead;
the Clean Hand, to the allegedly wicked red bird and eager to understand what they have lost their bright color and vel-
goblin court of Ghohg the Evil One; once happened, Leigh looks for symbols and vety texture and curled into crisp, dry
there, Spurge is to present the ruler with meaning in the world around her; a cinders...”) engage the senses, making
a carved gemstone and broker peace. After stack of incense sticks grants her visions this a memorable, worthy addition to the
crossing the that allow insight into her mother’s past canon of “Beauty and the Beast” retell-
Bonecruel and family history. At the same time, ings. Ages 16–up.
Mountains via flashbacks illuminate Leigh’s compli-
crossbow cap- cated relationship with her best friend Blood and Sand
sule, Spurge is Axel, whom she kissed the day her C.V. Wyk. Tor Teen, $17.99 (320p)
welcomed by mother died. Pan’s emotionally charged ISBN 978-0-7653-8009-8
his host, the debut is a compelling exploration of In an action-packed debut novel, Wyk
unfailingly grief and the insidiousness of depres- reimagines the legendary story of
polite goblin sion. Her narrator, an artist by nature, Spartacus. It’s a dark day when 17-year-
historian sees the world through a colorful, com- old Thracian warrior princess Attia is sold
Werfel the plicated lens, and the novel is steeped in into slavery to the House of Timeus, after
Archivist, who its Taiwanese setting. The subtlety and the Romans slaughter her people and kill
is eager to make friends with a profes- ambiguity of the supernatural elements her family, including her father, the
sional fellow and show him his beloved place this story in the realm of magical Thracian king. After being branded,
culture. But most of goblin culture realism, full of ghosts and complex feel- Attia is presented as a gift to Josias
involves rehashing its conflict with ings and sending an undeniable message Neleus Timeus’s champion gladiator,
Spurge’s people, leading to a chain of about the power of hope and inner Xanthus Maximus Colossus, who is also
interpersonal misunderstandings. Things strength. Ages 12–up. enslaved and who loathes the killing he
go sideways when Spurge tries to present must do for his master. As Attia gets to
his gift to Ghogh the Evil One, and the Beast: know those in the household—especially
two must flee the city, then rely on each A Tale of Love and Revenge Timeus’s mistress Lucretia, whose abuse
other to survive murderous bandits and Lisa Jensen. Candlewick Press, $18.99 at his brutal hands is heartbreaking—her
ogres, firestorms, and treachery. Told in (352p) ISBN 978-0-7636-8880-6 plan to kill the man responsible for her
narrative and illustrated pages—Werfel’s In this compelling reimagining of people’s slaughter is shadowed by new
experiences and Spurge’s visual dispatches “Beauty and the Beast,” Jensen integrates purpose and new love for the honorable
back home—the story by Anderson (Feed) a new plot thread in the form of a third and kind Xanthus. Attia makes an irre-
and Yelchin (Arcady’s Goal) blends the protagonist into the familiar fairy tale. sistible Spartacus, an accomplished
absurd and the timely to explore com- Chambermaid Lucie is transformed into fighter and a fearless young woman deter-
monality, long-standing conflict, and who an ever-burning candlestick by the same mined to forge her own destiny.
gets to write a world’s history. Final art spell that turns the wicked Jean-Loup, Revelations in the finale pave the way for
not seen by PW. Ages 10–12. Chevalier du Beaumont, into the gentle- what promises to be an epic battle in the
souled, monstrous-seeming Beast. next book. Ages 13–up.
The Astonishing Color of Because Jean-Loup sexually assaulted her
After soon after they first met, Lucie is eager to Blood Water Paint
Emily X.R. Pan. Little, Brown, $18.99 witness his downfall, but equally unpre- Joy McCullough. Dutton, $17.99 (304p)
(480p) ISBN 978-0-316-46399-7 pared to develop sympathy for the Beast, ISBN 978-0-7352-3211-2
In the wake of her mother’s suicide, who seems an entirely different person McCullough’s debut, told primarily in

60 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

verse, intro- a thing”), she grows into her own power her companions swear a blood oath to
duces 17-year- and finds the strength to stand against slay the fabled Blue Vee Beast, which
old Artemisia her own rapist. A haunting, stirring cyclically terrorizes a local jarldom. As
Gentileschi, depiction of an unforgettable woman, the Mercies journey across Vorseland,
who was in Artemisia’s story will resonate deeply threats and temptations test them
real life a tal- with readers today and beyond. Ages repeatedly, and they must choose
ented young 14–up. between quiet safety and death-defying
painter during heroism. Frey’s fittingly lyrical voice
the Italian The Boneless Mercies narrates her band’s exploits (“The marsh
Baroque April Genevieve Tucholke. Farrar, was death, and this was life. Apple
period. Straus and Giroux, $18.99 (352p) liquor on the tongue, drying herbs
Grudgingly ISBN 978-0-374-30706-6 scenting the air”). Tucholke (Wink Poppy
trained by her father and forced to sign In this evocative fantasy loosely Midnight) injects close intimacy into her
his name to her clearly superior work, inspired by Beowulf, four young women lush saga, interweaving love and murder,
Artemisia chafes against the confines of who have devoted their lives to ritual mercy and glory into her portrayal of life
being a woman in a male-dominated mercy killing as “Mercies” or “Boneless and death. It is a beautiful, haunting
world. When an established artist takes Mercies” decide to give up that sad, dark modern-day epic that stars a bold and
an interest in her, Artemisia reaches for work in favor resourceful sisterhood of heroines
the opportunity to improve her craft, but of more satis- unafraid to claim agency. Ages 12–up.
she soon learns that his interest is less fying pursuits:
than noble and her protestations are no honor, glory, Bridge of Clay
protection. Interspersed throughout and a chance Markus Zusak. Knopf, $26 (544p)
Artemisia’s story are those of ancient her- at appearing ISBN 978-0-375-84559-8
oines Susanna and Judith, two women in legend. In This exquisitely written multigenera-
who stand against men who covet their order to earn tional family saga by Zusak (The Book
bodies and seek to destroy. As Artemisia enough money Thief), his first novel in 13 years,
tries to tell the truths of these women on to do as they weaves the story of a missing father
canvas (“I know/ what it is to be will, 17-year- and a bridge-building brother. The five
watched,/ to be leered at what it is to be old Frey and Dunbar brothers are beholden to only
themselves after the death of their

mother and abandonment by their
Markus Zusak father (“Our mother was dead./ Our
father had fled”). Matthew, the eldest,
Did the success of The Book Thief affect your puts their story to paper by way of “the
writing process when approaching Bridge of Clay old TW,” a typewriter: “Let me tell you
or other subsequent projects? about our brother./ The fourth Dunbar
Yes and no. There’s no definitive answer. I was boy named Clay./ Everything happened
more beaten up by The Book Thief than I thought. to him./ We were all of us changed
Finishing that book felt like such a hard thing, and through him.” Slipping back and forth
it took a lot out of me. It took a while to start in time, the book maps a complex his-
Bridge of Clay—and I wasn’t quite ready when I tory: grown and married with two
started. Then, The Book Thief started doing well. children, Matthew recounts their moth-
When a book does so much better than you’ve er’s immigration to the United States at
anticipated, so much good stuff comes with it. You age 18, their father’s upbringing and
get to visit countries you’ve never been to before first marriage, and young life in the
and do things you’ve never dreamed possible. But, chaotic, loving Dunbar household of
when the doors open that wide, a bit of darkness five boys—then devastation after their
comes through, too. You’re going to get more bad father disappears. The deftly woven
reviews and readers who don’t like your book— threads build tension as Zusak’s skillful
and people who are extremely happy to tell you so. That’s part of being a writer. use of foreshadowing and symbolism
You’re always having to ask yourself, ‘How much do I want this?’ brings long-held secrets to the surface.
—Sara Grochowski With heft and historical scope, Zusak
creates a sensitively rendered tale of
■ For the complete interview, go to
loss, grief, and guilt’s manifestations.
Ages 14–up.

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 61
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

there is cause
Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani for hope.
Thanks to
As an author of fiction and a journalist, what information
made you decide to tell this story as a novel, gleaned from
rather than a work of nonfiction? And what was
Saran’s kind-
your research process like? hearted daugh-
Fictionalizing the experiences of the thousands of ter, Amari,
women and girls kidnapped by the Boko Haram 17-year-old
terrorist group is sort of my way of hijacking the Zélie has a
interest of people who normally don’t pay attention chance to
to the news. Over the past four years, I’ve written restore magic
dozens of newspaper articles about the Boko to Orïsha and activate a new generation of
Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria, sometimes maji. First, though, Zélie, Amari, and
spending days in remote towns. Still, I frequently Zélie’s brother Tzain must outrun the
come across people, sometimes family and friends, crown prince, Inan, who is determined to
who still know little or nothing about the crisis or finish what his father started by eradicat-
about the horrors that these women and girls con- ing magic for good. Book one in the
tinue to endure. That can be really dismaying. Orïsha Legacy trilogy, Adeyemi’s devastat-
Many of these same people who’ve now read Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree ing debut is a brutal, beautiful tale of revo-
call me to discuss what they’ve read and to marvel at some of the incidents lution, faith, and star-crossed love. By
I’ve described. To tackle their incredulity, I send them links to articles I’d writ- making tangible the power that comes
ten over the years, in which I quoted and photographed actual human beings from embracing one’s heritage, Adeyemi
who’ve lived through the experiences described in my book. Viviana Mazza’s conjures a story that resonates with magic
afterword also does a great job of backing up my fiction with fact. While my both literal and figurative while condemn-
novel merges many of the stories I’ve heard from dozens of girls who were kid- ing apathy in the face of injustice.
napped by Boko Haram, Viviana’s afterword quotes actual girls, their families, Complex characters, colossal stakes, and a
and gives a thorough historical background to the insurgency. —Kate Dunn kaleidoscopic narrative captivate, and the
book’s punishing pace catapults readers to
■ For the complete interview, go to
a jaw-dropping conclusion that poses as
many questions as it answers. Ages 14–up.
Buried Beneath the Come to You by Chance) details unspeakable
Baobab Tree horrors: the slaying of family and friends, Contagion
Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani. forced marriage and serial rape, a friend’s Erin Bowman. HarperTeen, $17.99
HarperCollins/Tegen, $17.99 (336p) successful indoctrination and willing (432p) ISBN 978-0-06-257414-5
ISBN 978-0-06-269672-4 martyrdom to the Boko Haram cause. Hevetz Industries intern Althea Sadik
Visions of a bright future crumble in An afterword by Italian journalist Mazza is in the Trios planetary system assisting
this harrowing story based on the 2014 recounts the process of interviewing sur- renowned microbiologist Dr. Lisbeth
kidnapping of 276 Chibok girls by terror- vivors, escapees, and their families as Tarlow when a storm forces the evacua-
ist group Boko Haram. In short, sparse research. Unflinching in its direct view of tion of their research facility. Most per-
chapters with oft-repeated titles (“The an ongoing tragedy, this important novel sonnel are sent home, but the forewoman
Voice on Papa’s Radio”), the unnamed will open discussions about human rights orders Thea and Lisbeth to board the
narrator describes her daily life in Nigeria— and violence against women and girls Odyssey, which is traveling to the planet
friends and family, domestic responsibili- worldwide. Ages 13–up. Achlys to investigate a distress call. The
ties, school studies resulting in a govern- ship arrives to discover the remote rock
ment scholarship, and dreams of becom- Children of Blood and Bone strewn with corpses. A now-deceased
ing a teacher. Her hopes vanish when she Tomi Adeyemi. Holt, $18.99 (544p) engineer has left a disturbing video advis-
witnesses her father’s slaughter at the ISBN 978-1-250-17097-2 ing Hevetz to abandon the operation, plus
hands of militants and then is kidnapped Eleven years ago, King Saran cemented a note scrawled in blood: “It got in us and
and enslaved with girls and women from his grip on the throne by banishing magic most are dead. Decklan flew for help.
her village and forcibly converted to radi- from Orïsha and slaughtering the realm’s Don’t trust the kid.” The Odyssey crew
cal Islam. The evocative, incisive portrayal maji—Zélie Adebola’s mother included. combs Achlys in search of survivors and
of daily life before and after the abduction The maji’s descendants—dark-skinned, the cause of the carnage. Unfortunately
brings both realities into stark relief as white-haired people called divîners—have for them, they find both. First in a duol-
Nigerian author Nwaubani (I Do Not lived under tyranny ever since, but now ogy, this horror-tinged sci-fi thriller from

62 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
T M A C
New From Torben Kuhlmann Click her
for a free
★ “Kuhlmann has created another
science-based adventure full
of delightful details.”
—School Library Journal

★ “Edison is a beautiful and inspiring

tale about two tiny creatures who refuse
to belittle themselves by accepting the
limits of ‘Never!’”—Foreword Reviews

“Recommend this engrossing mix of

STEM and animal adventure to kids
fascinated by engineering or invention.”

“As in Kuhlmann’s Armstrong (2016)
and Lindbergh (2014), the journey
turns out to be at least as rewarding as
the prize.”—Kirkus Reviews
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

Bowman (Retribution Rails) unfolds from come him twists. Ages 12–up.
multiple viewpoints via a kaleidoscopic with open
narrative, developing character while arms, however, Devils unto Dust
escalating pace and ratcheting up tension. especially after Emma Berquist. Greenwillow, $17.99
Bowman’s plot is intricate and action- he meets (496p) ISBN 978-0-06-264278-3
packed, her worldbuilding is impressive Sohrab, his In Berquist’s blistering debut, it’s
yet economical, and the book climaxes in grandparents’ 1877, and strong-willed 17-year-old
a gripping cliffhanger that sets up the teenaged Daisy “Willie” Wilcox is struggling to
sequel. Ages 13–up. neighbor, who support her three younger siblings in the
invites him to desert town of Glory, Tex. The sickness
The Cruel Prince play soccer that killed Willie’s mother has ravaged
Holly Black. Little, Brown, $18.99 and quickly the country, creating “shakes,” the canni-
(384p) ISBN 978-0-316-31027-7 becomes Darius’s first real friend ever. balistic infected people who roam outside
When Jude Duarte was seven, she While the book doesn’t sugarcoat prob- Glory’s protective fences. Willie’s father
watched Madoc, general to the high king lems in the country (unjust imprison- has run off, and when two men claim that
of Elfhame, slaughter her parents. Madoc ment and an outdated view of mental ill- he stole $400 from them, Willie is given
then dragged Jude and her two sisters off ness are mentioned), it mainly stays a week to find and retrieve him. She
to Faerieland, where he raised them as his focused on the positive—Iran’s impres- reluctantly hires two shake hunters,
own. Ten years later, Jude remains an out- sive landscape and mouthwatering food, brothers Benjamin and Curtis Garrett, to
cast who is cruelly bullied by the other the warmth of its people—as it shows accompany her across the unforgiving
children of Faerie—the king’s youngest how a boy who feels like an outcast at desert. Willie narrates, taking readers on
son, Prince Cardan, chief among them. home finds himself and true friendship a harrowing journey across a searing des-
Jude dreams of becoming a member of overseas. Ages 12–up. ert filled with ghost towns and the walk-
the High Court and the power that it ing dead. Exploring the bonds of loyalty,
confers, so when the opportunity arises for The Dark Descent of friendship, and bravery in the face of
her to enter into the service of one of Elizabeth Frankenstein impossible odds, Berquist cleverly riffs on
Cardan’s brothers, she seizes it, inadver- Kiersten White. Delacorte, $18.99 the work of Cormac McCarthy, blending
tently placing herself at the center of a (304p) ISBN 978-0-525-57794-2 the excitement and harsh beauty of the
bloody coup and endangering the lives of With this elegantly twisted retelling of frontier with a straight shot of zombie
everyone she loves. First in a trilogy, this the birth of a monster, White (Beanstalker terror. This wild western will delight hor-
spellbinding fantasy from Black (The and Other Hilarious Scarytales) resurrects ror and adventure fans alike. Ages 13–up.
Darkest Part of the Forest) reflects on the the Gothic tale of survival found in Mary
cost of ambition and explores the bomb- Shelley’s Frankenstein, which turns 200 Down and Across
strewn border between love and hate. this year. Rescued from an abusive care- Arvin Ahmadi. Viking, $17.99 (336p)
Breathtaking set pieces, fully developed giver at age five, Elizabeth Lavenza is ISBN 978-0-425-28987-7
supporting characters, and a beguiling, brought to the Frankenstein family’s villa First-time author Ahmadi writes a
tough-as-nails heroine enhance an intri- to act as companion to young Victor memorable coming-of-age novel all
cate, intelligent plot that crescendos to a Frankenstein, a brilliant child prone to about grit: wanting it, wondering how to
jaw-dropping third-act twist. Ages 15–up. rage. Elizabeth becomes everything to get it, and discovering where it lies.
Victor—his champion and protector, his Saaket “Scott” Ferdowsi, an impulsive
Darius the Great Is Not Okay friend and confidante—and hones her 16-year-old, is left at home in
Adib Khorram. Dial, $17.99 (320p) manipulative talents. But when the errant Philadelphia while his parents visit their
ISBN 978-0-525-55296-3 genius leaves the family to study and homeland of Iran. Scott is supposed to be
First-time author Khorram’s coming- doesn’t write for almost two years, leaving getting serious about life by doing an
of-age novel brings to life the sights, Elizabeth open to possible dismissal from internship (which involves examining
sounds, smells, and tastes of a culture the Frankenstein home, she enlists the aid “microscopic mouse poop”), but he keeps
steeped in tradition. After learning that of her friend Justine to track him down. thinking about a Georgetown University
her Iranian father is ailing, high school What she discovers in a strange Bavarian study that his father mentioned before
sophomore Darius’s mother decides to town is another link in a chain of horror leaving. According to professor Cecily
take the family to visit her father and rel- that only grows after he’s found. Skillful Mallard, the chief predictor of success
atives in Iran. Suffering from chronic worldbuilding and foreshadowing isn’t grades or IQ but grit, “a person’s
depression and bullied at school in steadily build suspense to a breathtaking ability to stick with something.” Feeling
America, Darius isn’t sure how he’ll fare climax. Fans of psychological horror will inadequate in that area, Scott hops a bus
in a country he’s never seen. It doesn’t luxuriate in the familiar feel of the time- to Washington, D.C., to seek out the
take him long to adjust as people wel- less story and thrill at its unexpected professor’s advice. Thus begins a sequence

64 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

of misadventures and serendipitous between the eye-opening window into the rigidly
encounters as an adventurous crossword United States restricted lives, clandestine rebellions,
puzzle enthusiast, a big-hearted bar- and Liberia, and consequential choices of women in a
tender, and Professor Mallard steer Scott Gibney (See No land where “everything we want is forbid-
into challenging and rewarding situa- Color) captures den or dangerous.” The perils inherent in
tions, all recorded in Scott’s self-effacing moments of trusting anyone affect all of Leena’s rela-
and funny first-person narration. Witty, wrenching tionships, as bitter experience necessitates
smart, and inspiring, the novel celebrates decision-mak- stringent precautions to distinguish allies
life’s big and little surprises and the con- ing in her from enemies. Whether describing the
nections made between people that lead characters’ freedom of learning to drive (“Raw power
to profound changes. Ages 12–up. lives. The flowed through my veins”) or her humili-
opening story, ating punishment when discovered dis-
Dread Nation set in 2008 in a Minnesota community guised as a man (“I felt rather than heard
Justina Ireland. HarperCollins/ roiled by ethnic tensions between my hair fall”), Leena’s commanding voice
Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (464p) Liberians and African-Americans, features conveys her desperation, courage, and
ISBN 978-0-06-257060-4 drug-dealing teenager Kollie, whose par- intellect in a riveting, ultimately exhila-
In this alternate-history horror tale, ents return him to Liberia to learn to “be rating page-turner. Ages 13–up.
shortly after Jane McKeene was born, the a good boy there again.” In the second
dead rose and attacked the living, effec- story, set in 1926 Liberia, 18-year-old Dry
tively ending the Civil War. A reunified Togor flees brutal Congo soldiers. The Neal and Jarrod Shusterman.
army fought the shambling hordes until third story follows Yasmin and her family Simon & Schuster, $18.99 (400p)
Congress passed the Negro and Native as they move from 1827 Norfolk, Va., to ISBN 978-1-4814-8196-0
Reeducation Act, requiring adolescent Monrovia, Liberia, to escape slavery and In Neal Shusterman (Thunderhead) and
children of color to train for battle. At age establish a home. The final stories circle son Jarrod’s near-future or alternate-pres-
14, Jane—who is mixed race—enrolled at back to Kollie’s immediate family—con- ent America, a prolonged drought (“the
Miss Preston’s School of Combat for Negro cluding with a chapter devoted to his Tap-Out”) results in the sudden curtail-
Girls, hoping to avoid conscription by queer younger sister, Angel, in 2018 ment of Southern California’s water sup-
becoming a socialite’s bodyguard. Three Minneapolis. With riveting, lyrical prose, ply. When their parents vanish while
years later, Jane is close to earning her Gibney’s accomplished novel explores seeking desalinated water, 16-year-old
attendant certificate when she, her ex, and universal themes of home, family, power Alyssa and 10-year-old Garrett embark
her rival stumble across a dastardly plot struggles, and endurance while demon- on a harrowing journey, searching for
hatched by Baltimore’s elite. First in a strating the liberating power of storytell- their parents and fending for themselves
duology, Ireland’s gripping novel is teem- ing. Ages 14–up. as society deteriorates. Along the way,
ing with monsters—most of them human. the siblings pick up three teens: their
Abundant action, thoughtful worldbuild- Driving by Starlight survivalist neighbor Kelton, unpredict-
ing, and a brave, smart, and skillfully Anat Deracine. Holt, $17.99 (288p) able lone wolf Jacqui, and calculating
drawn cast entertain as Ireland (Promise of ISBN 978-1-250-13342-7 opportunist Henry. This thriller alter-
Shadows) illustrates the ignorance and In Deracine’s suspenseful debut, a nates between the teens’ distinct and
immorality of racial discrimination and 16-year-old girl navigates the high-stakes plausible viewpoints, occasionally sup-
examines the relationship between equal- terrain of friendship, education, and cul- plementing with brief “snapshots” of
ity and freedom. Mounting peril creates a tural police in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Leena, others (a fleeing family, a news anchor)
pulse-pounding pace, hurtling readers whose dissident father is imprisoned, dealing with the escalating catastrophe.
toward a nail-biting conclusion that studies law and longs for college. Living The dynamic core-character relationships
inspires and will leave them apprehensive in a home without men, Leena practices a are satisfying, and the intersection of
about what’s to come. Ages 14–up. risky custom called boyat, dressing as a their narrative with the snapshots adds
man to escort her hardworking, tight- depth to briefly glimpsed characters and
Dream Country lipped, “full of secrets” mother on errands. illuminates the full scale of the disaster.
Shannon Gibney. Dutton, $17.99 Leena’s friend Mishail, a government offi- The lack of warning before the long-
(368p) ISBN 978-0-7352-3167-2 cial’s daughter, seeks adventure, wearing looming crisis breaks may require some
This expansive tale, composed of inter- contraband lingerie, walking outside initial suspension of disbelief, but the
woven stories, features members of a fam- without a male escort, and flirting with palpable desperation that pervades the
ily tree that spans five generations and boys, seemingly oblivious to the potential plot as it thunders toward the ending
two continents, united in their sense of consequences: “Colored clothes could get feels true, giving it a chilling air of inevi-
displacement and longing for a homeland you sent to the headmistress’s office. Boys tability. It is also thoroughly effective as
where they can thrive. Alternating got you beheaded.” Deracine offers an a study of how extreme circumstances can

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 65
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

bring out people’s capacity for both panic reacquainted with a childhood friend, guishes this book, though, is how inci-
and predation, ingenuity and altruism. Porus, she becomes dependent on him for sively and intoxicatingly Ngan writes
Ages 12–up. escape, protection, and the type of gentle about love. Ages 15–up.
affection she has not felt since her moth-
Emergency Contact er’s death. Readers know from the outset The Gone Away Place
Mary H.K. Choi. Simon & Schuster, that Zarin and Porus die in a gruesome Christopher Barzak. Knopf, $17.99
$17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-5344- car accident, and their reflective post- (304p) ISBN 978-0-399-55609-8
0896-8 death narratives share space with chapters Barzak (Wonders of the Invisible World)
Unlike her flirtatious Korean mother, written from the perspectives of others in shows his expertise in conjuring a palpa-
Penny Lee doesn’t have much of a social their orbits. Bhathena’s novel should spur ble sense of otherworldliness in this sad
life, but she hopes that things will change heated discussions about sexist double and eerie tale set in Ohio. Following a
when she goes off to college in Austin, standards and the ways societies restrict, fight with her boyfriend, Noah, high
Tex., to pursue becoming a writer. She control, and punish women and girls. school senior Ellie Frame decides to skip
soon meets Sam, her roommate’s 21-year- Ages 14–up. school to go to the lighthouse, a town
old uncle, a college dropout and talented landmark and popular refuge for teens.
baker who works (and lives) at a local cof- Girls of Paper and Fire Here, she witnesses a succession of torna-
fee house. They barely know each other, Natasha Ngan. Little, Brown/Patterson, does that flatten much of the town and
but, after Penny catches Sam in a vulnera- $18.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-316-56136-5 kill 150 people, including her three best
ble moment (he thinks he’s having a heart In this rich fantasy from Ngan (The friends and Noah. Reeling from grief,
attack but is actually suffering from anxi- Memory Keepers), the citizens of Ikhara Ellie begins to see something over the
ety) they agree to be each other’s emer- comprise three castes: the oppressed, next few weeks—the ghosts of people
gency contacts. Soon, they are exchanging fully human “Paper” class; “Steel,” a she knew, all of whom speak to her as
texts and sharing secrets they’ve never human-animal though they were alive. Others in town
divulged. In her first novel, writer and mash-up; and have seen ghosts, too, and Ellie broods
reporter Choi sensitively shows the evolu- the reigning over why Noah, the person she misses
tion of two lonely, complicated people “Moon” caste, most, has failed to make an appearance.
who slowly emerge from their shells to made up of The gray aura of tragedy might be
risk an intimate relationship. Her sharp anthropomor- oppressive if not for the book’s suspense-
wit and skillful character development (of phic animals ful elements and glimmers of light,
Penny’s mother: “in jeans and a faded called demons. small miracles that inspire hope and
T-shirt that read Slay Hunty, Celeste Every year, the emotional healing. Ellie’s quest to find
resembled an incoming freshman as much Moon caste’s Noah and help other ghosts who want to
as Penny did”) ensure that readers will king claims be released from their bonds to earth is
feel that they know Penny and Sam inside eight “Paper highly spiritual and deeply moving.
and out before the gratifying conclusion. Girls” as concubines. It’s an alleged Ages 14–up.
Ages 14–up. honor, but when the military collects
golden-eyed, 17-year-old Lei from her The Good Demon
A Girl Like That family’s herbal medicine shop, she’s dev- Jimmy Cajoleas, illus. by Michael
Tanaz Bhathena. Farrar, Straus and astated. Her father will suffer if she Hoeweler. Amulet, $18.99 (320p)
Giroux, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0- resists, however, and she wonders about ISBN 978-1-4197-3127-3
374-30544-4 finding her mother, also taken, so Lei Not every spiritual possession is
Bhathena makes an impressive debut relocates to the ruler’s Hidden Palace. unwanted. Clarabella, 16, feels most her-
with this eye-opening novel about a free- Although she dreads being summoned to self with Her—the demon who possesses
spirited girl in present-day Saudi Arabia. the brutal king’s bedroom, Lei finds her (“a voice inside my voice, a body
Orphaned at a young age, Zarin Wadia comfort in the friendship of her fellow inside my body, a spirit inside my
moves in with her uncle and abusive aunt, courtesans—particularly the secretive spirit”), offers her marvels, and keeps her
who constantly shames and beats her. Wren, with whom she falls in love. safe throughout her tough childhood in
“Some people hide, some people fight to Ngan’s plot is tense and tight, her action the deep South. After Reverend Sanders
cover up their shame,” Zarin explains. “I sequences are elegant and adrenaline- and his son perform a “deliverance,”
was always the kind of person who soaked, and her story’s stakes increase holding Clare down and rebuking her
fought.” Her treatment at school is even exponentially through the pulse-pound- demon, all she wants is to feel less alone.
worse—she’s shunned for being different ing conclusion. She champions self- As she looks for ways to get her demon
(she’s Zoroastrian, for starters) and empowerment while condemning clas- back—and begins to fall for the very boy
responds by smoking cigarettes and sism, homophobia, and the commodi- who helped with the sundering—Clare
sneaking out with boys. After Zarin gets fication of women. What most distin- finds a note in Her handwriting (“Be nice

66 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

to him/ June 20/ Remember the stories”). lesbian and Art is gay. However, Zee The Hazel Wood
It leads her to the journal of a missing likes boys, and Art likes girls (at least, Melissa Albert. Flatiron, $16.99 (368p)
boy, once-possessed Kevin Henrikson; to they are pretty sure). Soon after meeting, ISBN 978-1-250-14790-5
Gaspar, the mysterious One Wish Man; they fall for each other. In his third novel, Alice Proserpine has grown up on the
and to her small town’s deep occult Gottfred (Forever for a Year) creates char- run, haunted by a book her mother, Ella,
inheritance. Linework by Hoeweler acters and hilarious dialogue reminiscent has forbidden her from reading: Tales from
shows mesmerizing mystical symbols on of E. Lockhart’s Ruby Oliver books; as in the Hinterland.
a variety of backgrounds. With a careful his other titles, his sex scenes are It’s a collection
build and a terrifying first-person narra- detailed, wonderfully honest, and not a of unsettling
tion, Cajoleas (Goldeline) offers up a story bit gratuitous. With outspoken sincerity, fairy tales
interested in free will that is as gently Zee describes her grief over her mother written by a
ominous as a silent car coasting over a and her heartfelt questions about life— grandmother
road on a hot, humid summer night. her newfound father, her sexuality, her Alice has never
Ages 14–up. best friend (and crush) Cam, and of met, a recluse
course, Art. Equally captivating are Art’s with an obses-
Hamilton and Peggy! exhilarating, wildly emotional chapters, sive fandom.
A Revolutionary Friendship which include playful Venn diagrams Then Althea,
L.M. Elliott. HarperCollins/Tegen, (“Art Charts”). In this big-hearted novel, the grand-
$17.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-06-267130-1 Gottfred explores the fluidity of gender mother, dies, and Ella cryptically declares
Elliott (Suspect Red) combines a flair for and sexuality, including questions about them free. Alice is focused on how they
fiction with masterly research to create a what makes a person straight, gay, or can turn their straw existence into a brick
dense yet eminently readable story about bisexual; the confusion that liking both one after so many peripatetic years, and
Peggy Schuyler, third daughter of Gen. girls and boys can provoke in a teen; she’s bitterly disappointed with Ella’s
Philip Schuyler, one of George and the many nuances of attraction. Ages solution: marry up. Shortly after, Ella
Washington’s right-hand men. Spanning 17–up. goes missing, sending Alice and classmate
the period from 1777 through 1781, as
Peggy ages from 19 to 23, the book pres-

Best of 2018!
ents day-to-day life in Albany and its
environs during the Revolutionary War
years through the eyes of a young woman
witnessing some of its most momentous
events, detailing both the ordinary and
extraordinary through her perceptive
point of view. Well educated and sharp-
witted (but feeling inferior to her older
sisters), Peggy is a strong and appealing
protagonist who eventually takes on a role
in her father’s clandestine work as an
intelligence officer. Elliott does a remark-
able job of humanizing important histori-
In the Rain Am I Yours? The Snow Lion
cal figures; despite the title, Hamilton is ★ Kirkus Reviews ★ Booklist ★ Kirkus Reviews
just one of several intriguing people in
Peggy’s sphere. While the extensive detail
on military and intelligence operations
may overwhelm some readers, the “stub-
born, defiant, willful” Peggy will win
their hearts as she forges on to take her
place alongside her older sisters. Ages

The Handsome Girl & Miguel y su valiente caballero: Leaf Litter Critters Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon
El joven Cervantes sueña a don Quijote ★ Kirkus Reviews ★ Booklist ★ PW ★ SLJ
Her Beautiful Boy ★ Kirkus Reviews
B.T. Gottfred. Holt, $17.99 (432p)
ISBN 978-1-62779-852-5
All their classmates think that Zee is a

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 67
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

Ellery Finch directly to the place Ella threat (“What are you supposed to do accident, and
warned Alice to avoid: the Hazel Wood, when you’re also required to be kind and he’s mourning
Althea’s estate, where Alice painfully helpful as well as vigilant?”). Annabelle’s his heartbro-
unravels the mystery of her childhood. determination to make a difference in ken grandfa-
Albert’s debut is rich with references to spite of her fears sends an inspiring and ther. Inspired
classic children’s literature; Alice’s sharp- empowering message. Ages 14–up. by Faulkner
edged narration and Althea’s terrifying and a stack of
fairy tales, interspersed throughout, build Honor Among Thieves works by
a tantalizing tale of secret histories and Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre. famous poets
magic that carries costs and consequences. HarperCollins/Tegen, $17.99 (480p) (Sexton, Plath,
There is no happily-ever-after resolution ISBN 978-0-06-257099-4 and Rich,
except this: Alice’s hard-won right to be In 2042, sentient spaceships called the among others),
in charge of her own story. Ages 12–up. Leviathan saved Earth from ruin by shar- which his teacher gives him to dig
ing their technology. In return, humans through over the summer, Avery tries his
A Heart in a Body in agreed to provide crew to assist with hand at writing in many forms: journal-
the World research and maintenance while imparting ing, fiction, and free verse. With lyrical
Deb Caletti. Simon Pulse, $18.99 their knowledge and culture. A century lines and very little introduction, Walton
(368p) ISBN 978-1-4814-1520-0 later, it has become customary for the immediately drops readers into the cav-
It’s been nine months since an Leviathan to tap 100 skilled individuals, erns of Avery’s headspace and delivers a
unnamed act of violence left runner known as Honors, every 12 months for difficult, beautifully cadenced novel that
Annabelle “broken and guilty and yearlong deployments. Homeless teenager examines painful aspects of love while
scared.” When an incident at a restaurant Zara Cole isn’t good at anything but fight- offering moments of profound guidance:
triggers bad memories for the high school ing and stealing, so she’s shocked when “Be honest about how you feel/ With the
senior, she takes off running, forming a she’s selected to tour the stars with a people you love/ Who love you/ Who are
plan to go 2,719 miles, from Seattle to Leviathan named Nadim. The experience worth it.” Ages 12–up.
Washington, D.C. In a powerful story of a proves transformative: the previously hard-
survivor trying to regain a sense of justice bitten Zara befriends Beatriz Teixeira, the I Have Lost My Way
and power, Caletti (Honey, Baby, Sweetheart) other human on board, and forms an inef- Gayle Forman. Viking, $18.99 (272p)
details a young woman’s harrowing psy- fable bond with Nadim. Still, Zara can’t ISBN 978-0-425-29077-4
chological and physical journey across the shake the feeling that the Leviathan are After being brought together by an
United States. Thanks to support—writ- hiding something. This series opener from accident in New York City’s Central Park,
ten with tender detail, her younger Caine (the Great Library series) and three struggling teenagers form a fast,
brother and friends create a GoFundMe Aguirre (the Immortal Game trilogy) is powerful friendship in Forman’s elegant
website, her grandfather trails her in his both a thrilling SF novel and a deeply phil- and understated novel, which alternates
well-equipped RV, and a growing fan osophical examination of the nature of between their day together and flashback
base cheers her on—Annabelle’s trek love. Keenly wrought characters, imagina- sections that carefully expose her charac-
quickly evolves into a cause. What hap- tive worldbuilding, and an inventive plot ters’ losses. Freya, a singer on the cusp of
pened to Annabelle and why she feels engage and gratify while urging readers to stardom, has lost her voice, her sister, and
compelled to stay curious, question authority, and fight her father. Harun has been dumped by
run to the injustice. Ages 13–up. the boyfriend he’s terrified to tell his
nation’s capital Muslim family about. And Nathaniel has
remain unde- I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain landed in New York City alone, leaving
fined until the Will Walton. Push, $17.99 (304p) behind an unpredictable father incapable
book’s end, ISBN 978-0-545-70956-9 of caring for him. Forman (If I Stay) occa-
when a series Walton’s (Anything Could Happen) bril- sionally references the parable of the boil-
of flashbacks liant novel-in-verse is an exploration of ing frog, in which a frog in a pot of water
playing in the grief, coming of age, and the life-altering doesn’t notice a gradual increase in tem-
heroine’s mind power of recognizing one’s self in litera- perature and is eventually cooked to
reveal clues as ture. High-schooler Avery is navigating death. In some ways, she performs a simi-
she battles new romantic and sexual territory with lar trick: readers may be so caught up in
exhaustion, dehydration, and pain dur- his best friend (“Our bargain was that if the intensity and warmth of the bond
ing her 16-mile-a-day run. Caletti we both aced Bio, we would finally have Freya, Harun, and Nathaniel form that
expresses familiar themes about what it sex, for our first times each, with each they’re caught off guard by their story’s
can be like to live as a woman in U.S. other”). At home, his mother is an alco- final act. But readers won’t finish the
society, constantly guarding against holic who injured him in a drunk-driving novel lost or bereft; this is a celebration of

68 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

the lifesaving power of human connec- nation 18 years earlier, and are presumed yet beautifully rendered portrayal of an
tion. Ages 14–up. dead. Then several maps surface that ongoing humanitarian crisis. Ages 12–up.
appear to be the work of the supposedly
In Search of Us long-dead royal navigator Lord Antoni, The Light Between Worlds
Ava Dellaira. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, suggesting that he and the lost princes Laura E. Weymouth. HarperTeen,
$17.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-374-30531-4 might still be alive after all. Antoni’s son $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-269687-8
Dellaira’s debut novel, Love Letters to the Elias and Ulises’s cousin Mercedes set out In this haunting historical fantasy simi-
Dead, was good; her second, which tells to solve a riddle related to the maps that lar to Seanan McGuire’s Wayward
two connected tales set 18 years apart, is could change del Mar forever, only to Children series for adults, two sisters
spectacular. First comes the story of encounter dangers both real and supernat- struggle with reacclimation to the modern
17-year-old Marilyn, whose mother is so ural. Combining rich descriptions with a world after spending years in a magical
committed to her daughter’s future star- compelling mystery, Lucier (A Death- realm. In 1944, as London burns during
dom that she moves them into a tiny Los Struck Year) creates a vibrant world popu- WWII bombings, Philippa, Jamie, and
Angeles apartment with Marilyn’s unwel- lated by appealing characters and Evelyn Hapwell are transported to the
coming, alcoholic uncle. But Marilyn’s enhances the story with subtle magical enchanted Woodlands—only to discover
vision of her future involves going to col- elements, a hint of romance, and a dose of that their refuge has its own troubles with
lege, taking photos, and making a life political intrigue. The unusual inclusion war on the horizon. Six years of Woodlands
with her smart and handsome new neigh- of cartography as a plot device further dis- time later, the trio is returned to the
bor, James. Next comes the present-day tinguishes this satisfying adventure. moment that they left London, unchanged
story of Marilyn’s biracial daughter, Readers will cheer for the gender role– physically but possessing a lifetime of
Angie, also 17, who wonders about the defying female characters and the bro- experiences. Years later, Evelyn, 16, who
father she never met. Did he really die in mance between Elias and Ulises. Ages hasn’t stopped longing for the Woodlands,
a car crash? Does she have relatives who 12–up. vanishes in an attempt to return to the
look like her? Will knowing her past help only place she’s ever considered home. Her
her find her way forward? Past and pres- A Land of Permanent older sister, Philippa, is consumed with
ent collide when Angie runs away from Goodbyes guilt over Evelyn’s fate, even as she tries to
Albuquerque to L.A. to find the man she Atia Abawi. Philomel, $17.99 (288p) create a life that doesn’t revolve around
thinks may be her uncle. Readers will be ISBN 978-0-399-54683-9 responsibility for her sibling. In this love
left sobbing, both for the characters In this gripping and heartrending letter to portal fantasies and Narnia,
they’ve come to love and for the state of novel, Abawi (The Secret Sky) follows a Weymouth infuses her characters with a
the country—Dellaira draws on persistent family of Syrian refugees, whose lives are rich panoply of emotions set against war-
racial divides to craft an ending that is changed when one of the feared “bombs time England. A shining thread of hope
surprising yet inevitable, heartbreaking, that fell indiscriminately from the sky” and healing mitigates the book’s heart-
and hopeful. Ages 12–up. destroys their apartment building. break and underlying trauma, suggesting a
Teenage Tareq, his father, and his four- bright future for all involved. Ages 13–up.
Isle of Blood and Stone year-old sister, Susan, survive, but his
Makiia Lucier. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, mother, grandmother, and three other sib- Little Do We Know
$17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-544-96857-8 lings die in the blast. All three flee the Tamara Ireland Stone. Hyperion,
In this lush historical fantasy set in a country, joining the endless stream of ref- $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-4847-6821-1
world reminiscent of the Renaissance-era ugees desperately seeking safety. Destiny Despite their different personalities,
Mediterranean, the discovery of a mysteri- itself serves as an omniscient narrator, a Emory and Hannah have been best
ous map triggers a search for the truth device that helps to buffer readers from friends and next-door neighbors since
behind the tragic events of decades past. the relentless terror, hunger, and danger childhood. But after a bitter argument,
Young King plaguing Tareq’s family: “To me, you are which ends
Ulises of the all from the same world. You have the with Emory
island nation same hearts, needs, wants and desires.” As calling
of St. John of the family journeys through Syria, Turkey, Hannah a
del Mar only Greece, and Macedonia on their way to “sheep” for
ascended the Germany, its configuration varies, most always follow-
throne because poignantly when Fayed pays smugglers to ing her minis-
his older take his children in a perilously over- ter father’s
brothers were crowded boat bound for Greece. beliefs, the
kidnapped by Newfound friendships and stories of vol- two don’t
agents of a unteers pulling refugees from the Aegean speak as they
neighboring provide elements of hope in this upsetting continue their

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 69
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

senior years at separate high schools. Monday’s Not Coming communal

Emory focuses on her lead role in a school Tiffany D. Jackson. HarperCollins/ slumberland of
play and her forthcoming acting audition Tegen, $17.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0- Dreamworld,
at UCLA. Hannah continues to play the 06-242267-5 where everyone
role of devoted daughter at the Christian Jackson’s sophomore novel, following is “middles-
school where her father is principal, but 2017’s acclaimed Allegedly, features cale.” The sib-
she is haunted by Emory’s words and another ripped-from-the-headlines prem- lings set off
begins to question everything she’s been ise that will keep readers guessing with their
taught. Then Hannah finds Emory’s boy- through the final pages. After a summer friend Usher to
friend Luke unconscious in front of her in Georgia with her grandmother, find a rich hus-
house, changing the lives of all three Claudia returns to Washington, D.C., band for Prayer,
teens. Touching on weighty issues, ready to take on eighth grade with her but their jour-
including sexual harassment, religious best friend, Monday, even though ney is fraught with indignities and danger
crises, friendship, and taboo love, Stone Monday didn’t respond to any of Claudia’s (“If we just all stick together then no one’s
(Time Between Us) writes a thought-pro- letters over the past two months. Claudia getting facechewed by a rat today,” says
voking novel that challenges conven- soon finds, though, that Monday is gone. Warner as they set out). After being jailed,
tional ideas. With well-developed detail, Stories about where she is don’t add up Warner is freed when a young woman
the characters have realistic vulnerabili- and no one seems concerned, but Claudia named Kitty makes him her pet project;
ties and experience profound transforma- can’t shake the her wealthy father offers him a chance at
tions that lead them to look at the world feeling that success, but “scaling up” comes with a
differently. Ages 14–18. Monday might price. In a brash and wildly inventive
be in real novel, Andrews (Me and Earl and the Dying
Love, Hate and Other trouble. Time Girl) effectively uses a gonzo alternate
Filters shifts—in reality to frame urgent issues that include
Samira Ahmed. Soho Teen, $18.99 chapters such income inequality, rampant consumerism,
(288p) ISBN 978-1-61695-847-3 as “Before the and class disparity. Warner may be small,
In an astute debut, Ahmed intertwines Before,” “The but his giant heart and brutally honest
a multicultural teen’s story with a spare, Before,” and narration propel this intense, cuttingly
dark depiction of a young terrorist’s act. “The After”— funny novel. Ages 14–up.
High school senior Maya Aziz, a budding create a mea-
filmmaker, struggles with being the sured and intense buildup as Claudia real- My Plain Jane
beloved and protected only child of izes that Monday was keeping painful and Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi
Muslim immigrants from India while try- potentially dangerous secrets. Claudia’s Meadows. HarperTeen, $17.99 (464p)
ing to live a “normal” American teenage mother’s frequent reminder to check in at ISBN 978-0-06-265277-5
life in Illinois and, more importantly, home—“Breadcrumbs, Claudia. Always Hand, Ashton, and Meadows follow up
make her own decisions about her future. good to leave breadcrumbs”—prompts My Lady Jane (about Lady Jane Gray)
Stealthily defying her parents by applying both Claudia and the reader to remain with another tongue-in-cheek novel about
to New York University and juggling vigilant. Jackson’s characters and their a famous Jane—this time, Jane Eyre. In
appropriate and inappropriate love inter- heart-wrenching story linger long after this take on the classic, Jane and
ests (all with the help of her maverick the final page, urging readers to advocate Charlotte Brontë are good friends from
aunt), Maya finally gets up the courage to for those who are disenfranchised and for- school, and as Jane’s story unfolds,
confront her parents when the terrorist’s gotten by society and the system. Ages Charlotte records every moment of it—at
actions unleash hatred on her and her 13–up. first writing it as a murder mystery, then
family. Ahmed builds tension by preced- a romance. Jane can also see ghosts, and
ing each chapter of Maya’s story with a Munmun the Society for the Relocation of Wayward
terse paragraph leading to the imminent Jesse Andrews. Amulet, $18.99 (416p) Spirits determines that she is a rare
act of terror, then provides a startling ISBN 978-1-4197-2871-6 Beacon (someone who can control ghosts),
twist; Maya’s final and uncharacteristic In Yewess, an alternate America where offering her a high-paying job. The chap-
act of rebellion also comes as a surprise. money (called munmun) dictates one’s ters switch among the handsome young
The characters are fully dimensional and physical size, 14-year-old Warner, his Alexander, a member of the Society;
credible, lending depth to even lighter older sister Prayer, and their disabled Charlotte, who convinces Alexander to
moments and interactions. Alternately mother (all rat-size “littlepoors”) are give her a temp job (and who falls for
entertaining and thoughtful, the novel is barely surviving; the siblings’ father was Alexander); and Jane, who spurns her job
eminently readable, intelligent, and crushed when someone stepped on their offer, heads off to Thornfield, and falls for
timely. Ages 14–up. house. Warner finds some solace in the Rochester. The authors’ prose holds all

70 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

the flavor of a juicy period novel yet with narrative introduces readers to a flipped injustice. By the time she affirms, “Other
the addition of numerous, witty asides. world in which a technologically people’s rules about what girls can and
The narrative is full of wry humor—at advanced Cetacean society dominates the cannot do have never applied in this
one point, Jane thinks to herself about oceans. “Call me Bathsheba,” the whale house,” whether Katy gets to play or not
Rochester, “He was everything she’d ever narrator intones, recounting her pod’s ill- is somewhat less important than what she
dreamed about. Tall. Dark. Brooding”— fated hunt for the mythical human killer has learned about resistance. Ages 8–12.
and laugh-out-loud commentary. The of whales, Toby Wick (“Our devil. Our
authors’ affection for their source material monster. Our myth”). Led by Captain Picture Us in the Light
is abundantly clear in this clever, roman- Alexandra—the most storied of the cap- Kelly Loy Gilbert. Hyperion, $17.99
tic farce. Ages 13–up. tains, a harpoon buried in her head— (368p) ISBN 978-1-4847-2602-0
Third Apprentice Bathsheba and the It’s easy to pigeonhole books: this one’s
Not the Girls You’re Alexandra’s other apprentices happen an immigrant story, this will appeal to
Looking For upon the wreck of a human ship. They readers who have lost someone to suicide,
Aminah Mae Safi. Feiwel and Friends, find a single man alive, his hand protrud- here’s a doomed love story, and so on.
$17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-15181-0 ing from the hull and clutching a disk (a Gilbert (Conviction) includes all these ele-
In this YA debut, Safi explores the message? a map?). Realizing they are on ments and more in this novel, masterfully
internal struggle of having to “talk to the trail of Toby Wick, the whales take negotiating plot twists and revelations
more than one world, simultaneously.” the human hostage, then take to the hunt. while keeping the focus on her characters.
Lulu considers herself both American and In expansive illustrations by Cai (Tintinnula), Danny Cheng is an artist and one of the
Arab (her father is a Muslim immigrant, rendered in inky washes and linework least wealthy kids at Silicon Valley High
her mother from Louisiana), but to many that mimics the ocean’s currents, the School; when he gets a full scholarship to
of her classmates, she’s only Arab (and whales fly through the water, rendered RISD, he pictures his “whole life radiat-
therefore a terrorist). Meanwhile, she fails above, not below, the air-filled “abyss” ing like a sunbeam out from this one
to meet her Muslim family’s cultural that humans inhabit. The whale epic, par- point.” But the sunbeam is shadowed by
standards. Lulu ticularly Bathsheba’s discussions with the the guilt and grief that Danny, his best
is a girl who human hostage, mounts an exploration of friend Harry, and Harry’s girlfriend feel
defies stereo- inherited prejudices, violence justified, about their friend Sandra’s death, and it
types: a Muslim and the far-reaching consequences of war. fades entirely when his father’s job loss
who celebrates Ages 13–up. forces the family to move. The move
Ramadan, dredges up secrets that Danny’s Chinese
drinks, smokes, Out of Left Field immigrant parents have been keeping and
and loves to Ellen Klages. Viking, $16.99 (320p) even threatens his college future. And the
hook up with ISBN 978-0-425-288597 love story? It’s there too, in the inter-
boys. Safi’s prose Ten-year-old Kathleen Curie Gordon’s stices, another secret that Gilbert handles
style has a lively knuckling curveball is so good it wins her subtly and surprisingly. Ages 14–up.
staccato rhythm a Little League tryout—wearing her cap,
that captures Lulu’s spirited nature, Katy can pass as a boy. She makes the The Place Between
which can easily slip into impetuousness. team but is outed by another player’s par- Breaths
In addition to Safi’s focus on multicul- ent; it’s 1957 and league rules expressly An Na. Atheneum/Dlouhy, $17.99
tural identity, her story provides a candid prohibit girls. Klages interweaves Katy’s (192p) ISBN 978-1-4814-2225-3
perspective on female friendships that are story with the current events she’s study- Na (The Fold) creates a powerful
full of conflict, love, and angst. Through ing in fifth grade: the space race, desegre- impression of life with schizophrenia in
her character of contradictions, Safi offers gation, and the move of the Giants from this psychologically intense novel. Grace
a refreshing perspective on conformity New York to San Francisco, where they King’s father is determined to help find a
and the path to self-actualization. Ages displace Katy’s favorite team, the minor cure for the mental disorder that plagued
13–up. league Seals. When Katy decides to write his wife and caused her to disappear when
her history paper on women in baseball Grace was a child. A former doctor, he
And the Ocean Was Our Sky (in part to refute the league official’s has taken an administrative position at
Patrick Ness, illus by Rovina Cai. claim that baseball “has always been the the Genentium clinic where Grace has
HarperTeen, $19.99 (160p) ISBN 978- sole province of male athletes”), she secured a prestigious internship. Although
0-06-286072-9 uncovers a trove of information about the clinic is filled with brilliant, dedicated
Like Melville’s Moby-Dick, on which it female stars. Katy’s mom, a chemistry doctors, Grace doesn’t share her father’s
is based, Ness’s profound tale is one of professor who has faced her own discrimi- optimism that a cure for schizophrenia
obsession and prophecy, with a twist—it’s nation battles, is particularly well drawn, will be found. Then her own sense of real-
told from the whale’s perspective. The as she empowers her daughter to fight ity begins to deteriorate; she becomes

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 71
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

increasingly dis- coming-of-age story an undeniable pull, Dominican heritage, and her ethnically
oriented and its emotionally charged bluntness reflect- diverse neighborhood: Brooklyn’s
preoccupied ing her determination and strength. At Bushwick. She’s less excited about the
with images and its heart, this is a complex and sometimes prospect of the neighborhood gentrify-
sounds, includ- painful exploration of love in its many ing, but the arrival of the handsome,
ing the night- forms, with Xiomara’s growing love for wealthy black Darcy brothers, who
marish clamor of herself reigning supreme. Ages 13–up. move into a newly renovated mini-man-
an approaching sion on her block, catalyzes a plot stud-
train. The dis- The Price Guide to the Occult ded with detailed nuances of culture
jointed structure Leslye Walton. Candlewick, $18.99 clash. An ambitious poet with dreams of
of the novel— (288p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9110-3 Howard University, Zuri (the family’s
jumping from Walton follows The Strange and “hard candy shell, the protector”) fights
one reality to another, and moving among Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender with a her attraction to the younger Darius as
first-, second-, and third-person perspec- lyrical and robust multigenerational story her older sister, Janae, is swept up in
tives—effectively reflects the state of set on the fictional Anathema Island in Ainsley’s attentions. Zoboi (American
Grace’s mind, in which time is not linear the Pacific Northwest. Now inhabited by Street) skillfully depicts the vicissitudes of
but rather an incomplete mosaic of events hippies and artists, the island was origi- teenage relationships, and Zuri’s outsize
past, present, and imagined. Readers will nally populated by a small group of pride and poetic sensibility make her a
feel Grace’s tension viscerally, as she homesteading farmers, as well as Rona sympathetic teenager in a contemporary
weighs hope against despair. Ages 12–up. Blackburn, a witch. When Rona’s roman- story about race, gentrification, and
tic relationship with one of the island’s young love. Ages 13–up.
The Poet X founding fathers’ faltered, she cast a vin-
Elizabeth Acevedo. HarperTeen, $17.99 dictive spell that forever entwined her The Pros of Cons
(368p) ISBN 978-0-06-266280-4 bloodline to the island. In the present Alison Cherry, Lindsay Ribar, and
Harlem sophomore Xiomara Batista day, 17-year-old Nor is the eighth genera- Michelle Schusterman. Point, $18.99
isn’t saintly like her virtuous twin brother. tion of Blackburn daughters. Like the (352p) ISBN 978-1-338-15172-5
And her tough exterior—she’s always women before her, Nor has a single magi- In this entertaining and sometimes
ready to fend off unwelcome advances and cal power, known as a Burden: in Nor’s slapstick testament to the power of
unkind words—hides questions and inse- case, animals, plants, and insects speak to friendship, three teenage girls—each
curities. As her confirmation nears (after her. When Nor’s abusive mother, Fern, attending a different convention held in
two failed attempts), Xiomara begins to publishes Rona’s spell book, the wildlife the same location—help each other over-
voice her uncertainties about the Catholic on and around the island flees, leaving come their respective conflicts. Vanessa
faith and patriarchal piety pressed on her Nor and her friends and family to fight Montoya-O’Callaghan is eager to finally
by her mother and the church. Both the black magic that Fern has begun to meet her online girlfriend and fanfic co-
intrigued and disgusted by the advances harvest. In succinct, evocative sentences, writer at WTFcon. Phoebe Byrd can’t
of her peers and older men, she begins a Walton paints vivid scenes while main- wait to rock out at the Indoor Percussion
secret relationship with her lab partner taining a gripping plot. Addressing aban- Association. And Callie Buchannan
Aman, who seems interested in more than donment, self-harm, first love, and other hopes to get some quality time with
her curves (“who knew words,/ when said topics, Walton weaves a rewardingly her workaholic father by helping out as
by the right person,/ by a boy who raises complex tale that brims with suspense his assistant at the World Taxidermy
your temperature,/ moves heat like noth- and romance. Ages 14–up. Championships. Naturally, everything
ing else?”). Xiomara pours her innermost goes wrong: Vanessa’s girlfriend is increas-
self into poems and dreams of competing Pride ingly awful in person, Phoebe falls for
in poetry Ibi Zoboi. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, one of her bandmates, and Callie chafes
slams, a pas- $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06256-404-7 at her father’s demands. Working seam-
sion she’s cer- “It’s a truth universally acknowledged lessly in alternating POV chapters,
tain her con- that when rich people move into the Cherry, Ribar, and Schusterman deliver
servative hood... the first thing they want to do is a laugh-out-loud romp that finds humor
Dominican clean it up,” begins this Pride and and drama in three very different fields
parents will Prejudice retelling that stands solidly on of interest. As the story lines converge,
never accept. its own while cleverly paralleling readers will delight in seeing these pas-
Debut novelist Austen’s classic about five economically sionate girls recognize that it’s okay to
Acevedo’s free challenged sisters. In the role of sharp- want things and to screw up, and that
verse gives tongued Lizzie Bennett is Zuri Benitez, sometimes you make unexpected friends
Xiomara’s who loves her family, her Haitian- in the process. Ages 12–up.

72 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
Super Stars from
Simon & Schuster
Children’s Publishing
Picture Books

VOICE LIKE THAT? Sandra Neil Wallace | Illustrated by Bryan Collier Lesa Cline-Ransome Terry Fan and Eric Fan
Chris Barton | Illustrated by Ekua Holmes 9781481443876 Illustrated by James E. Ransome 9781481470377
9781481465618 Booklist Kirkus Publishers Weekly 9781481476843 Booklist Kirkus Publishers Weekly
Booklist Kirkus School Library Journal School Library Journal Booklist Horn Book School Library Journal
Shelf Awareness School Library Journal Shelf Awareness

Middle Grade


John Sullivan | Illustrated by Taeeun Yoo Raúl Colón LU LOVE TO EVERYONE
9781481461917 9781481462730 Jason Reynolds Hilary McKay
Booklist BCCB Kirkus Booklist Horn Book Kirkus 9781481450249 9781534427105
Publishers Weekly Horn Book Publishers Weekly School Library Journal Booklist School Library Journal Booklist BCCB Horn Book


Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman An Na Gloria Chao Deb Caletti Neal Shusterman
9781481481960 9781481422253 9781481499101 9781481415200 9781442472457
Booklist Kirkus Booklist Kirkus Booklist Publishers Weeky Booklist BCCB Kirkus Booklist Kirkus
Publishers Weekly School Library Journal Publishers Weekly School Library Journal VOYA Publishers Weekly Publishers Weekly School Library Journal
School Library Journal Shelf Awareness
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

Puddin’ destroyed what’s left of planet Earth; scious in a hospital after a hit-and-run left
Julie Murphy. HarperCollins/ cogs—robots that experience heightened him gravely injured. His girlfriend,
Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (448p) human emotions and drives of joy, sad- Beatrice “Bee” Northway, is at his side.
ISBN 978-0-06-241838-8 ness, and arousal—begin to devour each While Donovan relives the events leading
Clover City High School in Texas has a other; and the boys begin to suspect that up to the accident in his mind (or, possi-
clear social hierarchy: football on top, other humans might be on board. bly, an otherworldly in-between place),
dance team members next, then everyone Absurdist characters and scenarios Bee makes careful notes in her journal
else. Junior Millie Michalchuk, who also abound, from a kind, French-speaking describing each sound that Donovan
appeared in Murphy’s Dumplin’, may be a giraffe, released from the ship’s zoo when utters, hoping to piece together what may
lifer at fat camp, but that doesn’t mean gravity fails, to a constantly horny valet have happened. Then Donovan’s father is
she buys into how the world sees her. with a distinct lack of boundaries. found beaten to death with Donovan’s
Callie Reyes Readers will enjoy unraveling the mean- baseball bat. After Bee’s boyfriend
dates a football ing within this provocative jaunt by becomes a suspect in the murder, she puts
player and is on Smith (Grasshopper Jungle), which dissects herself in considerable danger to prove to
course to society, technology, othering, and what the police that he’s innocent. Wynne-
become dance makes humanity human. Ages 14–up. Jones cleverly employs elements of his
team captain. trademark magical realism, and readers
The girls’ paths Reign the Earth will enjoy making the connections
rarely cross. A.C. Gaughen. Bloomsbury, $17.99 between Bee’s discoveries and Donovan’s
Then the dance (448p) ISBN 978-1-68119-111-9 subconscious version of events; both ver-
team loses its In a series opener with depth, powerful sions are chilling. The courageous, clever
funder, a gym people called Elementae can control Bee is a revelation, and her clear-eyed
owned by earth, fire, air, and water but are perse- approach to finding the truth and her
Millie’s uncle, and its members break in cuted by an egotistical and cruel king enduring love for Donovan, along with
and trash the business. When a sulky who seeks to eradicate their abilities. believably quirky characters and genu-
Callie starts working at the gym, Millie Seventeen-year-old Shalia is newly wed- inely terrifying moments, will keep read-
models not just friendship and forgive- ded to that king, Calix, in order to forge ers enthralled until the bittersweet finale.
ness, but also tough-love examples of how peace between her desert people and the Ages 14–up.
to treat people. Through the girls’ alter- Bone Lands that Calix rules. As Calix’s
nating perspectives, Murphy develops controlling nature is revealed, Shalia’s The Sacrifice Box
their aspirations and struggles: Millie hopes for a happy marriage evaporate, she Martin Stewart. Viking, $17.99 (368p)
isn’t sure how to pursue her dream of realizes that she’s an earth Elemanta ISBN 978-0-425-28953-2
being a TV anchor; Mexican-American (something she must keep secret), and During the summer of 1982, five
Callie experiences stereotyping and yearns she feels undeniable sparks for Calix’s unlikely friends—Sep, Arkle, Lamb,
for friends, not frenemies. Murphy con- brother, Galen. Shalia’s first-person nar- Hadley, and Mack—stumble upon a
vincingly and satisfyingly portrays how ration keeps readers close to her growing strange stone box, and to memorialize
their one-step-forward-two-steps-back horror at her husband’s genocidal tenden- their time together, they each agree to
bonding process helps them go for what cies and her own determination to do the leave something important to them inside
they want rather than what others think right thing, even at great risk to herself, it. They establish three simple rules:
is possible. Ages 13–up. in a turbulent world of political and “Never come to the box alone. Never
social turmoil. Gaughen (the Scarlet open it after dark. Never take back your
Rabbit & Robot series) delivers an emotionally resonant sacrifice.” Four years later, none of the
Andrew Smith. Simon & Schuster, tale full of magic so powerful it can move original group has remained friendly. But
$18.99 (448p) ISBN 978-1-5344-2220-9 the earth; rich writing and worldbuild- when dead
On Cager Messer’s 16th birthday, ing will appeal to readers seeking com- things begin to
Rowan and Billy sneak him aboard a plex characters, palace intrigue, and reanimate, and
lunar cruise ship, the Tennessee, to save weighty questions of power and loyalty. those sacrificed
him from his addiction to the enhance- Ages 14–up. items make a
ment drug Woz. Cager and Billy have surprising
lived lives controlled by their parents, The Ruinous Sweep return, the
powerful figures in their technologically Tim Wynne-Jones. Candlewick Press, group realizes
advanced and war-ravaged version of $18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9745-7 that someone
Earth, where most humans work as coders In Wynne-Jones’s tense, eerie thriller has broken the
(“Robots”) or soldiers (“Rabbits”). On the that lightly draws from Dante’s Inferno, rules, and it’s
ship, it becomes clear that war has 17-year-old Donovan Turner lies uncon- up to them to

74 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

fix things. Stewart (Riverkeep) again cre- killed her sister. West, initially reluctant marvelous
ates an atmospheric coming-of-age story to get involved, lets May Beth’s grief and horses, and the
with brilliantly executed elements of his boss’s urging to start a podcast goad Mortimer
horror and comic relief. He weaves in him into starting the search for Sadie. women, who
moments of laugh-out-loud, almost The resulting true-crime podcast alter- have lived there
absurdist humor to balance the story’s nates with Sadie’s first-person narration for generations.
most frightening aspects, all the while from the road, West’s knowledge usually Marion
carefully structuring a tale about growing lagging behind what readers know from Althouse, 16,
up and leaving childhood behind. Ages traveling with the driven, grieving Sadie. recently lost her
12–up. Initially distracting, the podcast becomes father and has
an effective way to build out backstory just arrived on
Sadie and let myriad characters have their say. the island with
Courtney Summers. Wednesday, The result is a taut, suspenseful book her older sister, Charlotte, and their
$17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-10571-4 about abuse and power that feels personal, mother. Marion soon befriends the police
“I can’t take another dead girl.” That’s as if Summers (All the Rage), like May chief’s daughter, Zoey Harlow, and, to
why May Beth Foster asks radio reporter Beth and West, can’t take one more dead Zoey’s chagrin, seems to be getting close
West McCray to help find 19-year-old or abused girl. Readers may well feel sim- to the beautiful schemer Val Mortimer,
Sadie, May Beth’s trailer park neighbor ilarly. Ages 13–up. matriarch Lucy’s daughter. When
and honorary granddaughter. Sadie took Charlotte goes missing, Marion discovers
off from her home in Cold Creek, Colo., Sawkill Girls that 23 girls have disappeared in the past
when Mattie, the 13-year-old sister she Claire Legrand. HarperCollins/Tegen, century and a half, including Zoey’s best
practically raised, was murdered. (Their $17.99 (464p) ISBN 978-0-06-269660-1 friend. It seems that something inhuman
mother, an addict whose boyfriends came An idyllic island hides a deadly secret lives in Sawkill Rock’s dense woods,
and went, is absent.) Despite a stutter in this atmospheric, Gothic-flavored immortalized in the grisly urban legend
that’s gotten her teased and bullied, Sadie chiller, which mingles elements of dark of the Collector, and the young women,
is brave unto recklessness, and she won’t fairy tales and outright horror. Sawkill each with an extraordinary emerging
rest until she finds the man she thinks Rock is home to lush forests, rocky cliffs, power, may be able to vanquish it—if
they don’t destroy each other first. Sure to

win Legrand (Winterspell) plenty of new
Courtney Summers fans, this tale, which includes an asexual
character and a beautifully wrought queer
Were you a true crime enthusiast when you romance, focuses on the power of female
started this project? friendship and what it means to pit
I’ve always liked true crime. Serial had just ended women against one another in fiction and

or was winding down when I started writing Sadie. I in life. Ages 14–up.
was thinking about how true crime is a genre
devoted to justice, to the search for truth, but at Scream All Night
the same time, it’s hard not to wonder how well Derek Milman. HarperCollins/
we’re serving the narratives of people who aren’t Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (400p)
around to speak for themselves. On top of that, so ISBN 978-0-06-266565-2
many true crime stories feature violence against When Dario Heywood, 17, left
women and girls. That’s the heart of those stories. Moldovia Studios at age 12, he never
We’re tuning in regularly to be witness to this pain intended to return. After starring in the
and these brutal atrocities against women. cult classic Zombie Children of the Harvest
So, I wondered, what does it mean when these Moon and suffering emotional and physi-
kinds of stories are so consumable? What does it cal abuse from his father, Lucien—the
mean to tell these stories? What are the potential infamous auteur of all of the studio’s
consequences and impact? I do love true crime and true crime podcasts, so B-horror creature features—Dario was
this is not an indictment, but Sadie is an exploration of the way we interact with legally emancipated. Lured back by his
and consume media, especially when it centers around violence against brother, Oren, and his first love, Haley,
women and girls. to attend Lucien’s funeral, Dario must
— Sara Grochowski contend with his personal demons and a
desire to keep the studio solvent. Debut
■ For the complete interview, go to
author Milman’s darkly comedic coming-
of-age story seamlessly combines mon-

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 75
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

sters—both real and imagined—with
difficult subjects such as neglect, aban- Siobhan Vivian
donment, and psychosis. Moldovia
Studios is a refuge for those who don’t Your books are lauded for their realistic, strong
quite fit in anywhere else, and the para- girl characters. How does it feel being a cham-
dox of it being a safe harbor while simul- pion of feminism in the era of #MeToo?

taneously bringing to life the things of As an extroverted person, I am oftentimes one of
nightmares works on an emotional and a the loudest voices in the room. That said, I really
psychological level. Dario’s journey, struggle with my peers and wanting to maintain lik-
though more extreme than most, is relat- ability, and I have some trouble with confidence or
able, but the story’s biggest lesson of all projecting myself as somebody who is a leader or
is that it is possible to go home again. in charge. I read an article in the New York Times a
Ages 14–up. couple of years ago about a leadership academy
where girls can go and act out ways to project con-
Skyward fidence, because oftentimes confidence comes off
Brandon Sanderson. Delacorte, $19.99 as being unlikable. What a trap that is. There were
(528p) ISBN 978-0-399-55577-0 girls in this article who were saying, “We don’t like
In a mysterious world called Detritus to be picked to manage a project at school,
where humans live below the surface, because delegating work to our peers makes us
16-year-old Spensa must overcome her come off like we’re mean.” And I thought, oh my
deceased starfighter pilot father’s repu- gosh, how difficult it could be to be a strong woman, a woman who’s in charge,
tation as a coward following his alleged if you feel like you can’t execute basic responsibilities of leadership.
desertion. She has always hoped to fol- Personally speaking, this is something I have struggled with and continue to
low in his footsteps and defend her struggle with. It’s something that contemporary teens are struggling with; it
home from the increasingly devastating sets up a difficult path to success, for women to really embrace roles of leader-
attacks of the alien Krell. After earning ship. —Shannon Maughan
a cadet spot in the Defiant Defense
■ For the complete interview, go to
Force, Spensa
pushes to
prove herself The Stars at Oktober Bend draws readers into the singularity of her
amid relent- Glenda Millard. Candlewick, $16.99 struggling yet strikingly poetic mind.
less, unforgiv- (288p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9272-8 Manny’s hair, for example, is “row-on-
ing, possibly Millard’s quiet, piercing novel, told in row of tight french knots,” and Alice’s
fatal training. two voices, is full of brokenness—broken grandmother “took my face in her hands
Worse, there people, broken families—but also love. and my heart by surprise.” The lyrical
are those The predominant voice is 15-year-old narrative’s unhurried pace demands
determined to Alice’s—in an arrested state of “twelve- careful attention as it builds to a dra-
keep Spensa ness,” having been brutally assaulted at matic climax and bittersweet ending.
from becom- that age and left with an acquired brain Ages 12–up.
ing a pilot at all, for fear that she’ll turn injury. Alice lives with her ailing grand-
out like her father. But Spensa has a sur- mother; protective 14-year-old brother, The State of Grace
prise of her own: she’s discovered a long- Joey; and Bear the dog; the love among Rachael Lucas. Feiwel and Friends,
abandoned starfighter of unknown ori- them all is fierce. The other voice $17.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-250-12998-7
gin that could change her luck, and the belongs to 16-year-old Manny, a brutal- With enormous insight, British writer
war, once and for all. With this action- ized refugee from Sierra Leone, who has Lucas (My Box-Shaped Heart) shares the
packed trilogy opener, Sanderson been taken in by a local couple. Alice thoughts of high schooler Grace and
(Steelheart) offers up a resourceful, fear- makes beautiful fishing lures and writes brings readers into the experiences of a
less heroine and a memorable cast— anonymous poems, which she scatters teen with Asperger’s. Grace is fine when
including a strangely humorous, mush- about town, hoping a kindred spirit will she’s at the stables with her beloved
room-obsessed robot—set against the find them. Manny is that kindred spirit, horse, Mabel; it’s when she’s in public
backdrop of a desperate conflict. As the and, in spite of ugly opposition from that she starts having trouble. While
pulse-pounding story intensifies and some in the community, the two come Grace’s best friend, Anna, and younger
reveals its secrets, a cliffhanger ending together. Alice’s chapters are presented sister, Leah, seem to know instinctively
sets things up for the next installment. in all lower-case letters, and though this what to say and how to act in every situa-
Ages 12–up. device is initially off-putting, it slowly tion, Grace is always making blunders:

76 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8

“Sometimes I feel like everyone else was handed a copy of the
rules and mine got lost,” she says. Nonetheless, her crush, Gabe,
has become interested in her, and being around him is a lot less
awkward than Grace expects. Things are looking up, but there
are still people who make her miserable, particularly her long-
time nemesis, Holly, and her mother’s obnoxious friend Eve.
Grace’s keen sense of humor and honesty are irresistible, and the
book exudes positivity and warmth, with a whole crew of indi-
viduals—Grace’s family, Anna, ever-patient Gabe, and stable-
Polly—respectfully walking alongside Grace. Ages 13–up.

Stay Sweet
Siobhan Vivian. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-
Vivian (The Last Boy and Girl in the World) serves a delectable
mixture of ice cream and romance in this story about a small-
town girl whose life revolves around her summer job at an ice-
cream stand. After working for four years at Meade Creamery,
Amelia is excited and nervous when the elderly owner, Molly
Meade, promotes her to “head girl.” But on Amelia’s first day as
manager, Molly dies, leaving the business to her grandnephew
Grady, a college student with big changes in mind. As Amelia
finds herself falling for Grady, she tries to uphold Meade
Creamery traditions without alienating him. Meanwhile, the
rest of the employees seem more interested in shirking their
duties than saving the shop. Inserting passages from Molly
Meade’s diary into her book, Vivian deftly parallels the woman’s
WWII romance and trials as a young entrepreneur with Amelia’s
story, adding an extra layer of intrigue and suspense. While
evoking the warmth of rural life and employee comradeship,
Vivian writes an empowering novel for young women with big
dreams. Ages 14–up.

Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful

Arwen Elys Dayton. Delacorte, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-
These six linked tales delve into the question of ethics in scien-
tific and medical human modification. Along the way, they
loosely follow the life, career, and afterlife of Tad Tadd, a reverend
who popularizes a movement against changing corporeal forms
and then, after a family tragedy, wholeheartedly embraces peo-
ple’s right to modify their bodies as they choose. The book begins
with semi-identical twins Julia and Evan, whose organs are not
growing fast enough to keep either alive; when Julia goes into a
vegetative state, doctors advise the twins’ parents to harvest
Julia’s organs for Evan, and Tadd pays a visit to the family in the
hospital, calling the boy “a life-devouring creature.” Another sec-
tion follows a teen, significantly modified following a car acci-
dent, who hears Tadd’s message on the radio. As the stories move
further into the future, Dayton (Seeker) explores how each genera-
tion slowly blurs the lines between human, machine, and animal.
Part cautionary tale and part ode to the inventive human spirit,
Dayton’s brilliant collection of stories is best described as a scien-
tific Twilight Zone. Ages 14–up.

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 77
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

Swing Crocodiles live on the 87th floor of an messages about beauty’s subjectivity and
Kwame Alexander, with Mary Rand office building. Lungfish assemble in overcoming fears. Readers will gleefully
Hess. Blink, $18.99 (432p) ISBN 978- subway stations. Massive snails make cheer Jolie on as she learns to appreciate
0-310-76191-4 love on city streets. Bears sue humans, herself for who she is. Ages 13–up.
High school junior Noah has an unre- not just for murder and genocide, but for
quited crush on his friend Samantha, and crimes under the bear legal code: A Thousand Beginnings
when he discovers a handful of love letters “Spiritual Exclusion, Groaking, and and Endings
from the 1960s, he is inspired to create Ungungunurumunre.” Sometimes, the Edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman.
mixed-media poetry that expresses his animals face extinction; almost always— Greenwillow, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-
feelings. Noah had never planned to share and especially in the gorgeous, haunting 0-06-267115-8
the work with Sam, but then his well- paintings—they display dignity and Fifteen Asian authors—including
meaning best power that the book’s humans lack. In Renee Ahdieh, Melissa de la Cruz, Aisha
friend, Walt one series of images, a snowy owl super- Saeed, and Rahul Kanakia—share genre-
(aka Swing), intends a hospital patient, its magnifi- spanning short retellings of myths and
sends one of the cent golden eyes gleaming impassively legends traditional to their own cultures
poems to her from the bed railing. Elsewhere, a fox in this outstanding anthology edited by
anonymously. hangs poised in midair above a sleeping Chapman and We Need Diverse Books
Meanwhile, man, ready to pounce: “Your four-digit president Oh. Roshani Chokshi’s lush,
someone is pep- codes and firewalls.... None of it can keep elegant “Forbidden Fruit” sets the tone
pering the town me out!” In these uneasy, strange visions, for the anthology, remixing the Filipino
with American moments of beauty, and even a bleak, folktale of Maria Makiling, a mountain
flags, causing futurological kind of joy, abides. Ages spirit spurned by her mortal love. In
tension in the 12–up. Alyssa Wong’s “Olivia’s Table,” a take on
community as residents speculate about the traditional Chinese Hungry Ghost
the meaning of the gesture. Things come Things Jolie Needs to Do Festival, the protagonist inherits an
to a head when Sam’s ex-boyfriend Before She Bites It important role
becomes a suspect in the flag mystery, and Kerry Winfrey. Feiwel and Friends, in helping the
Sam is convinced that the accusation is $17.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-250- dead pass on to
racially motivated. Alexander and Hess 11954-4 the next plane
(co-authors of Solo) embrace the mallea- A book about a girl’s facial deformity of existence.
bility of free verse, heightening emotions could easily become maudlin, but Preeti Chhibber
with shifting styles and rhythms, and Winfrey (Love and Other Alien Experiences) chooses a con-
though Swing’s voice steals the show, the employs sharp wit to offer ample levity as temporary set-
bantering friendship he and Noah share she traces 16-year-old Jolie’s trials in the ting to show-
also shines. Interspersed throughout, the weeks before her corrective surgery. Jolie case the Hindu
discovered letters and Noah’s art poetry dreams of having a “normal silhouette” festival Navratri
highlight the power of physical artifacts post-procedure, with her “teeth lined up in “Girls Who
to inspire action and provide a tie to flags’ exactly where they’re supposed to be.” She Twirl and Other Dangers,” in which a
symbolic meaning: “The one thing it is also fixated on the slight chance that group of young girls resolves to teach an
should mean for everyone is freedom. she could die on the table and decides to overconfident boy a much-deserved les-
Mind, body, and soul. Red, white, and create a bucket list of things to do before son. Each story is followed by a missive
blue. America the beautiful. The greatest her operation. Her top priority is to kiss a from its author, sharing inspiration and
love story yet to be.” Ages 13–up. (Oct.) boy, specifically handsome Noah Reed. background on creative choices and
Knowing that he will likely get the lead changes. Thoughtfully compiled and
Tales from the Inner City of the school’s spring musical (a play written, this compendium is a must-read.
Shaun Tan. Scholastic/Levine, $24.99 involving a pig farmer’s colonization of Ages 13–up.
(224p) ISBN 978-1-338-29840-6 the moon), she auditions for a role among
Like its predecessor, Tales from Outer the chorus of pigs, despite her dread of Thunderhead
Suburbia, these short stories by Tan imag- being seen on stage. Jolie gets more than Neal Shusterman. Simon & Schuster,
ine a collection of alternate worlds; here, she bargains for when she wins the female $18.99 (512p) ISBN 978-1-4424-7245-7
they chronicle the lives of animals who lead opposite Noah—but her interest in Shusterman cranks up the stakes in this
dwell cheek by jowl with humans amid him quickly dwindles as she realizes her blistering sequel to 2016’s Scythe, set on a
urban sprawl. Tan’s skill as a writer pro- heart really belongs to her best friend, “post-mortal” future Earth in which eas-
vides sturdy scaffolding for a seemingly Derek. Numerous laugh-aloud moments ily revived humans are only “deadish”
endless stream of startling ideas. don’t lessen the potency of the story’s when killed, not permanently dead,

78 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

except for the few “gleaned” by scythes, nates perspectives between jock Jamie the Ellingham
who kill to keep population growth under “Bax” Baxter, a new student at Fullbrook case, but the
control. The narrative focuses primarily Academy who is escaping tragedy and school’s deadly
on Citra, who is gaining influence as determined to start over, and feminist past resurfaces
Scythe Anastasia, and Rowan, who has activist Jules, who is fed up with when a student
adopted the mantle of Scythe Lucifer as he Fullbrook’s social politics and its tradi- from her dorm
furtively gleans amoral scythes. New tions based on hierarchy and privilege. is killed.
presences include Greyson Tolliver, an The novel focuses on a nonconsensual Jumping
unassuming young man who becomes encounter between Jules and her ex, between past
aware of threats on Scythe Anastasia’s life, Ethan, after both have been drinking at a and present,
and the voice of the Thunderhead, the party. Jules is left wondering whether Johnson’s novel
artificial intelligence that manages virtu- what happened to her was sexual assault. is deliciously
ally all aspects of life on Earth. As the Kiely explores the reactions to Jules’s atmospheric, with a sprawling cast of
political machinations between scythe claim from multiple angles; everyone has complex suspects/potential victims, sur-
factions collide, the Thunderhead’s dis- a different opinion about what happened. prising twists, and a dash of romance. As
patches reflect powerfully on its relation- Gillian, who is Ethan’s current girlfriend in her Shades of London books, Johnson
ship with humanity (“All I can do is and Jules’s ex-best friend, witnessed the remains a master at combining jittery
watch unblinkingly as my beloved incident and believes that Jules lured tension with sharp, laugh-out-loud obser-
humankind slowly weaves the rope it will Ethan into cheating. Other people also vations. Ages 14–up.
use to hang itself”). Interweaving heady blame Jules and label her a slut, seeing
questions of morality, responsibility, loy- Ethan and Gillian as victims, and there Unbroken: 13 Stories
alty, and power, Shusterman builds to a are further reprisals after Jules comes for- Starring Disabled Teens
devastatingly intense conclusion that ward. In his portrayal of Jamie, Kiely Edited by Marieke Nijkamp. Farrar,
sends the characters and larger world into writes against jock stereotypes, present- Straus and Giroux, $17.99 (320p)
terrifying new territory. It’s difficult to ing him as sensitive, understanding, and ISBN 978-0-374-30650-2
fathom what awaits in the next book. courageous—a good guy for all women Nijkamp (This Is Where It Ends) pres-
Ages 12–up. (and men) to have in their corner. A novel ents 13 fictional short stories written by
to discuss, this takes up timely issues authors with disabilities and featuring
Toil & Trouble: 16 Tales of about privilege, problematic school “tra- variously abled teens. Authors including
Women and Witchcraft ditions,” and how institutions can in William Alexander, Corinne Duyvis, and
Edited by Tess Sharpe and Jessica some cases protect their athletes and dis- Heidi Heilig represent varied genres and
Spotswood. Harlequin Teen, $18.99 courage women from reporting assault. diverse protagonists. Kody Keplinger
(416p) ISBN 978-1-335-01627-0 Ages 14–up. offers romance in “Britt and the Bike
In this provocative, eclectic collection, God,” which traces the relationship
16 tales explore the many facets of witch- Truly Devious between a blind cyclist and her tandem
craft and its practitioners. Settings range Maureen Johnson. HarperCollins/ riding partner. Katherine Locke’s sci-fi
from the historical to the contemporary Tegen, $17.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0- story, “Per Aspera ad Astra,” introduces
and from factual to outright fantastical; 06-233805-1 Lizzie, who may be able to save her planet
protagonists are culturally and ethnically Johnson kicks off a riveting mystery if she can harness her anxiety. More often
diverse with substantial LGBTQ represen- series set at the Ellingham Academy, a than not, what makes these protagonists
tation; and the major unifying theme is prestigious school built on a Vermont different proves far less relevant than the
female empowerment. Standouts include mountain by industrialist tycoon Albert universal emotions they express. Ages
Tehlor Kay Mejia’s “Starsong,” the tale of Ellingham. His goal was to make learning 14–up.
an astrologer who finds her match in a sci- a game—and free—for the exceptional
entist, and Robin Talley’s “The Legend of students accepted to the school. But soon Unclaimed Baggage
Stone Mary,” in which the descendant of an after it opened in 1936, Ellingham Jen Doll. Farrar, Straus and Giroux,
unjustly murdered witch faces a lingering received a mysterious threat written in $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-374-30606-9
curse. Many feel like preambles to more rhyme (and signed “Truly, Devious”), What happens to the suitcases left
expansive narratives, but as standalone Ellingham’s wife and daughter were kid- unclaimed at airports? They go to stores
pieces, they surely satisfy. Ages 12–up. napped, and a student was killed. In the that sort through, and sell, their contents.
present, 16-year-old Stevie Bell is Sixteen-year-old Doris works at just such
Tradition obsessed with true crime (and often beset a store in a small Alabama town, as do
Brendan Kiely. McElderry, $18.99 by panic attacks), and she feels a bit like a Nell and fellow high schooler Grant, and
(352p) ISBN 978-1-4814-8034-5  fraud at Ellingham. With Holmesian the three teens become unlikely friends.
Kiely’s (American Boys) newest alter- powers of observation, she hopes to solve Doris is an anomaly in their conservative

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 79

Brian Selznick and Stephanie Watson, Kelly Yang Varian Johnson

David Serlin Illus. by Le Uyen Pham 978-1-338-15779-6 978-0-545-94617-9
978-1-338-18061-9 978-0-545-65988- 8 Ages 8–12 Ages 8–12
Ages 4–8 Ages 4–8 ★ Booklist ★ BCCB
★ Booklist ★ Booklist ★ BCCB ★ Horn Book
★ BCCB ★ SLJ ★ Kirkus ★ Kirkus
★ Horn Book ★ SLJ ★ SLJ
★ Kirkus
★ PW

Lissa Evans Christopher Paul Andrea Davis Marley Dias James L. Swanson
978-1-338-18527-0 Curtis Pinkney & Brian 978-1-338-13689-0 978-0-545-72333-6
Ages 8–12 978-0-545-15666-0 Pinkney Ages 10 and up Ages 12 and up
★ Horn Book Ages 9–12 978-0-545-70253-9 ★ Kirkus ★ Booklist
★ Kirkus ★ BCCB Ages 9–12 ★ SLJ ★ Kirkus
★ Horn Book ★ Booklist ★ PW
★ Kirkus ★ Horn Book ★ SLJ
★ PW ★ Kirkus
★ SLJ ★ PW

SCHOLASTIC and associated logos are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Scholastic Inc.

Kheryn Callender Alex Gino Daniel José Older Sophie Anderson Sayantani
978-1-338-12930-4 978-0-545-95624-6 978-1-338-26881-2 978-1-338-20996-9 DasGupta
Ages 8–12 Ages 8–12 Ages 8–12 Ages 8–12 978-1-338-18570-6
★ Booklist ★ Kirkus ★ PW ★ Kirkus Ages 8–12
★ Kirkus ★ PW ★ SLJ ★ SLJ ★ Booklist

Jarrett J. Neal Bascomb Shaun Tan Will Walton Lawrence

Krosoczka 978-1-338-14034-7 978-1-338-29840-6 978-0-545-70956-9 Goldstone
978-0-545-90247-2 Ages 12 and up Ages 12 and up Ages 12 and up 978-1-338-23945-4
Ages 12 and up ★ Booklist ★ BCCB ★ PW Ages 12 and up
★ Booklist ★ Kirkus ★ PW ★ SLJ ★ Booklist
★ BCCB ★ SLJ ★ SLJ ★ Horn Book
★ Horn Book
★ Kirkus
★ PW
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

was a victim of the Bosnian war, but many
Jen Doll questions remain unanswered. What are
the nightmares that make Nadja scream
What is it about YA that you like so much—as a out in the night? Why does she never speak
YA columnist and now an author? of her wartime experiences? Then Zara
I started reading YA when I was probably too young
experiences a trauma firsthand. While at
for it, and it just hit a sweet spot for me. YA is so the farmers’ market with her mother and
heart-driven; it speaks to you in the moment that brother, a bomb goes off, leaving both
you’re in, and it doesn’t couch things in the layers children injured and their mother in a
of repressed emotion we end up developing as coma. Now, facing the possibility that
adults—like you’re not supposed to feel this way, Nadja may never awaken, Zara feels a
or it’s not sophisticated to feel that way. YA allows pressing need to understand her family
you to be honest with emotions in a way you don’t history. Arcos alternates Zara’s battle with
have in daily life. PTSD and her quest to find clues to her
Before, I saw YA as an escape; now, I see it as mother’s past with the story of young
leading the charge, tackling things you don’t see Nadja’s struggles to survive after her entire
in other books. Everyone involved in the process family is killed by Serbs. The result is a
is really trying to do their best for kids, looking to multilayered view of tragedy and its reper-
represent and empower them. And YA can change ideas, even when you’re a cussions. Ages 12–up.
grown-up. So maybe it’s not cocooning as much as teaching you, but from a
safe place. —Martha Schulman We’ll Fly Away
Bryan Bliss. Greenwillow, $17.99
■ For the complete interview, go to
(416p) ISBN 978-0-06-249427-6
Before Luke ended up on death row,
town because she doesn’t believe in God— in the Texas camp rarely mix, the young he and his best friend Toby dreamed of
and doesn’t mind saying so; Nell’s family women are immediately drawn to each escaping rural North Carolina in a beat-
has just moved from Chicago; and Grant other. Both are experiencing family prob- up crop duster that they discovered in a
was a local football hero, until his drink- lems: Haruko worries about her brother, wooded area. Alternating between third-
ing cost him his position on the team, his who is serving in the U.S. Army’s Japanese person chronicles of Luke and Toby’s
girlfriend, and his self-respect. In her YA division, and wonders what her father had senior year of high school and Luke’s let-
debut, Doll skillfully integrates three to do with her family’s relocation; Margot’s ters to his friend from behind bars, Bliss
alternating voices—especially Doris, with father finds himself courted by Nazi ide- weaves together a compelling and raw
her gift for finding things—in a story alists as their situation worsens, and her story. Luke was a wrestling champion with
threaded through with relationships and pregnant mother fears yet another miscar- a mother who wasn’t responsible enough
identities lost and found. Over the course riage. Camp life, with its daily indignities to get to work or feed her family. Toby was
of the summer, junk and treasures, both and occasional tragedies, grows tense, and a smart kid hiding the bruises from his
sentimental and real, pass through the the two girls find their friendship intensi- abusive and drunk father. With hard-hit-
shop; family history is reclaimed; and things, fying. Hesse (The Girl in the Blue Coat) ting authenticity, Bliss conveys both the
stories, and people find new places to draws Margot and Haruko realistically typical dilemmas of adolescence as well as
belong. Ages 12–up. and sympathetically, bolstered by research the more sobering and life-altering moments
into WWII internment camps, in a mov- that Toby and Luke are unfairly forced to
The War Outside ing book that successfully describes an confront. At its core, Bliss’s story is a med-
Monica Hesse. Little, Brown, $17.99 unjust aspect of U.S. history. Ages 12–up. itation on choices—including the momen-
(336p) ISBN 978-0-316-31669-9 tary lapses of judgment that can derail
In 1944, 17-year-old Japanese-American We Are All That’s Left whole lives, raising the question of whether
Haruko, from Colorado, and German- Carrie Arcos. Philomel, $17.99 (400p) a single event can or should define an
American Margot, from Iowa, are impris- ISBN 978-0-399-17554-1 individual. A powerful story of loyalty,
oned with their families in a Department Arcos (Out of Reach) depicts the horrors betrayal, and crippling family dysfunc-
of Justice–run internment camp for “enemy of the 1990s Bosnian conflict in this pow- tion. Ages 14–up.
aliens” suspected by the U.S. government erful novel that juxtaposes images of the
of being spies. (The camp differs from war against a fictionalized terrorist attack What I Leave Behind
WWII War Relocation Authority–run in Rhode Island. The story begins in the Alison McGhee. Atheneum/Dlouhy,
camps to which West Coast Japanese resi- present day with teenage Zara bemoaning $17.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-4814-7656-0
dents were relocated en masse, an author’s the fact that she feels distant from her In this spare, emotionally raw novella,
note explains.) Although the two groups mother, Nadja. Zara knows that Nadja the deeply thoughtful 16-year-old narra-

82 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

tor, Will, vainly tries to recreate his father’s What the Night Sings entered her dreams to let her know, and
cornbread recipe, and he walks through Vesper Stamper. Knopf, $19.99 (272p) she isn’t the only person he’s visited.
L.A. neighborhoods while his mom works ISBN 978-1-5247-0038-6 Alternating points of view within chap-
overnight at the hospital. In finely honed Stamper’s exceptionally moving debut ters and intermingling dream sequences
chapters, each introduced by a Chinese goes beyond recounting the suffering with reality, Morrissey shows how trauma
character, McGhee (Never Coming Back) inflicted on Jews during the Holocaust to strengthens existing friendships and
crafts a slim cast of strongly sketched indi- explore a young woman’s conflict between brings strangers together. Petra relies on
viduals, including Will’s socially awkward love and artistic ambition. Fourteen-year- her own friends and Martin’s for support
boss at the Dollar Only store, his childhood old Gerta Richter, a talented singer and as she desperately attempts to relay a mes-
friend Playa, and Mrs. Lin, who operates a daughter of a violist in the Würzburg sage he’s sent her. During the process, she
Chinese blessings store. The narrative grad- Orchestra, learned that she is actually learns some surprising information about
ually reveals the troubles Will seeks to walk Gerta Rausch, the other teens and begins to come to
off. “Sometimes the right route is the route a Jew, when terms with a dark secret that she has been
not past other places, places you maybe love she and her hiding for too long. The extended use of
but can’t walk by right now. Like Playa’s father were dreams is a risky device, but Morrissey
house. Like the blessings store. Like the forcibly strikes a graceful balance between poetic
river bridge over Fourth Street.” McGhee removed from description and visceral detail, ultimately
skillfully evokes sense memory, as Will Würzburg by delivering a tragic, suspenseful, and
attempts to find solace in his nighttime the Nazis one inspiring novel. Ages 14-up.
wanderings. Ultimately, the piercing nar- night in June
rative offers an affirmation of remaining 1944. The Wildcard
connected to others through loss as Will novel opens Marie Lu. Putnam, $18.99 (352p)
embraces his relationships and begins to with the British liberation of German ISBN 978-0-399-54799-7
heal. Ages 14–up. concentration camps in 1945 and moves Sure to inspire even deeper devotion
smoothly among Gerta’s prewar life, her among Lu’s fans, this sequel picks up just
What if It’s Us? stay in concentration camps and the three days after the Warcross finale, rais-
Becky Abertalli and Adam Silvera. Bergen-Belsen Displaced Persons camp, ing complicated questions about the con-
HarperTeen/Balzer + Bray, $18.99 and her postwar flight to Palestine. sequences of technology and power.
(448p) ISBN 978-0-06-279525-0 Focusing on Gerta’s transitional time as a Emika Chen, exempt from Hideo
Authors Albertalli (Simon vs. the Homo displaced person, Stamper delves into her Tanaka’s unleashed algorithm thanks to a
Sapiens Agenda) and Silvera (They Both Die at fight to regain her musical gift, her deep- lucky accident, is reeling from Hideo’s
the End) team up for a charming, sweet- ening relationship with a fellow survivor, betrayal and the knowledge that Zero,
natured love story between two very differ- her growing identity as a Jew, and her the hacker whom Hideo hired her to neu-
ent boys. Arthur (written by Albertalli) is struggle to make decisions about her tralize, is Hideo’s long-missing brother,
in New York for the summer while his law- future. Generously illustrated with Sasuke, whose disappearance drives
yer mother works a big case. His family’s Stamper’s haunting spot images and Hideo to create Warcross and the algo-
affluent and Jewish, and he’s a Broadway larger scenes, all in deep brown hues that rithm. Having realized that the algo-
geek and a virgin with good grades. Native evoke profound emotion, the book is a rithm, meant to eliminate violence, may
New Yorker Ben (Silvera) is Puerto Rican. strong addition to the bookshelf of be causing people to commit suicide,
His family’s on a tight budget, he’s just out Holocaust fiction. Ages 12–up. Emika enters a tenuous partnership with
of a relationship, and he’s stuck in summer Zero and the Blackcoats, a secret organi-
school. Arthur believes in love at first sight; What You Left Me zation working to destroy the algorithm,
Ben’s not even sure he believes in love. After Bridget Morrissey. Sourcebooks Fire, and attempts to gain access to it by win-
they bump into each other at a post office, $10.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4926-5551-0 ning Hideo’s trust. Though Emika main-
then are separated by a flash mob, Arthur This absorbing first novel begins on tains her moral center, she struggles to
searches the New York haystack to find one graduation day. High school seniors Petra do right as the virtual world crosses into
adorable high school junior. But the course and Martin meet and form an unexpected reality and becomes personal: “There’s a
of meet-cute never did run smooth: compli- bond while stuck “in the middle with point where the lines start to blur, and I
cations include friends, Ben’s ex, cultural 876 other sweaty kids” during the long am standing in that place now, strug-
differences, and the difficult and confusing ceremony. The two plan to see each other gling to see through the gray.” Lu’s
nature of love. The authors—one known again at Martin’s graduation bash, but a futuristic world, with its immersive tech-
for happy endings, the other for breaking car accident puts him in the hospital and nology, feels dangerously within reach in
hearts—split the difference believably, and the party never occurs. While Martin lies this action-packed escapade with a
it’s impossible not to root for Arthur and in a coma, hovering between life and death, thoughtful, emotion-driven core. Ages
Ben and their many do-overs. Ages 14–up. Petra knows his brain is still intact; he’s 12–up.

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 83
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

cessfully transferring public sentiment
Marie Lu away from Stacey and toward Julia. The
parents are all emotionally and sometimes
Why do you feel stories like Warcross and physically unavailable, leaving the protag-
Wildcard, which explore the consequences of onists to wrestle with questions about
technology and innovation, resonate so deeply
their own identities, how to represent
with readers? themselves to the world, and whom they
I think young people today are growing up in a can trust. This briskly paced, at times
time where they’ve never been without this type of riotously funny satire offers a subtle, dis-
technology. I remember giving a talk at a middle cerning critique of both the contemporary
school and making some gesture, trying to make a U.S. political scene and the milieu of
phone against my face. You know how you extend identity politics through top-notch story-
your thumb and pinky? I realized that they didn’t telling. Ages 14–up.
know what I was doing because they had never
seen a phone like that—they’ve only ever known a Zen and Gone
flat iPhone. Moments like that take me aback; I Emily France. Soho Teen, $18.99
have to remind myself that these kids are growing (352p) ISBN 978-1-61695-857-2
up during a time of such rapid change. It’s not that In this memorable, Zen Buddhist-
we don’t all live through change, but the pace has grown faster and faster, which centric novel, 17-year-old Essa, a native of
is both fascinating and really terrifying. Speculating on what that might mean for Boulder, Colo., must care for her little sis-
the future, even just 10 years down the road, really appeals and is unsettling ter, Puck, because their perpetually high-
for a lot of people. —Sara Grochowski on-marijuana mother refuses to. Oliver, a
■ For the complete interview, go to recent transplant to Boulder, is also close
to his younger sister, Lilly, and is grieving
over how Lilly’s serious mental illness has
A Winter’s Promise: its methodical pace. Ophelia’s galvaniz- affected their relationship and family. Over
Book One of the Mirror ing journey toward self-determination the course of slow, intense, and reflective
Visitor Quartet culminates in a dramatic cliffhanger that alternating chapters, Essa and Oliver
Christelle Dabos, trans. from the teases book two. Ages 15–up. meet, fall in love, and face tremendous
French by Hildegarde Serle. Europa, hardship with the awe-inducing beauty
$19.95 (468p) ISBN 978-1-60945-483-8 Your Own Worst Enemy of the Colorado wilderness as a backdrop.
Ophelia’s entire family inhabits Anima, Gordon Jack. HarperTeen, $17.99 France’s prose is
one of 207 planetary shards (or “arks”) that (448p) ISBN 978-0-06-239942-7 dense with ideas
orbit Earth’s remains. Her clan tradition- A group of idiosyncratic teenagers navi- and practices
ally intermarries, so it’s shocking when gates the precarious waters of identity and related to Zen
Anima’s ruling matriarchs order the awk- cultural appropriation while campaigning Buddhism and
ward young woman, a museum curator who for student government in this delight- thoughtful
can read objects’ histories via touch, to fully comedic and timely high school about how these
wed Thorn, the chief treasurer of a distant drama by Jack (The Boomerang Effect). In practices apply
ark dubbed the Pole. Banishment is the California, extracurricular superstar and to Essa’s
punishment for refusal, so Ophelia moves avid environmentalist Stacey faces unex- thoughts and
in with Thorn’s Aunt Berenilde and hopes pected competition in her run for student life struggles.
to become acquainted with her fiancé. The body president from a mysterious new France also
hostile Thorn rarely visits, however, and girl, Julia, who appears to be a Latina— shows her expertise in camping and sur-
Berenilde forbids Ophelia from leaving and garners the Latino vote—but hides vival in the wilderness, as Essa and Oliver
the estate, allegedly to protect her from the fact that she doesn’t actually know her become lost in the mountains during a
assassination. Ophelia can’t fathom what heritage. Further complications ensue storm and must fight for their lives—and
either ark stands to gain from the betrothal, when Stacey’s best friend and campaign Puck’s. Essa’s struggles with her irre-
but she intends to find out—provided she manager, Brian, develops a reciprocated sponsible, absentee mother are fierce and
can survive the Pole’s cutthroat politics crush on Julia, while his cunning conspir- poignant, as are Oliver’s in response to his
and Thorn’s poisonous family tree. Author acy theorist younger brother, Mohawk, sister’s schizophrenia. This is a beautiful,
Dabos’s darkly enchanting debut, a French not only persuades the perpetually stoned, gentle, contemplative story certain to
bestseller, employs vibrant characters, “not stereotypically Asian” Tony to join both fascinate and educate readers about
inventive worldbuilding, and a sophisti- the race but also defaces Julia’s posters a new way of encountering the world and
cated plot that will dazzle readers despite with the phrase “Build That Wall!”, suc- all the challenges within it. Ages 14–up.

84 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    


Ivan Brunetti. Toon, $12.95 (40p)

It doesn’t take her long to realize that
she’s wished for the wrong thing. Mean
Grace for Gus
Harry Bliss. HarperCollins/Tegen,
$17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-264410-7
Grace has dark hair and bangs, and her
glasses reflect the light—she looks quite a
bit like Marcie from Peanuts, which is far
ISBN 978-1-943145-34-8 girls, stinking outhouses, and baffling from the only comics reference that Bliss
Cartoonist Brunetti (Wordplay) stages camp traditions make her first weeks mis- (Bailey) sneaks into this mostly wordless
another concept-driven comic for early erable. Triumphs come, but not before love letter to New York City, classic car-
readers. “For your homework, you’ll she undergoes moments of humiliation toons, and
draw 12 things, but in sets,” a teacher that are both funny and cringeworthy (“Is entrepreneur-
wearing a plaid shirt and bow-tie that candy?” Vera asks her older tent- ial ingenuity.
instructs. In full-bleed and four-panel mates about a pack of maxi-pads). The Grace’s
spreads using dialogue balloons, dialogue rings true, the pace is seamless, Manhattan
Brunetti shows the children’s thought and the panel artwork, in woodsy browns classroom has
processes: “I can’t decide... Draw 3 and greens, conveys feelings with clean, a hamster
things, 4 times each? Or 4 things, 3 assured lines. By turns sardonic, adorable, named Gus,
times each?” one boy ponders. A glance and noble, Vera is a beguiling hero who and her teacher
at a carton of eggs makes the assign- learns how to recognize who’s really on reminds the
ment more clear: “Oh, as long as I have her side. Ages 10–14. class to con-
12! Mom, I’m hungry!” Another student tribute to Gus’s “buddy fund.” Grace
draws a monster with four heads, legs, The Cardboard Kingdom hurries home, eats dinner with her two
and tails. Brunetti’s India ink and digital Chad Sell. Knopf, $18.99 (288p) fathers, kisses them goodnight, and
art features playful scenes; figures have ISBN 978-1-5247-1937-1 promptly sneaks out into the nighttime
ball-like heads, blocky torsos, and elon- In his first title for young people, car- city. She’s a busker, and a multitalented
gated arms. As the characters work toonist Sell offers a story that unfolds in a one at that, playing violin, drawing cari-
through the multiplication concept on neighborhood where children make elabo- catures, and deploying a gymnastic
their own terms, readers are sure to rate cardboard costumes that let them try “showtime” subway routine for an audi-
arrive at a clearer understanding. Ages on new personas and powers. Vijay, his ence that includes Woody Allen, Donald
3–6. older sister Shikha, and their neighbor Trump, and a grown-up version of Ernie
Sophie experiment first with masks that Bushmiller’s Nancy. The fun comes partly
Be Prepared feature fangs and horns, and their adven- from watching as Grace’s resourcefulness
Vera Brosgol. First Second, $12.99 tures draw in diverse new kids, and issues powers her to her goal and partly from
paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-62672-445-7 of gender, class, and culture take center Bliss’s panels, which are crammed with
Unlike her debut, Anya’s Ghost, Eisner- stage. Jack wants to be an evil sorceress; New York City Easter eggs and references
winner Brosgol’s second graphic work is a his mother doesn’t mind the gown, but to writers, comedians, and cartoon char-
summer camp memoir set in the real rejects the cruelty. Amanda’s Spanish- acters. Despite potential dangers,
world. Without fantasy elements to dis- speaking father doesn’t want her wearing Grace’s plan goes off without a hitch,
tract, execution is crucial, and Brosgol a mustache (“What would they say back and she remains cool and poised. An easy
delivers. Vera, Brosgol’s nine-year-old home?”). While the proto-capitalist Alice candidate for cherished bedtime favorite.
self, is a wide-eyed Russian immigrant seems unnecessarily ruthless (“I will get Ages 4–8.
kid desperate to fit in with her suburban my customers back... and I will crush
classmates. They all go to camp every you”), other characters are drawn with Illegal
summer, and tenderness, including Miguel and Nate, Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, illus.
when she finds who must balance traditional messages by Giovanni Rigano. Sourcebooks
out about a about masculinity with the attraction Jabberwocky, $14.99 paper (128p)
Russian they feel for each other. Blocky panel art- ISBN 978-1-4926-6214-3
Orthodox work adds impact by flipping back and This achingly poignant graphic novel by
camp that her forth between what the kids envision (big Colfer and Donkin, collaborators on the
family’s monsters, epic battles) and what’s actually Artemis Fowl graphic novels, imagines
church will happening (cardboard creations buckling how one Ghanaian orphan ends up adrift
help pay for, under the onslaught of garden hoses). in the Mediterranean. Ebo’s older sister
she talks her Imagination, these kids prove, can erase Sisi is already in Europe, and he knows
mother into what seem like unbridgeable differences. his brother Kwame is headed there, too,
letting her go. Ages 9–12. so Ebo sets out to find him. It’s clear that

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 85
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

he succeeds, because the story opens on a Duck) introduces a rain forest setting stress with big
scene of the two brothers drifting without most likely new to readers (Guyana, an dreams—
food or water on the ocean. But in flash- afterword explains) in a story that brims accepts a posi-
backs, they see with creativity and affection. Ages tion as per-
Ebo searching 6–10. sonal seam-
for Kwame in a stress for a
teeming refugee On a Sunbeam mystery client.
hub in Niger. Tillie Walden. First Second, $32.99 She soon dis-
Punchy dia- (544p) ISBN 978-1-250-17813-8 covers that her
logue and wist- In this sprawling, wonderfully original employer is
ful narration space jaunt by Walden (Spinning), the none other
note both Ebo’s depicted characters are all female or gen- than Prince
poverty and his der nonbinary, and the diverse protago- Sebastian, who wants her to create daz-
gifts: optimism nists inhabit cluttered and homey quar- zling gowns for Lady Crystallia,
(“I’m stronger ters aboard a fish-shaped starship. Sebastian’s alter ego, who quickly
than I look,” he tells a boss), a talent for Teenage Mia joins the close-knit crew of becomes a fashion icon. Despite Frances’s
singing, and initiative (he parlays a box of the spaceship Aktis, who travel the galaxy connection with Sebastian, she worries
wet wipes into cash by selling them one restoring old buildings that float unteth- that being part of the prince’s secret is
by one). Water is precious, and Ebo and ered in open space. Flashbacks chronicle limiting her dreams of finding success as
Kwame endure periods of intense thirst. Mia’s freshman year at boarding school— a designer. The relationship between
Rigano brings the brothers’ struggle bullies, sports, and all—and her doomed Frances and Sebastian—both as a con-
close, but his magnificent panels include romance with the mysterious Grace. flicted prince and the glamorous
moments of beauty, too. Clouds tower When Mia discovers her crewmates’ Crystallia—glows; Frances understands
above the ocean, and starry skies light the unexpected connection to Grace, the crew that Sebastian and Crystallia are two
desert. Refugees, readers will understand, embarks on a dangerous mission to a for- halves of a brilliant whole. “It’s weird, I
are not statistics; everyone is an individ- bidden planet to find her. The exquisite don’t feel like Prince Sebastian could lead
ual. Ages 10–up. art foregrounds simply lined characters a nation into battle, but Lady Crystallia
against intricate architectural constructs, could,” admits the prince, inspiring
New Shoes and Walden’s distinctive layers of flat Frances to create an armor-themed dress
Sara Varon. First Second, $17.99 color create temporal cohesion and for their next midnight escapade.
(208p) ISBN 978-1-59643-920-7 emphasize themes of memory and family. Frances’s daring designs shine in Wang’s
In a South American village, a donkey As Walden develops the relationships, elegantly drafted and gorgeously colored
named Francis makes shoes for discerning and drops tantalizing hints about the vast illustrations, and the irreverently anach-
clients. Francis is overjoyed to receive a universe this graphic novel inhabits, it ronistic approach to the setting provides
commission from Miss Manatee, his becomes clear that the meandering, atmo- a lovely and humorous counterbalance to
favorite calypso singer, but before he can spheric journey—and the growth it the seriousness of the prince’s situation
start work, he discovers that his friend affords each character—is the point. With (“Prepare to get your lady groove on,”
and tiger grass supplier, Nigel, has gone a gratifying conclusion, this masterful insists the burly, bearded king, who is
missing. Venturing into the forest to sort blend of science fiction–inflected school eager for Sebastian to be betrothed). It’s
out Nigel’s situation (he has been steal- drama, road trip, and adventure is noth- all but certain to deliver grins, gasps, and
ing tiger grass from its grower, Harriet ing less than marvelous. Ages 12–up. some happy tears. Ages 12–up.
the jaguar) is a big test for Francis, who
has never been outside his village. His The Prince and the Sanity & Tallulah
success helps him think outside the box Dressmaker Molly Brooks. Disney-Hyperion, $21.99
when he discovers that aquatic manatees Jen Wang. First Second, $16.99 trade (240p) ISBN 978-1-368-00844-0
don’t wear shoes. Instead, he and his paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-62672-363-4 Two brilliant girls, a whole lot of a sci-
friends make Miss Manatee a handsome A talented seamstress and a prince ence, and a failing space station feature in
wheeled cart. With their cheerful expres- with a secret will win readers’ hearts in a series opener with a good balance of wit
sions and rubbery limbs, Varon’s crea- Wang’s utterly charming graphic novel, and action. Sanity and Tallulah’s inquisi-
tures behave with gentle civility which is set in a playfully tweaked ver- tiveness may be the literal ruin of their
throughout, as when Harriet and her sion of 19th-century Paris and highlights families and their entire space station:
predator friends stand at the very back of identity, acceptance, and fashion. After Sanity uses unstable, obsolete technology
Buster’s Calypso Café during Miss creating a scandalous dress for an to engineer and feed a white three-headed
Manatee’s performance, so as not to attendee of Prince Sebastian’s 16th birth- cat, Princess Sparkle, Destroyer of
intimidate the other patrons. Varon (Odd day party, Frances—an overlooked seam- Worlds (a name dedicated to each of her

86 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ “Charming, practical,
and a good guide to
using a brush to create
heads), and Tallulah has aided and abet- perspective, drawing the reader ever simple illustrations.”
ted. The feline escapes soon after, just as deeper into the magic and mystery of
people report strange occurrences—a Tom’s nightly escapades. Tom’s letters to —Kirkus Reviews
murdered animal, power outages, and Peter, in which he describes the adven-
chewed wires—throughout the station. tures, and his discussions with his Uncle
Racing to find their cat while avoiding Alan about time travel combine effec-
parents and crew members, they stumble tively with the artist’s detailed depictions
upon a much bigger problem that could of Tom’s experiences, reflecting the
jeopardize everyone on the ship. But who changing garden landscape and Hattie’s
will believe that it’s not their missing age. This engrossing adaptation will
pet? Within a trichromatic color scheme allow a new generation of readers to dis-
in shades of cover Pearce’s timeless tale. Ages 8–12.
purple and
pink with We Are All Me $17.99 | 9781632172044
white, line Jordan Crane. Toon, $12.95 (36p)
work renders ISBN 978-1-943145-35-5
characters and This far-reaching metaphysical outing,
situations an addition to Toon’s early reader comics
close up series, focuses on the microscopic and the
against the immense as well as individuality and col-
massive sta- lectivity. With abstract, psychedelic art,
tion, offering Crane introduces a white, moonlike orb
the adventure that grows arms and emerges from the
an intimate feel. Debut author Brooks’s darkness after a page turn: “I am one.”
inclusive vision of strong and diverse The being next appears—smiling, with
women engaged in science, variously its arms outstretched—within the chest
abled bodies navigating the challenges of a second, long-limbed figure. As the
of space, and positive family relation- book moves along, the book shows this From Bologna
ships is both enjoyable and commend- being as a part of an interconnected whole
Ragazzi Award-winner
able. Ages 8–12. that comprises the planet and its funda-
mental materials (“made of air/ and of
Guillaume Duprat
Tom’s Midnight Garden cloud/ made of water/ and of earth/ and
Philippa Pearce, adapted and illus. by seed”) until the materials become flesh
Edith. Greenwillow, $22.99 (100p) (“of leaf and fruit/ and bug and bee/ and
ISBN 978-0-06-269657-1 bone and meat”). As the book zooms into
In this graphic-novel adaptation of the biological, readers glimpse the inside
Pearce’s Carnegie Medal–winner, Edith of a neon pink bird’s stomach and the
evokes the original book’s sense of won- ventricles of a beating heart, and atoms
der and discovery in a fresh format. Tom are rendered as dramatic, kaleidoscopic
is disappointed to be sent to his Uncle forms. Finally, as the book zooms back
Alan and Aunt Gwen’s gardenless, drab out, long-limbed beings join the first
home for summer holiday while his figure, all with similar orbs that grow
younger brother, Peter, recovers from from their chests, connecting and pool-
measles. His days are filled with eating ing together: “We are all one.” This is a
and boredom, but his sleepless nights strange and lovely meditation on whole- “An INSIGHTFUL
take an unexpected turn when Tom hears ness. Ages 3–up.
primary sense that varies
the grandfather clock, belonging to the among animals.”
peculiar landlady, strike for a 13th time. Publishers Weekly, (starred review)
Creeping downstairs to investigate, Tom
discovers an enchanted garden, unbound
by time. Returning night after night, he “EYE-WIDENING INDEED
develops a friendship with high-spirited —in design as well as topic.”
Hatty, the only garden inhabitant who Kirkus Reviews, (starred review)

can see him. Edith’s expertly varied,

atmospheric panels shift in mood and

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 87
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

case for ephemeral, handmade toys that
harness children’s curiosity and invite
gives great
joy. The year
is 1912, and
Gertie, the
youngest of
five sisters,
The Kid’s Awesome Activity imaginative participation. Mixed-media throws a tan-
collage art featuring children, animals, trum after
Book: Games! Puzzles! and playful designs enhances this unique being told
Mazes! And More! and impassioned celebration of folk toy she’s too lit-
Mike Lowery. Workman, $14.95 paper traditions. All ages. tle to be included in the Hanukkah prep-
(112p) ISBN 978-0-7611-8718-9 arations: “No, Mäusele,” says Mama when
With bold, goofy artwork, a plethora of Sweet Revenge: Passive- Gertie wants to use the potato peeler, “It’s
activities, and more than 400 stickers, Aggressive Desserts for too sharp.” Sent to the communal bed-
this jam-packed offering from Lowery Your Exes & Enemies room for a time-out, Gertie sulks, then
(the Doodle Adventure series) lives up to Heather Kim. Switch, $19.95 paper worries she’ll miss Hanukkah altogether.
its name. Opportunities for creativity (208p) ISBN 978-1-63079-089-9 But with some sweet, timeless Papa
abound: Pastry chef and tattoo artist Kim serves humor and an important responsibility—
“Design an up a fierce dessert book for readers seek- lighting the first night’s candle—the girl
ugly sweater ing vengeance against exes or others who feels welcomed back into the family fold.
for this fox,” have wronged them. Pun-heavy recipe Jenkins captures a wealth of feelings with
Lowery invites names include “I Couldn’t Carrot All a few understated words: “The latkes taste
on one spread. Cake,” “You’ve Got a Latte Balls,” and “I of history and freedom, of love and crispy
Elsewhere, Don’t Give a Fig About You,” and the potato.” Zelinsky’s warm-toned, rough-
readers can adventurousness of the recipes (Cheeto ice hewn pictures and intimate perspectives
draw new hair- cream sandwiches, anyone?) cleverly give readers a sense of both the close
styles in a underscores the cookbook’s “out with the quarters of tenement life and the
“Monster Hair Salon” and count the num- old” mentality. Photographs of the sticky, unbreakable bonds that made immigrant
ber of gnomes in a “super old library.” indulgent desserts are paired with heavy- Jewish families so resilient. Ages 3–7.
Punch-out pieces broaden the range of metal-esque fonts and Kim’s irreverent
activities: readers can make an alien- commentary. There’s wisdom in Kim’s Every Month Is a New Year:
themed flip book, finger puppets, and a kitchen magic: “Sweet Revenge is about Celebrations Around the
mask. Jokes and wordplay accompany the taking all your bittersweet memories, World
cast of loveable, dopey, and deadpan char- mixing in a little flour and sugar, and cre- Marilyn Singer, illus. by Susan L. Roth.
acters, and a detachable poster makes this ating something delicious AF out of Lee & Low, $20.95 (48p) ISBN 978-
exhilarating interactive book even more them,” she writes. Readers in postbreakup 1-62014-162-5
multidimensional. Ages 6–11. mode or stewing over a double-crossing Fittingly taking the shape of a calendar,
bestie should find much-needed laughs in this graceful grouping of more than a
Toys and Play with Kim’s no-holds-barred tone and will dozen poems showcases new year celebra-
Everyday Materials likely repurpose these recipes for sweeter tions, both secular and religious, from
Sudarshan Khanna et al., illus. by occasions. Ages 14–up. across the globe and throughout the year.
Priya Sunderam. Tara, $24.95 (112p) Lines from “Smashing the Pots,” about
ISBN 978-93-83145-57-7 C e l e b r at i o n s a n d the Kemetic holiday of Wep Ronpet,
Toy researcher Khanna presents a range H o l i d ay s crystallize the book’s intent: “Everyone
of simple yet clever toys for readers to believes in a different beginning./ But
make, which are based on those created All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah what is true and what is clear/ is that all
by toy makers in India. Many of the proj- Emily Jenkins, illus. by Paul O. Zelinsky. of us hope for a luminous year.” The
ects require only paper and glue, includ- Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 poems are framed by calendar-style grids
ing a noisemaking “Flute-hoot,” while (40p) ISBN 978-0-399-55419-3 filled with thematic collage elements, and
others require slightly more skill and a When two top picture book talents dramatic scenes of shared meals (for
small number of additional materials. (the team behind the Toys Go Out series) Nowruz in Iran), flying kites (for
Khanna integrates physics concepts— introduce a new generation to Sydney Matariki in New Zealand), and other fes-
including centrifugal force and vibra- Taylor’s classic stories of Jewish family life tivities appear in the main images above.
tion—to describe the way that the toys on the Lower East Side, it’s what’s known Closing notes thoroughly explore the hol-
work, while brief, cogent essays make a in Yiddish as a mechaye—something that idays Singer introduces, closing out a

88 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

lovely collection that both looks back at Light the Menorah! to be thankful for teachers, librarians,
tradition and forward to new beginnings, A Hanukkah Handbook parents, and others who “serve and help
wherever one might live. Ages 7–10. Jacqueline Jules, illus. by Kristina us.” Softly textured pastel drawings by
Swarner. Kar-Ben, $18.99 (40p) Swarner (Little Banty Chicken and the Big
Holi Colors ISBN 978-1-5124-8368-0 Dream) show quietly proud and happy
Rina Singh. Orca, $9.95 (24p) In this collection, which pairs themed characters from history and the modern
ISBN 978-1-4598-1849-1 poems and prose passages on each spread, day (one family includes a same-sex cou-
“My jaan, my life, my little one./ Let’s Jules (Drop by Drop: A Story of Rabbi ple), with festive decorative borders fram-
play holi. Let’s have fun!” So begins Akiva) expands on typical Hanukkah ing the scenes. The calm tone, scrupulous
Singh’s tender tribute to the Hindu holi- how-tos with short, imaginative reflec- sourcing of information (as in the dis-
day of Holi, during which participants tions, one for tinction between history and rabbinic
toss colorful powders on each other. each night of lore), and clear instructions make this an
Writing in the voice of a parent address- candle light- excellent choice for families who are cre-
ing a child, Singh uses the occasion to ing. For the ating their first Hanukkah traditions.
highlight five colors (“Lotus sent the first night, Ages 4–10.
sweetest pink./ Stole it from your cheeks, readers are
I think”), accompanied by intimate and reminded of Little Christmas Tree
appropriately vibrant photographs of how Judah Jessica Courtney-Tickle. Big Picture,
Indian children and families throwing Maccabee $15.99 (12p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0311-0
gulal powder, painting each other with stood up for In a wintry woodland, “snow has fallen
color, laughing, and hugging. A closing what he thought was right and how “it is everywhere/ and turned the green woods
note briefly describes Holi’s underpin- not easy to be the first.” The fourth night white./ A little Christmas tree wakes up/
nings, wrapping up a joyful hybrid of becomes a tribute to the shamash—the and sparkles in the night.” The pine is
concept book, holiday title, and portrait “helper candle” on the menorah used to colored in mottled shades of green and
of familial love. Up to age 3. light all the others—and reminds readers lightly textured with shiny silver flecks.

Kissing Hand

 New cloth cover

 Additional pages for families to record
memories of the book.
 Includes a link to Letters to Chester,
a feel-good compilation of extraordinary
and moving stories from readers of all
ages on the joy and comfort The Kissing
Hand has brought to their lives.
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

A swan, black bird, and other animals fill Even those who don’t observe the holiday make an appearance—angels, shepherds,
the vertical pages, while flaps shaped like may reflect on similarities within their magi, and a menagerie of gentle animals.
snow drifts, bushes, and trees lift to reveal own family traditions. Ages 2–4. Trees and leaves accent the scenes, as do
hidden animals, foliage, and even a bum- bright splashes of color from the hillside
ble bee under a log—each animal or Oliver Elephant buildings, the kings’ rich garments, and
object identified on the flaps’ undersides. Lou Peacock, illus. by Helen vibrant blankets that swaddle. The book
Courtney-Tickle’s friendly digital illustra- Stephens. Nosy Crow, $16.99 (32p) concludes with a note about the song’s
tions teem with life, while the sparkly, ISBN 978-1-5362-0266-3 origin and a page of lyrics. Ages 3–6.
snow-dappled trees and lift-the-flap sur- Spirits are high when Mommy, Noah,
prises are pleasantly reminiscent of an and Evie-May Brown, snug in her stroller, C r e at o r s a n d
Advent calendar. Ages 2–5. zip through town toward the “Christmassy C r e at i o n s
shop at the end of the row” to complete
The Lost Christmas their holiday gift buying. As Mommy Between the Lines:
B.B. Cronin. Viking, $18.99 (40p) leads the way through the department
ISBN 978-0-451-47904-4 store, ticking purchased items off her list,
How Ernie Barnes Went
Cronin returns to the candy-colored Noah and his stuffed pal Oliver Elephant from the Football Field to
world of The Lost House and The Lost Picnic share adventures nearby. A welcome snack the Art Gallery
for a holiday seek-and-find just difficult stop brings the jolly outing to a screech- Sandra Neil Wallace, illus. by Bryan
enough for poring over. On a snowy ing halt when Noah realizes—post–choc- Collier. S&S/Wiseman, $17.99 (48p)
Christmas Eve, “the children” visit their olate cake—that Oliver has gone missing. ISBN 978-1-4814-4387-6
mustachioed grandfather in his spectacu- Luckily, Evie-May sweetly saves the day. This rich portrait of an innovative and
larly cluttered home, planning to help Stephens (the determined artist begins with Ernie
him decorate. Grandad has lost the orna- How to Hide Barnes as a child in the segregated South.
ments, and readers can join the children a Lion series) Despite a desire to pursue art, football
in the search. Cronin details the orna- skillfully was Barnes’s ticket to college, where he
ments to be found: “the rabbit on a sled, changes per- visited museums for the first time and
the red lantern, the accordion player, the spective in was dismayed to find no black artists rep-
circus performer, and the man with the paintings that resented (“Your people don’t express
green mustache.” In the artist’s distinc- feature loose themselves in that way,” a docent told
tive acrylics, the children and grandfather ink lines and him). But Barnes refused to abandon his
have a curious cuteness reminiscent of splashes of artwork, even after being drafted as a pro-
vintage Little Golden Book characters. color as she alternates crowds of shoppers fessional footballer. Collier’s multidimen-
The daring shades of neon pink, green, with more intimate spot illustrations of sional collages are a dynamic mix of grid-
and yellow practically vibrate on the Noah and Oliver. The well-crafted family iron action and quiet moments of Barnes
pages. Ages 3–7. tale by Peacock (Toby and the Tricky with his brushes and canvases. It’s a well-
Things) captures holiday bustle while cel- sourced, stirringly told account of an art-
Lunar New Year ebrating a child’s devotion to a favorite ist drawing inspiration from and finding
Hannah Eliot, illus. by Alina Chau. toy companion. Ages 2–5. beauty in the immediate surroundings of
Little Simon, $8.99 (24p) ISBN 978-1- his world. Ages 4–8.
5344-3303-8 Silent Night
In the fourth title of the Celebrate the Illus. by Lara Hawthorne. Lincoln Bloom: A Story of Fashion
World board book series, Eliot describes Children’s, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1- Designer Elsa Schiaparelli
the folkloric and cultural history of 78603-066-5 Kyo Maclear, illus. by Julie Morstad.
Chinese New Year—including the story The Christmas Choir series launches Harper, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-
of Nian, a monster who is only frightened with this reverent and accessible adapta- 06-244761-6
by “the loud crackling of burning bam- tion of a favorite carol. Hawthorne (The The duo behind Julia, Child offers a
boo (or firecrackers), the color red, and Night Flower) pairs the song’s familiar bold first-person biography of designer
the bright lights of lanterns.” Families are lyrics with stylized gouache images that Elsa Schiaparelli, beginning with her
pictured lighting fireworks and lanterns, chronicle the Nativity. In her rendition, dreary childhood in Rome, where the
hanging red decorations, and dining the drama unfolds under a black, star- bright colors of market flowers brought
together. Finally, it’s the Lantern Festival: speckled night sky above a hilly her joy in a family that dismissed her as
“We celebrate with parades led by people Bethlehem. Joseph and Mary, two brown- ugly. Schiaparelli’s passion for color and
dressed as dragons and lions.” Chau illus- skinned travelers, take shelter in the beauty never waned, and Maclear describes
trates in fluid, elegant lines and depicts spare-looking stable where their “holy how, as a single mother in Paris, Schiaparelli
warm interactions between loved ones. infant” is born. All the key characters discovered a community of artists—

90 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

including Meret Oppenheim and Salvador ror the stages of Merian’s life; a chapter take a conceptual approach to art history,
Dalí—who helped foster her artistic iden- titled “Flight” focuses on her ground- moving between topics (why we make art,
tity. Morstad’s vivid mixed-media have an breaking research trip to Surinam. An what makes art interesting) rather than
imaginativeness to match Schiaparelli’s author’s note, timeline, bibliography, and presenting a linear overview of art move-
surrealistic designs (playing with a beloved index conclude this beautifully designed ments and eras. Descriptive headings and
uncle as a child, she soars amid the stars and expansive portrait of a gifted bound- guiding questions open the sections,
and planets of the cosmos) and feature ary breaker. Ages 10–12. which include “Watch this Space: How
splashes of Schiaparelli’s trademark shade do artists set the scene?” and “Mirrors and
of pink: “Bright, impossible, impudent, The Golden Thread: Reflections: How do artists play with
becoming, life-giving, like all the light A Song for Pete Seeger light?” Blake integrates original illustra-
and the birds and the fish in the world Colin Meloy, illus. by Nikki McClure. tions, which include playful representa-
put together.” It’s a dramatic tribute wor- HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $18.99 tions of the collaborators (and Hockney’s
thy of its audacious subject. Ages 4–8. (48p) ISBN 978-0-06-236825-6 pets). The authors also ask questions,
In Meloy (the Wildwood Chronicles) explore historical context, address the
The Girl Who Drew and McClure’s (The Great Chicken Escape) psychological dimensions of works, and,
gorgeous, emotionally expansive book, the refreshingly, share their own associations
Butterflies: How Maria “golden thread”—a reference to Seeger’s and perspectives on the pieces. The rich
Merian’s Art Changed hymn of reconciliation, “Oh, Had I a volume urges readers to think of art his-
Science Golden Thread”—becomes a literal and tory as a living communication between
Joyce Sidman. Houghton Mifflin figurative narrative line that follows artists past, present, and future. Ages
Harcourt, $17.99 (160p) ISBN 978-0- Seeger’s life. The book traces his story 10–14.
544-71713-8 from his beginnings in a family of travel-
Spreads splashed with vibrant, eye- ing musicians to his global renown as a Libba:
catching paintings of insects and flowers folk icon, activist, and writer-arranger of The Magnificent Musical
help tell the story of 17th-century German quintessential American songs. Meloy, Life of Elizabeth Cotton
trailblazer Maria Merian. Eschewing the who is also a member of the band The Laura Veirs, illus. by Tatyana
mores of her time, she became a leading Decemberists, hails his hero in emphatic, Fazlalizadeh. Chronicle, $17.99 (48p)
botanical artist, naturalist, and (possibly) lyric-like poetry. Recalling Seeger’s testi- ISBN 978-1-4521-4857-1
the world’s first ecologist, as she depicted mony during the McCarthy era, Meloy As a child in North Carolina at the end
insects—in all their developmental writes: “Pete was then sent to a senator’s of the 19th century, Elizabeth Cotten
stages—alongside their botanical food court/ And thereupon angrily asked to taught herself to play her brother’s guitar.
sources and helped establish the idea that report/ About all his doings and political It didn’t matter that she was left-handed:
butterflies and moths come from caterpil- leanings/ And did any of his songs have she just played
lars. Sidman (Round) punctuates a well- nefarious meanings?/ All this just to settle the guitar
researched, engaging narrative (“She had political scores/ But Pete, he just said: ‘It’s upside down.
the curiosity of a true scientist, the no business of yours.’/ Which it wasn’t!/ “It was kind of
patience it took to raise insects, and the Still isn’t!” McClure, a masterful cut-paper like brushing
superb artistic skill necessary to share her artist, creates her images from sheets of your teeth
observations”) with excerpts from black and gold and punctuates them with with your
Merian’s jour- a continuous, undulating golden line foot,” writes
nals to bring inscribed with famous lyrics from Seeger’s Veirs, a singer-
the courageous songs. The dynamic spreads evoke both songwriter
artist’s own the historic heft of vintage newspaper making her
voice into the photography and the soaring beauty of children’s book debut. Cotten didn’t pur-
mix. Eclectic righteous, joyous song. Ages 4–8. sue a career in music (“Time swept Libba
sidebars con- up, and she stopped playing guitar”), and
textualize the A History of when readers next see her, she is a grand-
biography mother working in a department store.
(one discusses
Pictures for Children: After being hired as a housekeeper by
witch hunts of From Cave Paintings Ruth Crawford Seeger, Cotten impressed
the era), along with archival images, to Computer Drawings the famous family of folk musicians with
maps, and full-color photographs. Stages David Hockney and Martin Gayford, her playing, leading to a lovely second act
of butterfly metamorphosis (accompanied illus. by Rose Blake. Abrams, $24.99 as a musician. Newcomer Fazlalizadeh’s
by a trademark Sidman nature poem) (128p) ISBN 978-1-4197-3211-9 graphite drawings bring a moody atmo-
serve as fitting chapter headings and mir- Artist Hockney and art critic Gayford sphere to Cotten’s story, an elegant and

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M 91
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

moving portrait of a musician’s late-in-life images: Mona Lisa, Lady with an Ermine, the village of Vitebsk, Belarus, Rosenstock’s
success and singular approach to her craft. and Genebra de Benci, with detailed expressive ode to the artist is laced with
Ages 5–8. descriptions of the works. Elsewhere, references to familiar moments from
Geis discusses da Vinci’s tendency to Chagall’s oeuvre: “Neighbors squabble,
Mary Who Wrote write backward, and a mirrored surface rabbis bless, a bowlegged fiddler plays on
Frankenstein allows readers to experiment. Ending a rooftop.” Working in painterly layers,
Linda Bailey, illus. Julia Sarda. Tundra, with an invitation for readers to design GrandPré integrates Chagall’s chimerical
$17.99 (56p) ISBN 978-1-770-49559-3 their own city, Geis provides a richly imagery into her pictures. Rejected by
This biographical depiction of Mary multidimensional and fittingly dynamic some for his nontraditional work, Chagall
Shelley’s young life explores how writers exploration of da Vinci’s eclectic oeuvre. was embraced by a community of French
create, synthesizing ideas from experiences Ages 8–up. artists, including Cezanne, Gauguin, and
and imagination. Throughout, Bailey Matisse. Rosenstock and GrandPré closely
emphasizes her strong spirit and penchant Paul Writes (a Letter) observe and reflect Chagall’s life and cre-
for daydreams as she traces how formative Chris Raschka. Eerdmans, $17 (40p) ative process: spreads show the artist
circumstances helped move Shelley to ISBN 978-0-8028-5494-0 envisioning, painting, and sculpting,
write: the early Epistle, that fancy New Testament while artisans prepare stained glass for
loss of her word, means letter, and Paul was a real the enchanting, blue-bathed “America
mother, a great human being who, “by writing letters to Windows” in Chicago. A lush and
thinker and his friends,” the author asserts, “changed insightful portrait of a daring and imagi-
advocate for the world.” Caldecott Medalist Raschka native artist. Ages 4–8.
women’s equal- (The Doorman’s Repose) paints Paul at his
ity; meeting fre- desk in bright colors, writing earnestly, Who Says Women Can’t Be
quent visitors to the words floating around him on the Computer Programmers?
her childhood page. With depth, he teases out the The Story of Ada Lovelace
home, including most important parts of the apostle’s Tanya Lee Stone, illus. by Marjorie
philosophers, teachings: “Dear Friends in Galatia, Priceman. Holt/Ottaviano, $18.99
artists, and sci- Only remember one thing: love others (40p) ISBN 978-1-62779-299-8
entists; living with a family of strangers in just the way you love yourselves.” In a vibrant follow-up to Who Says
Scotland; running away with her stepsis- Working in bold black outlines that Women Can’t Be Doctors? (about Elizabeth
ter, Claire, and poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, illuminate the epistles, Raschka imagines Blackwell), Stone explores the life of Ada
her eventual husband; and visiting the apostle bald, with a beard, wearing Lovelace, whose imagination rivaled that
Switzerland with Claire, Shelley, the poet simple robes, sitting in a variety of of her poet father, Lord Byron, to the cha-
Lord Byron, and doctor and writer John rooms that reflect his journeys, until a grin of her mother. Lovelace found a kin-
Polidori. Sarda’s distinctive angular illus- subtle background shows him impris- dred spirit in scientist Charles Babbage,
trations are rife with thoughtful period oned in Rome. Sometimes Paul experi- and her imagination and mathematical
detail and patterns in rich tones, evoking ences consternation: “My earlier letter knowledge helped her recognize that his
an appropriately maudlin mood while upset you. Good! Sometimes we need to proposed
showcasing how Shelley’s life was a cata- be upset.” Sometimes he’s placid: “Be Analytical
lyst to art and creativity—and, perhaps, the tenderhearted.” And sometimes he’s Engine “not
birth of science fiction. Ages 5–8. sagely funny: “Don’t be old lumps of only had the
bread. Be new lumps of bread.” Both power to pro-
Meet the Artist! those intimidated by and those apprecia- cess numbers,
Leonardo da Vinci tive of formal biblical prose will find but it would
Patricia Geis. Princeton Architectural Raschka’s version moving, real, and full be able to cre-
Press, $24.95 (16p) ISBN 978-1- of humanity: “I am sorry I have not ate things like
61689-766-6 come to you yet. I was feeling down.” pictures and
This striking addition to the Meet the Ages 6–up. music—just as
Artist series focuses on the life and work computers do today!” Working in her
of the influential Renaissance artist and Through the Window: familiar style of bright, swooping
innovator. Flaps, minibooks, pop-ups, Views of Marc Chagall’s gouache illustrations, Priceman fills the
and other features reveal biographical Life and Art pages with numbers, letters, and mathe-
details about da Vinci, as well as replica- Barb Rosenstock, illus. by Mary matical computations—at one point,
tions of his paintings, notebooks, statues, GrandPré. Knopf, $17.99 (40p) Lovelace soars above the city, borne on
and flying machines. One spread offers a ISBN 978-1-5247-1751-3 angel wings of numerals and symbols. She
frame with three removable portrait Beginning with Chagall’s childhood in emerges as an independent innovator

92 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ ‘ Tis the
, s
Fr Tale
T ig

whose enthusiasms are contagious, and an narrative, Partridge (Marching for Freedom)
afterword offers additional fascinating
details. Ages 6–9.
evokes the political controversy and
intense emotions triggered by the
Vietnam War. Her spare descriptions of
H i s t o ry a n d the physical tension between antiwar tiger tales
Biography students and a discharged soldier exem-
plify the chasm between politicians and
Attucks! Oscar Robertson protestors, and between career military
and the Basketball Team personnel and troops. Partridge trains a
That Awakened a City lens on five men who fought on the
Phillip Hoose. Farrar, Straus and ground, plus a medic, a field nurse, and a
Giroux, $19.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0- Vietnamese refugee. The chronicle vividly
374-30612-0 brings to light their daily lives, the dis-
In this rousing history of Indiana high crimination some encountered, and their
school state basketball championships in loyalties and moral sensitivity to the war’s
the 1950s, Hoose (The Boys Who unending brutality. Interspersed chapters
Challenged Hitler) explores the racism focus on decision-making at the highest
prevalent in the state and the black players level as well as growing antiwar senti-
who triumphed over it. Hoose chronicles ment; a look at the protest songs of
the 25 years between the opening of all- Woodstock and Martin Luther King Jr.’s ISBN-13: 978-1-68010-102-7
black Crispus Attucks High School in agonized decision to oppose the war fits Price $16.99 US
1927 and its first opportunity to play in neatly. Despite her antiwar sympathies,
the finals of the state tournament, laying Partridge presents the presidents’ posi-
bare the ugly forces the players had to tions evenhandedly and elucidates the
overcome: the dilemmas they faced over the course of
Ku Klux Klan, the war. A profoundly affecting descrip-
the poverty that tion of the dedication of the Vietnam
made owning a War Memorial in 1982 concludes these
basketball a compelling stories. Ages 12–up.
pipe dream for
most black Chasing King’s Killer:
kids, inadequate The Hunt for Martin Luther
school facilities, King, Jr.’s Assassin
biased referees, James L. Swanson. Scholastic Press,
condescending $19.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-545-72333-6 ISBN-13: 978-1-68010-103-4
civic authorities As he did in Chasing Lincoln’s Killer and Price $16.99 US
who cheated the state champions out of “The President Has Been Shot!,” Swanson
the parade a white team would have offers an absorbing chronicle of the lead-
enjoyed, and more. Hoose balances this up to and aftermath of the assassination of
exposé of basketball’s racist history with an American leader. After a concise
thrilling game accounts, character insight, account of Martin Luther King Jr.’s
and great sympathy. Oscar Robertson may upbringing in a close-knit, religious
be the best-known player from this era, Atlanta family and a childhood lived
but Crispus Attucks’s basketball coach, under Jim Crow, Swanson tracks his
Ray Crowe, who molded the teams, speedy ascent to becoming the “beloved
becomes the real hero in this masterfully living, breathing symbol” of the civil
told story. Archival material and sources rights movement. Photographs, extensive
are included. Ages 12–up. quotations from a variety of sources (press
reports, King’s writings and speeches,
Boots on the Ground: court records), and other documentation
America’s War in Vietnam (including a previously unpublished letter ISBN-13: 978-1-68010-101-0
Elizabeth Partridge. Viking, $22.99 from J. Edgar Hoover that underscores Price $16.99 US
(214p) ISBN 978-0-670-78506-3 the FBI’s harassment of King) provide an
Skillfully interweaving original inter- immediate look at his pivotal role in the
views and black-and-white photos with Montgomery Bus Boycott, lunch-counter
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

sit-ins, and the 1963 March on A Lady Has the Floor: Motel, his gaze distant. Suddenly, there’s
Washington. Just as compelling is a “Pop!” Deep emotion finds expression
Swanson’s insight into the background of
Belva Lockwood Speaks in impassioned bursts: “Angry fists alight
King’s enigmatic killer, escaped convict Out for Women’s Rights with fire!/ Smashing glass!” The fairy tale
James Earl Ray. The details of Ray’s Kate Hannigan, illus. by Alison Jay. hen, Henny Penny, appears throughout to
efforts to transform and disguise his Calkins Creek, $17.95 (32p) warn and comfort in anguished moments:
appearance, the planning of the assassina- ISBN 978-1-62979-453-2 “She tries, oh, she tries/ to fly/ in the bul-
tion, and his flight from authorities are Hannigan presents an invigorating let’s face.” In the end, King’s legacy offers
riveting and disturbing. Ages 12–up. account of the life of Belva Lockwood, redemption and hope: “And with love, we
taking readers from her childhood in all shall rise.” Written with an eye toward
The Eye That Never Sleeps: Niagara County, N.Y., to her career as one choral reading, this is a unique and
of the first women lawyers in the U.S. to remarkable resource. Ages 9–12.
How Detective Pinkerton her 1884 run for president (“Are women
Saved President Lincoln not worth the same as men? Belva spent So Tall Within:
Marissa Moss, illus. by Jeremy her whole life asking that question.”). Sojourner Truth’s Long
Holmes. Abrams, $17.99 (48p) Working in her distinctively crackled folk Walk Toward Freedom
ISBN 978-1-4197-3064-1 style, Jay depicts powerful moments of Gary D. Schmidt, illus. by Daniel Minter.
Moss (Kate Warne, Pinkerton Detective) resistance Roaring Brook, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-
revisits the Pinkerton National Detective and cour- 1-62672-872-1
Agency, deftly folding the story of a age from Schmidt tells the powerful story of
thwarted assassination attempt on then- Lockwood’s Sojourner Truth (born Isabella), high-
president-elect Abraham Lincoln into the life— lighting the context of her courageous
larger tale of the famous agency’s begin- whether actions: “When Isabella was about nine,
nings. Born in 1819, Allan Pinkerton, a storming she was sold for a hundred dollars—along
poor Scottish immigrant to America, goes into a class- with a flock of sheep.” After a lifetime of
from barrel maker to Chicago police room or slavery, Isabella escaped, yet her five-year-
detective to the owner of the most suc- protesting old son was sent to the South, leading her
cessful detective agency in the U.S. by the before the Supreme Court. Endnotes pro- to travel across New York to speak to the
1850s. When secessionists conspire to vide a timeline of Lockwood’s life and Grand Jury.
shoot Lincoln during his train trip to his beyond, highlighting significant events Minter paints
inauguration, Pinkerton and his agents in the ongoing fight for women’s rights luminously,
foil the plot. Holmes (Secrets of the Dragon and concluding with Hillary Clinton’s alternating
Tomb) employs a digital scratchboard 2016 presidential run. Ages 9–12. between full-
technique for a woodcut look; the detailed bleed spreads
illustrations invite detectivelike inspec- Martin Rising: and dreamlike
tion, while the limited color palette and Requiem for a King vertical
multi-paneled spreads evoke a graphic Andrea Davis Pinkney, illus. by Brian images. At the
novel style. Bearded Pinkerton is depicted Pinkney. Scholastic Press, $19.99 denouement,
with orange glasses that cast a spotlight (128p) ISBN 978-0-545-70253-9 Schmidt
on whatever he eyes. With a narrative The grim task of writing about Martin describes how Isabella took on the name
that moves along effortlessly, this history Luther King Jr.’s assassination is handled of Sojourner Truth as she embarked on her
of the company whose eyeball logo with great tenderness by this husband- walking journey to denounce slavery: “In
inspired the term “private eye” will keep and-wife team. Andrea Davis Pinkney’s 39 Freedom Time, when Hope kindled a fire
aspiring sleuths hooked with its intrigue. poems sing, exhort, console, and illumi- in the dark and Happiness winked over
Ages 6–9. nate. She explains the strike by sanitation the horizon.” A soaring poetic tribute to a
workers that brought King to Memphis human rights champion. Ages 4–8.
(“Come,/ please come./ The strikers need
you”), describes King’s exhaustion, and Spooked! How a Radio
celebrates his prophetic last speech (“I’ve
seen the promised land,” he says. “I may
Broadcast and ‘The War of
not get there with you”). Brian Pinkney the Worlds’ Sparked the
paints with gentle, rounded strokes, alter- 1938 Invasion of America
nating portraits with atmospheric, abstract Gail Jarrow. Calkins Creek, $18.95
washes. He shows King adjusting the knot (144p) ISBN 978-1-62979-776-2
of his tie on the balcony of the Lorraine Jarrow (Bubonic Panic) sets the stage

94 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

perfectly in this detailed, illuminating animal or two.” Fifteen chapters pack in into the moody, reflective atmosphere in
exploration of why ordinary Americans contextualizing information, often in mixed-media collages whose teardrop/
panicked when they heard a broadcast of sidebars, educating readers on topics budding leaf motif underscores the way
New Jersey being invaded by Martians on ranging from Jim Crow laws and de facto that conversation can lead to growth.
Oct. 30, 1938. Under the direction of segregation in the north to Jennings’s The poems delicately demonstrate the
23-year-old Orson Welles, a CBS radio contemporaries Frederick Douglass and complexity of identity and the power of
enactment of H.G. Wells’s The War of the Chester Arthur (Jennings’s lawyer and communication to build friendships.
Worlds shifted the story’s timing to the future U.S. president). Archival photos, Ages 8–12.
near future and its placement to real New newspaper clippings, and resources that
York–area locations. Artfully employed include a timeline of Jennings’s life (she In-Between Things
time-warping founded the first kindergarten for black Priscilla Tey. Candlewick, $16.99 (40p)
dramatic tech- children in New York City) augment a ISBN 978-0-7636-8983-4
niques made book that belongs in any civil rights “An in-between thing is a thing in the
the story library collection. Ages 8–12. middle,” debut author Tey explains on
appear to be a the opening page, and with dog and cat
live event— L a n g ua g e a n d frenemies as readers’ guides, she gives a
complete with P o e t ry lowly preposition the star treatment,
faked reassur- exploring all the things that in-between
ance from Can I Touch Your Hair? can be: a
Franklin D. Poems of Race, Mistakes, geographic
Roosevelt—and listeners across the coun- and Friendship location
try fell for the Halloween Eve prank. Irene Latham and Charles Waters, (“What
While the production launched Welles’s illus. by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko. will you
Hollywood career, popular reactions Carolrhoda, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1- find
ranged from outrage to headshaking at 5124-0442-5 between
people’s gullibility. Jarrow’s engrossing Two classmates—serving as stand-ins the floor
analysis of an earlier era’s “fake news” pro- for poets Latham and Waters—reluc- and the
vides timely reminders to readers, which tantly pair up on a poetry-writing project carpet?/
are underscored in her author’s note. An and reflect on their identities, relation- Yuck!”), a separator (a door; the glass of a
extensive “More to Explore” section, illus- ships, and the role race plays in their fishbowl), a mashup (spork; the color
trations from a 1906 edition of Wells’s lives, in more than 30 candid, thought- green), or something that’s neither one
novel, period photos, timeline, source provoking poems. The students aren’t ini- thing or another (like twilight). Her aes-
notes, and a bibliography round out this tially close (“She hardly says anything. thetic is quirky, ingenious, and highly
handsome volume. Ages 10–14. Plus, she’s white,” thinks talkative disciplined: she works in strong shapes
Charles after being assigned to work with and fittingly translucent colors, and
Streetcar to Justice: How Irene), but that imbues even inanimate objects with
Elizabeth Jennings Won the soon changes. humor and character. In one standout
Right to Ride in New York The children’s vignette, she promises that a fort (made
Amy Hill Hearth. Greenwillow, $19.99 passions and from a sheet and chairs in a child’s bed-
(144p) ISBN 978-0-06-267360-2 preoccupations room) “will separate you from the mon-
Hearth (The Delany Sisters Reach High) are revealed in sters at night.” The dog, snugly inside,
draws on her journalism roots to carefully poems that basks in the glow of a flashlight, the cat
piece together the story of a mostly for- explore topics in peers in from the threshold, and in the
gotten figure in the struggle for racial parallel—new darkest corner of the room, some googly-
equality in the United States. African- shoes, dinner- eyed goblins lurk (more goofy than scary),
American schoolteacher Elizabeth time, parental looking thwarted and a little sad.
Jennings vehemently fought back when punishments, and police violence, among Without venturing beyond the cat and
she was refused streetcar service in 1854 them—and the racial divisions of the dog’s home and neighborhood, Tey shows
Manhattan; her victorious court case children’s churches, communities, and readers there’s a world of in-between won-
against the streetcar company helped school become clear, too. “I smile when der right in front of them. Ages 4–8.
integrate public transportation in New Shonda/ comes over, but she doesn’t/
York. Hearth grounds Jennings’s story in smile back,” writes Irene. “You’ve got/ Jabberwalking
vivid sensory detail: “she would have the whole rest of the playground,/ she Juan Felipe Herrera. Candlewick,
walked around piles of horse manure and says. Can’t we/ at least have this corner?” $22.99 (144p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0140-6
maybe even the bloated remains of a dead Qualls and Alko (Why Am I Me?) play Using the made-up words of Carroll’s

96 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
New from award-winning illustrator

32-page Ha
rd cover: $17.9
5 ISBN: 978-0

Available May 2019 Wisconsin Historical Society Press

c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

“Jabberwocky” as a jumping-off point, “Should green- Kirsten Gillibrand offers a personal his-
former U.S. poet laureate Herrera shows as-moss be mixed tory of the strong women in her family
children how riotous verbal exuberance with/ blue-of- (her roller-skating grandmother, her
births poetry: “whatever pours out of your steel be mixed karate black-belt mother), then intro-
bubbly burrito head down to your paper with gleam-of- duces 10 notable suffragists spanning
pad thing or liquid screen.” He’s full of gold/ you’d still eras, socioeconomic backgrounds, and
bold techniques for releasing the poems fall short by far professions. Familiar suffragists, aboli-
inside his readers (“Scribble what you see/ of the – / Tar- tionists, and black rights activists
Scribble what you hear/ Scribble out the bright oil-slick include Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner
electric Jabber worms crawling out of sheen and/ gloss Truth, Harriet Tubman, and Ida B.
your head & eyes”), and his own free verse of starling wing.” Wells, as well as more obscure figures
zigs, zags, The duo captures mystery and magic like Lucy
and leaps, throughout, offering up “spells of many Burns, Alice
punctuated kinds that might just, by the old, strong Paul, and
with scrib- magic of being spoken aloud... summon Jovita Idár.
bled draw- lost words back.” All ages. Gillibrand
ings, playful describes the
grammar Sing a Song of Seasons: women’s con-
and spelling, A Nature Poem for Each tributions
and detours Day of the Year clearly and
into inter- Edited by Fiona Waters, illus. by Frann with context,
planetary surrealism (“It’s me! Zandunga Preston-Gannon. Nosy Crow, $40 while Kalman
García! From Bunion Junction!”). Along (336p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0247-2 illustrates in distinctive thickly layered
the way, he remembers his farm-worker In a wide-ranging volume, Waters gouache, a palette of pink tones making
parents, speaks of being a poet of color in presents 366 poems (by writers as varied their way into each spread. Final spreads
the U.S., and declares that what matters as Christina Rossetti and Margaret Wise focus on today’s activists: Kalman paints a
most is “to make all life so beautiful your Brown) devoted to nature and the seasons. sea of women in bright pink hats: “Now
heart becomes a diamond galaxy.” Most of There’s a poem for every day of the year, it’s your turn. You are the suffragists of
all, he wants readers to understand that beginning in January and ending in our time,” Gillibrand concludes. End
they can be writers, right now: “Let’s go! December. Two poems to be read in pages mention other significant women:
¡Vámanos! Slide on your Jabber Booots!” November are imbued with melancholy. Billie Jean King, Maya Lin, and iconic
Poetry manuals can make students roll Rachel Field writes: “Do skyscrapers ever characters Rosie the Riveter and Wonder
their eyes, but this one may open their grow tired/ Of holding themselves up Woman. Ages 6–9.
hearts. Ages 10–up. high?/ Do they shiver on frosty nights/
With their tops against the sky?” Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who
The Lost Words Alongside it, a work by Eleanor Farjeon Rocked the World
Robert Macfarlane, illus. by Jackie reads: “The night will never stay,/ The Pénélope Bagieu, trans. from the
Morris. Anansi International, $35 night will still go by,/ Though with a French by Montana Kane. First
(128p) ISBN 978-1-4870-0538-2 million stars/ You pin it to the sky.” Second, $17.99 paper (304p)
A deeply reflective and gorgeously Preston-Gannon offers a cohesive visual ISBN 978-1-62672-869-1
illustrated oversize volume lists natural thread, with gentle mixed-media render- Story collections about famous women
words that were excluded from the most ings of animals as well as urban and pas- often include figures like Joan of Arc
recent edition of the Oxford Junior toral scenes. Readers are likely to discover and Florence Nightingale. Bagieu
Dictionary, among them dandelion, heron, greater nuances behind the accessible (California Dreamin’) goes further afield,
willow, and wren (replacement words in poems with each visit. All ages. creating short graphic biographies about
that text include broadband and blog). inspiring women from many unexpected
Nature and travel writer Macfarlane offers P o w e r f u l Wo m e n times and places, such as Las Mariposas,
“a spellbook for conjuring back these lost sisters from the Dominican Republic
words” and transforms each inclusion into Bold & Brave: who worked to overthrow dictator Rafael
a marvelous lyrical acrostic; Morris’s Ten Heroes Who Won Trujillo; Katia Krafft, who fought to be
paintings of wildlife echo the complexity Women the Right to Vote recognized as a volcanologist; and Leyah
and vibrancy of Macfarlane’s poetry. For Kirsten Gillibrand, illus. by Maira Kalman. Gbowee, an organizer whose part in end-
the word starling, the named bird, painted Knopf, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0- ing the civil war in Liberia won her the
in detail, perches on a branch against a gold 525-57901-4 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. (“How about a
background, while the acrostic begins: Making her children’s book debut, Sen. drink?” Liberian negotiators say to

98 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
An imprint of Interlink Publishing Group, Inc.

978-1-62371-964-7 • $18.95 • hardback

978-1-62371-971-5 • $18.95 • hardback

★ “History’s suffragists were anything but timid… ★ “A highly humorous book about tradition in
[A] vividly written and powerfully illustrated changing times, bravery, and love…. A writing,
volume… clear, evocative descriptions and useful translation, and illustration masterpiece.”
timelines.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

978-1-56656-077-1 • $19.95 • hardback

978-1-56656-015-3 • $19.99 • hardback

★ “A straightforward, compelling, and eye-opening ★ “A fanciful modern fairy tale illustrated with a
look at life in Palestine for all nonfiction collections. whole sheaf of Ryan’s intricately detailed cut-paper
Gr 7 Up.” silhouettes... It’s the first of three volumes, and readers
—School Library Journal (starred review) will long for the next book.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review) • 1-800-238-link • follow us on instagram @interlinkbooks

c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

Gbowee. “I don’t drink with murderers,” Herstory: woman, group

she snaps.) Bagieu’s writing is sly and of women, or
understated, and her panels combine
50 Women and Girls organization
impish comedy with unexpected Who Shook Up the World that was piv-
moments of sensuousness. The women Katherine Halligan, illus. by Sarah otal to the suf-
in these biographies pursue political Walsh. Simon & Schuster, $19.99 frage fight in a
freedom, love, artistic fulfillment, and— (112p) ISBN 978-1-5344-3664-0 given nation.
sometimes—the joy of their own bodies: Halligan tells the stories of 55 “hers- Stewart cap-
Peggy Guggenheim mourns the death torical” women across the globe with tures the grit
of her lover John Holms “on the shoul- notable personal and professional accom- and determi-
ders of (lots of) new lovers.” Any one of plishments. They include artists and nation of the
these stories would make a rousing pic- writers, political and social leaders, health women through stormy backgrounds,
ture book biography; 29 of them in care workers and healers, scientific inno- stark design elements, and vehement
one volume produces a work whose vators, and activists and visionaries. The facial expressions. Activist and actress
energy and wit will spur readers to get duo devotes Kimura Komako has red lips and eyes
going and change the world. Ages each bustling, that reflect the Japanese flag’s red disc;
14–up. scrapbook another spread shows Marguerite Durand
collage–style with a sweeping cape and a pink-tinged
Girls Resist! A Guide to spread to a dif- lioness (she strolled through Paris with
Activism, Leadership, and ferent subject, the cat to promote suffrage). The portraits
Starting a Revolution layering bio- call to mind sorceresses or other fairy tale
Kaelyn Rich, illus. by Giulia graphical figures, but through clear, evocative
Sagramola. Quirk, $14.99 paper details against descriptions and useful timelines, Knight
(240p) ISBN 978-1-68369-059-7 expressive por- emphasizes that these heroines were and
Rich, an activist and assistant advocacy traits, photographs, and ephemera. are very real. Ages 9–up.
director for the New York Civil Liberties Halligan makes little distinction between
Union, presents an inspiring and practical figures of the distant past and those more Votes for Women!
handbook for meaningful resistance. Rich contemporary, underscoring how change American Suffragists and
lays the groundwork for grassroots orga- makers throughout time share a common the Battle for the Ballot
nizing, first establishing a common lan- bond. Alongside Empress Wu Zetian of Winifred Conkling. Algonquin Young
guage with readers and exploring topics China are scientist Dian Fossey and artists Readers, $19.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-
such as power, privilege, inequity, inter- Frida Kahlo, Coco Chanel, and Billie 61620-734-2
sectionality, and patriarchy. There are a Holiday. Activists include Malala This comprehensive history chronicles
lot of reasons for girls and women to be Yousafzai, Indian secret agent Noor the almost-80-year battle for women’s
mad, she suggests, using the examples of Inayat Khan, and Mayan human rights suffrage. Conkling (Radioactive!) effec-
gender stereotypes, the gender wage gap, activist Rigoberta Menchú. Halligan and tively sketches the complex personalities
and societal hypersexualization of girls. Walsh offer approachable educational of the women who fought for women’s
Rich encourages readers to home in on content about lesser-known subjects in a right to vote, beginning with Elizabeth
the causes that most inspire them to act, warm and vibrant visual presentation. Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony and
and to set clear goals. She details specific Ages 8–up. including subsequent leaders Carrie
steps readers can take to plan rallies, cir- Chapman Catt and the more radical Alice
culate petitions, and raise community Rebel Voices: The Global Paul. Throughout, the detailed narrative
awareness about pertinent issues. This Fight for Women’s Equality contextualizes the contributions of the
pertinent and bold guide—featuring and the Right to Vote many women (and men) involved, includ-
Sagramola’s Eve Lloyd Knight, illus. by Louise Kay ing how women’s rights intersected with
warm illustra- Stewart. Crocodile, $18.95 (48p) the abolition movement and the impacts
tions rendered ISBN 978-1-62371-964-7 of the Civil War and WWI. Sidebar biog-
in blue and History’s suffragists were anything but raphies and historical photographs help
orange tones— timid, Knight and Stewart declare in this bring figures in the movement to life.
is likely to vividly written and powerfully illustrated Throughout, Conkling skillfully presents
become a go-to volume. The collaborators chronologically the women in their own words, such as
resource for present the slow progression of women’s Sojourner Truth’s famous speech advocat-
young activ- suffrage worldwide, beginning with New ing for women’s rights regardless of race,
ists. Ages Zealand in 1893 and ending with Saudi and Anthony’s rallying cry to the next
14–up. Arabia in 2015. Each spread focuses on a generation, shortly before her death in

100 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

1906: “With such women consecrating addition to the About Animals series). val photographs. Addendums offer an
their lives, failure is impossible!” From Working in a dramatic graphic style, Apollo 11 postscript and a glimpse into
the first Women’s Rights Convention in Davey renders the beetle subjects with the jobs required for the Apollo program.
Seneca Falls in 1848 to the ratification of crisp, geometric precision, while repre- (Women and people of color, as per his-
the 19th Amendment in 1920, this is a senting the exquisite range of colors and tory, aren’t abundant in this account of
commanding and relevant account of patterns to be found among the roughly U.S. astronauts.) Launched in advance of
sweeping, hard-won social reform and 400,000 known species. Sections with next year’s 50th anniversary of the first
action. Ages 13–up. playful headings (such as “Born This moon walk, this well-researched title
Way”) explore topics including beetle life offers a stirring introduction to one of
Science and the cycles and metamorphosis, while info- humankind’s most impressive undertak-
Nat u r a l Wo r l d graphics convey details about beetle anat- ings. Ages 10–14.
omy, biology, and behavior: one chart
Birds and Their Feathers demonstrates fireflies’ flight and flash Curiosity:
Britta Teckentrup. Prestel, $16.95 patterns. Elsewhere, images focus on the The Story of a Mars Rover
(86p) ISBN 978-3-7913-7335-5 beauty and Markus Motum. Candlewick, $22.99
In this quietly introspective volume fea- ecological (56p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9504-0
turing evocative, earth-toned prints, resilience of The Mars rover Curiosity narrates her
German author-illustrator Teckentrup particular spe- own story in Motum’s handsome and
(Tree: A Peek-Through Picture Book) explores cies: a long- engaging children’s book debut, from her
bird life, behavior, and anatomy through horn beetle construction in a clean lab in California to
the topic of feathers. Writing in lyrical shows how its her multistage launch into space and
vignette-like passages, she discusses the blotchy black, landing on the red planet: “years of test-
physical structure of feathers, how they gold, and ing were needed to make sure everything
develop, bird preening and molting, and orange mark- would work correctly the first time. After
human use of feathers, among other sub- ings allow it to all, if something were to go wrong on
jects. Teckentrup relays detailed facts camouflage itself against tree bark. Davey Mars, no one could come and fix me.”
while maintaining an air of wonder: offers a dazzling exploration of some of Motum’s mixed-media illustrations clev-
“Birds have to create their own thrust to Earth’s most diverse, ubiquitous—not to erly recall art popular during the infancy
move them- mention, kaleidoscopic—insects. Ages 5–9. of space travel—muted colors and spare,
selves through geometric patterns compose often-dia-
the air, but Countdown: grammatic illustrations. One close-up
they must also 2979 Days to the Moon details the rover’s many parts: “Just like
keep the air Suzanne Slade, illus. by Thomas you, I have a shoulder, elbow, and wrist.”
resistance cre- Gonzalez. Peachtree, $22.95 (144p) With one of its cameras resembling a
ated by their ISBN 978-1-68263-013-6 large eye, Curiosity appears lifelike,
wings and “At first/ it’s only a dream—/ an ambi- almost ET-esque, in keeping with the
body to a min- tious, outrageous idea.” This account of first-person narrative. The book’s large
imum.” NASA’s first Apollo missions marries a trim size and expansive scenes work in
Intriguingly, captivating free-verse narrative with life- tandem to evoke the vastness of star-filled
Teckentrup like illustrations as it takes readers skies and reddish Martian landscapes.
weaves in tangential references, including through the 2,979 days from President Originally published in the U.K., this
the story of Icarus and the falcon feather Kennedy’s moonwalk announcement to accessible look at interplanetary explora-
that astronaut David Scott left on the Neil Armstrong’s “giant leap for man- tion will appeal to a broad range of young
moon in 1971. Teckentrup’s opening kind.” Gonzalez (Seven and a Half Tons of space enthusiasts. A glossary and timeline
description of feathers may be just as apt a Steel) extends the realistic precision and of Mars missions is included. Ages 8–12.
description for her art and words: “They lyrical imagery offered in words by Slade
are delicate, complex, extravagant, beauti- (Astronaut Annie) with vivid mixed-
ful and strong—all at the same time.” media illustrations that stun with photo-
Ages 6–up. graphic realism and varied perspectives,
from a close-up of an astronaut’s gloved
Bonkers About Beetles hand to expansive, breathtaking scenes of
Owen Davey. Flying Eye, $19.95 (40p) Earth from afar. A spread of statistical
ISBN 978-1-911171-98-0 recaps of each mission and its astronauts
Davey offers a fact-filled, strikingly further complement the lyrical lines,
illustrated introduction to beetles (an along with several full-color NASA archi-

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y . C O M 101
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

The Elephant bees view flowers. The book’s flaps may and obser-
Jenni Desmond. Enchanted Lion, be susceptible to bending and tearing, vations
$18.95 (48p) ISBN 978-1-59270-264-0 but Duprat delivers an insightful explo- that,
In Desmond’s third title in a series ration of a primary sense that varies together,
devoted to endangered animals, a brown- among animals. Ages 6–12. create a
skinned boy wearing a red crown reads composite
from a book—the very same book in read- Hawk Rising portrait of
ers’ hands—about African and Asian ele- Maria Gianferrari, illus. by Brian Floca. horses’
phants. The mixed-media art offers natu- Roaring Brook, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978- lives. As a
ralistic depictions of elephants on the 1-62672-096-1 slash of
savannah, tramping through the forest, The spare, poetic prose of Gianferrari black cuts across a winter field, “snowfall
and crossing a dry desert. Desmond includes (Hello Goodbye Dog) joins the realistic whitens all/ but two darks: unfrozen
expressive touches, as well: a mountain of watercolors of Floca (Princess Cora and the stream/ and horses huddled.” In a cozier
fruits and vegetables represents what an Crocodile) to present a day in the life of a image, a skewball horse is shown in pro-
elephant could eat in a day (the boy sits red-tailed hawk. “Hooked beak, sharp as a file in a barn: “dozing familiars:/ mare
atop the pile, munching on an apple). knife./ Head turning./ Eyes searching./ settled in her stall, cat/ balanced on her
Memorable facts about elephants occur Chicks waiting.” Muted hues illustrate rump.” It’s a majestic collection that should
throughout: “Since some African ele- moments from Father Hawk’s day as he leave readers spellbound, especially those
phants’ ears are as big as full-sized refrig- scans for prey, sunbathes, dives after a devoted to horses themselves. Ages 6–9.
erators, vigorous flapping can generate chipmunk and sparrows, and finally snags
quite a breeze.” An affectionate and infor- a squirrel to bring back to the nest. All
Joan Procter, Dragon
mative celebration of two magnificent this plays out under the scrutinizing eyes Doctor: The Woman Who
species. Ages 4–8. of two young bird-watchers: a girl and Loved Reptiles
her younger sister in a suburban neigh- Patricia Valdez, illus. by Felicita Sala.
Eye Spy: Wild Ways borhood, who use binoculars to follow the Knopf, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-399-
Animals See the World progress of the feathered hunter. The sec- 55725-5
Guillaume Duprat. What on Earth, ond-person narration draws parallels Valdez paints a portrait of a unique
$21.99 (36p) ISBN 978-1-9998028-5-1 between the girls and the hawk, as it also woman whose love for reptiles developed
Duprat gives readers an inside look at invites readers to imagine themselves in into a gratifying career. As a child, Joan
animal vision in this oversize volume. the scenes: “Chicks waiting./ You watch- Procter enjoyed the company of pet lizards,
Mammals, birds, amphibians, worms, ing.” Painted from varying angles, snakes, turtles, and even a crocodile.
reptiles, mollusks, and insects boldly con- dynamic spreads and vignettes present These interests led her to work as a
front the reader in the full-page illustra- the shifting perspectives of bird-watcher, curator at London’s Natural History
tions, while masklike flaps over the ani- hawk, and prey. The clever pacing and Museum—a position made possible
mals’ eyes open to reveal an austere white placement of text match the bird’s actions because many
building, a shallow pool of water, and a across, up, and down the page. This capti- male scientists
distant hot air balloon. The scene looks vating introduction to the red-tailed were serving
markedly different from each animal’s hawk concludes with more than a half- in WWI. Her
perspective: a pigeon’s field of vision is dozen facts about the common bird of expertise
300 degrees, a mouse can only clearly see prey and further reading. Ages 4–8. resulted in an
objects less than a foot away, and an eye- invitation to
less earthworm sees nothing at all. The The Horse’s Haiku redesign the
flaps offer further details about how the Michael J. Rosen, illus. by Stan Reptile House
individual animals see (“Although their Fellows. Candlewick, $17.99 (48p) at the London
vision may be ISBN 978-0-7636-8916-2 Zoo, and her
blurry, frogs In their fourth book of animal haiku, particular fondness for the komodo dragons
can see color”), which began with 2009’s The Cuckoo’s drew media attention. Sala’s elegantly
and the book Haiku, Rosen and Fellows pair crisp, con- detailed art hints at the affinity between
discusses how templative haiku with sumptuous water- Procter and the reptiles, whose beadlike
different ani- colors that reflect the strength and beauty skin echoes the pearls in Procter’s neck-
mals view of horses, as well as the bond between the lace, as its emerald hue matches her eyes.
color, includ- animals and the humans who care for Back matter elaborates on Procter’s
ing a compari- them. Rosen divides his work into three unconventional passion and includes a
son of how sections (“In the Field,” “At the Barn,” photograph of her with her pet crocodile.
humans and “In Saddle”), dwelling on small moments Ages 4–8.

102 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
By ensuring that all children have access to the books and the library and literacy programming they
need, you foster a foundation of joy and knowledge that they can build upon for a lifetime.
Learn how Books for Kids champions children and their families on their literacy journeys at:
The mission of the Books for Kids Foundation is to promote literacy among
all children with a special emphasis on low-income and at-risk preschool-
aged children. Books for Kids creates libraries, donates books, and
implements literacy programs to develop the critical early foundation and
skills which young children need to be successful in life.

1441 Broadway
Follow us! Suite 6008
New York, NY 10018
@booksforkidsorg 212.760.2665
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

Magnificent Birds They had you.” Lendler ends with a Munro celebrates the biodiversity of
Narisa Togo. Candlewick Studio, $20 final puzzle: “There was one question rodents. She introduces 21 rodents in all,
(32p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0169-7 that they could not answer... Where did ranging from the house mouse to the
Printmaker Togo presents 14 portraits that first dot come from?” Spirited naked mole rat, and describes each crea-
of bird species, displayed in arresting full- debates are sure to follow. Ages 4–8. ture with casual wonder: “Bushy-tailed
spread linocuts. The dramatic composi- wood rats or pack rats love to collect
tions express the distinctiveness of each Otis and Will Discover the bright shiny things, such as keys, bottle
species and its environment. The out- Deep: The Record-Setting caps, and jewelry,” and the African giant
stretched wings of two red-crowned Dive of the Bathysphere pouched rat can be trained to sniff out
cranes mirror the icy blue of the snow; a Barb Rosenstock, illus. by Katherine land mines and detect tuberculosis in
wandering albatross is shown flying low Roy. Little, Brown, $18.99 (48p) labs. Because the animals are drawn to
over white-capped waves. Togo also ISBN 978-0-316-39382-9 scale, readers get a clear sense of their
describes each bird’s behavioral and phys- Rosenstock (Dorothea’s Eyes) provides a relative sizes. The world’s largest rodent,
ical characteristics: “Though big and vivid account of a history-making dive of a capybara, fills a page with its head and
heavy, the Australian pelican is very the submersible Bathysphere. In 1930, nose alone; the smallest, the pygmy jer-
buoyant, thanks to air sacs under its skin eminent scientist William Beebe and boa, occupies just a page corner. Munro
and in its bones.” With loving attention Bathysphere designer Otis Barton descend blends naturalism with a hint of personal-
to detail, Togo offers an elegant and inci- more than 800 feet in a herky-jerky plunge ity for each rodent, accentuating the
sive avian celebration. Ages 10–14. that Roy (How to Be an Elephant) depicts positive attributes of an underappreciated
with stylized, group of animals. Ages 6–10.
One Day a Dot: action-packed
The Story of You, the watercolors. The Sockeye Mother
Universe, and Everything Text placed Brett David Huson, illus. by Natasha
Ian Lendler, illus. by Shelli Paroline and vertically Donovan. Highwater, $23 (32p)
Braden Lamb. First Second, $17.99 alongside pic- ISBN 978-1-55379-739-5
(40p) ISBN 978-1-62672-244-6 tures of the Writing in lyrical prose, Huson, who
Lendler (Saturday) tells a creation swinging belongs to the Gitxsan Nation, honors
story based on evolutionary biology, sphere (the the sockeye salmon as a resource and
using the “dot” of the title to refer both repeated potent symbol within Gitxsan culture:
to things in the sky (“One of these new phrase “down, “Little does this small sockeye fry know
dots—the third one from the sun—was down into the deep” steps down the page) that its life cycle not only nourishes the
a very special shade of blue”) and to pulls the reader further into inky blue- people and other beings along the water-
microscopic organisms (“The green dot black darkness: “400 feet. Stop. Colder. sheds, it is the whole reason the forests
was lonely”). In a style evocative of a Breathe in. 500 feet. Stop. Darker. and landscapes
documentary film, Paroline and Lamb’s Breathe out.” Spreads alternate between exist.” He
silkscreenlike artwork in quiet earth scenes of the two explorers working inside describes the
tones portrays the progression of crea- the cramped Bathysphere and exterior views journey of a
tures from simple to complex. When of the descent. The tale of this perilous young sockeye
Lendler gets to dinosaurs (“land-fish”), expedition climaxes in a spectacular gate- from the river to
catastrophe strikes: “Then one day a fold showing the small searchlight-lit the Pacific and
dot fell out of the sky.... The explosion vehicle hanging amid myriad whitish-gray back again to
turned the whole sky red.” All the land- sea creatures, in an expanse of dark water. spawn, incorpo-
fish disappear, but mammals flourish, Archival photographs, a source list, and rating (and
giving way to humans, who boast some- lengthy author and illustrator notes con- defining) vocab-
thing new—“a clude this tribute to the power of curios- ulary words
big brain.” ity, imagination, and ambition. Ages 4–8. related to salmon ecology, including
Fur-clad hunt- semelparous (“breeding only once in a
ers evolve into Rodent Rascals: lifetime”) and keystone species. Donovan,
a contempo- From Tiny to Tremendous— a member of the Métis Nation of British
rary biracial Columbia, incorporates masklike images
couple cele-
21 Clever Creatures at into her dynamic spreads, as well as
brating the Their Actual Size motifs of flowing currents, plumes of
birth of their Roxie Munro. Holiday House, $17.95 campfire smoke, grasses, and tree bark.
child: “They (40p) ISBN 978-0-8234-3860-0 Huson eloquently conveys the fragile
had families. Writing with warmth and enthusiasm, interconnectedness of the natural world

104 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
★ c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

and the moral imperative to protect it. tionship develops. Photographed family spelling words/ in English by/ saying them
Ages 10–14. artifacts appear throughout the grayscale- in Spanish/ like—pehn-seel for/ pencil”
and-burnt- reaching recognition as the nation’s most
The Truth About Hippos orange panels, lauded poet offers a heartening narrative
Maxwell Eaton III. Roaring Brook/ marking of hope: “imagine.” Ages 5–9.
Porter, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1- moments sig-
62672-667-3 nificant and Mallko & Dad
A girl learns about pygmy and com- everyday: his Gusti, trans. from the Spanish by Mara
mon hippos from the animals themselves early art (all Faye Lethem. Enchanted Lion, $19.95
in this irreverent and very funny series saved by his (120p) ISBN 978-1-59270-259-6
opener. Eaton’s concise narration serves as grandparents), Deeply affecting and sometimes funny,
a kind of straight man to the animals’ letters from his this scrapbook-style memoir records
plucky one-liners and commentary. “A mother, a com- Argentinian artist Gusti’s journey toward
common hippo can weigh as much as four ics class taken unconditional love for his son, Mallko,
cows,” he notes, as an accompanying car- at the Worcester Art Museum. This identified as a child with Down syndrome
toon shows a lollipop-licking hippo sit- nuanced graphic memoir portrays a whole shortly after his birth. Sketches and scrib-
ting opposite four cows on a seesaw. “This family and tells a story of finding identity bly, brightly colored drawings alternate
doesn’t feel safe,” says one of the cows. among a life’s complications. Ages 12–up. with interviews, narrative reflections,
“It’s not,” quips the girl, who’s also on the poems, and song lyrics, all sensitively
seesaw. A subplot has a hippo calf trying Imagine translated by Lethem, chronicling the
to find its mother, and Eaton mischie- Juan Felipe Herrera, illus. by Lauren way Mallko conquers Gusti’s heart. They
vously undercuts their happy reunion Castillo. Candlewick, $16.99 (32p) reveal Gusti’s
with details about threats facing hippos ISBN 978-0-7636-9052-6 fears and cele-
(“We were having a moment,” complains Each stanza of this verse memoir by brate his
the mother hippo). Kids who need con- former U.S. Poet Laureate Herrera ends growing dis-
vincing that learning can be fun need with the word “imagine.” Is it a sigh, or covery, with
look no further for proof. Also available: is it an imperative? “If I let tadpoles/ support from
The Truth About Bears. Ages 4–8. swim across my hands/ in the wavy family and
creek,/ imagine,” he writes about his early friends, of
Vi s ua l M e m o i r s childhood. Entering his English-speaking Mallko’s skills
school was a challenge—he spoke and gifts
Hey, Kiddo Spanish—yet language fascinated him, (Mallko’s
Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Graphix, $24.99 and he began to write stories, poems, and mother declares, “He had every right to
(320p) ISBN 978-0-545-90248-9 songs: “If I grabbed a handful/ of words/ I arrive as he did”). Mallko loves cars, mop-
Jarrett’s mother, Leslie, is a heroin had never heard and/ sprinkled them over ping the patio, and his “freeze ray” powers:
addict—though he doesn’t know it until a paragraph... imagine.” As an adult, he “Once you are frozen you have to wait for
later in his childhood—so Jarrett’s grand- stood on the steps of the Library of him to unfreeze you. The most effective
parents, Joe and Shirl, step in to raise him. Congress as poet laureate. Now he fills method is a kiss.” Gusti’s early inner
Evoking a great sense of people and place, out the sentence that begins with the conflict may make this a tough read for
Krosoczka (the Jedi Academy series) con- word imagine: “Imagine what you could younger readers—in one moment, he
veys the joys and complications of his do.” Spacious, light-filled spreads by confesses “I DID NOT ACCEPT HIM,”
young life in Worcester, Mass.—his Castillo (Nana in the City) conjure up the words printed in huge black letters
childhood nightmares, his relationship landscapes of red earth, bright sun, and across two pages. But his naked honesty
with his mother through letters and spo- long views. Herrera writes of the joy of offers balance to his eventual understand-
radic visits, his grandparents’ tense rela- creation and discovery, and says little ing that “Mallko was already complete.
tionships with one another and their chil- about the And not only that: I realized he was great.
dren, and their great care in fostering hardships The greatest.” Ages 10–12.
Jarrett’s talent for art. Krosoczka portrays he must
his mother empathically, showing her have under- March Forward, Girl:
affection for him even as she struggles to gone. The From Young Warrior to
be a reliable presence (in one scene, she story of a Little Rock Nine
takes him and his friends to celebrate a brown- Melba Pattillo Beals, illus. by Frank
missed birthday). His father is absent, skinned Morrison. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,
until, at 17, Krosoczka writes him to ask boy who $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-328-88212-7
about possible half-siblings, and a rela- “practiced/ In a visceral and vital memoir, journal-

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y . C O M 105
c h i l d r e n ’s s ta r r e d r e v i e w s    

ist and activist Beals (Warriors Don’t Cry), with bipolar disorder entirely in verse, in a wheelchair,” while Ashley Reese
who integrated Central High School as and Megan Kelley Hall, who details her reflects on how the statistical likelihood
one of the Little Rock Nine, recounts suffering in her essay “My Depression—A of black girls starting their periods earlier
growing up African-American in 1940s Rock and a may help propagate negative stereo-
Arkansas “under the umbrella of the rules Hard Place.” types—many that she grappled with as a
and traditions of my oppression.” Her More often girl: “I’m struck by how I viewed my early
grandmother encouraged Beals to trust in than not, how- period as a true curse, passed from mother
God, but the Ku Klux Klan members ever, the aims to daughter. More specifically, black
who marauded their streets by night of the mother to black daughter.” With refresh-
filled her with constant dread. Beals’s rage authors—who ing candor, humor, and eloquence, the
at the injustice permeating her daily include Ellen authors address menstruation as it’s per-
life—and what she perceived as black Hopkins, ceived, as it’s presented, and as it is
adults’ passive compliance—led her to Francisco X. behind it all. Ages 18–up.
ask, “Why not fight back?” Chilling Stork,
examples of violence underscore the trau- Maureen We Rise, We Resist, We
matizing environment: at age five, Beals Johnson, Sara Zarr, and many others—are Raise Our Voices: Words
witnessed Klansmen hang a man from to help readers, advising them on where and Images of Hope
church rafters during a prayer meeting, to turn for help and advocating for a soci- Edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl
and as a teen ety that is more sensitive and informed Willis Hudson. Crown, $18.99 (96p)
she barely about mental and emotional health. ISBN 978-0-525-58042-3
escaped rape Author Tara Kelly provides a concrete list Wade and Cheryl Willis Hudson,
after being of tips ranging from medication to star- founders of Just Us Books, offer this
unwittingly gazing to help relieve symptoms of acute empowering anthology to counter today’s
brought to a anxiety. These bold, brave essays will edu- often-unsettling political climate for chil-
KKK gather- cate the uninformed and inspire hope in dren of varying ethnicities, faiths, identi-
ing. Beals those who may feel alone in their suffer- ties, and abilities. The husband-and-wife
writes openly ing. Ages 14–up. team present 30 illustrated essays, poems,
about her feel- stories, and letters from more than 50
ings of hope- Period: Twelve Voices Tell diverse chil-
lessness and the Bloody Truth dren’s book
helplessness, though her courage and Edited by Kate Farrell. Feiwel and creators.
resolve are just as evident. It’s a no- Friends, $16 paper (224p) ISBN 978- Contributions
holds-barred reflection of the physical 1-250-14194-1 aim to calm,
and psychological toll that prejudice, Twelve contributors discuss their per- sustain, and
discrimination, and hate take on a young sonal experiences with and thoughts inspire chil-
life. Ages 10–up. about menstruation. The essays fre- dren. In “A
quently address the continued stigma Talkin’-To,”
Vo i c e s C o m b i n e d attached to periods, as well as the strides Jason
being made to erase, as Farrell describes Reynolds reas-
Life Inside My Mind: in an introduction, “the culture of secrecy sures readers that “everything bad and
31 Authors Share Their and shame surrounding them.” The essays frightening and loud/ will always hide
Personal Struggles are unified in their focus on a topic that when you hold your head up,/ will always
Edited by Jessica Burkhart. crosses social, economic, and cultural hide when you hold your heart out.”
Simon Pulse, $17.99 (320p) boundaries, but Hena Khan’s essay urges Muslim children
ISBN 978-1-4814-9464-9 the contributors to educate others about their heritage,
Renowned writers of fiction and non- also broaden and several authors draw on personal les-
fiction candidly speak out about their the content by sons from the civil rights movement.
experiences with often stigmatized men- integrating Photographs of children and illustrations
tal illnesses, including agoraphobia, their own sin- in a variety of styles, from collage to real-
OCD, Alzheimer’s, bipolar disorder, gular perspec- istic pastels, warm the pages with colorful
PTSD, and depression and anxiety, which tives. Santina imagery. A lengthy end section about the
frequently go hand in hand. Some of the Muha writes contributors concludes this hope-engen-
authors focus on what it is like to be in about what it’s dering treasury that truly is, as its fore-
their shoes, such as editor-poet E.K. like to have her word states, “a resource for rescue from
Anderson, who expresses her experience period “as a girl any pitfalls of the day.” Ages 8–12. ■

106 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y 2 0 1 8
H “An exquisitely written
multigenerational family saga.”
—Publishers Weekly, Starred

H “Extraordinary. . . .
An unforgettably
lovely book.”
—Booklist, Starred

“The wait is over.”

—The New York Times

“It blew me away.”

—Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling
author of A Spark of Light

“A captivating book
with a mighty,
fearless heart.”
—M. L. Stedman, bestselling author
of The Light Between Oceans

“An unforgettable saga.”

—US Weekly

“Another gorgeous tearjerker

from a rising master of them.”
—Entertainment Weekly
Photo credit: Elena Seibert

“Devastating, demanding
and deeply moving.”
—The Wall Street Journal #BridgeofClay