Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the backissue database. PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital edition via our app or online. For more information on PW's new integrated subscription plan, click here. If you are currently a PW subscriber, click "Login" for full access to the site (if you have not done so already, you will need to set up your account for the new system by going here), or click the "Subscribe" button to become a PW subscriber. Email service@publishersweekly.com with questions.

Login or Subscribe
Secrets of Air

Mi-ae Lee, illus. by Hae-ryun Jeony. Big & Small (Lerner, dist.), $7.99 paper (32p) ISBN 978-1-925186-13-0

..
“Air softly wraps the Earth where we all live,” opens this overview of the role that air plays in sustaining life on Earth, part of the Science Storybooks series. Warm, softly textured illustrations show the narrator, a blond girl, riding her bike, flying kites, inhaling and exhaling, and—in a spread devoted to pollution—wearing a white mask over her nose and mouth. (“When we breathe polluted air, we may develop skin problems or a headache,” a caption explains.) Sidebars briefly explore how warm air rises, plant and animal respiration, and other topics, and the book concludes with discussion questions and an experiment involving a balloon. A straightforward and effective introduction to the air we breathe. Simultaneously available: Fossils Tell Stories, What Shape Is the Moon?, The Flow of Water, and The Festival of the Sun. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 12/19/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Presidential Misadventures: Poems That Poke Fun at the Man in Charge

Bob Raczka, illus. by Dan E. Burr. Roaring Brook, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-59643-980-1

..
Commanders-in-chief have long been targets for jokes, and Raczka continues this tradition with gusto in a collection of clerihews (short comic verses aimed at the famous) for each American president, accompanied by Burr’s impish b&w caricatures. The poems are based in truth, with casual observations and (mostly) good-natured roasting: “Pennsylvanian James Buchanan/ had poor taste in party plannin’./ For dinner, he often served sauerkraut./ No doubt for dessert it was brussels sprouts.” Some clerihews, however, have a bit more sting: “Relaxer-in-chief George W. Bush/ discovered the nation’s top job was cush./ He took more than 900 days of vacation,/ a record for two-term administrations.” These poems are satisfying bursts of sarcasm and wit, and an appendix provides clarification about Raczka’s many political and historical references. Ages 8–12. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 12/19/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Abe Lincoln: His Wit and Wisdom from A–Z

Alan Schroeder, illus. by John O’Brien. Holiday House, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-2420-7

..
In a droll companion to a similarly alphabetic title about Benjamin Franklin, Schroeder provides an overview of the 16th president’s legacy, his predilections, and some significant events of his era. Each letter introduces several ideas: U stands for union, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and unfinished (“When Lincoln became president in 1861, the Capitol building and the Washington Monument were still unfinished,” the explanation reads). O’Brien’s ink-and-watercolor art has a farcical sensibility that plays on the mythology surrounding Lincoln. In one image, he boosts a large chicken house over his head, chickens and all: “Lincoln was surprisingly strong. One friend in Indiana recalled seeing him ‘carry a chicken house... that weighed at least six hundred pounds.’ ” With quotations from Lincoln incorporated throughout, it’s an amusing and educational portrait of Honest Abe. Ages 6–10. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 12/19/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Founding Fathers! Those Horse-Ridin’, Fiddle-Playin’, Book-Readin’, Gun-Totin’ Gentlemen Who Started America

Jonah Winter, illus. by Barry Blitt. S&S/Atheneum, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4424-4274-0

..
Pointing out that the expression “Founding Fathers” sounds like the name of a rock band or baseball team, Winter looks into who 14 of these men really were, warts and all: “Thomas Jefferson was sort of a mixed bag. Dude wrote that ‘all men are created equal.’ But then he also wrote that blacks were inferior humans!” Winter includes quotations from each man, as well as lists of stats with categories including their wealth, political party, “Stance on France,” and “Opinion on Boston Tea Party” (Benjamin Rush was a “huge fan”). Blitt’s pen-and-ink caricatures are right in line with Winter’s playful tone, as he pokes fun at Washington, Franklin, Paine, and others, while giving readers a strong understanding of why these figures’ contributions to the developing nation were so significant. Ages 5–8. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 12/19/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Deep Sea

Annika Thor, trans. from the Swedish by Linda Schenck. Delacorte, $17.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-385-74385-3

..
In the third installment in a series about a Jewish girl sent with her sister to live with Swedish families during WWII (following A Faraway Island and The Lily Pond), Stephie, now nearly 16, is living in a city with her best friend's big family, finishing grammar school. But on some weekends, and when summer comes, she heads back to the remote island home of her well-meaning but distant foster parents. In both places, Stephie worries—she wants to go to high school, but must persuade (and compromise with) the overextended relief committee supporting her. Meanwhile, her younger sister, Nellie, feels abandoned by their parents and is acting out, and a letter Stephie sends to her mother, who is in an Austrian concentration camp, is returned undelivered. This novel about coming of age during a complicated, tragic time in history is both delicate and poignant, as when Stephie and Nellie sit on the dock, remembering a lullaby their mother sang. Thor's novel capably demonstrates the loneliness, powerlessness, and prejudice Stephie faces, as well as her growing inner strength. Ages 14–up. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 12/19/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Burning Nation

Trent Reedy. Scholastic/Levine, $17.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-545-54873-1

..
The second installment of Reedy's Divided We Fall trilogy, about an Idaho National Guardsman caught between loyalties when the state and federal government end up in armed conflict, opens with a bang, as Idaho resists efforts at forceful suppression. Private Danny Wright, the accidental figurehead of the Idaho rebellion, becomes an insurgent in his hometown, fighting the Feds alongside his closest friends. Matters escalate, turning into open revolution and the beginning of a new American Civil War, and leading to a chilling portrayal of a disintegrating nation where neither side is entirely right or wrong. While Danny's moral conflict is easier now that he's committed to the fight, the increasingly personal stakes keep him from growing complacent. As in Divided We Fall, Reedy spins an action-packed cautionary tale, allowing both state and federal viewpoints their strengths and weaknesses, stopping just short of condemning both sides while acknowledging the validity of their arguments. It's a complex story rooted in current events, all the more worrisome for its plausibility. Ages 14–up. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 12/19/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Beneath

Roland Smith. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-545-56486-1

..
Smith (Mutation) delivers a tightly plotted mystery that incorporates themes of nonconformity and social rebellion. Pat O'Toole, 13, is not surprised when his 18-year-old brother, Coop, disappears. Coop has always been quirky: he is an avid tap dancer, collects flashlights, can't drive, won't email, and once dug a tunnel more than a mile long in their Virginia neighborhood before a gas line explosion nearly killed the two of them. Pat's parents are preoccupied with their breakup, careers, and new romances, so when Pat begins receiving digital voice recordings from Coop, he sneaks away to New York City to find his brother. Clues lead Pat to an alternative society that exists underground, but he soon discovers Coop has been drawn into an exclusive and dangerous group called the Pod. The narrative is constructed as Pat's "hybrid journal," which has been "transcribed" from the brothers' digital audio recordings, putting their voices front and center. Humor, a perilous setting, intense relationships, and the slow unveiling of the machinations at work behind the Pod give the story emotion and grit. Ages 10–14. Agent: Barbara S. Kouts, Barbara S. Kouts Agency. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 12/19/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Angelina's Prayer

Cheryl Bartky. Bark of the Tree Communications (www.Counseling4theSoul.com), $5.95 paper (48p) ISBN 978-1-4811-6715-4

..
In this sweet but underdeveloped Christmas-themed chapter book about generosity, accepting loss, and defining home, nine-year-old Angelina and her mother have just moved to Albuquerque, N. Mex., from New York City. Angelina clings to the hope that her father, who abandoned them two years earlier, will return, but she is uncertain how he will find them now that they have left New York. Angelina quickly befriends two neighbors—Tony, who is Hispanic like Angelina, and Minerva, who is Jewish. After Angelina learns about the local holiday custom of lighting luminarias and their power to answer prayers, she thinks that they could be the way to make her family whole again. While the premise is moving, Bartky's dialogue can often be wooden ("Do you think if I made lots and lots of luminarias and set them all around my house, they would grow so bright that my dad would be able to find me?"). Bartky does a fine job of conjuring the New Mexico landscape and Albuquerque community, but the story feels shoehorned into its slim format. Ages 8–up. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 12/19/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Honey

Sarah Weeks. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (160p) ISBN 978-0-545-46557-1

..
In spite of never having known her mother, 10-year-old Melody Bishop leads a pleasant small-town life in Royal, Ind., playing word games with her good-natured father (a humanities teacher) and hanging around with her best friend, Nick Woo. When Melody begins to suspect her father has fallen in love, she determines to find out who it is. Interwoven with Melody's story are two others: that of Bee-Bee Churchill, the owner of the town's new beauty salon, the Bee Hive, and Bee-Bee's 10-year-old French bulldog, Mo, who has his own significant backstory; the three threads eventually intersect in predictable but pleasing ways. Minor intrigue and misunderstandings drive the slender plot, but Weeks (Pie) succeeds in creating an emotionally credible and moving resolution, as well as a small cast of realistic and engaging characters to flesh out the town of Royal. Readers who like words will enjoy the list of 100 nail-polish names Melody creates for the Bee Hive, which concludes this straightforward, affecting read. Ages 8–12. Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 12/19/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Courage of Cat Campbell

Natasha Lowe. S&S/Wiseman, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4814-1870-6

..
In this lighthearted sequel to The Power of Poppy Pendle, Lowe introduces Cat Campbell, daughter of the now-adult Poppy Pendle, who chose baking over magic. As such, Poppy is not thrilled when Cat finally shows signs of being a witch. After Rutherfield Academy, the local school for witches, rejects Cat for her uncontrollable magical abilities, she devises a plan to gain admittance by capturing feared witch Madeline Reynolds, who has just escaped from Scrubs Prison for erasing half of Italy. Cat captures Reynolds, though she turns her best friend, Peter, into a guinea pig in the process. With patience and neighborly help, Cat becomes the witch she's always wanted to be, and finds a place for herself, balanced between her mother's baking and her own passions. Lowe echoes the whimsy of J.K. Rowling and Anna Dale with vibrant descriptions ("A burst of pink smoke covered the table, with showers of green sparkles shooting out like fireworks"), a cozy atmosphere (several "magical" recipes are included), and charismatic characters. Ages 8–12. Agent: Ann Tobias, A Literary Agency for Children's Books. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 12/19/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
X
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.