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Recent Book Reviews

Board Book and Picture Book

Chapter Book and Middle Grade

Chapter Book and Middle Grade

February 24, 2020

Crafting picture book Playing with Collage by Jeannie Baker

January 31, 2020

For Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020, picture book Freedom Soup by Tami Charles and illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara

December 17, 2019

Classic picture book The Little Fir Tree by Hans Christian Andersen with modern art by Christopher Corr

Picture book about kindness Little Robin’s Christmas by Jan Fearnley

Rhyming series picture book How to Trick a Christmas Elf by Sue Fliess and illustrated by Simona Sanfilippo

Rhyming picture book Santa’s Secret by Denise Brennan-Nelson and illustrated by Deborah Melmon

November 8, 2019

Fractured fairy tale The Most Terrible of All  written by Muon Thị Văn and illustrated by Matt Myers

Fractured fairy tale Moldilocks and the Three Scares: A Zombie Tale written by Lynne Marie and illustrated by David Rodriguez Lorenzo

Rhyming fractured fairy tale Reading Beauty written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Meg Hunt

October 25, 2019

Rhyming picture book Give Me Back My Bones! written by Kim Norman and illustrated by Bob Kolar

October 25, 2019

Board book Halloween Kitty (A Wag My Tail Book) written and illustrated by Salina Yoon

October 15, 2019

Rhyming picture book Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas by Aaron Blabey

October 1, 2019

Picture book and recipe Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao by Kat Zhang and illustrated by Charlene Chua

July 29, 2019

Concept board book Seek and Count written and illustrated by Yusuke Yonezu

June 7, 2019

Rhyming picture book My Heart written and illustrated by Corinna Luyken

May 15, 2019

Nonfiction picture book When Sue Found Sue: Sue Hendrickson Discovers Her T. Rex written by Toni Buzzeo and illustrated by Diana Sudyka

April 26, 2019

Nonfiction picture book A Green Place to Be: The Creation of Central Park written and illustrated by Ashley Benham Yazdani

April 25, 2019

Die-cut, translucent rhyming board book You Are Light written and illustrated by Aaron Becker

April 22, 2019

Nonfiction picture book Don’t Let Them Disappear: 12 Endangered Species Across the Globe written by Chelsea Clinton and illustrated by Gianna Marino

April 10, 2019

Nonfiction picture book The Night Flower: The Blooming of the Saguaro Cactus written and illustrated by Lara Hawthorne

March 19, 2019

Nonfiction picture book Power Up: Your Incredible, Spectacular, Supercharged Body written by Seth Fishman and illustrated by Isabel Greenberg

February 4, 2019

Nonfiction picture book Out of This World: The Surreal Art of Leonora Carrington written by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Amanda Hall

December 21, 2018

Lift-the-flaps board book Little Christmas Tree written and illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle

December 21, 2018

A Unicorn Named Sparkle’s First Christmas written and illustrated by Amy Young

December 21, 2018

Merry Christmas, Little Elliot written and illustrated by Mike Curato 

December 10, 2018

Drawn Together written by Minh Lê and illustrated by Dan Santat

December 10, 2018

The Day You Begin written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael López

November 2, 2018

Horse Meets Dog written by Elliott Kalan and illustrated by Tim Miller

September 11, 2018

The Lying King (book four in A Tale from the Watering Hole series) written and illustrated by Alex Beard

May 30, 2018

The Funeral written and illustrated by Matt James

May 22, 2018

Bilingual folktale El Chupacabras written by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Crash McCreery

May 17, 2018

Julián is a Mermaid written and illustrated by Jessica Love

May 8, 2018

Dude! written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Dan Santat

March 12, 2018

The Word Collector written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

February 27, 2018

The Digger and the Flower written and illustrated by Joseph Kuefler

February 15, 2018

The Great Race: Story of the Chinese Zodiac written and illustrated by Christopher Corr

October 23, 2017

Halloween roundup:

- Creepy Pair of Underwear! written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown

One of 2017's best picture books (Kirkus)

- Counting picture book in rhyme, Halloween Good Night, written by Rebecca Grabill and illustrated by Ella Okstad 

- For young children Duck & Goose, Honk! Quack! Boo! written and illustrated by Tad Hills

October 9, 2017

Rhyming Twinderella: A Fractioned Fairy Tale written by Corey Rosen Schwartz and illustrated by Deborah Marcero

One of the Top Ten Rhyming Books of 2017

July 6, 2017

Historical fiction She Persisted written by Chelsea Clinton and illustrated by Alexandra Boiger

June 20, 2017

Historical fiction Renato and the Lion written and illustrated by Barbara DiLorenzo

May 1, 2017

The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Adam Rex

March 24, 2017

Wordless board book Brick by Brick written and illustrated by Giuliano Ferri

January 24, 2017

(Mostly) wordless picture book Wolf in the Snow written and illustrated by Matthew Cordell

One of 2017's best picture books (Kirkus)

2018 Caldecott Award winner

January 9, 2017

Rhyming Ada Twist, Scientist written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts

December 19, 2016

Christmas tree-themed roundup:

- The Christmas Eve Tree written by Delia Huddy and illustrated by Emily Sutton

- The Great Spruce written by John Duvall and illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon

- Maple & Willow’s Christmas Tree written and illustrated by Lori Nichols

December 13, 2016

Advent-calendar-style Walk This World at Christmastime written by Big Picture Press and illustrated by Debbie Powell

December 6, 2016

Nonfiction The Darkest Dark written by Chris Hadfield and illustrated by The Fan Brothers

October 25, 2016

Witch-themed Halloween roundup:

- Goblin Hood written by Sue Fliess and illustrated by Piper Thibodeau

- Grimelda, the Very Messy Witch written by Diana Murray and illustrated by Heather Ross

October 17, 2016

We Found a Hat written and illustrated by Jon Klassen

August 22, 2016

Pete the Cat's Got Class written and illustrated by James Dean

July 13, 2016 

A Unicorn Named Sparkle written and illustrated by Amy Young

June 22, 2016

Magic realism The Girl Who Saved Yesterday written by Julius Lester and illustrated by Carl Angel

June 13, 2016

Historical fiction Diana's White House Garden written by Elisa Carbone and illustrated by Jen Hill

June 2, 2016

Historical fiction Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn't Sit Still written by Karlin Gray and illustrated by Christine Davenier

May 24, 2016

Nonfiction The Whole Story of the Doughnut written by Pat Miller and illustrated by Vincent X. Kirsch

May 3, 2016

Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color written and illustrated by Julia Denos

April 6, 2016

Myth of origin From Wolf of Woof: The Story of Dogs written and illustrated by Hudson Talbott

January 19, 2016

Historical fiction Thérèse Makes a Tapestry written by Alexandra S. D. Hinrichs and illustrated by Renee Graef

October 2015

Nonfiction The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind written by William Kamkwamba, co-authored by Bryan Mealer, and illustrated by Elizabeth Z

Chapter Book and Middle Grade

Chapter Book and Middle Grade

Chapter Book and Middle Grade

March 24, 2020

Middle-grade environmental fantasy If We Were Giants by Dave Matthews and Clete Barrett Smith; illustrated by Antonio Javier Caparo

March 10, 2020

Middle-grade to YA crafting book The Kids’ Book of Paper Love by Irene Smit and Astrid van der Hulst

March 3, 2020

Middle-grade folklore adventure Mulan: Before the Sword by Grace Lin

February 18, 2020

Middle-grade nonfiction book Extinct: An Illustrated Exploration of Animals That Have Disappeared by Lucas Riera and illustrated by Jack Tite

January 21, 2020

Middle-grade historical fiction and fantasy Serafina and the Seven Stars (Book #4) by Robert Beatty

January 14, 2020

Middle-grade book Alien Superstar (Book #1) by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

December 30, 2019

Middle-grade book Wrecking Ball (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book #14) by Jeff Kinney

December 17, 2019

Middle-grade book Christmas Is Coming! Celebrate the Holiday with Art, Stories, Poems, Songs, and Recipes by the Metropolitan Museum of Art

November 26, 2019

Middle-grade cookbook The Silver Spoon for Children: Favorite Italian Recipes tenth anniversary edition edited by Amanda Grant with illustrations by Harriet Russell

November 4, 2019

Middle-grade novel Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds

October 25, 2019

Middle-grade novel Bunnicula: 40th Anniversary Edition written by Deborah Howe and James Howe and illustrated by Alan Daniel

August 23, 2019

Middle-grade novel set in Los Angeles about our foster-care system The Echo Park Castaways by M.G. Hennessey


August 19, 2019

Installment four of the middle-grade Welcome to Wonderland series, Beach Battle Blowout by Chris Grabenstein with art by Kelly Kennedy

August 5, 2019

Middle-grade cookbook United Tastes of America: An Atlas of Food Facts & Recipes from Every State by Gabrielle Langholtz with drawings by Jenny Bowers and photos by DL Acken

July 22, 2019

Middle-grade novel I’m Ok by Patti Kim

June 12, 2019

Middle-grade nonfiction We Are the Change: Words of Inspiration from Civil Rights Leaders with an introduction by Harry Belafonte

May 23, 2019

Middle-grade nonfiction Trees: A Rooted History by Piotr Socha and Wojciech Grajkowski

May 13, 2019

Middle-grade fiction Inkling by Kenneth Oppel with illustrations by Sydney Smith

February 14, 2019

Middle-grade nonfiction China: A History by Cheryl Bardoe

January 28, 2019

Middle-grade novel Henry & Eva and the Castle on the Cliff  by Andrea Portes

January 22, 2019

Middle-grade novel Where the Woods End by Charlotte Salter

January 14, 2019

Middle-grade cookbook The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen

January 3, 2019

Middle-grade novel The Haunting of Hounds Hollow by Jeffrey Salane

December 17, 2018

Middle-grade novel The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher with illustrations by Shane Devries

December 10, 2018

Middle-grade nonfiction The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid written by Dylan Thuras and Rosemary Mosco with illustrations by Joy Ang

November 19, 2018

Middle-grade nonfiction Food Fight! A Mouthwatering History of Who Ate What and Why Through the Ages by Tanya Steel

October 31, 2018

Middle-grade novel City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

October 31, 2018

Chapter book Sam Wu is NOT Afraid of Ghosts written by Katie and Kevin Tsang with illustrations by Nathan Reed

September 21, 2018

Chapter book Ivy + Bean: One Big Happy Family (book 11 in the series) written by Annie Barrows with illustrations by Sophie Blackall

August 29, 2018

Middle-grade fantasy novel The Language of Spells written by Garret Weyr with illustrations by Katie Harnett

August 14, 2018

Middle-grade mystery novel Willa of the Wood written by Robert Beatty

June 14, 2018

Middle-grade novel Tiny Infinities written by J. H. Diehl

June 4, 2018

Middle-grade graphic novel The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from Latin America written and illustrated by Jaime Hernandez with an introduction by F. Isabel Campoy

May 4, 2018

Middle-grade novel The Care and Feeding of a Black Hole written and illustrated by Michelle Cuevas

November 3, 2017

Chapter book Toto: The Dog-Gone Amazing Story of the Wizard of Oz written by Michael Morpurgo and illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark

October 19, 2017

Middle-grade graphic novel All's Faire in Middle School written and illustrated by Victoria Jamieson

Best Books of 2017 by Publisher's Weekly

October 16, 2017

Middle-grade novel The Stars Beneath Our Feet written by David Barclay Moore

On Publisher's Weekly Best of 2017 List

John Steptoe Author Award winner

September 12, 2017

Illustrated early chapter book Princess Cora and the Crocodile written by Laura Amy Schlitz and illustrated by Brian Floca

A "Best of 2017" book, Publisher's Weekly

June 30, 2017

Middle-grade nonfiction The Book of Chocolate written by HP Newquist

March 21, 2017

Middle-grade novel Big & Little Questions (According to Wren Jo Byrd) written by Julie Bowe

One of 2017's Best Books by Publisher's Weekly

October 25, 2016

New middle-grade series Hubble Bubble: The Super Spooky Fright Night written by Tracey Corderoy and illustrated by Joe Berger

February 16, 2016

Chapter book The Princess in Black and the Angry Bunny Horde, (book three in the Princess in Black series) written by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Young Adult, New Adult, Adult

Chapter Book and Middle Grade

Young Adult, New Adult, Adult

September 23, 2019

New adult historical fiction mythological romance covering World Wars I and II Lovely War by Julie Berry

September 18, 2019

YA romance/humor Have a Little Faith in Me by Sonia Hartl

September 5, 2019

Dystopian YA How We Became Wicked by Alexander Yates

July 1, 2019

Young adult suspense The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

May 6, 2019

Young adult/older middle-grade fantasy about two sisters coping with domestic violence Riverland by Fran Wilde

March 15, 2019

Adult reference book Wild LA: Explore the Amazing Nature In and Around Los Angeles by Lila Higgins & Gregory B. Pauly with Jason G. Goldman & Charles Hood, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

February 21, 2019

YA fiction The Curses: A Graces Novel by Laure Eve

October 11, 2018

YA fiction A Map of Days by Ransom Riggs is the much-awaiting fourth book in Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series. The first three books have over ten million copies in print and were made into a feature film adaptation by Tim Burton in 2016.

February 22, 2018

YA short-story anthology, Three Sides of a Heart: Stories About Love Triangles, edited by Natalie C. Parker. Stories by sixteen authors: Renée Ahdieh, Rae Carson, Brandy Colbert, Katie Cotugno, Lamar Giles, Tessa Gratton, Bethany Hagen, Justina Ireland, Alaya Dawn Johnson, E. K. Johnston, Julie Murphy, Garth Nix, Natalie C. Parker, Veronica Roth, Sabaa Tahir, and Brenna Yovanoff.

January 30, 2018

YA romance Love & Other Train Wrecks by Leah Konen

February 1, 2017

YA girl spy thriller The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom