New Books for Young Readers

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Search for 2012 publication year
126 book(s) found.

1-2-3 Peas  by Keith Baker.
Beach Lane Books. 2012. Unpaged. $16.99. Informational Concept. Preschool. 1442445513

Baker's lively peas return in this imaginative companion to his popular alphabet book LMNO Peas. This time the active peas have children counting everything in sight. They fish, row, build, nap and continue their activities until there are one hundred of them happily counting and inviting children to begin counting all over again. If the idea of counting peas isn't funny enough, the illustrations of the smiling legumes (unless they're honking and heading directly toward each other inside a zero!) will keep children smiling too.

A Black Hole Is Not a Hole  by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano, Michael Carroll (Illustrator).
Charlesbridge. 2012. 74 pages. $18.95. Informational Science. Intermediate/Adolescent. 1570917833

If not a hole, "Then what is it?" asks a planet being swallowed by one on the cover. The question (which is humorously answered at the end of the book) and the cartoon bubble superimposed on the realistic illustration set the tone for this romp through space. The author proclaims that while a black hole "seems up to no good," it isn't a sinister entity. She defines just what a black hole is, asking and answering clear questions often using witty, figurative language. She even calls Albert Einstein "a radical smarty-pants" who "didn't mean to turn the universe upside down on everyone." Indeed! The many illustrations, photos, a timeline, extensive glossary and resource list will help to make readers into black hole experts. Even those who don't think of themselves as science lovers will find this descriptive book an enjoyable read.

A Boy Called Dickens  by Deborah Hopkinson, John Hendrix (Illustrator).
Schwartz and Wade Books. 2012. Unpaged. $17.99. Biography/Memoir. Primary/Intermediate. Great Britain. 0375867325

Readers are directly invited to search for 12-year-old Charles Dickens in a dreary section of London. "Are we brave enough to follow him?" This fictionalized account of his childhood - living alone after his parents are put in debtor's prison and working in a horrible factory - is every bit as grim as any of the stories for which he later becomes so famous. The more you read about his early life in this well-told tale, it becomes very apparent where Dickens got the ideas for many of the characters and circumstances in his novels. The gritty city with its rats and young boys in patched clothes and beggars and gloom is depicted in the darkly colored illustrations in a way that gives readers a true sense of time and place.

A Rock is Lively  by Dianna Hutts Aston, Sylvia Long (Illustrator).
Chronicle Books. 2012. Unpaged. $16.99. Informational Science. Primary/Intermediate. 1452106452

The author-illustrator team of Aston and Long, of An Egg Is Quiet and A Seed Is Sleepy fame, have partnered together again to create a 'lively' and informative book about rocks. Aston pairs short, poetic verses with understandable nonfiction paragraphs. The text is accompanied by Long’s gorgeous and detailed watercolor illustrations that are so realistic it is difficult not to believe that they are photographs. Their treatment of rocks will cause readers to view these everyday items with newfound interest and respect.

A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel  Hope Larson (Reteller).
Farrar Straus & Giroux. 2012. 392 pages. $19.99. Fantasy. Intermediate. 0374386153

Hope Larson’s graphic novel version of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time is certain to appeal to fans of the original version and to create legions of new fans. Larson adapted L’Engle’s story so the text stays true to the original. Her distinctive, three-color illustrations work perfectly with the fantastical plot of the timeless fantasy. In addition, she presents the improbable in realistic ways that enhance the reader's experience of the text.

Abraham Lincoln & Frederick Douglass: The Story Behind an American Friendship  by Russell Freedman.
Clarion Books. 2012. 119 pages. $18.99. Biography/Memoir. Intermediate/Adolescent. Bicultural. 0547385625

In researching Lincoln's life for his Newbery Award winning biography, Freedman became interested in the close relationship the president had with Douglass, the impetus for this fascinating story of two giants of their time. Through carefully chosen anecdotes and details well suited to the intended audience, the men and the respect they had for each other during a very difficult historical time come to life. As in Freedman's other biographies, many illuminating photos and illustrations and an extensive bibliography and source notes are included.

and then it's spring  by Julie Fogliano, Erin E. Stead (Illustrator).
Roaring Brook Press. 2012. Unpaged. $16.99. Contemporary Realistic Fiction. Primary. 1596436247

If only spring would arrive, vast expanses of brown, the kind of brown filled with possibilities, just may turn into a riot of green stretching off into the distance in every direction. The poetic, ever so slowly unfolding story captures the yearning we all feel while waiting for seeds to germinate. Children will recognize Stead’s now stomping, possibly seed destroying bear from .

Baby Bear Sees Blue  by Ashley Wolff.
Beach Lane Books. 2012. Unpaged. $16.99. Informational Concept. Preschool. 1442413069

After sweet and curious baby bear awakens in his den, he sets out to explore his world, rhythmically asking his mother questions that also lead to his learning colors. Yellow predominates when he discovers it's the sun that warms him; a large brown trout jumps and splashes him; and at the end of a long day, he closes his eyes "and sees nothing but deep, soft black." Wolfe's linoleum block prints with their changing perspectives, bold lines and bright primary watercolors make baby bear's world all the more appealing to young listeners.

Barnum's Bones: How Barnum Brown Discovered the Most Famous Dinosaur in the World  by Tracey Fern, Boris Kulikov (Illustrator).
Farrar Straus & Giroux. 2012. Unpaged. $17.99. Biography/Memoir. Intermediate. 0374305161

The life and work of Barnum Brown may be unknown, but his greatest discovery, the one he calls his “favorite child,” is known throughout the world; Brown was the first to uncover enough bones to discover, identify and name the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Brown was an unusual fellow with an unusual name, but his work as a fossil hunter was unbeatable, and his discoveries provided the American Museum of Natural History with the largest collection of dinosaur bones in the world. Fern’s storytelling is as exciting and quirky as Brown himself and will engage readers of all ages. Kulikov accompanies the text with funny and unique illustrations that also mirror Brown’s personality.

Bear Has a Story to Tell  by Philip C. Stead, Erin E. Stead (Illustrator).
Roaring Brook Press. 2012. Unpaged. $16.99. Fantasy. Primary. 1596437456

Bear really wants to tell his wonderful story to a series of potential listeners, but the problem is that everyone’s getting ready for winter, so no one has time to listen. The warm browns of fall turn to cool winter blues, so a resigned bear goes underground to hibernate without having told his story to anyone. It’s once again green spring; now "would you like to hear a story?" Children will love the just-right ending.

Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman  by Marc Tyler Nobleman , Ty Templeton (Illustrator).
Charlesbridge. 2012. 48 pages. $17.95. Biography/Memoir. Intermediate. 1580892892

Whether or not you are a comic book fan, you no doubt know of the character Batman, who is probably known world-wide. Bob Kane had always been given the credit for creating and writing Batman, but there was actually a second man, Bill Finger, who played as pivotal a role in the development of Batman and who actually wrote all the Batman stories. However, during his lifetime, Bill Finger received very little recognition for his role in the creation of one of the world’s best known superheroes. This oversight is slowly being rectified, and this picture book is one of the many steps in this reconciliation. The partnership between author and illustrator resulted in this entertaining comic book influenced picture book about the partnership between Bob Kane and Bill Finger.

Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage  by William Loren Katz.
Atheneum Books. 2012. 254 pages. $19.99. Informational Social Studies. Intermediate/Adolescent. Bicultural. 1442446374

The 25th anniversary edition of this book brings new energy to the ideas put forward in Katz’s original 1986 edition. A preface to the new edition characterizes how the book was first received: many Whites refused to accept the concept that people of African descent and Indians had an intertwining ancestry; some schoolteachers disregarded the topic when students presented the book as an interesting—and until then overlooked—aspect of history. Since then, the book has been well regarded, and as before, it has the potential to push readers toward a more nuanced understanding of their own dual heritage. The book continues to impress with its thorough historical accounts, with numerous photographs and illustrations, and with Katz’s renewed vow to “balance opinions, present contrasting views, manage personal feelings, and uncover some truths” about Black Indians (p. 7).

Boot & Shoe  by Marla Frazee.
Beach Lane Books. 2012. Unpaged. $16.99. Contemporary Realistic Fiction. Primary. 1442422475

Boot and Shoe, born in the same litter, are exactly alike except for one small difference: Boot is "a back porch kind of dog" while Shoe is "a front porch kind of dog." How they become separated for far too long and their continued search for each other over a very long day and sleepless night will keep young readers and listeners intrigued. The perfect ending - where they are reunited, of course - will have them laughing out loud. The droll illustrations capture their increasing angst as each searches for, and just misses, the other with no luck. The hand-lettered text, thoughtful design and use of white space add to the story's charm.

Boy + Bot  by Ame Dyckman, Daniel Yaccarino (Illustrator).
Alfred A. Knopf. 2012. Unpaged. $16.99. Fantasy. Preschool. 0375867562

Boy + Bot = a true love story that will leave young listeners smiling at the funny parallels that occur when a young boy and the robot he discovers try to understand and take care of each other. The spare language - "They played. They had fun." - is amplified by the bright primary colored, pared down, outline-style retro art that shows how their friendship grows through all the funny experiences and misunderstandings they share. It's "affirmative;" this book will be a story time winner!

Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team  by Audrey Vernick, Steven Salerno (Illustrator).
Clarion Books. 2012. Unpaged. $16.99. Biography/Memoir. Primary/Intermediate. 0547385579

While this is a story about twelve brothers who loved the game of baseball, it is so much more than that. During the 1930s the NJ Acerras family, which also included four sisters, learned the value of teamwork, of supporting each other no matter what. Six went off to fight during WWII, and all returned to play baseball, playing the game longer than any other team of brothers. The illustrations stylistically harken back to the time when the young brothers ran from their house to the field to play, the door rhythmically slapping again and again.

Bug Off! Creepy, Crawly Poems  by Jane Yolen, Jason Stemple (Illustrator).
Wordsong. 2012. Unpaged. $16.95. Poetry. Primary/Intermediate. 1590788621

Beginning with her son Jason's unnerving yet arresting photos, Yolen has written a series of corresponding poems about the insects, even though she admits they "have never been among my favorite creatures." Whether you're an insect lover or not, these beautiful, close-up photos and poems will be captivating and instructive. A "tick is mostly mouth;" a honey bee earns an "A-plus on this/Bee student's test." Wordplay and lyric description abound in the comprehensive collection. Each photo and poem is accompanied by a short paragraph giving further explanation about each insect.

Cardboard  by Doug TenNapel.
Graphix. 2012. 288 pages. $12.99. Fantasy. Intermediate. 0545418739

It is a common joke among parents of young children that the cardboard box a gift comes in is often as interesting or even more interesting to the child than the present itself. This truth is certainly the case in TenNapel’s graphic novel. All Cam’s father can afford to buy him for his birthday is some cardboard, but it quickly becomes evident that this is no ordinary cardboard as anything created out of the cardboard comes to life. This is incredible until it gets out of hand, which happens quickly when a neighbor discovers the cardboard, and then it becomes a matter of life or death. This fanciful story is unique, interesting and fun. TenNapel’s illustrations bring this world and its unusual characters to life and make readers active participants in the story.

Cinder: Book One in the Lunar Chronicles  by Marissa Meyer.
Feiwel & Friends. 2012. 387 pages. $17.99. Fantasy. Adolescent. 0312641893

Cyborgs, plagues, and mind control...oh my! This is a retelling of Cinderella quite unlike any other. Beyond the fantastical, this retelling is special because Cinder is portrayed as a strong female character who, while not in control of her daily life, fights to determine her own destiny. She is a wickedly smart, amazingly talented mechanic who can hold her own (most of the time) in the presence of the Prince and doesn’t need a fairy godmother to come to her rescue. Meyer does an excellent job of seamlessly weaving in the elements of the Cinderella tale as part of the natural course of the story. As a result, it never feels forced and still feels authentic to the characters. These similarities are fun to discover as one reads. Cinder is slated as the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard  by Loree Griffin Burns, Ellen Harasimowicz (Illustrator).
Henry Holt & Company. 2012. 80 pages. $19.99. Informational Science. Intermediate. 0805090622

Here's the perfect invitation to become a scientist. You don't need a white coat or a sophisticated lab to get involved in important discoveries that can be made by carefully observing the life in your own surroundings. From one season to the next, the author shows children how to become involved in important scientific projects. The abundant use of clear, close-up photos really enhances the engaging text. The "quick quizzes" and other pedagogic elements will appeal to teachers who will enjoy sharing the book with their budding scientists. A wonderful way to bring the subject to life!

Code Name Verity  by Elizabeth Wein.
Hyperion. 2012. 343 pages. $16.99. Historical Fiction. Adolescent. Great Britain. 1423152190

It is difficult to capture the scope of “Code Name Verity” in a paragraph, but hopefully I can hint at the essence. The setting is Europe, particularly England, during WWII. Julie and Maddie are the main characters. Maddie is a rare female pilot who assists the war effort by ferrying aircraft to different airfields. Julie is a well-educated young woman who lends her knowledge of language to the war effort via work as a radio operator and later as a spy. When the two feisty main characters meet they become instant and fast friends. A missing pilot, a disabled airplane, a captured agent, and a resistance organization in France contribute to the rest of the plot line. Wein sheds light on unsung heroes of the WWII effort—the women who risked their lives in the air and on the ground in order to battle Hitler’s spread across Europe. As I read I had the sense that I was being tricked, but I was so immersed in the story that I welcomed this “trickery” and allowed myself to marvel in the story and to discover the “tricks” as they came rather than forcing myself to discover them before they needed to be revealed.

Cold Snap  by Eileen Spinelli, Marjorie Priceman (Illustrator).
Alfred A. Knopf. 2012. Unpaged. $17.99. Historical Fiction. Primary. 0375857001

From the ice crystals shimmering on the cover to the harsh, windblown outdoor scenes at the end of the weeklong cold snap, young readers will be shivering at this depiction of the best and worst of winter chill. The bright primary colored, cartoon styled illustrations reveal the effects of the frigid weather on Toby Mills, a small town complete with a statue of its namesake, General Toby. As the icicle on his nose grows longer each day, the citizens try their best to keep warm while waiting for the sun. The recipe for "Miss Dove's Sugar-on-Snow Candy" completes this celebration of wintry blasts.

Creepy Carrots!  by Aaron Reynolds, Peter Brown (Illustrator), Peter Brownngry (Illustrator).
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 2012. Unpaged. $16.99. Fantasy. Primary. 1442402970

The cartoon-styled creepy jacket art in shades of gray and bold orange, and the shrieking and angry carrots on the endpapers set the stage for this spooky send-up of horror stories for young readers and listeners. Carrot-loving Jasper the rabbit eats all the carrots he can whenever he can until he's sure he's being stalked by the disturbed vegetables. Hearts will race as the sinister action and Jasper's attempt to solve his problem once and for all reach a crescendo. Carrots rule!

Crow  by Barbara Wright.
Random House. 2012. 291 pages. $16.99. Historical Fiction. Intermediate/Adolescent. African-American. 037586928X

All seems well for Moses Thomas and his family, including his superstitious grandmother who is a former slave, in 1898 Wilmington, NC. Their post-Civil War African-American community is thriving, but a dreadful change is foreshadowed when a buzzard's shadow passes over the boy. Boo Nanny warns, "That old thing tag you, means you happiness done dead." Mixing the fictional Moses, his family and friends with actual members of the community to tell the tragic true story of the Wilmington Massacre makes this little known story and the devastating racism that boiled over into calamity come to life.

Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip  by Jordan Sonnenblick.
Scholastic Press. 2012. 285 pages. $17.99. Contemporary Realistic Fiction. Intermediate/Adolescent. 0545320690

Sonnenblick has a distinctive style that eases readers smoothly into deep issues of personal and social concern without seeming preachy or dramatic. Curveball, his newest novel, harnesses this style to tackle issues of truth, identity, love and family. Peter has always been an athlete, and a really good one at that; he particularly excels as a baseball pitcher. However, a serious elbow injury puts Peter’s dreams of baseball fame as he enters high school on hold, perhaps forever. The injury forces Peter to examine who he is without baseball and causes a rift between his best friend and catcher, AJ, as AJ’s high school athletic dreams begin to take shape. Throw in Peter’s first serious relationship with a girl and the fact that Alzheimer’s seems to have Peter’s grandfather in its grasp, and you have Peter’s freshman year of high school. Much of the story is seen through and structured around photographs and, therefore, will appeal to both sports minded and artsy readers.

Drama  by Raina Telgemeier.
Graphix. 2012. 240 pages. $10.99. Contemporary Realistic Fiction. Intermediate/Adolescent. 0545326990

As exhibited in the highly acclaimed “Smile,” Telgemeier has an amazing ability to capture the feelings and experiences of tween girl. Tween readers will see their current lives reflected back to them, and older readers will be vividly transported back to that time in their lives. Callie, the main character, loves the theater, particularly set design, so she jumps at the chance to design the set for her middle school’s production of “Moon Over Mississippi.” Telgemeier structures the narrative around the elements of a theater production, including acts, scenes and an intermission. These types of productions result in a lot of drama, but the drama in Callie’s life is multiplied as she balances her crushes on several different guys and learns that one of them is interested in boys.

Dumpling Days  by Grace Lin.
Little, Brown. 2012. 261 pages. $15.99. Contemporary Realistic Fiction. Intermediate. Asian-American. 0316125903

Pacy Lin, of The Year of the Dog and The Year of the Rat, is excited about the arrival of summer, but she is disappointed that her parents have decided to take the entire family to Taiwan for a month! Pacy has never been to Taiwan and is nervous about fitting in, particularly since she and her sisters don’t speak Chinese or Taiwanese. Some of her fears about fitting in are realized when shop keepers stare at her when she doesn’t respond to their inquires, but she also has more fun and adventures in Taiwan than she had expected. Her constant craving for dumplings becomes a running joke in the family, but that doesn’t stop Pacy from eating them. Pacy’s struggles to fit in in Taiwan mirror these same struggles in her hometown, particularly when she is referred to as a “twinkie” because she is yellow on the outside and white on the inside. Lin perfectly captures the difficulties of developing one’s own identity, particularly when that identity has roots in two different cultures. One of the strengths of this novel is Lin’s adept use of words; she has a way of describing things that captures their essence perfectly and will likely cause the reader to pause and savor the phrase.

Earwig and the Witch  by Diana Wynne Jones, Paul O. Zelinsky (Illustrator).
Greenwillow. 2012. 120 pages. $15.99. Fantasy. Intermediate. 006207511X

This is Jones’ last book and was published posthumously in 2012 after she lost her battle to lung cancer in 2011. Earwig is an orphan, but she is an orphan quite unlike any other as she enjoys being an orphan and living in the orphanage. This is in part because she has learned to get others to do exactly what she wants them to do. Every time potential adopters visit the orphanage, Earwig makes herself look as unadoptable as possible, which works until a strange couple visits and chooses Earwig despite all of her best tricks. Earwig soon learns that she has been adopted by a witch and a mandrake to serve as an assistant to the witch, which is actually a good fit for Earwig as she has always wanted to become a witch. However, she has to figure out a way to get the witch to teach her and not just force her to clean the floors and chop up bat wings. Zelinsky’s illustrations add to the humor of the story as well as the fantasy elements. Readers will mourn the fact that Earwig’s story ends with this book and Jones’ passing.

Eva of the Farm  by Dia Calhoun.
Atheneum Books. 2012. 235 pages. $16.99. Poetry. Intermediate. 1442417005

Eva is a sensitive protagonist who thinks in poetry, and whose world is bounded by the deer fence that borders her family’s farm in Eastern Washington. When financial troubles mount, and the farm is threatened by foreclosure, it creates even more tension between her parents, who already have opposing views on Eva’s poetry-writing habit. Eva’s father complains to her, “Your generation is facing so many problems--/like global warming/and species extinction./You can’t feed a poem/to a starving polar bear” (p. 37). But the poems soon take on a life of their own as they wind through Eva’s vivid imagination. This novel-in-verse quietly inspires hope and is a reminder about the pleasures of creativity.

Every Day  by David Levithan.
Alfred A. Knopf. 2012. 322 pages. $16.99. Fantasy. Adolescent. Multicultural. 0307931889

A, the strangely named, very unusual protagonist, has been male and female, thin and fat, healthy and suicidal, gay and straight, because every day A wakes up in another 16-year-old's body, living that person's life for just one day, and has been doing so ever since infancy. But when A wakes up as the mean-spirited Jason, he soon falls in love with Rhiannon, Jason's girlfriend, and the normal pattern of life becomes a real challenge. The breathlessly-paced story begins on Day 5994 and ends on Day 6034, exploring the meaning of true love and whether or not only what's on the inside really matters. The loving ending is the selfless solution to a trying, seemingly impossible relationship. Love does conquer all.

Extra Yarn  by Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen (Illustrator).
Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins Publishers. 2012. Unpaged. $16.99. Fantasy. Primary. 0061953385

The icy landscape is cold and drab until Annabelle finds a magical box filled with every color of yarn imaginable and festoons everyone and everything with her knitted creations. Can the magic overcome the evil archduke who decides he must have her box of yarn? Will the quivering mustachioed and cursing archduke have his revenge and ensure that Annabelle is never happy again? NEVER! Knitters unite!

Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version  by Philip Pullman.
Viking. 2012. 406 pages. $27.95. Folk Literature. Intermediate/Adolescent. Europe (Western). 067002497X

On the 200th. anniversary of their publication, well known author Pullman has retold his fifty favorite Brothers Grimm tales. While many he has ed, including "Cinderella," "Little Red Riding Hood," and "Rumplestiltskin," will be instantly familiar, others such as the entertaining "The Three Little Men in the Woods" may be new to many readers. At the end of each tale, Pullman shares the tale type, the source, some similar stories and brief comments about his version. He confides that he did give the three little men more to say than they had in the Brothers Grimm tale; their dialogue and insights into the differences between the two step-sisters add humor to the dark tale where evil is justly punished. All the tales are told in a simple elegance that reflects their oral origins. The rich collection is sure to be enjoyed by older readers and young listeners alike.

Falcon  by Tim Jessell.
Random House Books for Young Readers. 2012. 40 pages. $17.99. Informational Science. Primary. 0375868666

After reading Jessell’s picturebook, young readers will have an appreciation for the majestic bird’s strength, its survival tactics, and its rank among other birds. But the book is not a typical nonfiction collection of facts; rather, it is a portrayal of a falcon swooping from one gorgeous scene to the next, soaring above snowy landscapes, hovering in a sunny canyon, and perched high above the sidewalks of New York City. The book does not teach through its text, but the paintings offer several moments for observant readers to notice traits of the species. The full-bleed endpapers that start and close the story are another breathtaking scene of the bird.

Find a Cow Now!  by Janet Stevens, Susan Stevens Crummel.
Holiday House. 2012. Unpaged. $16.95. Fantasy. Primary. 0823422186

What's a city dog who longs to be a herding dog to do? His caged friend Bird comes up with the perfect solution: Dog must go to the country and find a cow right away. Hilarity ensues as Dog chooses one not-cow animal after another, paying a price for each error. How will he get back home where he can take a well-earned nap? The comic solution will have young listeners nodding their heads "yes." Close-up illustrations of Dog's misadventures and the contrast of city and country make this a perfect read-aloud book.

George Washington's Birthday: A Mostly True Tale  by Margaret McNamara, Barry Blitt (Illustrator).
Schwartz and Wade Books. 2012. Unpaged. $17.99. Biography/Memoir. Primary. 0375844996

This fictionalized biography is centered on George Washington’s 7th birthday and portends much of what he will eventually accomplish. The book follows the boy through what may have been a typical day for young George Washington. Readers see George at his studies, at play and at work on his chores. McNamara includes facts about Washington throughout the story as she makes an effort to identify myths about Washington and to set them straight. The author’s note at the end, written from George’s perspective, also clarifies the facts about Washington’s life and President’s Day. Blitt’s illustrations are cartoonish and comical, adding to readers’ overall enjoyment of this introduction to the great man.

Giants Beware!  by Jorge Aguirre, Rafael Rosado (Illustrator).
First Second. 2012. 202 pages. $14.99. Fantasy. Primary/Intermediate. 1596435828

Apparently spunky, medieval, red-headed girls are a theme of 2012 with Merida of Brave, and, Claudette, the main character of Giants Beware! Claudette, the daughter of a brave warrior, wants to battle giants. Claudette convinces her younger brother, Gaston, whose shadow makes him jump, and her friend, Marie, who aspires to become a princess, to come along with her on her quest to find and kill the giant. The trio immediately finds trouble in the Forest of Death and the Mad River. And while the journey is treacherous, it is also filled with laughter for readers as Gaston whips up gourmet meals, Marie corrects grammar and Claudette goes to great lengths to show her bravery. When the giant is finally found and confronted, Claudette is surprised by the actions of both the giant and herself. The illustrations and the text in this graphic novel work well together in order to convey the feelings of the characters and to provide many instances of laughter for readers of all ages.

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors  by Hena Khan, Mehrdokht Amini (Illustrator).
Chronicle Books. 2012. Unpaged. $17.99. Informational Concept. Primary. Muslim. 0811879054

Using designs and shimmering colors based on classical Islamic art and a rhyming 4-line verse on each double-page spread, the author/illustrator team teaches young children their colors and also a great deal about Muslim culture. Older men in traditional clothing, including one who glances down at an adoring granddaughter, are pictured at a cafe: "White is a kufi,/round and flat./Grandpa wears/this traditional hat." The beautiful book design is evident throughout, especially in the ion of a perfect text font and changing colors of text and the striking endpapers.

Hades: Lord of the Dead  by George O'Connor .
First Second. 2012. 80 pages. $9.99. Folk Literature. Intermediate/Adolescent. 1596434341

This book is the fourth graphic novel in George O’Connor’s Olympians series. The series will ultimately feature a graphic novel for all twelve of the major Greek gods and goddesses. The story of Hades focuses on how he found and took a wife, Persephone, and features an extensive look into the underworld and some of its most famous inhabitants including Cerberus, Tantalos, Sisyphus, and the Kindly Ones. The art and the text in each panel work together seamlessly to provide readers with the complete and intriguing story. O’Connor’s artistic style can be described as sketchy (meaning lots of somewhat rough lines) and realistic. The feelings and mindset of all the story’s players are obvious by the way O’Connor draws their faces and body stance. O’Connor is a master at using color to convey different moods and settings. The underworld is presented in dark, but layered, hues, while vibrant colors indicate the world above when Demeter is happy and muted, washed-out colors when she is without her daughter. O’Connor’s graphic novel format and storytelling style will allow readers of all ages and abilities access to his retelling of some of the stories surrounding Hades. In author’s notes, notes on individual panels and a bibliography, O’Connor also provides information on his research and writing process, as well as further details about each of the primary characters.

Hope and Tears: Ellis Island Voices  by Gwenyth Swain .
Calkins Creek Books. 2012. 116 pages. $17.95. Historical Fiction. Intermediate. 159078765X

Swain has created a work that is a beautiful combination of historical fact and fiction as she strives to give voices to some of those who passed through Ellis Island. The six chapters of Hope and Tears cover the past and present of Ellis Island as well as the basic happenings on the island during the heyday of immigration. Swain begins each chapter with a short nonfiction piece, which is accompanied by several works of historical fiction in the form of poems, letters and even plays that are written from the point of view of numerous people tied to the island. Historical photographs and explanatory captions are also scattered throughout the book to provide readers with vivid images of Ellis Island. Finally, Swain provides a thorough bibliography and source notes that guide readers to more information.

I, Too, Am America  by Langston Hughes, Bryan Collier (Illustrator).
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 2012. 40 pages. $16.99. Poetry. Primary/Intermediate. African-American. 1442420081

Three-time Caldecott Honor recipient Bryan Collier interprets Langston Hughes’ memorable poem in the beautiful picturebook.. Collier’s paintings add layers of significance to the meaning of the poem for younger readers who may not otherwise be familiar with the cultural and historical contexts in which the 1925 poem was written by the African-American Hughes. “I am the darker brother./They send me to eat in the kitchen/when company comes,” reads Hughes text. Collier’s mixed media paintings include collage and center on the work lives of Pullman porters who embody the spirit of the poem. Motifs in the paintings include cotton plants and the stars and stripes of the American flag. The book ends with young people in contemporary scenes, perhaps as a dare to readers to find modern-day relevance in the classic poem.

Ice! The Amazing History of the Ice Business  by Laurence Pringle.
Calkins Creek Books. 2012. 74 pages. $17.95. Informational Social Studies. Intermediate. 159078801X

Once upon a time the ice man did cometh and was very eagerly awaited. This 'amazing' - it really is an interesting book! - history of how ice and iceboxes changed people’s lives in this country will give young readers new perspective on the importance of refrigeration. It’s filled with photos of those early workers who literally chopped the ice from lakes and descriptions of the tools and ice wagons used in the 1800's when the icebox was invented. A list of resources is included for those who may want to read more or even visit Knowlton's Ice Museum in Port Huron, MI.

If You Were a Chocolate Mustache  by J. Patrick Lewis, Matthew Cordell (Illustrator).
Wordsong. 2012. 160 pages. $18.95. Poetry. Intermediate. 159078927X

Poet Laureate Lewis proves his mettle with this witty collection where he merrily plays with form - in haikus, limericks, and riddles, among other types of verse - and words. He is "The Bog Poet" who is always hoping to create the perfect poem: "I am a working toad./ I keep a log./ I write to keep/ From sinking in a bog." He is the word master who transforms Baltimore Oriole into "Baltimoriole" which rhymes so well with "arborial." He pays fond tribute to Shel Silverstein in "The Universal Turtle Verse." All the while, Cordell's pen and ink cartoons amplify the fun. How can readers who love poetry - or even those who don't - resist?

Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure  by Alison Blank, Jim Murphy.
Clarion Books. 2012. 149 pages. $18.99. Informational Science. Intermediate/Adolescent. 0618535748

Using many fascinating photos, drawings and other artifacts along with a clearly, compellingly written text, the authors tell the "story of a small, harmless-looking germ that has been infecting people for millions of years" and how man has looked for a cure for the deadly disease for a very long time. There's as much social as medical history included, placing the quest for a cure in its historical context. The question, "When will doctors and researchers find a cure?" propels interested readers through the well organized and researched story. Extensive bibliography and source notes are included.

Jangles: A Big Fish Story  by David Shannon.
Blue Sky Press. 2012. Unpaged. $17.99. Fantasy. Primary. 0545143128

Jangles, aptly named because of the noisy assortment of lures attached to his mouth, is such a huge trout that he can barely be contained on the jacket cover or the pages of the story within. The hungry giant looms just below the dark surface of the water, ready to leap at anything edible that comes too near, including eagles and stray beavers and maybe even boy fishermen! This is one tall fish tale with a twist at the end and the kind of compelling storytelling qualities that will have young listeners begging, "Read it again!"

Jazz Age Josephine  by Jonah Winter, Marjorie Priceman (Illustrator).
Atheneum Books. 2012. Unpaged. $16.99. Biography/Memoir. Primary/Intermediate. African-American. 1416961232

Winter tells the story of Josephine Baker using the same swinging rhythm and repetitive phrasing as the jazzy songs she sang and danced to. Priceman's boldly colored, expressive illustrations echo Josephine's dance movements, whirling across the pages as she would across the stage. Their combined talents create an artistic performance that resonates with the vibrant performer's determination to overcome her impoverished childhood and all the prejudice she faced in the US because of the color of her skin. Her triumphs in Paris can barely be contained within the pages of the book!

Just Behave, Pablo Picasso!  by Jonah Winter, Kevin Hawkes (Illustrator).
Arthur A. Levine Books. 2012. 48 pages. $18.99. Biography/Memoir. Intermediate. Europe (Western). 0545132916

Winter focusses on the famous artist's early career, when he first bursts on the world art scene - literally with a "blam" through a pastoral scene in a starburst tear on the second double page spread. This is an exciting exploration of creativity, of the importance of listening to your own voice, of never doubting your own vision. Picasso is an artist who towers over his critics in boldly painted illustrations well suited to the artist's style. Hawkes' shows his own artistic prowess in reproducing some of Picasso's most famous works and those who are viewing them for the first time. This is an energetic, unconventional portrait of a man who challenged and changed the art world for all time.

Kali's Song  by Jeanette Winter.
Schwartz and Wade Books. 2012. 40 pages. $16.99. Historical Fiction. Primary. 0375870229

Using textured, folk-art style illustrations, Jeanette Winter tells a story from prehistoric times for primary aged readers. The story is Kali’s growth from boyhood to manhood, and the unlikely use he found for a bow and arrow. While his father intended him to use the weapon for hunting, Kali discovered the bow’s string could be plucked to make pleasant sounds, and that he could blow on the bow to make music. Kali’s songs broke the quiet that surrounded him, and the line “the stars came close to listen” is repeated throughout the text, to reflect the tight bond among nature, animals, and man in that era. In fact, Kali may have had the best grasp of that idea than anyone, because by old age he became a shaman for his village, curing the sick and sending up prayers. Winter’s illustrations reflect the simplicity of life at that time.

Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs  by J. Patrick Lewis, Jane Yolen, Jeffrey Stewart Timmins (Illustrator).
Charlesbridge. 2012. Unpaged. $16.95. Poetry. Intermediate/Adolescent. 1580892604

These very clever and darkly humorous tributes to deceased animals - written by two of our most talented children’s poets - are filled with droll wordplay that will appeal even to the most poetry adverse readers. The perfect example can be found in the poem "For a Frog: Not a Hoppy Ending." "In his pond,/ he peacefully soaked,/ then, ever so quietly/ croaked." Timmins’s comically gloomy illustrations of the ends of this varied assortment of creatures’ lives are the perfect accompaniment to the poems short enough to appear on tombstones.

Laugh-Out-Loud Baby  by Tonya Johnston, Stephen Gammell (Illustrator).
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 2012. Unpaged. $16.99. Contemporary Realistic Fiction. Primary. 1442413808

Every baby laughs out loud for the first time. What better event to celebrate? When everyone in the family comes "jostling into the house," the party with every kind of laughter imaginable begins. Gammell's joyous illustrations capture the hilarity of these down-home family folks who come from far and wide to join in the fun. Little touches like baby's droopy diaper and an assortment of bright, inventive clothing, including every kind of imaginable hat and wild hair, gives even more life to the large family. Sweet laugh, even sweeter story.

Laundry Day  by Maurie J. Manning .
Clarion Books. 2012. Unpaged. $16.99. Historical Fiction. Primary. Multicultural. 0547241968

Manning beautifully captures the crowded, noisy, excited atmosphere of Nineteenth Century tenement buildings in a bustling city. A bright red scarf drifts down to the street and into the hands of a shoeshine boy. In an effort to return the scarf to its owner, he embarks on a climb up the fire escapes of the tall building. On each floor he encounters a person or a family from a different culture. These encounters serve to illustrate the many immigrant cultures found in this part of the city. The shoeshine boy is greeted with different representations of the many different languages, foods, sayings and cultures. Manning utilizes a graphic novel format with panels in order to skillfully show the boy’s ascent of the building.

Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle  by Claire A. Nivola.
Frances Foster Books/Farrar Straus Giroux. 2012. Unpaged. $17.99. Biography/Memoir. Primary/Intermediate. 0374380686

The jacket illustration featuring the vast deep blue ocean with a tiny scuba diver and sea creatures beckons young readers to open the book and read the story of this amazing underwater explorer. How does someone become a daring, internationally acclaimed oceanographer? Children will appreciate the focus on Earle's early life observing nature on her farm and then in the Gulf of Mexico. Highly detailed illustrations, glowing with jewel colors, bring the wonders of her underwater world to life. Future scientists will be inspired by Earle's story.

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