The Children’s Book Review | March 1, 2016
Hot New Releases & Popular Kids Stories
Spring is coming! This means an abundance of pretty picture books, some poetry, and an array of excellent novels. Here are some of the best new books that release in March. Which books will you leap for?
Written by Deanna Caswell
Illustrated by Bob Shea
Publisher’s Synopsis: Guess Who, Haiku is a unique poetic guessing game illustrated by bestselling and beloved artist Bob Shea. Author Deanna Caswell’s playful take on the inventive Japaense form of poetry offers clues about the creatures hiding on every page in this creative and clever picture book of charmingly illustrated poems for the very young.
As readers meet a cow, a bee, a horse, a bird, a frog, a fish, a mouse, a cat, and a dog, they will be delighted to learn that they are the subject of the final poem. Parents will appreciate the simple guide to understanding the haiku.
Perfect for story time and for poetry month April, Guess Who Haiku is a must-have collection of poetry for the youngest readers.
Ages 3-5 | Publisher: Abrams Appleseed | Mar. 8 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1419718892
Written and Illustrated by K. G. Campbell
Publisher’s Synopsis: Dylan’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Snivels, have always told him that he is the very best and cleverest super-villain in the whole wide world. And Dylan’s confident that it’s true–until he starts school and meets Addison Van Malice. Sure, Dylan’s costume is scary. But Addison Van Malice’s is bone-chilling. And yes, Dylan’s laugh is crazy. But Addison Van Malice’s is bananas. And Dylan’s inventions are certainly super-villainous. But Addison Van Malice’s are demonic! When their teacher, Miss Slither, announces a Diabolical Robot Building Contest, Dylan sees his opportunity to prove that he really is the most evil villain of all. But Addison’s not giving in without a fight. And so begins a competition of skill and wits that doesn’t go the way anyone expected…
Ages 4-6 | Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers | Mar 8. 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0451476425
Written and Illustrated by Hyewon Yum
Publisher’s Synopsis: One rainy day, a little boy is upset because he can’t go out and play. His mom comes up with a way to keep him entertained–by drawing a picture of herself and him going outside, playing in the rain, and splashing in a giant puddle. They have so much fun drawing themselves that they decide to venture out and make the most of the rainy weather.
Ages 4-7 | Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux | Mar. 8 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0374316952
Written and Illustrated by Gemma Merino
Publisher’s Synopsis: Tina isn’t like the other cows. She believes that the sky is the limit and that everything is possible. But her sisters aren’t convinced–and when Tina tells them she has climbed a tree and met a dragon, they decide that her nonsense has gone too far. Off they go into the woods to find her…and soon discover a world of surprises!
Ages 4-7 | Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company | Feb. 16 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0807512982
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Publisher’s Synopsis: From beloved storytellers Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson and with shimmering illustrations by Caldecott Honor artist Melissa Sweet comes a celebration of the animals all around us!
Squawk! Hiss! Grr! Roar!
Big, small, black, brown—all kinds of animals make their home in our world. From the jungle to the mountains to your own backyard, listen and you just might hear the sounds they make!
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books | Mar. 15 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1442454729
Written by Shana Corey
Illustrated by Red Nose Studio
Publisher’s Synopsis: From an acclaimed author and a New York Times Best Illustrated artist comes the fascinating, little-known—and true!—story of New York City’s first subway.
New York City in the 1860s was a mess: crowded, disgusting, filled with garbage. You see, way back in 1860, there were no subways, just cobblestone streets. That is, until Alfred Ely Beach had the idea for a fan-powered train that would travel underground. On February 26, 1870, after fifty-eight days of drilling and painting and plastering, Beach unveiled his masterpiece—and throngs of visitors took turns swooshing down the track.
The Secret Subway will wow readers, just as Beach’s underground train wowed riders over a century ago.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Schwartz & Wade | Mar. 8 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0375870712
Written and Illustrated by Phillip C. Stead
Publisher’s Synopsis: As an author and his dog, Wednesday, walk through their neighborhood, they look at sunflowers, say hi to Frank, a turtle, who makes quick for the water and disappears, and watch a train rumble by as they walk uphill to a big purple house that belongs to their friend Barbara. Wednesday chases squirrels while the two friends discuss fishing and war and how back before the neighborhood was there enormous woolly mammoths roamed where houses now sit.
Thoughts open up to other thoughts, and ideas are born and carried forward, often transforming into other ideas until he finds that ideas really are all around, you just have to know what to do with them.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Roaring Brook Press | 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1626721814
Written and Illustrated by Kate Berube
Publisher’s Synopsis: Every day after school, Hannah’s school bus is greeted by her classmate’s dog, Sugar. All of the other kids love Sugar, but Hannah just can’t conquer her fear of dogs. Then, one day, Sugar goes missing, so Hannah joins the search with her classmates. Will Hannah find a way to be brave, and make a new friend in the process?
Ages 5-7 | Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readerss | Mar. 8 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1419718908
Written by Julie Fogliano
Illustrated by Julie Morstad
Publisher’s Synopsis:december 29
and i woke to a morning
that was quiet and white
the first snow
(just like magic) came on tip toes
Flowers blooming in sheets of snow make way for happy frogs dancing in the rain. Summer swims move over for autumn sweaters until the snow comes back again. In Julie Fogliano’s skilled hand and illustrated by Julie Morstad’s charming pictures, the seasons come to life in this gorgeous and comprehensive book of poetry.
Ages 6-10 | Publisher: Roaring Brook Press | 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1596438521
Publisher’s Synopsis: Erin Entrada Kelly, the author of the acclaimed Blackbird Fly, writes with grace, imagination, and deepest heart about family, sisters, and friendship, and about finding and holding on to hope in difficult times.
Two sisters from the Philippines, abandoned by their father and living with their stepmother in Louisiana, fight to make their lives better in this remarkable story for readers of Cynthia Kadohata and Rita Williams-Garcia, and for anyone searching for the true meaning of family.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Greenwillow Books | 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0062238641
Written by Caela Carter
Publisher’s Synopsis: Perfect for fans of Kathryn Erskine’s Mockingbird and Holly Goldberg Sloan’s Counting by 7s, this is a stunningly unique and poignant story of one girl’s strength and courage as she decides who she is and what she will believe in.
Behind the white-washed walls of the compound, life was simple. Follow the rules, “live in the light,” and all would be well. Zylynn was excited to turn thirteen and begin the work of bringing others into the light, to save them from the liars and the darkness of the outside world. But when she is taken away by a man who claims to be her father, Zylynn is confused, and desperate to return to her home.
Zylynn resists her new life—until she finds small comforts, like shampoo, the color pink, and strawberries. But as her thirteenth birthday approaches, Zylynn must make a difficult decision—to stay here with the enemy, or find her way back to the light. And neither may be what they seem.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: HarperCollins | Mar. 8 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0062385710
Written by Leslie Connor
Publisher’s Synopsis: From Leslie Connor, award-winning author of Waiting for Normal and Crunch, comes a soaring and heartfelt story about love, forgiveness, and how innocence makes us all rise up. All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook is a powerful story, perfect for fans of Wonder and When You Reach Me.
Eleven-year-old Perry was born and raised by his mom at the Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility in tiny Surprise, Nebraska. His mom is a resident on Cell Block C, and so far Warden Daugherty has made it possible for them to be together. That is, until a new district attorney discovers the truth—and Perry is removed from the facility and forced into a foster home.
When Perry moves to the “outside” world, he feels trapped. Desperate to be reunited with his mom, Perry goes on a quest for answers about her past crime. As he gets closer to the truth, he will discover that love makes people resilient no matter where they come from . . . but can he find a way to tell everyone what home truly means?
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books | 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0062333469
Written by Brandon Mull
Publisher’s Synopsis: Trapped in a world where magic is powerful and dreams are real, Cole’s epic adventure continues in book four of the New York Times bestselling “fanciful, action-packed adventure” series (Publishers Weekly, starred review), from the author of the Fablehaven and Beyonders series.
Cole is about to face his biggest peril yet.
Since arriving in the Outskirts, Cole and his friends have fought monsters, challenged knights, and battled rampaging robots. But none of that has prepared them for Necronum.
In this haunting kingdom, it’s hard to tell the living from the dead, and secret pacts carry terrifying risks. Within Necronum lies the echolands, a waystation for the departed where the living seldom venture.
Still separated from his power, Cole must cross to the echolands and rely on his instincts to help rescue his friends. With enemies closing in, Cole risks losing everything to find the one thing that might save them.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Aladdin | Mar. 15 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1442497092
Publisher’s Synopsis: A moving, bittersweet tale reminiscent of Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons set in a West Virginia coal-mining town
When her brother dies in a fire, Sasha Harless has no one left, and nowhere to turn. After her father died in the mines and her mother ran off, he was her last caretaker. They’d always dreamed of leaving Caboose, West Virginia together someday, but instead she’s in foster care, feeling more stuck and broken than ever.
But then Sasha discovers family she didn’t know she had, and she finally has something to hold onto, especially sweet little Mikey, who’s just as broken as she is. Sasha even makes her first friend at school, and is slowly learning to cope with her brother’s death through writing poetry, finding a new way to express herself when spoken words just won’t do. But when tragedy strikes the mine her cousin works in, Sasha fears the worst and takes Mikey and runs, with no plans to return. In this sensitive and poignant portrayal, Sarah Dooley shows us that life, like poetry, doesn’t always take the form you intend.
Ages 10+ | Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Reader | Mar. 15 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0399165030
Written by Aaron Starmer
Publisher’s Synopsis: Keri Cleary is worried about her brother, Alistair. Everyone is worried about Alistair. As the one witness to a shooting, he has been shocked into silence. But everyone needs to know three things: Who shot Kyle Dwyer? Where is Charlie Dwyer? What does this all have to do with the disappearance of Fiona Loomis?
Perhaps the answers lie in stories. As Alistair makes strange confessions to his sister, Keri becomes inspired. She tells stories, tales that may reveal hidden truths, fiction that may cause real things to happen. In the concluding volume of the Riverman Trilogy, readers are asked to consider the source of inspiration, the borders of reality and the power of storytelling. They are asked to forgive monsters, to imagine alternate dimensions, and to believe in a phosphorescent wombat who assures us that gone for now is not necessarily gone for good.
Ages 10-14 | Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux | Mar. 15 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0374363130
Publisher’s Synopsis: Worlds collide in a spectacular way when Newbery and National Book Award finalist Kathi Appelt and Pulitzer Prize nominee and #1 New York Times bestseller Alison McGhee team up to create a fantastical, heartbreaking, and gorgeous tale about two sisters, a fox cub, and what happens when one of the sisters disappears forever.
Sylvie and Jules, Jules and Sylvie. Better than just sisters, better than best friends, they’d be identical twins if only they’d been born in the same year. And if only Sylvie wasn’t such a fast—faster than fast—runner. But Sylvie is too fast, and when she runs to the river they’re not supposed to go anywhere near to throw a wish rock just before the school bus comes on a snowy morning, she runs so fast that no one sees what happens…and no one ever sees her again. Jules is devastated, but she refuses to believe what all the others believe, that—like their mother—her sister is gone forever.
At the very same time, in the shadow world, a shadow fox is born—half of the spirit world, half of the animal world. She too is fast—faster than fast—and she senses danger. She’s too young to know exactly what she senses, but she knows something is very wrong. And when Jules believes one last wish rock for Sylvie needs to be thrown into the river, the human and shadow worlds collide.
Writing in alternate voices—one Jules’s, the other the fox’s—Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee tell the searingly beautiful tale of one small family’s moment of heartbreak, a moment that unfolds into one that is epic, mythic, shimmering, and most of all, hopeful.
Ages 10+ | Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books | Mar. 8 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1442482425
Written by Ally Condie
Publisher’s Synopsis: A tender and compelling contemporary novel for young readers about facing grief and finding friendship, from the international bestselling author of the Matched series
It’s the first real summer since the devastating accident that killed Cedar’s father and younger brother, Ben. But now Cedar and what’s left of her family are returning to the town of Iron Creek for the summer. They’re just settling into their new house when a boy named Leo, dressed in costume, rides by on his bike. Intrigued, Cedar follows him to the renowned Summerlost theatre festival. Soon, she not only has a new friend in Leo and a job working concessions at the festival, she finds herself surrounded by mystery. The mystery of the tragic, too-short life of the Hollywood actress who haunts the halls of Summerlost. And the mystery of the strange gifts that keep appearing for Cedar.
Infused with emotion and rich with understanding, Summerlost is the touching new novel from Ally Condie, the international bestselling author of the Matched series that highlights the strength of family and personal resilience in the face of tragedy.
Ages 10+ | Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers | Mar. 29 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0399187193
Written by Lindsay Eagar
Publisher’s Synopsis: What does it mean to be fully alive? Magic blends with reality in a stunning coming-of-age novel about a girl, a grandfather, wanderlust, and reclaiming your roots.
Things are only impossible if you stop to think about them. . . .
While her friends are spending their summers having pool parties and sleepovers, twelve-year-old Carolina — Carol — is spending hers in the middle of the New Mexico desert, helping her parents move the grandfather she’s never met into a home for people with dementia. At first, Carol avoids prickly Grandpa Serge. But as the summer wears on and the heat bears down, Carol finds herself drawn to him, fascinated by the crazy stories he tells her about a healing tree, a green-glass lake, and the bees that will bring back the rain and end a hundred years of drought. As the thin line between magic and reality starts to blur, Carol must decide for herself what is possible — and what it means to be true to her roots. Readers who dream that there’s something more out there will be enchanted by this captivating novel of family, renewal, and discovering the wonder of the world.
Ages 10+ | Publisher: Candlewick | Mar. 29 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0763679224
Written by Janet Fox
Publisher’s Synopsis: “Keep calm and carry on.”
That’s what Katherine Bateson’s father told her, and that’s what she’s trying to do: when her father goes off to the war, when her mother sends Kat and her brother and sister away from London to escape the incessant bombing, even when the children arrive at Rookskill Castle, an ancient, crumbling manor on the misty Scottish highlands.
But it’s hard to keep calm in the strange castle that seems haunted by ghosts or worse. What’s making those terrifying screeches and groans at night? Why do the castle’s walls seem to have a mind of their own? And why do people seem to mysteriously appear and disappear?
Kat believes she knows the answer: Lady Eleanor, who rules Rookskill Castle, is harboring a Nazi spy. But when her classmates begin to vanish, one by one, Kat must uncover the truth about what the castle actually harbors—and who Lady Eleanor really is—before it’s too late.
Ages 10+ | Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers | Mar. 15 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0451476333
Written by Alywn Hamilton
Publisher’s Synopsis: Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic. For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.
Amani Al’Hiza is all three. She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.
Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.
Rebel of the Sands reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes—in the fires of rebellion, of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally, at long last, embracing her power.
Ages 12+ | Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers | Mar. 8 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0451477538
Written by Brittany Cavallaro
Publisher’s Synopsis: The first book in a witty, suspenseful new trilogy about a brilliant new crime-solving duo: the teen descendants of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. This clever page-turner will appeal to fans of Maureen Johnson and Ally Carter.
Jamie Watson has always been intrigued by Charlotte Holmes; after all, their great-great-great-grandfathers are one of the most infamous pairs in history. But the Holmes family has always been odd, and Charlotte is no exception. She’s inherited Sherlock’s volatility and some of his vices—and when Jamie and Charlotte end up at the same Connecticut boarding school, Charlotte makes it clear she’s not looking for friends.
But when a student they both have a history with dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.
Ages 14+ | Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books | 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0062398901
Written by Cassandra Clare
Publisher’s Synopsis: Sam just got a hamster for a pet. But the hamster is kind of boring … he just eats and sleeps and gets his shavings wet. Inspired by her book of mythological creatures, Sam longs for a more exciting pet. But she soon realizes that taking care of these magical beasts might not be as wonderful as she thought. Sasquatches are messy, unicorns are shy, gryphons scare the dogs at the dogpark, and having a fire extinguisher handy at all times makes dragons seem like an awful lot of work. In the end, Sam realizes that her hamster is a pretty sweet and safe pet … or is he?
If I Had a Gryphon is a raucous rhyming read-aloud about fantastical beasts in everyday situations–and the increasingly beleaguered heroine who has to deal with them.
Ages 14+ | Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books | Mar. 8 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1442468351
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