Monthly Archives: March 2013

Gadgets Versus Books

Josie Leavitt - March 29, 2013

I have been traveling this week. Blissfully, I’ve escaped the late spring chill of Vermont and headed to Key West, Florida. I packed two books with me, both galleys. One was the new David Sedaris and another is Open Mic, an anthology of young adult stories edited by Mitali Perkins.
I’m almost done with the Sedaris book and have thoroughly enjoyed it. Laughing out loud is not something that happens often during long layovers in the Philadelphia airport, but laugh I did. As I was laughing I looked around. I was the only person reading an actual/physical book. This kind of amazed me. Where were the books? Surely, I was not the only person with a book? But I searched high and low and nary a book was to be seen.
Everywhere I looked people had their heads in their phones, their iPads and their computers, but no one had a book. Not even the littlest reader had a book. This little four-year-old had a learning device that he deftly used to keep himself amused while waiting to board his flight. Parents of toddlers had the kids huddled up close to look at the small screen while they read out loud. This was disturbing to me. Where were the books?
I know books are hard to pack and all, but really, what happened since the last time I traveled and people had books? I live in Vermont and folks eschew ereaders, so I’m clearly behind the times here. Everyone was reading on a wired device. Blissfully, though, I saw no Kindles, but rather Apple products and phones. So, at least I could maintain the illusion that people weren’t beholden to Amazon for their vacation reading. I happily, almost defiantly, read my book during take-off and landing just to irritate all the people who had power down their devices. I didn’t have to leave my book just because the plane was moving and was happy for this. But as a bookstore owner I was shocked at the dearth of books. The airport bookstores, if you can call them that, since they were sadly lacking books, had clearly switched to catering to the traveling e-readers.
I clung to my book during the flight and all during my trip. I sat on the beach and overheard people complain about how hard it was to read in the sun or lament that they had just run out of power. I gleefully turned real pages and read to my heart’s content. I know the times are changing, but I would rather tote around a heavier bag than read on a screen while at the beach.
And, if you drop a book in the pool, as I did, it gets soggy, but isn’t ruined. The same can’t be said for an e-reader.

The Stars So Far (Through March 2013)

Elizabeth Bluemle - March 28, 2013

Here’s to a new year of starred reviews, readers! The Stars So Far is a project that gathers all the year’s starred reviews for children’s and YA books from Booklist, The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Horn Book, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal (in the next update, I’ll add 5Q5P titles from VOYA — Voice of Youth Advocates).
This is a detail-laden process, and as careful as I try to be, there will be bobbles here and there. If you want the cleanest, most consistently formatted version of this list, check back here several days after the original post, when I’ll have been able to make any fixes. Publishers, please alert me to any oversights at ebluemle AT, including the review sources and dates for the starred reviews. Thanks! Please do NOT send VOYA stars. As I mentioned above, the VOYA stars will be included in the next update. Please note: starred reviews are counted only when they have been officially published by the review magazines, so if your book has an upcoming star, never fear; it will be included in a future update.
Receiving a starred review is a rare and wonderful honor for a book and its creators. We hope this list will be a handy resource for readers and buyers of all stripes.
Midwinter Blood. Marcus Sedgwick. Roaring Brook, $17.99.
Penny and Her Marble. Kevin Henkes. Greenwillow, $12.99.
Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909. Michelle Markel. Illustrated by Melissa Sweet. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99.
Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickels, America’s First Black Paratroopers. Tanya Lee Stone. Candlewick, $24.99.
Eleanor & Park. Rainbow Rowell. St. Martin’s Griffin, $17.99.
Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln and the Dawn of Liberty. Tonya Bolden. Abrams, $24.95.
Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School, Book 1).  Gail Carriger. Little, Brown, $17.99.
Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? Eve Bunting. Illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier.  Clarion, $16.99.
Jinx. Sage Blackwood. HarperCollins/Harper, $16.99.
Matchbox Diary, The. Paul Fleischman. Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline. Candlewick, $16.99.
Navigating Early. Clare Vanderpool. Delacorte, $16.99.
One Came Home. Amy Timberlake. Knopf, $16.99.
Splash of Red, A: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin. Jen Bryant. Illustrated by Melissa Sweet. Knopf, $17.99.
Take Me Out to the Yakyu. Aaron Meshon. S&S/Atheneum, $15.99.
You Never Heard of Willie Mays?! Jonah Winter. Illustrated by Terry Widener. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99.
Building Our House. Jonathan Bean. FSG, $17.99.
Dark Triumph. Robin LaFevers. Houghton Mifflin, $17.99.
Dark, The. Lemony Snicket. Illustrated by Jon Klassen. Little, Brown, $16.99.
Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle. Chris Raschka. Random/Schwartz and Wade, $16.99.
Exclamation Mark. Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. Scholastic, $17.99.
If You Find Me. Emily Murdoch. St. Martin’s Griffin, $17.99.
Look Up! Annette LeBlanc Cate. Candlewick, $15.99.
Lucky Ducklings. Eva Moore. Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. Scholastic/Orchard, $16.99.
Maggot Moon. Sally Gardner. Illustrated by Julian Crouch. Candlewick, $16.99.
My Brother’s Book. Maurice Sendak. HarperCollins/di Capua, $18.95.
One Gorilla. Anthony Browne. Candlewick, $16.99.
Pug and Other Animal Poems. Valerie Worth. Illustrated by Steve Jenkins. FSG/Margaret Ferguson, $16.99.
Quintana of Charyn. Melina Marchetta. Candlewick, $18.99.
Teeth. Hannah Moskowitz. S&S/Simon Pulse, $17.99 hardcover; $9.99 paperback.
Uses for Boys. Erica Lorraine Scheidt. St. Martin’s Griffin, $9.99.
Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass. Meg Medina. Candlewick, $16.99.
Benjamin Bear in “Bright Ideas!” Philippe Coudray, trans. from French by Leigh Stein. Candlewick/Toon, $12.95.
Bird King, The: An Artist’s Notebook. Shaun Tan. Scholastic/Levine, $19.99.
Black Helicopters. Blythe Woolston. Candlewick, $15.99.
Bluebird. Bob Staake. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99.
Center of Everything, The. Linda Urban. Harcourt, $15.99.
Doll Bones. Holly Black. S&S.McElderry, $16.99.
Etched in Clay: The Life of Dave, Enslaved Potter and Poet. Andrea Cheng. Lee & Low, $17.95.
Frog Song. Brenda Z. Guiberson. Illustrated by Gennady Spirin. Holt, $17.99.
Happy Birthday, Bunny! Elizabeth Garton Scanlon. Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin. S&S/Beach Lane, $16.99.
Henry and the Cannons: An Extraordinary True Story of the American Revolution. Don Brown. Roaring Brook, $16.99.
Hero on a Bicycle. Shirley Hughes. Candlewick, $15.99.
Hilda and the Bird Parade. Hilda Pearson. Nobrow/Flying Eye (Consortium, dist.), $24.
Hokey Pokey. Jerry Spinelli. Knopf, $15.99.
Hold Fast. Blue Balliett. Scholastic, $17.99.
Homeland. Cory Doctorow. Tor Teen, $17.99.
How to Bicycle to the Moon to Plant Sunflowers: A Simple but Brilliant Plan in 24 Easy Steps. Mordicai Gerstein. Roaring Brook, $16.99.
I Am Blop! Hervé Tullet. Phaidon, $19.95.
Just One Day. Gayle Forman. Dutton, $17.99.
Little Book of Sloth, A. Lucy Cooke. S&S/McElderry, $16.99.
Long Way Away, A. Frank Viva. Little, Brown, $16.99.
Mary Wrightly, So Politely. Shirin Yim Bridges. Illustrated by Maria Monescillo. Harcourt, $16.99.
Mind Games. Kiersten White. HarperTeen, $17.99.
My Father’s Arms Are a Boat. Stein Erik Lunde; trans. from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson; illus. by Øyvind Torseter. Enchanted Lion, $15.95.
My Happy Life. Rose Lagercrantz. tr. from Swedish by Julia Marshall. Illustrated by Eva Eriksson. Gecko (Lerner, dist.), $16.95.
Nelly May Has Her Say. Cynthia DeFelice. Illustrated by Henry Cole. FSG/Margaret Ferguson, $16.99.
Nelson Mandela. Kadir Nelson. HarperCollins/Tegen, $17.99.
Night Sky Wheel Ride. Sheree Fitch. Illustrated by Yayo. Tradewind (Orca, dist.), $16.95.
Nobody’s Secret. Michaela Maccoll. Chronicle, $16.99.
Out of Nowhere. Maria Padian. Knopf, $16.99.
Out of the Easy. Ruth Sepetys. Philomel, $17.99.
P.K. Pinkerton & the Petrified Man. Caroline Lawrence. Putnam, $16.99.
Peanut. Ayun Halliday. Illustrated by Paul Hoppe. Random/Schwartz and Wade, $17.99.
Picture a Tree. Barbara Reid. Albert Whitman, $16.99.
Polar Bear Morning. Lauren Thompson. Illustrated by Stephen Savage. Scholastic, $16.99.
Price of Freedom, The: How One Town Stood Up to Slavery. Dennis Brindell Fradin and Judith Bloom Fradin. Illustrated by Eric Velasquez. Walker, $16.99.
Scarlet. Marissa Meyer. Feiwel and Friends, $17.99.
Sin-Eater’s Confession, The. Ilsa J. Bick. Carolrhoda Lab, $17.95.
Summer Prince, The. Alaya Dawn Johnson. Scholastic/Levine, $17.99.
Tangle of Knots, A. Lisa Graff. Penguin, $16.99.
Tiger in My Soup. Kashmira Sheth. Illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler. Peachtree, $15.95.
Time-Out for Sophie. Rosemary Wells. Viking, $15.99
When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky: Two Artists, Their Ballet, and One Extraordinary Riot. Lauren Stringer. Harcourt, $16.99.
When Thunder Comes: Poems for Civil Rights Leaders. J. Patrick Lewis. Illustrated by Jim Burke, R. Gregory Christie, et al. Chronicle, $16.99.
World is Waiting for You, The. Barbara Kerley. National Geographic, $17.95.
10 Plants That Shook the World. Gillian Richardson. Illustrated by Kim Rosen. Annick (Firefly, dist.), $24.95.
100 Animals on Parade. Masayuki Sebe. Kids Can, $16.95.
13-Story Treehouse, The. Andy Griffiths. Illustrated by Terry Denton. Feiwel and Friends, $13.99.
17 and Gone. Nova Ren Suma. Dutton, $17.99.
39 Deaths of Adam Strand, The. Gregory Galloway. Dutton, $17.99
5th Wave, The. Rick Yancey. Putnam, $18.99.
All My Noble Dreams and Then What Happens. Gloria Whelan. S&S/Wiseman, $15.99.
Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, Thieves, and Other Female Villains. Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple. Illustrated by Rebecca Guay. Charlesbridge, $18.95.
Ball. Mary Sullivan. Houghton Mifflin, $12.99.
Becoming Babe Ruth. Matt Tavares. Candlewick, $16.99.
Being Henry David. Cal Armistead. Albert Whitman, $16.99.
Below. Meg McKinley. Candlewick, $15.99.
Ben Loves Bear. David McPhail. Abrams Appleseed, $8.95.
Better Nate Than Ever. Tim Federle. Simon & Schuster, $16.99.
Betty Bunny Didn’t Do It. Michael B. Kaplan. Illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch. Dial, $16.99.
Big Bad Wolf Goes on Vacation, The. Delphine Perret. Sterling, $12.95.
Bones Never Lie: How Forensics Helps Solve History’s Mysteries. Elizabeth MacLeod. Annick, $24.95 hc, $14.95 pb.
Brief Thief. Michaël Escoffier. Illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo. Enchanted Lion (Consortium, dist.), $16.95.
Bruised. Sarah Skilton. Abrams/Amulet, $16.95.
Bunnies on Ice. Joanna Wright. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter, $16.99.
Bye-Bye Baby Brother! Sheena Dempsey. Candlewick, $15.99.
Case of the Team Spirit, The. John Allison. Oni (Diamond, dist.), $19.99 paper.
Cats of Tanglewood Forest, The. Charles de Lint. Illustrated by Charles Vess. Little, Brown, $17.99.
Cheetah Can’t Lose. Bob Shea. HarperTeen, $17.99.
Chickens Build a Wall, The. Jean-François Dumont. Eerdmans, $16.
Chu’s Day. Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by Adam Rex. Harper, $17.99.
City of a Thousand Dolls. Miriam Forster. HarperTeen, $17.99.
Corner of White, A (Colors of Madeleine, Book 1). Jaclyn Moriarty. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, $17.99.
Crash and Burn. Michael Hassan. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $18.99.
Darius & Twig. Walter Dean Myers. Amistad, $17.99.
Dash of Magic, A. Kathryn Littlewood. Harper/Katherine Tegen, $16.99.
Deer Watch, The. Pat Lowery Collins. Illustrated by David Slonim. Candlewick, $15.99.
Diego Rivera: An Artist for the People. Susan Goldman Rubin. Abrams, $21.95.
Dirty Gert. Tedd Arnold. Holiday House, $16.95.
Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets. Evan Roskos. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99.
Dream Friends. You Byun. Penguin/Paulsen, $16.99.
Earth Girl. Janet Edwards. Pyr, $17.95.
East of the Sun, West of the Moon. Jackie Morris. Frances Lincoln, $14.99.
Elvis and the Underdogs. Jenny Lee. Illustrated by Kelly Light. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $16.99.
Escape Theory. Margaux Froley. Soho Teen, $17.99.
Fat Angie. e.E. Charlton-Trujillo. Candlewick, $16.99.
Fearless. Cornelia Funke. Little, Brown, $19.99.
Fire Horse Girl, The. Kay Honeyman. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, $17.99.
Flight 1-2-3. Maria van Lieshout. Chronicle, $14.99.
Flora and the Flamingo. Molly Idle. Chronicle, $16.99.
Fog Island. Tomi Ungerer. Phaidon, $16.95.
Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems. Marilyn Singer. Illustrated by Josée Masse. Dial, $16.99.
Friends. Mies van Hout. Lemniscaat USA, $17.95.
Game. Barry Lyga. Little, Brown, $17.99.
Game On! (Squish #5). Jennifer L. Holm. Matthew Holm. Random, $6.99.
Garden of My Imaan, The. Farhana Zia. Peachtree, $15.95.
Giant Dance Party. Betsy Bird. Greenwillow, $17.99.
Gingersnap. Patricia Reilly Giff. Random/Wendy Lamb, $15.99.
Girl Called Problem, A. Katie Quirk. Eerdmans, $8.99.
Girl of the Wish Garden, The: A Thumbelina Story. Uma Krishnaswami. Illustrated by Nasrin Khosravi. Groundwood, $17.95.
Good Night! Benoit Marchon. Illustrated by Soledad Bravi. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $7.99.
Good Trade, A. Alma Fullerton. Pajama Press, $19.95.
Gorgeous. Paul Rudnick. Scholastic, $18.99.
Great Lollipop Caper, The. Dan Krall. Simon & Schuster, $16.99.
Grumpy Goat. Brett Helquist. HarperCollins/Harper. HarperCollins, $17.99.
Hank Finds an Egg. Rebecca Dudley. Peter Pauper, $16.99.
Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. David A. Adler. Holiday House, $18.95.
Hattie Ever After. Kirby Larson. Delacorte, $16.99.
Hello in There! A Big Sister’s Book of Waiting. Jo Witek. Illustrated by Christine Roussey. Abrams Appleseed, $16.95.
Hiding Out at the Pancake Palace. Nan Marino. Roaring Brook, $16.99.
Highway Rat, The. Julia Donaldson. Illustrated by Axel Scheffler. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, $16.99.
Hooked. Liz Fichera. Harlequin Teen, $9.99.
Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball. John Coy; illus. by Joe Morse. Carolrhoda, $16.95.
How to Be a Cat. Nikki McClure. Abrams, $16.95.
I Love You, Nose! I Love You, Toes! Linda Davick. S&S/Beach Lane, $17.99.
I See the Promised Land: The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Revised). Arthur Flowers. Illustrated by Manu Chitrakar. Groundwood/House of Anansi, $16.95.
I Wish I Had… Giovanna Zoboli. Illustrated by Simona Mulazzani. Eerdmans, $16.
If You Want to See a Whale. Julie Fogliano. Illustrated by Erin E. Stead. Roaring Brook/Porter, $16.99.
Impulse (Juniper, Book 3). Steven Gould. Tor, $25.99.
In the Shadow of Blackbirds. Cat Winters. Abrams/Amulet, $16.95.
Inside Outside. Lizi Boyd. Chronicle, $15.99.
Invisibility. Andrea Cremer and David Levithan. Philomel, $18.99.
Janie Face to Face. Caroline B. Cooney. Delacorte, $17.99.
Kindhearted Crocodile, The. Lucia Panzieri. tr. from Italian by Grace Maccarone. Illustrated by AntonGionata Ferrari. Holiday House, $16.95.
Knit Your Bit: A World War I Story. Deborah Hopkinson. Illustrated by Steven Guarnaccia. Putnam, $16.99.
Left Behind (Jasper John Dooley). Caroline Adderson. Illustrated by Ben Clanton. Kids Can, $15.95.
Lightning Dreamer, The. Margarita Engle. Harcourt, $16.99.
Lincoln’s Grave Robbers. Steve Sheinkin. Scholastic Press, $16.99.
Little Acorn Grows Up. Edward Gibbs. Little, Brown, $8.99.
Little You. Richard Van Camp. Illustrated by Julie Flett. Orca, $9.95.
Long, Long Journey, The: The Godwit’s Amazing Migration. Sandra Markle. Illustrated by Mia Posada. Millbrook, $26.60.
Longest Night, The: A Passover Story. Laurel Snyder. Illustrated by Catia Chien. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99.
Look! Ted Lewin. Holiday House, $14.95.
Lucy Variations, The. Sara Zarr. Little, Brown, $18.
Lulu and the Dog from the Sea (Lulu, Book 2). Hilary McKay. Illustrated by Priscilla Lamont. Albert Whitman, $13.99.
Madman’s Daughter, The. Megan Shepherd. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99.
Master George’s People: George Washington, His Slaves, and His Revolutionary Transformation. Marfe Ferguson Delano. National Geographic, $18.95.
Meanest Birthday Girl, The. Josh Schneider. Clarion, $14.99.
Mighty Lalouche, The. Matthew Olshan. Illustrated by Sophie Blackall. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99.
Missing Mommy: A Book About Bereavement. Rebecca Cobb. Holt, $16.99.
Mister Orange. Truus Matti, tr. by Laura Watkinson. Illustrated by Jenni Desmond. Enchanted Lion, $16.95.
Mister Whistler. Margaret Mahy. Illustrated by Gavin Bishop. Gecko, $18.95.
Mojo. Tim Tharp. Knopf, $16.99.
Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World. Tracy Kidder. Delacorte, $16.99.
Mouse Bird Snake Wolf. David Almond. Illustrated by Dave McKean. Candlewick, $17.99.
Murilla Gorilla: Jungle Detective. Jennifer Lloyd. Illustrated by Jacqui Lee. Simply Read (Ingram, dist.), $9.95.
My Beautiful Hippie. Janet Nichols Lynch. Holiday House, $16.95.
My First Day. Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. Houghton, $16.99.
My Neighbor is a Dog. Isabel Minhus Martins. Owlkids, $16.95.
Nantucket Blue. Leila Howland. Hyperion, $16.99.
Natural World, The: The World in Infographics. Jon Richards and Ed Simkins. Owlkids, $16.95.
No Bath, No Cake! Polly’s Pirate Party. Matthias Weinert, tr. from German by David Henry Wilson. North-South (Ingram, dist.), $16.95.
Noisy Book, The. Soledad Bravi. Gecko (Lerner, dist), $15.95.
Not a Chance. Michelle Mulder. Orca, $9.95.
Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong. Prudence Shen. Illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks. First Second, $16.99.
Nowhere to Run. Claire J. Griffin. Namelos, $18.95.
OCD, the Dude, and Me. Lauren Roedy Vaughn. Dial, $16.99.
Odette’s Secrets. Maryan Macdonald. Bloomsbury, $16.95.
Oh So Tiny Bunny. David Kirk. Feiwel and Friends, $16.99.
Ol’ Mama Squirrel. David Ezra Stein. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen, $16.99.
Open This Little Book. Jesse Klausmeier. Chronicle, $16.99.
Orleans. Sherri L. Smith. Putnam, $17.99.
P.S. Be Eleven. Rita Williams-Garcia. HarperCollins/Amistad, $16.99.
Paper Valentine. Brenna Yovanoff. Razorbill, $17.99.
Paperboy. Vince Vawter. Delacorte, $16.99.
Paul Thurlby’s Wildlife. Paul Thurlby. Templar, $17.99.
Peace. Wendy Anderson Halperin. S&S/Atheneum, $16.99.
Peanut and Fifi Have a Ball. Randall De Séve. Illustrated by Paul Schmid. Dial, $15.99.
Perfectly Percy. Paul Schmid. HarperCollins/Harper, $17.99.
Permanent Record. Leslie Stella. Amazon Children’s Publishing, $17.99.
Pet Named Sneaker, A. Joan Heilbroner, illus. by Pascal Lemaitre. Random, $8.99.
Pieces. Chris Lynch. Simon & Schuster, $16.99.
Pinwheel. Salina Yoon. Little, Brown/LB Kids, $12.99.
Pivot Point. Kasie West. HarperTeen, $17.99.
Planet Ark: Preserving Earth’s Biodiversity. Adrienne Mason. Illustrated by Margot Thompson. Kids Can, $18.95.
Poems to Learn by Heart. Caroline Kennedy. Illustrated by Jon J. Muth. Disney-Hyperion, $19.99.
Poseidon: Earth Shaker (Olympians, Book 5). George O’Connor. First Second, $16.99 hc, $9.99 pb.
Prodigy. Marie Lu. Putnam, $17.99.
Rain! Linda Ashman. Houghton, $16.99.
Rainbow Shoes. Tiffany Stone. Tradewind, $14.95.
Rapture Practice. Aaron Hartzler. Little, Brown, $17.99.
Red Hat. Lita Judge. Atheneum, $16.99.
Red River Stallion. Troon Harrison. Bloomsbury, $16.99.
Relish: My Life in the Kitchen. Lucy Knisley. First Second, $17.99.
Reluctant Assassin, The. Eoin Colfer. Disney-Hyperion, $17.99.
Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen, The. Susin Nielsen. Tundra, $17.95.
Requiem. Lauren Oliver. HarperCollins, $18.99.
Revenge of a Not-So-Pretty Girl. Carolita Blythe. Delacorte, $16.99.
Revolutionary Friends: General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette. Selene Castroville. Illustrated by Drazen Kozjan. Boyds Mills/Calkins Creek, $16.95.
Rithmatist, The. Brandon Sanderson. Illustrated by Ben McSweeney. Tor Teen, $17.99.
Road Trip. Gary Paulsen and Jim Paulsen. Random/Wendy Lamb, $12.99.
Rosie’s Magic Horse. Russell Hoban. Illustrated by Quentin Blake. Candlewick, $15.99.
Ruining, The. Anna Collomore. Razorbill, $17.99.
Rump. Liesl Shurtliff. Knopf, $16.99.
Savage Fortress, The. Sarwat Chadda. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, $16.99.
See Me Dig. Paul Meisel. Holiday House, $14.95.
Sketchy. Olivia Samms. Amazon Children’s Publishing, $16.99.
Sneaky Art: Crafty Surprises to Hide in Plain Sight. Marthe Jocelyn. Candlewick, $12.99.
Something to Prove: The Great Satchel Paige vs. Rookie Joe Dimaggio. Robert Skead. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. Carolrhoda, $16.95.
Splintered. A.G. Howard. Amulet/Abrams, $17.95.
Stardines Swim High Across the Sky and Other Poems. Jack Prelutsky. Illustrated by Carin Berger. Greenwillow, $17.99.
Starring Jules (as Herself). Beth Ain. Illustrated by Anne Keenan Higgins. Scholastic, $14.99.
Steadfast Tin Soldier, The. Cynthia Rylant. Illustrated by Jen Corace. Abrams, $17.95.
Steam Train, Dream Train. Sherri Duskey Rinker. Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. Chronicle, $16.99.
Stronger Than Steel: Spider Silk DNA and the Quest for Better Bulletproof Vests, Sutures, and Parachute Rope. Bridget Heos. Photos by Andy Comins. Houghton , $18.99.
Stung. Bethany Wiggins. Walker, $17.99.
Sugar. Jewell Parker Rhodes. Little, Brown, $16.99.
Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket, The. John Boyne. Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. Knopf, $16.99.
That is Not a Good Idea! Mo Willems. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99.
This Journal Belongs to Ratchet. Nancy J. Cavanaugh. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $12.99.
Too Hot? Too Cold? Keeping Body Temperature Just Right. Caroline Arnold. Charlesbridge, $17.95 hc, $7.95 pb.
Toys in Space. Mini Grey. Knopf, $16.99.
Tragedy Paper, The. Elizabeth LaBan. Knopf, $17.99.
Treasure on Superstition Mountain. Elise Broach. Illustrated by Antonio Javier Caparo. Holt/Christy Ottaviano, $15.99.
Trinkets. Kirsten Smith. Little, Brown, $17.99.
Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse, A. Frank Viva. Toon Books, $12.95
Twelve-Fingered Boy, The. John Hornor Jacobs. Carolrhoda/Lab, $17.95.
Typewriter Girl, The. Alison Atlee. S&S/Gallery, $15.
Up Close. Gay Wegerif. Abrams Appleseed, $12.95.
Vacation for Pooch, A. Maryann Cocca-Leffler. Holt, $16.99.
Want to Be in a Band? Suzzy Roche. Ilustrated by Giselle Potter. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99.
War Brothers. Sharon E. McKay. Illustrated by Daniel Lafrance. Annick, $27.95 hc, $18.95 pb.
War Dogs: Churchill and Rufus. Kathryn Selbert. Charlesbridge, $17.95.
Watcher in the Shadows, The (Inquisitor’s Apprentice). Chris Moriarty. Harcourt, $16.99.
Water Castle, The. Megan Frazer Blakemore. Walker, $16.99.
Watermelon Seed, The. Greg Pizzoli. Disney-Hyperion, $16.99.
We Go Together! A Curious Selection of Affectionate Verse. Calef Brown. Houghton, $9.99.
Wee Rhymes: Baby’s First Poetry Book. Jane Yolen. Illustrated by Jane Dyer. S&S/Wiseman, $19.99.
When I Was Eight. Christy Jordan-Fenton. Margaret Pokiak-Fenton. Annick, $21.95 hc, $9.95 pb.
When No One Is Watching. Eileen Spinelli. Illustrated by David A. Johnson. Eerdmans, $16.
When We Wake. Karen Healey. Little, Brown, $17.99.
White Fur Flying. Patricia MacLachlan. S&S/McElderry, $15.99.
Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell. Tanya Lee Stone. Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman. Holt/Christy Ottaviano, $16.99.
Whole Stupid Way We Are, The. N. Griffin. S&S/Atheneum, $16.99.
Windblown. Edouard Manceau, tr. from French by Sarah Quinn. Owlkids (PGW, dist.), $16.95.
Winger. Andrew Smith. Illustrated by Sam Bosma. Simon & Schuster, $16.99.
Wrap-Up List. Steven Arntson. Houghton, $15.99.
Yellowcake. Margo Lanagan. Knopf, $16.99.
You Are Stardust. Elin Kelsey. Owlkids, $18.95.
Zebra Forest. Adina Rishe Gewirtz. Candlewick, $15.99.

Back-and-Forth Read-Alouds

Elizabeth Bluemle - March 27, 2013

When I was six or seven and older, I used to LOVE a collection of poems called You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You by John Ciardi, illustrated by the incomparable Edward Gorey. (How much do I adore HarperCollins for keeping this book in print?! 9780064460606, $7.99) The poems were printed in two colors: the blue poems were easier, meant for young readers to be able to read aloud, and the poems in black font were harder, intended for adults to read to the children.This was a go-to family favorite; we all particularly liked “Mummy Slept Late and Daddy Fixed Breakfast,” with its illustration of the poor chef of a father holding a burned disc of a pancake; one could practically smell the char. The thirty-five poems in this collection are funny and clever, sometimes with a dark or slightly jaundiced edge. This is a terrific gift for families who love Shel Silverstein. As the New York Times said, back when it was published, “Every single poem and drawing is superior. A perfect book for every parent and child.”
There’s something wonderfully companionable about a book meant for both parent and child to take turns reading, so I was delighted to see that Mary Ann Hoberman and Michael Emberley’s newest addition to their series of “You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You” stories is coming out in paperback April 2. It’s a collection of Aesop’s fables, titled You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short Fables to Read Together. This joins prior read-togethers (all published by Little, Brown): Very Short Stories to Read Together, Very Short Fairy Tales to Read Together, Very Short Mother Goose Tales to Read Together, and Very Short Scary Tales to Read Together. As in the Ciardi/Gorey collection, the passages meant for adult and child are differentiated from each other by color. (Psst: LB Kids, you might want to check this link for something funny.)
As far as I know, the books I’ve mentioned here are the only collections that feature this kind of back-and-forth read-alouds. They are so marvelous for young readers, who are proud to be able to read to their parents, but still love to be read to. Are there more collections like these to be found?

Mood Elevators

Josie Leavitt - March 25, 2013

Bookstores mean a lot to many people – this we know. It’s a comforting place to come when there’s been an upsetting event, be it a life issue or a worldly one. When bad things happen, folks come here for physical and emotional comfort.
“I like to just smell the books” is something we hear almost every day. What it is about the smell of new books that comforts people so? Is the memory of reading as a child and feeling better? Or being read to, nestled next to a parent who made you feel safe? It’s hard to know. One thing I do know is often people come to the bookstore for us.
I know this might sound odd, but booksellers can be comforting to customers.We know our customers and we know when someone’s having a horrible day because they’ll often tell us. There are many customers here who come to the store when they’re cranky because they know we can help straighten out their mood by listening and laughing with them. I like that often I’m forewarned of an ill-humor the minute someone grumpy walks in. This warning gives me the chance to assess how I think I can best help. Working in a bookstore, or any retail for that matter, means anyone can have access to you. And when someone comes in looking for a shift in mood, I’m all too happy to try and help.
Nothing is more fun than seeing someone come in who is sad, cranky or grumpy and then later getting a note or call of thanks for changing a bad mood around. And all the while the smell of books slowly, subtly worked its magic as well.

Book Expo Time

Josie Leavitt - March 22, 2013

I know I’m jumping the gun a little bit on a Book Expo post, but it’s all I’ve been hearing about via my email. I always think of BEA as something that happens later, after spring has come, and with a foot of new snow in my yard, it’s hard to think of the trade show. But folks, it’s time to think about it.
This is the season when booksellers start checking their email in-boxes for news of breakfast speakers, publisher invitations and party announcements. The show is in New York City again, this year it’s just a tiny bit earlier than last year, starting May 29th. I may be late to the planning stage of my BEA.  Many booksellers have already reserved rooms and there are a lot of show hotels that are already booked. These are smart and savvy people, as reasonably priced hotel rooms are on of the real challenges of the spending any time in New York City.
It’s funny, but I often think I’ll skip a year of BEA. I feel this way because, well, it’s expensive to leave the store, get coverage for my shifts, board my dogs, fly down, pay for airport parking and stay in NYC for three nights. But as soon as I get one or two emails about the speakers and educational opportunities I start booking my trip.
I read in Bookselling this Week  that Jack Gantos and Lauren Myracle will be hosting the silent auction on May 29th. And it’s free to ABC member stores, which is great and a huge savings over the $99 ticket price. The breakfast speakers are Rick Riordan, Veronica Roth and Mary Pope Osborne with Octavia Spencer as the Master of Ceremonies. So, I will be spending part of my day organizing my trip and using the nifty Book Expo app to plan the most efficient trade show I can, which usually involves emailing all my bookseller friends to find out when we can have drinks, lunch or dinner, because honestly, it’s my friends who make BEA special for me.
How many of you are planning on attending? And what part of the show are you the most excited about?

Making the Best of a Lost Event

Elizabeth Bluemle - March 21, 2013

Loren Long PosterMother Nature had herself a nice little laugh at our expense this week, sending a snowstorm to Vermont that landed on exactly the wrong day. We had been all set to welcome author/illustrator Loren Long to the Flying Pig and shepherd him to three very excited schools, but the meteorologists predicted 10″-14″ of snow overnight, and it seemed absurd to ask a man to fly all the way to Vermont from Ohio if the schools were going to be closed for a snow day when he visited and he might get stuck here, unable to make his next tour stop. Reluctantly, Long’s publicist (the wonderful Marisa Russell – more on her in a moment) and we decided we’d better cancel the event.
This was a difficult decision for so many reasons! We love Loren’s books; his art is incredibly appealing to both children and adults, and we have oodles of tractor (not to mention puppy) fans who were eager to meet the man behind Otis and hear him read his newest book, Otis and the Puppy. (Also, if you missed Long’s recent Nightsong from Simon & Schuster, it’s another must-read!) By all accounts, Loren Long is a lovely human being in addition to being a bestselling author and artist, and we would have loved the chance to chat in person. We were also so sorry to miss this opportunity because Marisa is one of the best publicists we’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. She sent great promo materials (see the poster, top right) and a helpful letter detailing school event plans, needs, and expectations. She kept in touch regularly in the weeks leading up to the visit, and even called a week to ten days before the event to make sure we had received our event order and checking to make sure we didn’t need to adjust any quantities last minute. Publicists, this is a terrific thing to do! Double-checking event quantities close to the event but with enough time to add books without rush shipping needed, to catch any missed items or replenish books that have sold unexpectedly well leading up to the event, is extremely helpful for your bookstore accounts.
Loren Long went above and beyond, as well, sending brief introductory DVDs ahead to each school he was planning to visit. The DVDs were personalized with the school names, and all three schools reported that the kids “went crazy” when they heard their school’s name. You can imagine the excitement of hearing a famous author mention your very own school in a video; they felt he had made it just for them. What a brilliant and generous way to greet the children ahead of time, to get them invested in the visit, and to perhaps cover some introductory ground that is then not necessary to repeat during the event. Such a thoughtful idea!
Publisher and author attention to detail didn’t stop when the event was canceled, either. Brainstorming the best way to ease the kids’ disappointment, Philomel and Long offered to set up Skype visits with each school, and to send personalized bookplates for the 75 or so families who had bought books for autographing. The schools were happy, the parents were happy, and we felt well cared for as a business making a difficult call.
We were also fortunate that the supermarket folks who make the amazing sheet cakes for our big events, the kind that feed multitudes and feature the author’s newest book cover, were able to call off the decorators in time. Otherwise, that would have been a LOT of vanilla and chocolate Otis and the Puppy in our freezers.
We will, I hope, host Loren Long for an event in the future. Given Vermont weather, we’re putting in our bid for a May, June, September, or October release date.

Overheard at the Bookstore

Josie Leavitt - March 20, 2013

Monday was an in-service day for our local Waldorf school. In our building, the two of the other tenants are parents at the Waldorf school, so while they were at the conferences, their kids were hanging out in the bookstore.
Kids hang out in the bookstore all the time. What made these three girls, ranging in age from seven to ten, different was they took turns reading out loud to each other. I sat at the register working on a purchase order while I listened to the ten-year-old, Trina, entertaining the others with a spirited reading of Emeraldalicious. This girl threw herself into the story with such gusto I thought that her parents must be excellent readers to her. She paused, she inflected,  and more importantly, she clearly enjoyed sharing the story.
This got me thinking about reading out loud and why sometimes there’s an arbitrary cut-off for it when a child can competently read on her own. I’ve had many discussions with parents who say that once their kid turned eleven or so, they stopped reading out loud at nighttime. I know some kids might prefer that and want the quiet time to read on their own, but it made me sad. I think there’s a real joy in reading out loud with someone you love, whether they’re ten or fifty. The connection, the time spent together, and the shared experience is something that really can’t be beat.
So, let’s get everyone reading out loud again. It sure made my morning listening to the kids.

Diversity Merit Badge: Eeboo

Elizabeth Bluemle - March 18, 2013

Brown fairies, tan princesses, olive-skinned knights…. Do you know how hard it is to find greeting cards and games and toys featuring kids of color — especially cards and games and toys marketed to a universal audience? For a long time, I’ve been meaning to give some ShelfTalker kudos to Eeboo, a company that is particularly successful at creating charming toys, gifts, birthday cards, and arts and craft supplies that not only appeal to, but visually reflect, a diverse audience. Their products are beautifully designed and made, and they sell fast at the Flying Pig. Eeboo stuff is terrific for indie bookstores, so if you’re a sideline buyer unfamiliar with the company, check them out! And if you’re a regular consumer, the Eeboo website encourages you to shop at local stores — which we appreciate.
Below are a few of the Eeboo items that feature a broad array of cheery faces in all shades:

Thank you, folks at Eeboo, for your inclusive and lovely designs!

A Great Nonfiction Event

Josie Leavitt - March 15, 2013

We are fortunate in Vermont to have many talented authors and illustrators literally just around the corner from our store. Yesterday, the very local and very gifted Tanya Lee Stone came by for an author. Usually, authors visit for one book, their newest book. Tanya was here promoting her two newest books that came out weeks apart.

The books were Courage Has No Color, The True Story of the Triple Nickles: America’s First Black Paratroopers  and Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors?: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell. Both these books are hallmarks of Tanya’s nonfiction style. She likes to take people or events that no one really knows about and in explaining their story, she tells a far larger story of history. Her books are accessible, lively and chock full of information. The themes of her work, which were easily seen by the cart with all her books, tend toward women’s empowerment and filling a missing piece of history.

Tanya began speaking about Courage Has No Color and she told the rapt crowd that it took her 10 years to write. She wanted her scholarship to be impeccable to write about the Triple Nickles, the black paratrooper unit that essentially integrated the military almost a year before the ruling came down to do so. Tanya became friends with a surviving member of the unit and even attended a dedication event at Fort Benning in their honor. They took her in. At first she had to win them over and she did and soon they trusted her and started sharing. There are some truly amazing photographs in the book and they’re all there because of Tanya’s persistence.

She spoke about not necessarily starting a book in chronological order, but rather jumping around a bit to tell the story. At one point during the writing of the book Tanya called her friend Ashley Bryan and asked, “I’m a white, Jewish girl. Is it okay for me to tell this story?” And he said, “Yes.” Tanya then explained to the audience that anyone can write about anything. There’s no limit to what an author can write about.

There were giggles when Tanya showed a picture from Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? of Elizabeth Blackwell as a child hoisting her brother over her head because she was mad at him. In her picture book length nonfiction, Tanya likes for the reader to get to know the subject as she was as a kid. Who were her friends? What was her favorite color?, etc. This makes for a very engaging book for the younger set. It’s hard to believe that there was a time when women couldn’t go to medical school. It’s important for all kids to see what it took for a woman with passion, intelligence and drive to finally convince a medical school to let her in. She applied to 29 of them before one agreed to let her matriculate.

Tanya was very smart about marketing a nonfiction event. She posted on Facebook and through her email list that every school with a teacher or librarian at the event would get a free 30-minute Skype author visit. Brilliant. The room was loaded with librarians, several of whom were new to our store. There was a raffle for non-educators for a t-shirt and a tote bag. Finally, Tanya raffled off herself for a free school presentation. People were excited and buzzing about these great giveaways. This was a very savvy approach to the somewhat less sexy world of nonfiction. Everyone bought at least one book, if not two or three. I left the store very happy and Tanya was signing away talking to librarians who were thrilled to be having Tanya come to their school.

As if all the school visits, the Skyping, and the raffle giveaways weren’t enough, she even brought brownies.

What Do We Tell Them About Poetry?

Elizabeth Bluemle - March 14, 2013

Magnetic Poetry, one of the best-ever tools for creating poetry lovers out of the formerly fearful.

Who are these “them” I’m talking about, and why do we want to tell them anything about poetry? “They” are so many of our nation’s readers, who confide in booksellers that they are afraid of poetry, or don’t like it, or don’t understand it. “They” are adults who were perhaps numbed by poor school assignments given by teachers equally unenthusiastic about poetry, or traumatized by their own bad school-age experiences with it. So the “they” in this post are also those teachers, dozens of whom over the years have confessed to me their secret dread of upcoming National Poetry Month units they are forced to teach in April. And “they,” too, are parents and librarians and older siblings who lead a pied-piper line of children away from poetry by example, avoiding it themselves. “They” are we, any of us who forget to read poetry or who privately love it but neglect to share it with readers as readily as we would share a novel we’ve fallen for. Honestly, if it weren’t for Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss, some people might never bump up against much poetry at all, and that would be a huge loss.
There’s a reason we choose poems for major occasions such as weddings and funerals, and it isn’t just that they’re concise. Poetry has a unique ability to capture a moment, a feeling, an occasion, or an idea, and to distill it to its essence. Poetry also can be enormous fun. The poetry-avoidant among us have perhaps forgotten poetry’s early joys — the rolling, rollicking, lyrical sounds and playfulness of language. Who can resist A.A. Milne’s “Disobedience” in When We Were Very Young, which begins:

James James
Morrison Morrison
Weatherby George Dupree
Took great
Care of his Mother,
Though he was only three.
James James
Said to his Mother,
“Mother,” he said, said he:
“You must never go down to the end of the town,
if you don’t go down with me.”

Or Margaret Mahy’s mesmerizing 17 Kings and 42 Elephants, the first lines of which are:

Seventeen kings on forty-two elephants
Going on a journey through a wild wet night,
Baggy ears like big umbrellaphants,
Little eyes a-gleaming in the jungle light.

Or James Marshall’s exuberant Piggy in the Puddle, a racing tongue-twister of a poem that reduces five-year-olds to helpless giggles. It begins:

See the piggy,
See the puddle,
See the muddly little puddle.
See the piggy in the middle
Of the muddy little puddle.
See her dawdle, see her diddle
In the muddy, muddy middle.
See her waddle, plump and little,
In the very merry middle.

So how do we remind metrophobes (poetry phobia is so common a phenomenon they’ve given it a name), and ourselves, about poetry? Although April is certainly not the only time we should be pulling great poetry off the shelves for readers, it sure is a terrific start. Here are some recent releases that should draw in even the most uncertain readers. Enjoy!
Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems by Mariiyn Singer; illustrated by Josée Masse (Dial, 9780803737693) This companion book to Mirror Mirror follows the same utterly magical pattern: side-by-side poems tell a familiar fairy or nursery tale from two points of view. The magical part is that the second poem uses exactly the same words as the first, but in reverse order. For Singer to be able to pull this off is just amazing. This is a terrific one to use with students, especially in grades 4 up through high school. The older kids can try writing “reversos,” a poetry form created by Singer. How wild is it that someone in our lifetime created a viable new poetic form?
Speaking of new poetic forms, poet Bob Raczka has also spun something new in Lemonade: And Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word, recently released in paperback and illustrated by Nancy Doniger  (Square Fish, 9781250018946). The author of this collection was inspired by the work of experimental concrete/visual poet, endwar (aka Andrew Russ). The result is marvelous. For each poem, Raczka takes a single word and creates a poem out of only letters found in that word. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg here. These poems also contain riddle, puzzle, and visual elements. The concept is deceptively simple; to do it as well as Raczka does takes a true poet. This is a fantastic book for teachers to grab; kids’ imaginations will be ignited by the linguistic and visual possibilities inherent in a single word.
Grumbles from the Forest: Fairy-Tale Voices with a Twist by Jane Yolen and Rebecca Kai Dotlich; illustrated by Matt Mahurin (WordSong, 9781590788677) These two poets tackle 15 familiar fairy tales and nursery stories, offering a duet of poems for each. Usually, the fairy tale is commented upon by two different characters in the story — the frog and the princess, for example — but sometimes, one character voices both poems in different moods, such as the troll from The Three Billy Goats Gruff, whose paired poems represent the before and after of the tale. This is definitely a book for the slightly older child, perhaps ages 10 and up. The art is bold, vivid, and sometimes haunting. This is an interesting concept that will translate very well into classrooms!
Poems to Learn by Heart, collected by Caroline Kennedy; paintings by Jon J Muth (Disney Hyperion, 9781423108054) Some years ago, I had a great friend, Wayne, who made a habit of learning poems by heart. I think he memorized one per week. He extended the same invitation to me, and for a while I kept pace with him. It was an oddly exhilarating challenge. There is something so satisfying about being able to call up lines that speak to the soul; the expression “by heart” I think comes from the ancient Greek belief that the heart was responsible not only for emotion, but for memory and intelligence. I still have some of these poems in memory, along with loads of verses and scattered lines, and of course countless favorite little poems and nursery rhymes from childhood. Caroline Kennedy’s collection gathers more than 100 poems for memorizing, arranged into 10 themes that cover every topic from nature to sports to school to war to nonsense poems. They range from very short to quite long — a lifelong addition to a family’s library. Several performance-friendly classics you might anticipate are here, such as Casey at the Bat and The Cremation of Sam McGee, along with some less-expected entries, like the timelessly, sublimely poetic Gettysburg Address.
World Rat Day: Poems About Real Holidays You’ve Never Heard of by J. Patrick Lewis; illustrated by Anna Raff (Candlewick, 9780763654023) Twenty-six poems celebrate 22 holidays, including “Bulldogs Are Beautiful Day,” “Frog Jumping Day,” “Dragon Appreciation Day,” “Chocolate-Covered Anything Day,” “International Cephalopod Awareness Day,” “National Sloth Day,” and the Flying Pig’s official favorite holiday, “National Pig Day.” These mostly short poems are clever; most have sly puns, sophisticated language, or cultural references that may need explaining to younger children. Not to worry, however; the kids will be so taken by the silly illustrations they won’t mind if they miss a reference or two. Older siblings will get a kick out of explaining unfamiliar things to their younger brothers and sisters, and will appreciate the humor of the language and the holidays themselves.
Cool Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Growing Up Latino in the United States, edited by Lori Marie Carlson, with an introduction by Oscar Hijuelos (Square Fish, 9781250016782). I’m so glad Square Fish has made this fabulous anthology available again, and in paperback! It’s a moving collection of poems for ages 8-12, about all kinds of experiences kids have growing up Latino in this country. The anthology received starred reviews and Best Books inclusion for good reason; authors like Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Ana Castillo, Sandra Cisneros, Martín Espada, Luis J. Rodríguez, and Gary Soto present a varied, eloquent look at childhood and culture that will resonate with so many young people. The poems are presented in both English and Spanish.
Pocket Poems selected by Bobby Katz; illustrated by Marylin Hafner (Puffin, 9780147508591) Newly released in paperback, this collection packs 53 bite-sized poems and an author’s note into its 32 pages. There’s a nice variety of both rhyme and free verse, and represented authors include Emily Dickinson, nikki giovanni, Jack Prelutsky, Carl Sandburg, Gwendolyn Brooks, and other poet luminaries, along with equally worthy but less well-known authors. This is a fun book with lively artwork for ages 5+. One sample I have to share, “Lunchbox,” is from the inimitable Valerie Worth (whose all the small poems and fourteen more, illustrated by Natalie Babbitt, should be in everyone’s library!):

They always

End up


The soft



The round



Wee Rhymes: Baby’s First Poetry Book by Jane Yolen; illustrated by Jane Yolen (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman, 9781416948988) Years ago, Jane Dyer illustrated one of our favorite anthologies: Animal Crackers: A Delectable Collection of Pictures, Poems, and Lullabies for the Very Young (Little, Brown 9780316197663), so I was delighted to see her lovely artwork show up in this new collection by Jane Yolen. Both Janes have grandchildren, and a sweet “Note from Two Grandmothers” opens the book, which features little verses perfect for the everyday experiences of babies and toddlers. Most are written by Yolen, though there are some Mother Goose rhymes within as well. I was happy to see a diverse cast of characters: happy little people in all shades of skin color and hair type. This is an anthology of happiness.