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Reviews of the Week

Each week we publish four brand-new reviews of books people are — or should be — talking about. Look for recommended picture books on Mondays, fiction on Tuesdays, nonfiction on Wednesdays, and poetry on Fridays.

Review of The Memory of Things

The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner High School    St. Martin’s Griffin    275 pp. 9/16    978-1-250-09552-7    $18.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-250-09553-4    $9.99 It’s the morning of September 11, 2001, in Manhattan, and the first tower has just fallen. Sixteen-year-old Brooklynite Kyle, fleeing toward home, stumbles upon a teenage girl wearing a pair of costume wings […]

Review of The Good Fight: The Feuds of the Founding Fathers (and How They Shaped the Nation)

The Good Fight: The Feuds of the Founding Fathers (and How They Shaped the Nation) by Anne Quirk; illus. by Elizabeth Baddeley Intermediate    Knopf    118 pp.    g 8/17    978-1-5247-0035-5    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-5247-0036-2    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-0119-2    $10.99 “It hurts to be on the wrong side of history. Winners, like George Washington, have great cities […]

Review of Barkus

Barkus by Patricia MacLachlan; illus. by Marc Boutavant Primary    Chronicle    56 pp. 6/17    978-1-4521-1182-7    $14.99 When globetrotting Uncle Everton sets off on a new voyage, he leaves Barkus — the “smartest dog in the world” — with Nicky and her family. In five brief chapters, Barkus and Nicky change the classroom dynamics at school, host […]

Review of My Pictures After the Storm

My Pictures After the Storm by Éric Veillé; illus. by the author; trans. from the French by Daniel Hahn Primary    Gecko    32 pp. 3/17    978-1-776571-04-8    $16.99 This subversive French import riffs on the standard before-and-after construct with a crafty conceit and playful presentation. The opening spread is simple enough. On the left sits a grouping […]

Review of All Ears, All Eyes

All Ears, All Eyes by Richard Jackson; 
illus. by Katherine Tillotson Preschool, Primary    Dlouhy/Atheneum    40 pp. 3/17    978-1-4814-1571-2    $17.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-4814-1572-9    $10.99 “An owl hoots in our dim-dimming woods. / Who-who.” As the sun sets 
in a forest, viewers must keep their senses alert to catch all the activity in 
Tillotson’s atmospheric pictures, […]

Review of The Street Beneath My Feet

The Street Beneath My Feet by Charlotte Guillain; illus. by Yuval Zommer Primary, Intermediate    Quarto    24 pp. 5/17    978-1-68297-136-9    $22.95 Turn the sturdy pages of this large book from bottom to top for an accordion-folded journey to the center of the Earth. Successive vertical spreads show readers the layers of animal, vegetable, and mineral life […]

Review of The Emperor’s Ostrich

The Emperor’s Ostrich by Julie Berry Intermediate, Middle School    Roaring Brook    276 pp. 7/17    978-1-59643-958-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-59643-959-7    $9.99 A beloved farm animal, a perpetually messy young man, a missing boy emperor, and a sturdy heroine are at the center of Berry’s lively literary fairy tale, a loving homage to Lloyd Alexander and his […]

Review of Bulldozer Helps Out

Bulldozer Helps Out by Candace Fleming; illus. by Eric Rohmann Preschool    Dlouhy/Atheneum    40 pp. 5/17    978-1-4814-5894-8    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-5895-5    $10.99 The construction-site gang from Bulldozer’s Big Day (rev. 5/15) is on the job again. “I can help,” little Bulldozer says hopefully to the big trucks hard at work. But Dump Truck, Cement Mixer, and […]

Review of 5 Little Ducks

5 Little Ducks by Denise Fleming; 
illus. by the author Preschool    Beach Lane/Simon    40 pp. 11/16    978-1-4814-2422-6    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-2423-3    $10.99 Listeners familiar with the traditional nursery rhyme and song know the general plotline: every day ducks go out; every day the returning group shrinks by one. But the particulars — highlighted in glorious […]

Review of Take a Picture of Me, James VanDerZee!

Take a Picture of Me, James VanDerZee! by Andrea J. Loney; illus. by Keith Mallett Primary    Lee & Low    40 pp.    g 6/17    978-1-62014-260-8    $19.95 One of the most memorable visual artists of the Harlem Renaissance was photographer James VanDerZee. In a picture-book biography that follows VanDerZee from his childhood interest in photography to his […]