Book Reviews

This category contains 232 posts

GHETTO COWBOY by G. Neri…2016-17 LOVELACE nominee Division II

Ghetto Cowboy is one of the Lovelace nominees this year that has surprised me–in a great way!  As Ghetto Cowboy opens 12-year-old Cole is being driven by his mother from their home in Detroit to Philadelphia–where his father lives.  Although we are never given the specific details of Cole’s behavior which impelled his mother to … Continue reading

IN A VILLAGE BY THE SEA by Muon Van…2016-17 Star of the North nominee

In a Village By the Sea was an unexpected treasure for me!  Both the text and the illustrations are built around the basic “house that Jack built…” story structure: In a fishing village by the sea there is a small house.   In that house high above the waves is a kitchen.   In that kitchen… … Continue reading

RED: A CRAYON’S STORY by Michael Hall…2016-17 Star of the North nominee

Red:  A Crayon’s Story is a story about how we often judge and label others based on what we see on the ‘outside.’ Red is a crayon.  He is wrapped in red paper with the word “RED” clearly printed on it.  But every time Red draws something it comes out blue.  Other Crayons and Art … Continue reading

WOLFIE THE BUNNY by Ame Dyckman…2016-17 Star of the North nominee

Wolfie the Bunny is a delightful tale about the power of love.  When a bunny family finds a wolf cub left in a basket on their doorstep the bunny parents immediately adopt him and treat him as their beloved son.  Their young daughter, Dot, insists that it is a  bad idea and Wolfie will eventually … Continue reading

SIDEWALK FLOWERS by JonArno Lawson & Sydney Smith…2016-17 Star of the North nominee

I discovered JonArno Lawson’s work a couple years ago and was thrilled to see Sidewalk Flowers show up on the Star of the North nominee list this year!  I expected a collection of his poetry; what I found is an extraordinary picture book which tells the story completely through its pictures alone. The main character is a … Continue reading

AVA AND PIP by Carol Weston…2016-17 LOVELACE nominee Division I

Ava is 10 years old and in the 5th Grade; her older sister, Pip, is in the 7th Grade.  Ava and Pip is really Ava’s story.  At one point Ava hypothesizes: The key might be to know, in your heart and your head, what you want to say and how you want to say it, … Continue reading

NIGHT ANIMALS by Gianna Marino…2016-17 Star of the North nominee

Night Animals is the perfect marriage of text and illustration in a picture book. Possum is hiding.  Skunk, alarmed, joins him.  Together they hide from “night animals.”  To their surprise, Wolf, claiming to also be afraid of something bigger and scarier than himself is next to join.  Then, to their shock, Bear has the same … Continue reading

DOLL BONES by Holly Black….2016-17 LOVELACE nominee Division II

Doll Bones was not the story I expected it to be, based on my impressions of the cover art, the author’s reputation, the title and the book description blurb.  Unfortunately, once I started reading, it seemed to me that the author didn’t know what kind of story she wanted to tell.  Is this a story … Continue reading


Raymie’s father has run off with a dental hygienist but Raymie is convinced that if she can just win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire Competition her father will be so proud of her he will immediately return home.  In pursuit of this plan Raymie is taking baton-twirling lessons where she meets Louisiana Elefante and Beverly … Continue reading

A HANDFUL OF STARS by Cynthia Lord

Lily lives with her grandparents in a small town, her mother having died in a car accident when she was very young.  At the opening of the book Lily’s dog, Lucky, who is old and blind has taken off running and Salma Santiago (a daughter of one of the migrant worker families who comes to pick blueberries … Continue reading