Best New Kids Books | February 2016
The Children’s Book Review | February 1, 2016
Hot New Releases & Popular Kids Stories
Our selection of hot new releases and popular kids’ books has a lot to offer! There is even a new book from the beloved and internationally bestselling author of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Judith Viorst. Let us know which titles and covers catch your eyes.
Written and Illustrated by Jarvis
Publisher’s Synopsis: A goofy and lonely denizen of the jungle has just one talent — scaring other creatures with his big, scary teeth! What would he do without them?
Deep in the jungle lurks Alan the alligator, descended from a long line of very scary alligators. He prepares carefully — polishing his scales, brushing each of his big, scary teeth, and practicing his frightening faces — then sneaks into the jungle to terrorize the jungle critters. (“I’m big, scary Alan! Fear my razor-sharp teeth!”) But after a long day of scaring, Alan likes nothing better than to enjoy the crossword, run a warm mud bath, and take out his teeth, which nobody else knows are false. Until one morning, when Alan wakes up and finds that his teeth are gone! Without those teeth, he’s just not very scary, and scaring is the only thing he knows how to do. Or is it? Witty, charming, and playful storytelling will have preschoolers cheering for Alan as he discovers a new way to fit in.
Ages 2-5 | Publisher: Candlewick | Feb. 23 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0763681203
Written and Illustrated by Steve Light
Publisher’s Synopsis: An old ship. A sad friend. A button . . . An idea. Let’s SWAP!
In a young scalawag’s first tale of bartering, a peg-legged youngster sets out to help his captain repair his vessel. One button for three teacups. SWAP! Two teacups for four coils of rope. SWAP! And so it goes, until the little swashbuckler secures sails, anchors, a ship’s wheel, and more . . . including a happy friend. Steve Light’s intricate pen-and-ink illustrations, punctuated by brilliant blue and other hues, anchor this clever tale of friendship and ingenuity.
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Candlewick | Feb. 9 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0763679903
Illustrated by Cale Atkinson
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 3-7 | Publisher: Tundra Books | Feb. 9 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1770498099
Written by Kevin Henkes
Illustrated by Laura Dronzek
Publisher’s Synopsis: The award-winning, bestselling husband-and-wife team of Kevin Henkes and Laura Dronzek collaborate for the first time since their acclaimed picture book Birds. Before spring comes, the trees are dark sticks, the grass is brown, and the ground is covered in snow. But if you wait, leaves unfurl and flowers blossom, the grass turns green, and the mounds of snow shrink and shrink. Spring brings baby birds, sprouting seeds, rain and mud, and puddles. You can feel it and smell it and hear it—and you can read it!
Kevin Henkes uses striking imagery, repetition, and alliteration to introduce basic concepts of language and the changing of the seasons. And Laura Dronzek’s gorgeous, lush paintings show the transformation from quiet, cold winter to the joyful newborn spring. Watch the world transform when spring comes!
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Greenwillow Books | Feb. 9 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0062331397
Written by Doreen Cronin
Illustrated by David Small
Publisher’s Synopsis: From #1 New York Times bestselling author Doreen Cronin and Caldecott Medal–winning illustrator David Small comes a picture book about how an extraordinary “ordinary” girl can save a kingdom with the help of a mud fairy.
A glass kingdom is no place for a Mud Fairy. Bloom and her mud fairy magic might be able to turn weeds into flowers and spin sand into glass, but the people of the kingdom ceaselessly complain about the trails of dirt and puddles of mud that seem to follow her every step, and finally they cast her out.
But when the glass castle begins to crack, then cracks some more, the King and Queen in a panic search for the long-banished fairy, but they can’t find Bloom anywhere. Desperate to save their home, they send their meekest, most ordinary subject, a girl named Genevievewhose sole task until now has been to polish the Queen’s crystal sugar spoon—to coax any worthy fairy to come and save the kingdom. Genevieve finds Bloom exactly where the king and queen failed to see her, and Bloom knows exactly how to save the kingdom. But it will take the two girls working together, along with a mighty dollop of self-confidence—and some very messy hands—to accomplish the extraordinary.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books | Feb. 9 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1442406209
Written and Illustrated by Terry Fan and Eric Fan
Publisher’s Synopsis: In the spirit of Goodnight Moon and The Curious Garden comes a stunning debut picture book filled with whimsy and creativity from brothers Terry and Eric Fan.
One day, William discovers that the tree outside his window has been sculpted into a wise owl. In the following days, more topiaries appear, and each one is more beautiful than the last. Soon, William’s gray little town is full of color and life. And though the mysterious night gardener disappears as suddenly as he appeared, William—and his town—are changed forever.
With breathtaking illustrations and spare, sweet text, this masterpiece about enjoying the beauty of nature is sure to become an instant classic.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | Feb. 16 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1481439787
Written by Julie Falatko
Illustrated by Tim Miller
Publisher’s Synopsis: Snappsy the alligator is having a normal day when a pesky narrator steps in to spice up the story. Is Snappsy reading a book … or is he making CRAFTY plans? Is Snappsy on his way to the grocery store … or is he PROWLING the forest for defenseless birds and fuzzy bunnies? Is Snappsy innocently shopping for a party … or is he OBSESSED with snack foods that start with the letter P? What’s the truth?
Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) is an irreverent look at storytelling, friendship, and creative differences, perfect for fans of Mo Willems.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers | Feb. 2 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0451469458
Written by Douglas Florian
Illustrations by Sonia Sanchez
Publisher’s Synopsis: Follow one family of rabbits as they do all their favorite things in this sweet, poetic story from award-winning author Douglas Florian.
The habits of rabbits are many, not few, with plenty of things that they love to do!
This sweet, lyrical story by Douglas Florian follows a family of rabbits as they have fun doing everyday things like digging holes, building snow rabbits, thumping their feet, and more. But as the day comes to an end, their favorite thing to do is say “goodnight” with a hug and a kiss.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: little bee books | Feb. 2 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1499801040
Written by Jess Keating
Publisher’s Synopsis: Pinkalicious meets National Geographic in this nonfiction picture book introducing the weirdest, wildest, pinkest critters in the animal kingdom!
Some people think pink is a pretty color. A fluffy, sparkly, princess-y color. But it’s so much more.
Sure, pink is the color of princesses and bubblegum, but it’s also the color of monster slugs and poisonous insects. Not to mention ultra-intelligent dolphins, naked mole rats and bizarre, bloated blobfish.
Isn’t it about time to rethink pink?
Ages 5-8 | Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers | Feb. 9 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0553512274
Written by Judith Viorst
Illustrated by Lee White
Publisher’s Synopsis: From the beloved and internationally bestselling author of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Judith Viorst comes a brand-new collection of clever, hilarious, and poignant poems that touch on every aspect of the roller-coaster ride that is childhood.
Did you wake up this morning all smiley inside?
Does life taste like ice cream and cake?
Or does it seem more like your goldfish just died
And your insides are one great big ache?
From school to family to friends, from Grrrr to Hooray!, Judith Viorst takes us on a tour of feelings of all kinds in this thoughtful, funny, and charming collection of poetry that’s perfect for young readers just learning to sort out their own emotions.
Ages 6-9 | Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books | Feb. 9 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1481423557
Publisher’s Synopsis: Aaagh! Crawl slowly for your lives! Stink kicks off his second decade with a super-funny homage to an oozy-goozy organism.
Glip! Glop! Gloop! What looks like dog vomit, smells like a corpse flower, and stars in one of the scariest movies Stink Moody has ever seen? Is it the Blob? The Glob? Son of Glob? No, it’s . . . slime mold! Stink may be a super science geek, but even Dr. Stinkelstein is feeling freaked out about having a slime mold living and growing in his very own room. At Saturday Science Club, Stink learns that these one-celled organisms are smart enough to find their way out of mazes and gang up on food sources — so who says they aren’t smart enough to take over Stink’s pets, Stink’s room, Stink himself, and . . . the world? Vintage horror flicks meet classic Star Trek episodes as a wary Stink (with some help from Dr. Judy Moody) comes to know and love an unusual new pet in a hilarious adventure that sneaks in factoids and comics at each chapter’s end.
Ages 6-9 | Publisher: Candlewick | Feb. 9 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0763655549
Written by Julia Donaldson
Publisher’s Synopsis: Join Ellen and her double, Mirror-Belle, who brings trouble wherever she goes
Ellen gets a big shock when her double appears out of the bathroom mirror. But Mirror-Belle is a double with a difference! She is a princess, and a very mischievous one at that. Join magically mischievous Mirror-Belle as she comes popping out of Ellen’s mirror to sweep her into even more hilarious escapades. You can guarantee that wherever Mirror-Belle goes, trouble will follow.
Ages 7-9 | Publisher: Pan Macmillan | Feb. 1 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1447285649
Written by Sara Pennypacker
Illustrated by Jon Klassen
Publisher’s Synopsis: From bestselling and award-winning author Sara Pennypacker comes a beautifully wrought, utterly compelling novel about the powerful relationship between a boy and his fox. Pax is destined to become a classic, beloved for generations to come.
Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens: Peter’s dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild.
At his grandfather’s house, three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn’t where he should be—with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox.
Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own. . . .
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Balzer + Bray | Feb. 2 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0062377012
Written by Dan Gutman
Publisher’s Synopsis: Congratulations! You are invited to participate in a very special once-in-a-lifetime experience. Please do not share this invitation or discuss it with anyone.
In New York Times bestselling author Dan Gutman’s all-new series, which blends fascinating real history with an action-packed and hilarious adventure, four very different kids are picked by a mysterious billionaire to travel through time and photograph some of history’s most important events. This time, the four friends are headed to 1863 to catch Abraham Lincoln delivering his famous Gettysburg Address. They’ll have to work together to ask the right questions, meet the right people, and capture the right moment. And most important—not get caught! Back matter separating fact from fiction and real black-and-white photographs make Flashback Four the perfect mix of true history and uproarious fun.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: HarperCollins | Feb. 23 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0062374417
Written by Victoria J. Coe
Publisher’s Synopsis: This lovable new series introduces a little dog with a GIANT personality!
Fenway is an excitable and endlessly energetic Jack Russell terrier. He lives in the city with Food Lady, Fetch Man, and—of course—his beloved short human and best-friend-in-the-world, Hattie.
But when his family moves to the suburbs, Fenway faces a world of changes. He’s pretty pleased with the huge Dog Park behind his new home, but he’s not so happy about the Evil Squirrels that taunt him from the trees, the super-slippery Wicked Floor in the Eating Room, and the changes that have come over Hattie lately. Rather than playing with Fenway, she seems more interested in her new short human friend, Angel, and learning to play baseball. His friends in the Dog Park next door say Hattie is outgrowing him, but that can’t be right. And he’s going to prove it!
Get a dog’s-eye view of the world in this heartwarming, enthusiastic “tail” about two best friends.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers | Feb. 9 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0399172748
Pete Milano’s Guide to Being a Movie Star: A Charlie Joe Jackson Book
Written by T
Publisher’s Synopsis: Pete Milano has always been the class clown and proud of it. What’s the point of having friends if you can’t make them laugh, right? Even if doing so has the unfortunate side effect of constantly getting him into trouble. But, for once, Pete’s tricks have led him to just the right place at just the right time. Now he’s about to become famous, because he’s been asked to audition for the hottest new movie with the hottest girl costar. But balancing real life with movie life is way harder than it sounds. Will Pete’s newfound fame mean losing his girlfriend and all his friends?
Ages 9-12 | Publisher: Roaring Brook Press | Feb. 16 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1626721678
The Forbidden Wish
Written by Jessica Khoury
Publisher’s Synopsis: She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world…
When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years — a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.
But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?
As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Aladdin from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.
Ages 12+ | Publisher: Razorbill | Feb. 23 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1595147677
Written by Ruta Sepetys
Publisher’s Synopsis: For readers of Between Shades of Gray and All the Light We Cannot See, international bestselling author Ruta Sepetys returns to WWII in this epic novel that shines a light on one of the war’s most devastating—yet unknown—tragedies.
World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in one another tested with each step closer toward safety.
Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.
Told in alternating points of view, and perfect for fans of Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Light We Cannot See, Erik Larson’s #1 NYT bestseller Dead Wake, and Elizabeth Wein’s Printz Honor Book Code Name Verity, this masterful work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff–the greatest maritime disaster in history. As she did in Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.
Ages 12-17 | Publisher: Philomel Books | Feb. 2 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0399160301
Written by Marissa Meyer
Publisher’s Synopsis: The enchantment continues. . . .
The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories – and secrets – that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?
With nine stories – five of which have never before been published – and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s upcoming novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.
Ages 12-18 | Publisher: Feiwel & Friends | Feb. 2 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1250091840
Written by Victoria Aveyard
Publisher’s Synopsis: The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.
Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.
Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?
Ages 14+ | Publisher: HarperTeen | Feb. 9 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0062310668
Written by Melissa Landers
Publisher’s Synopsis: Solara Brooks needs a fresh start, someplace where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. The outer realm may be lawless, but
Ages 14+ | Publisher: Disney-Hyperion | Feb. 2 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1484723241
Written by Heidi Heilig
Publisher’s Synopsis: Heidi Heilig’s debut teen fantasy sweeps from modern-day New York City, to nineteenth-century Hawaii, to places of myth and legend. Sixteen-year-old Nix has sailed across the globe and through centuries aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. But when he gambles with her very existence, it all may be about to end. The Girl from Everywhere, the first of two books, blends fantasy, history, and a modern sensibility. Its witty, fast-paced dialogue, breathless adventure, multicultural cast, and enchanting romance will dazzle readers of Sabaa Tahir, Rae Carson, and Rachel Hartman.
Nix’s life began in Honolulu in 1868. Since then she has traveled to mythic Scandinavia, a land from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, modern-day New York City, and many more places both real and imagined. As long as he has a map, Nix’s father can sail his ship, The Temptation, to any place, any time. But now he’s uncovered the one map he’s always sought—1868 Honolulu, before Nix’s mother died in childbirth. Nix’s life—her entire existence—is at stake. No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix’s future, her dreams, her adventures . . . her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash, who’s been part of their crew for two years. If Nix helps her father reunite with the love of his life, it will cost her her own.
Ages 14+ | Publisher: Greenwillow Books | Feb. 16 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0062380753
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