The Children’s Book Review | July 1, 2016
Hot New Releases & Popular Kids Stories
The picture books have it! What an abundance of cute, fun, and thought-provoking stories to choose from. There are also some great choices for middle graders, too, plus a young adult novel with a great set of diverse characters. Which new kids books will you take on this month?
Written and Illustrated by Amy Young
Publisher’s Synopsis: When Lucy sees an ad in the newspaper for a unicorn, she sends in her twenty-five cents and waits four to six long weeks for her very own unicorn to arrive. She imagines the flowers that she’ll braid into his beautiful pink mane, and she even picks the perfect name for him: Sparkle. But when Sparkle arrives, his ears are too long, his horn is too short, he smells funny–and oh, he has fleas. Lucy isn’t pleased, but in the end she warms up to Sparkle and realizes that even though he wasn’t exactly the unicorn she wanted, he might be just the one she needs.
Ages 2-6 | Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux | July 5, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0374301859
Written and Illustrated by Stephen Savage
Publisher’s Synopsis: It’s Cement Mixer’s first day on the job and he doesn’t want to make any mistakes. How can he help the other trucks on the construction site? By mixing some powdery white cement, of course!
He mixes it up, adds a little water, and presto . . . a cake?! He must have mixed flour instead of cement.
Not to worry, he’ll try again . . . and presto! Frosting?! He’ll keep trying until he gets it just right and it’s time for one more mixing: a bubble bath!
Ages 2-6 | Publisher: Roaring Brook Press | July 5, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1626721531
Written by Kim Norman
Illustrated by Chad Green
Publisher’s Synopsis: Will Willy be another type of animal?
Still a gorilla!
In this fun, zany picture book, Willy the Gorilla imitates other animals at the zoo, including a lion, a walrus, a billy goat, an alligator, and a kangaroo. But pretending to be something he is not never works out. What if he just tried to be himself?
In the end, Willy is still a gorilla — and that’s something everyone can appreciate! Still a Gorilla! is a funny, wacky, rhyming picture book that teaches the importance of being yourself.
Ages 3-5 | Publisher: Orchard Books | July 26, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0545757911
Publisher’s Synopsis: A hilarious story that celebrates the power of books and libraries in the vein of It’s a Book
It’s Saturday, which means Oskar and Theodore get to go to the library with their dad! It means donuts for breakfast! And it means endless quiet hours lost in stories.
But on this not so quiet Saturday, Oskar and Teddy get a rude surprise when they’re interrupted by a five-headed, hangry monster! Will Oskar ever get to finish his book in peace? Will Teddy ever get to gorge on his donuts? Or might both of them hold the secret weapons to taming the beast?
OHora brings his signature humor and quirkiness to a story with evergreen appeal. This laugh-out-loud picture book is perfect for story time.
Ages 3-5 | Publisher: Dial Books | July 19, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0316383295
Written by Sherri Duskey Rinker
Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Publisher’s Synopsis: A special glow-in-the-dark edition of the New York Times bestseller and beloved bedtime favorite!
Down in the big construction site, tough trucks work with all their might. But now it’s time to say goodnight! Even the roughest, toughest readers will want to turn off their engines, rest their wheels, and drift to sleep with this sweet and soothing story. With its special glow-in-the-dark ink, Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site will keep sleepy construction fans company even after the lights go out.
Ages 3-6 | Publisher: Chronicle Books | July 26, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1452152158
Written by Elizabeth Shreeve
Illustrated by Joey Chou
Publisher’s Synopsis: It’s Freddy’s first day of school, and he needs to get ready. But school is big, it’s far away, and it’s full of strangers. Luckily, Freddy remembers he has work to do—in space! When his mom reminds him to put on his shoes, he pulls on his moon boots instead and blasts off. Captain Freddy’s adventures in space may just make him ready for his big day back on Earth.
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Two Lions | July 12, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1503950955
Written and Illustrated by Jon Agee
Publisher’s Synopsis: With the wit and read-aloud appeal of Peter Brown’s Children Make Terrible Pets and William Steig’s Pete’s a Pizza, this funny, fierce picture book teaches kids just what it takes to be a great lion
There are seven steps to becoming a proper lion, including Looking Fierce, Roaring, Prowling Around, and Pouncing. Our young hero, a rather meek and scrawny human boy, does his best to learn the necessary skills during his training with a master instructor (who just happens to be a real lion). After a grueling set of lessons, the boy discovers that that the final step—Looking Out for Your Friends—is the most important of all. That’s how any kid can earn his lion diploma (not to mention the affection of every cat in town).
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Dial Books | July 5, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0803739086
Written by Anika Denise
Illustrated by Nate Wragg
Publisher’s Synopsis: Readers will delight in this lively read-aloud story with a clever and surprising twist at the end—perfect for Halloween and year round!
Ready, set, go! The monster truck race is on in this frightfully delightful picture book. On a spooky speedway, Monster Trucks moan! Monster Trucks grumble! Monster Trucks groan!
Join Frankentruck, Zombie Truck, Ghost Truck, and more as they race to the finish line. But one of these trucks isn’t quite who you think.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: HarperCollins | July 12, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0062345226
Written and Illustrated by Mike Boldt
Publisher’s Synopsis: From the creative mind of rising star Mike Boldt comes a hilarious and original tale about overcoming back-to-school jitters, making new friends, and taking things in stride.
Anya wakes up to discover that she has grown a tiger tail. Yes, a striped tiger tail. It also happens to be the first day of school. What will the other kids think? Are girls with tiger tails even allowed to go to school?!
Anya is about to find out.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | July 5, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1481448857
Written by Maria Gianferrari
Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
Publisher’s Synopsis: A howl in the night.
A watchful eye in the darkness.
A flutter of movement among the trees.
In the dark of the night, a mother coyote stalks prey to feed her hungry pups. Her hunt takes her through a suburban town, where she encounters a mouse, a rabbit, a flock of angry geese, and finally an unsuspecting turkey on the library lawn.
Perhaps Coyote’s family won’t go hungry today.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Roaring Brook Press | July 19, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1626720411
Written by Boni Ashburn
Illustrated by Kimberly Gee
Publisher’s Synopsis: Count along with twenty young students from nineteen different homes as they get ready for their first day of kindergarten.
Alarm clocks go off and students all over town wake up and get ready for their big day. Some feel eager, others are nervous, and a few are even grumpy! But they all get dressed, eat breakfast, pack backpacks, and make their way to school, where they will meet their new teacher and become a wonderful new class. Boni Ashburn’s snappy rhyming text and Kimberly Gee’s adorable and diverse group of children make this a great pick for little ones getting ready for their first day of school.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Beach Lane Books | July 5, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1442422483
Written and Illustrated by Jennifer P. Goldfinger
Publisher’s Synopsis: A reassuring picture book for back-to-school jitters!
Toby likes being a cat more than he likes being a boy. So when it’s time to go to school, he becomes a timid kitten. But when Toby finally gathers the courage to join in with the other kids, he finds out that everything is more fun with friends.
From talented author and illustrator Jennifer P. Goldfinger comes this adorable picture book about just being yourself.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: HarperCollins | July 12, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0062399519
Written by Curtis Manley
Illustrated by Kate Berube
Publisher’s Synopsis: It’s not easy to teach a cat to read, but one boy tries to anyway in this sweet and silly picture book debut that captures the challenges and rewards of learning to read.
Nick loves to read books—and he loves to play with his cats, Verne and Stevenson. So naturally Nick decides it’s a great idea to teach his cats to read. But Verne and Stevenson don’t appreciate when Nick wakes them up with a flashcard that says NAP. Nick finally piques Verne’s interest with words like MOUSE and FISH. But not Stevenson’s. While Nick and Verne go to the library, Stevenson hides under the porch. Will Nick ever find a way to share his love of reading with his feline friends?
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books | July 5, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1481435697
Written by Kobi Yamada
Illustrated by Mae Besom
Publisher’s Synopsis: From the same author and illustrator as our #1 nationally best-selling What Do You Do With an Idea? comes a new book to encourage you to look closely at problems and discover the possibilities they can hold.
What do you do with a problem? Especially one that follows you around and doesn’t seem to be going away? Do you worry about it? Ignore it? Do you run and hide from it?
This is the story of a persistent problem and the child who isn’t so sure what to make of it. The longer the problem is avoided, the bigger it seems to get. But when the child finally musters up the courage to face it, the problem turns out to be something quite different than it appeared.
This is a story for anyone, at any age, who has ever had a problem that they wished would go away. It’s a story to inspire you to look closely at that problem and to find out why it’s here. Because you might discover something amazing about your problem… and yourself.
What are problems for? They challenge us, shape us, push us, and help us to discover just how strong and brave and capable we really are. Even though we don’t always want them, problems have a way of bringing unexpected gifts.
So, what will you do with your problem? Now that’s up to you.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Compendium Inc | July 1, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1943200009
Written by Lisa Bakos
Illustrated by Mark Chambers
Publisher’s Synopsis: When Martha gets an unusual pet, she’s delighted by all of the fun things they do together!
The shared an umbrella,
They sipped maple tea.
They carved hearts and ‘Ms
On a mulberry tree.
If one moose is this marvelous, then more must be better! So, Martha quite merrily orders one more – and one more and one more and one more… until she’s in a major mess!
Through silly, exuberant rhymes and marvelous alliteration, Martha learns that sometimes less is more in this madcap moose adventure.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky | July 5, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1492609353
Written by Erica S. Perl
Illustrated by Henry Cole
Publisher’s Synopsis: Mr. Drake’s second grade class has a new class pet. Fluffity appears to be a cute and docile hamster—but the kids soon discover that she is not the cuddly pet they expected. From the moment her cage door opens, Fluffity becomes FEROCIOUS—biting and chasing everyone down the hall and into the library! Will the class be able to tame this beast and bring peace back to their school? The bestselling team behind Chicken Butt! and Chicken Butt’s Back! has crafted another laugh-out-loud tale that’s sure to be a hit with any child who’s ever wanted a pet. Erica Perl’s pitch-perfect rhymes and Henry Cole’s over-the-top animal character make for the perfect classroom read-aloud.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers | July 19, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1419721823
Publisher’s Synopsis: Classic favorites get a modern Latino twist
The itsy arañita
climbed up the water spout.
Down came la lluvia
and washed la araña out.
Classic Mother Goose rhymes get a Latino twist in this cozy collection. From young Juan Ramón sitting in el rincón to three little gatitos who lost their mitoncitos, readers will be delighted to see familiar characters in vibrant, luminous scenes brimming with fanciful details.
La Madre Goose will make a playful multicultural addition to every modern bookshelf.
Ages 5-8 | Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers | July 19, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0399251573
Written by Matthew McElligott
Publisher’s Synopsis: Welcome back to Mad Scientist Academy! Dr. Cosmic’s class of clever monsters must face down snow, floods, and a dangerous thunderstorm as freak weather conditions threaten the school in this second book of the series.
Dr. Cosmic can’t wait to introduce the students to his latest invention, the CHAOS machine, designed to keep the school at the right temperature for learning. But when the machine starts to malfunction, causing extreme weather conditions, the students must use their upgraded handbooks to stop CHAOS before it destroys the entire school!
Join Dr. Cosmic’s clever class of monsters as they solve the greatest challenges in science, in this blend of adventure and exploration, perfect for Common Core and STEM.
Ages 5-8 | Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers | July 5, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0553523768
Written by Phil Bildner
Illustrated by Tim Probert
Publisher’s Synopsis: Just when they think they’ve got the hang of things, Rip and Red find that fifth grade continues to challenge them in head-spinning ways. Tiki, a new girl whose Egyptian dad is an animal-rights activist, has just joined their class. She’s charismatic, funny―and she’s got game! Rip has his world turned upside down as Tiki proves to be tough competition on the Clifton United basketball team and leads a rebellion against the lousy new food service in the school cafeteria. Red―a kid on the autism spectrum―is struggling with the upheavals as well. But as these two funky and funny best friends discover, sometimes radical change is the right move, on the court and off.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux | July 12, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0374301347
Written by Robert Beatty
Publisher’s Synopsis: Serafina’s defeat of the Man in the Black Cloak has brought her out of the shadows and into the daylight realm of her home, Biltmore Estate. Every night she visits her mother in the forest, eager to learn the ways of the catamount. But Serafina finds herself caught between her two worlds: she’s too wild for Biltmore’s beautifully dressed ladies and formal customs, and too human to fully join her kin.
Late one night, Serafina encounters a strange and terrifying figure in the forest, and is attacked by the vicious wolfhounds that seem to be under his control. Even worse, she’s convinced that the stranger was not alone, that he has sent his accomplice into Biltmore in disguise.
Ages 9-12 | Publisher: Disney-Hyperion | July 12, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1484775035
Written by Chris Colfer
Publisher’s Synopsis: The fifth book in Chris Colfer’s #1 New York Times bestselling series The Land of Stories!
In the highly anticipated continuation of the Land of Stories series, Conner learns that the only place to fight the Masked Man’s literary army is inside his own short stories!
When the twins and their friends enter worlds crafted from Conner’s imagination, finding allies no one else could have ever dreamed of, the race begins to put an end to the Masked Man’s reign of terror. Can the twins finally restore peace in the fairy tale world?
Ages 9-12 | Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | July 12, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0803741409
Written by Abby Cooper
Publisher’s Synopsis: Ever since she was a baby, the words people use to describe Elyse have instantly appeared on her arms and legs. At first it was just “cute” and “adorable,” but as she’s gotten older and kids have gotten meaner, words like “loser” and “pathetic” appear, and those words bubble up and itch. And then there are words like “interesting,” which she’s not really sure how to feel about. Now, at age twelve, she’s starting middle school, and just when her friends who used to accept and protect her are drifting away, she receives an anonymous note saying “I know who you are, and I know what you’re dealing with. I want to help.” As Elyse works to solve the mystery of who is sending her these notes, she also finds new ways to accept who she is and to become her best self.
Ages 10-12 | Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux | July 12, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0374302870
Written by J.K. Rowling
Publisher’s Synopsis: The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
Ages 14 and up | Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books | July 31, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1338099133
Publisher’s Synopsis: Featuring a diverse cast of characters, plenty of gossip, lies, and scandal, Shiny Broken Piecescontinues with the soapy drama readers loved in Tiny Pretty Things.
June, Bette, and Gigi are competing one final time for a spot at the prestigious American Ballet Company. With the stakes higher than ever, these girls have everything to lose…and no one is playing nice. June is starting to finally see herself as a prima ballerina. But being the best could mean sacrificing the love of her life. Legacy dancer Bette is determined to clear her name after she was suspended and accused of hurting her rival, Gigi. And Gigi is not going to let Bette—or the other dancers who bullied her—go unpunished. It all comes down to this last dance. Who will make the cut? And who will lose her dream forever?
Ages 14 and up | Publisher: HarperTeen | July 12, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0062342423
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