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Publication: The Horn Book Guide to Children's and Young Adult Books
Date published:
Language: English
PMID: 40439
ISSN: 1044405X
Journal code: HBGC

* Atinuke Good Luck, Anna Hibiscus! Ill pp. Kane/Miller pe isbn 978-1-61067-007-4 $5.99

* Atinuke Have Fun, Anna Hibiscus! Ill pp. Kane/Miller pe isbn 978-1-61067-008-1 $5.99

(1) Illustrated by Lauren Tobia. Anna Hibiscus series. These linked short stories set in contemporary Africa are based loosely on Atinuke's own childhood. In Luck, harmattan winds cover the land with dust. In Fun, Anna flies to snowy Canada to visit her grandmother. Everything is on a small scale, allowing readers to easily identify with the situations. Detailed Illustrations add depth and energy, showing Anna in all her emotional states. Review 5/11. R. SMITH

Bass, Guy Dinkin Dings and the Frightening Things 127 pp. Grosset isbn 978-0-448-45432-0 $12.99 pe isbn 978-0-448-45431-3 $4.99

(3) Illustrated by Pete Williamson. Dinkin Dings series. Dinkin may be irrationally "afraid of pretty much everything," but his fear that new neighbor Molly Coddle is a "zombatien" isn't as silly as everyone thinks. Luckily, come midnight, the Frightening Things emerge from under his bed to help. The cartoonishly sketched illustrations indicate how seriously the silly story should be taken, but there's also some satisfaction in seeing Dinkin's concerns validated. SF

Bauer, Marion Dane The Golden Ghost 89 pp. Random isbn 978-0-375-86649-4 $12.99 le isbn 978-0-375-96649-1 $15.99

(3) Illustrated by Peter Ferguson. When Delsie and her friend Todd explore an abandoned house near an old mill, Delsie discovers a golden ghost dog that she can see, but Todd can't. Quick-paced and full of suspense, Bauer's latest chapter-book mystery moves smoothly from present to past. Ferguson's black-and-white illustrations punctuate key points in the text. ACB

Berner, Rotraut Susanne Hound and Hare 75 pp. Groundwood isbn 978-0-88899-987-0 $18.95

(3) Translated by Shelley Tanaka. Like the Hatfields and McCoys, the Hound and Hare families don't tike each other (nobody remembers why). When Harley Hare and Hugo Hound sneak out to participate in the Big Race - then get caught in a storm - barriers are broken and new bonds forged. The story, featuring childlike colored-pencil and ink Illustrations and some funny one-liners, is generally tight on didacticism. SH

Brown, Jeff The African Safari Discovery 91 pp. HarperCollins/Harper isbn 978-0-06-143001-5 $15.99 pe isbn 978-0-06-143000-8 $4.99

(4) Written by Josh Greenhut. Illustrated by Macky Pamintuan. Flat Stanley's Worldwide Adventures series. Flat Stanley, his father, and younger brother head to Tanzania after reading about the discovery of a flat skull they hope will shed light on Stanley's condition. Disappointingly, the relic is a fish, but the Lambchop boys have the vacation of a lifetime regardless. Stanley's latest escapade is slightly less amusing than previous ones; per usual, cartoonish drawings add some humor. CLS

Bruel, Nick Bad Kitty Meets the Baby 143 pp. Roaring Brook/Porter isbn 978-1-59643-597-1 $13.99

(4) Having survived previous indignities, Bad Kitty is in for the strangest event of all: the arrival of a new baby in the house. Kitty and friends suspiciously suss out the intruder until Kitty learns that, like her, Baby was adopted. Cartoon humor adds verve to the somewhat drawn-out narrative. DE

Butler, Dori Hillestad The Case of the Library Monster 134 pp. Whitman isbn 978-0-8075-0914-2 $14.99

(3) Illustrated by Jeremy Tugeau and Dan Crisp. Buddy Files series. In this fifth book about the friendly therapydog/detective, Buddy discovers that, despite "evidence" to the contrary, there's no monster in the school library. The breezy text, friendly illustrations, and, above all, likable dog hero continue to make this series a solid choice for readers new to chapter books. MVK

Carris, Joan Magic at the Bed and Biscuit 103 pp. Candlewick isbn 978-0-7636-4306-5 $15.99

(4) Illustrated by Noah Z. Jones. This third Bed and Biscuit book is darker than the others. "Magic chicken" Malicia pulls a number of mean-spirited tricks. Ernest, valiant minipig, leads the gang in stopping her. There's some didacticism in the message about standing up to a bully (the magical elements add some confusion), and the animals' plan to fight back seems rather cruel. Black-and-white illustrations add levity. LAL

Cooper, Ilene Lucy on the Ball 106 pp. Random le isbn 978-0-375-95559-4 $12.99 pe isbn 978-0-375-85559-7 $4.99

(4) Illustrated by David Merrell. Stepping Stone series. Shy Bobby (dog Lucy's owner) agrees to play soccer, even though he'd rather be working on his school comic-strip project. At first Bobby doesn't like soccer - or his strict coach - but things change as Coach helps train Lucy, and Bobby discovers a talent for goal-keeping. There's also an adoption story line in this overstuffed story illustrated with sketchlike black-and-white drawings. SH

Doyle, Bill Attack of the Shark-Headed Zombie 105 pp. Random le isbn 978-0-375-96675-0 $12.99 pe isbn 978-0-375-86675-3 $4.99

(4) Illustrated by Scott Altmann. Stepping Stone series. Cousins Henry and Keats accept an odd job at Hallway House to earn money for new bikes. Cryptic instructions list daunting tasks including "battle and defeat the sharkheaded zombie." With some luck - and magical aids - the boys emerge victorious after a wild but confusing day of chasing, fighting, and conjuring. The story is convoluted but entertaining; shadowy black-and-white drawings help clarify the action. SH

Duey, Kathleen Wishes and Wings 113 pp. Simon/Aladdin isbn 978-1-4169-8460-3 $15.99

(3) Illustrated by Sandara Tang. Faeries' Promise series. Princess Alida's faerie colony members, defying evil Lord Dunraven's edict, return to their magical meadow near Ash Grove. The queen teaches Alida a potentially dangerous invisibility spell to protect the group during its treacherous journey; Alida also uses her magic to help her human Ash Grove neighbors. The story line and illustrations are engaging and uncluttered. SH

Edwards, Julie Andrews, and Emma Walton Hamilton Little Bo in Italy: The Continued Adventures of Bonnie Boadicea 106 pp. HarperCollins/Julie Andrews isbn 978-0-06-008908-5 $19.99

(4) Illustrated by Henry Cole. Published fall 2010. In her third outing, spunky little cat Bo sails to Italy. There she and her owner explore the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Roman Colosseum. Bo also has a run-in with a circus lion and discovers two of her long-lost siblings. Travelogue-like descriptions tend to slow down the large-format chapter book's action. Full-page and spot illustrations show scenes of Italy - and cats. TDA

* Egan, Tim Dodsworth in Rome 48 pp. Houghton isbn 978-0-547-39006-2 $14.99

(2) Though Dodsworth manages to stop his capricious travel companion from adding waterfowl to the Sistine Chapel's ceiling, he can never prevent all the duck's mischief - and Egan's fans wouldn't want him to. Touring their fourth great city, the pair's back-and-forth is as priceless as usual, while the witty, understated ink-and-watercolor illustrations once again take in the sights - the Colosseum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, etc. Review 5/11. CMH

Giff, Patricia Reilly Flying Feet 71 pp. Random/Lamb isbn 978-0-385-73887-3 $12.99 le isbn 978-0-385-90754-5 $14.99

(4) Illustrated by Alasdair Bright. Zigzag Kids series. Charlie loves the "buzz" that comes from thinking up new inventions to share with the other kids in the Zigzag School's Afternoon Center. Most of his projects don't go very well, but Charlie keeps trying; eventually his work ends up helping both the librarian and the custodian. The story is entertaining but rather forgettable. Lively iUustrations help give the characters some personality, sh

A Greene, Stephanie Princess Posey and the Perfect Present 85 pp. Putnam isbn 978-0-399-25462-8 $12.99

(2) Illustrated by Stephanie Roth Sisson. With her beloved teacher's btithday approaching, Posey (Princess Posey and the First Grade Parade) decides to bring a special present. Unfortunately, someone else has the same gift idea - and gets to school first. Greene's brief chapters capture a first grader's enthusiasm, smaU but real heartache, and problem-solving gumption. Sisson's black-and-white iUustrations get Posey's every facial expression right - happy, disappointed, angry, happy again. Review 3/11. jmb

Han, Jenny Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream 150 pp. Little isbn 978-0-316-07038-6 $14.99

(2) Ilustrated by JuUa Kuo. Korean American Clara Lee wants to be her town's Little Miss Apple Pie Princess. She hopes the lucky day she's having wiU help her win. What she learns, related through natural language without any didacticism, is that individuals make their own good fortune. Numerous black-and-white Ulustrations provide newly independent readers with both plot clues and speedy page turns in this winning chapter book. Review 3/11. bc

Hapka, Catherine Yatimah 153 pp. Random le isbn 978-0-375-96719-1 $12.99 pe isbn 978-0-375-86719-4 $6.99

(3) Illustrated by Ruth Sanderson. Horse Diaries series. Yatimah, an Arabian ftily with a ninth-century Bedouin tribe, learns to be a good war mare; however, her owner hasn't forgiven her for the fact that his favorite horse died foaling her. This well-constructed tale, iUustrated with textured black-and-white drawings, effectively incorporates cultural and historical detaUs. An appendix provides more information about Arabian horses and Bedouins, alb

A Harper, Charise Mericle Just Grace and the Terrible Tutu 170 pp. Houghton isbn 978-0-547-15224-0 $15.00

(2) Grace's best friend Mimi's parents are adopting a little gtil, and when the friends are hired as mother's helpers, it seems like the perfect opportunity for Mimi to practice being a big sister. Unfortunately, their charge is enamored with Grace and doesn't tike Mimi one bit. As usual, Grace's special powers of empathy - and her consistently funny, frank, betievable voice - help fix everything. Review 1/11. JMB

A Jenkins, Emily Invisible Inkling 156 pp. HarperCollins /Balzer + Bray isbn 978-0-06-180220-1 $14.99

(2) Illustrated by Harry BUss. Fourth-grader Hank Wolowitz has a very special imaginary friend: an invisible, squashloving, almost-extinct bandapat named Inkling, whose attempts to help Hank with a buUy go spectacularly wrong. Children will find this cranky bandapat tale (enhanced with Harry Bliss's droll illustrations) hUarious and heartwarming. It's a perfect choice for an early school year read-aloud: straightforward, zippy plot, likable characters, and betievable family. Review 7/11. r. smith

Jules, Jacqueline Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Zooms to the Rescue 79 pp. Whitman isbn 978-0-8075-9482-7 $14.99

(4) Illustrated by Miguel Benitez. Freddie Ramos, kid superhero with super-speedy shoes, is back for his thtid adventure. He has a new pair of silver goggles to help him solve the mystery of a strange squirrel. He also saves a tiainload of people from crashing. Though the story can be hard to foUow, the series continues to have appeal, espedaUy for young Latino boys, tw

Kelly, David A. The Fenway Foul-Up 101 pp. Random le isbn 978-0-375-96703-0 $12.99 pe isbn 978-0-375-86703-3 $4.99

Kelly, David A. The Pinstripe Ghost 105 pp. Random le isbn 978-0-375-96704-7 $12.99 pe isbn 978-0-375-86704-0 $4.99

(3) Illustrated by Mark Myers. Stepping Stone: BaUpark Mysteries series. These lightweight mysteries distinguish themselves by the amount of baseball trivia Kelly manages to insert - quite naturally - into the repartee between the boy and girl protagonists. Kate's mother is a sportswriter, giving her and the kids access to the inner reaches of Major League ballparks. Even if the solutions to the mysteries are glaringly obvious, the baseball lore makes for entertaining reading, mlb

A Look, Lenore Ruby Lu, Star of the Show 137 pp. Atheneum isbn 978-1-4169-1775-5 $15.99

(2) ILlustrated by Stef Choi. In her thtid book, Ruby is eager to take pup Elvis to obethence school. Unfortunately, when her dad loses his job, dog school is out of the question. Leavening the seriousness of her family's money worries is Ruby's talent for getting into trouble. New illustrator Choi's art is more cartoony than previous volumes, but still, Ruby and company are as comfortably famitiar - and entertaining - as ever. Review 3/11. jmb

McDonald, Megan Stink and the Ultimate Thumb-Wrestling Smackdown 131 pp. Candlewick isbn 978-0-7636-4346-1 $12.99

(3) Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. Irrepressible Stink is back, this time searching for a sport to improve his unsatisfactory grade in P.E. While thumb-wrestling initially speaks to the non-sporty Stink, the competition and focus of karate may be an even better fit. Young readers will enjoy the humor, the fast pace, and the comic-style illustrations, ejm

Meddaugh, Susan Martha and Skits Out West 92 pp. Houghton isbn 978-0-547-42891-8 $14.99 pe isbn 978-0-547-21074-2 $5.99

Meddaugh, Susan White House Dog 92 pp. Houghton isbn 978-0-547-39359-9 $14.99 pe isbn 978-0-547-21076-6 $5.99

(4) Adapted by Jamie White. Martha Speaks series. In White House, Martha nominates candidates for the First Family's pet and also receives an important assignment. In Out West, Martha causes trouble on a dude ranch, but her antics ultimately help save the day. These adaptations of the TV series (based on Meddaugh's picture books), though slight, may appeal to the show's fans. Glos, lb

A Mills, Claudia Fractions = Trouble! 116 pp. Farrar isbn 978-0-374-36716-9 $15.99

(2) Illustrated by G. Brian Karas. Fractions are giving third grader Wilson (7x9 = Trouble!) fits. His parents have hired a tutor, and he'll be humiliated if his friends find out. Mills seamlessly incorporates math explanations into her readable narrative. Subplots involving Wilson's science project and the disappearance of little brother Kipper's beanbag animal add humor and pathos, respectively - all captured in Karas's warm pencil sketches. Review 7/11. mvp

Montgomery, Lewis B. The Case of the Missing Moose 96 pp. Kane Press le isbn 978-1-57565-331-0 $22.60 pe isbn 978-1-57565-322-8 $6.95

(3) Illustrated by Amy Wummer. Milo & Jazz Mysteries series. Milo enjoys his week at camp across the lake from the girls' camp and his sleuthing partner, Jazz. When his bunk's moose mascot goes missing, he must solve the case on his own with only Jazz's letters for help. Accompanied by ink and wash illustrations, the story isn't deep but it is lively. An epilogue includes puzzles and brainteasers. pr

Morris, Gerald The Adventures of Sir Gawain the True 118 pp. Houghton isbn 978-0-547-41855-1 $14.99

(4) Illustrated by Aaron Renier. Knights' Tales series. This third series sentry focuses on the adventures of Sir Gawain, King Arthur's full-of-himself nephew and a Knight of the Round Table. There are lots of jokes (some a stretch) in the accessible text and cartoony black-and-white brush and ink illustrations. There are some things to be learned, too, about courtesy, friendship, and loyalty, amt

Nelson, Jessie, and Karen Leigh Hopkins Labracadabra 36 pp. Viking isbn 978-0-670-01251-0 $14.99

(3) Illustrated by Deborah Melmon. Larry is not exactly the pet Zach pictured for himself. An indeterminate mix of breeds - and with the least doglike name ever - Larry soon wins Zach over; Zach even wonders if Larry is magical as his wild tail swats a menacing bee, wakes Zach for an important party, and creates rainbows in the swimming pool. The brief, enjoyable story features winning black-andwhite illustrations, sh

Osborne, Mary Pope A Crazy Day with Cobras 111 pp. Random isbn 978-0-375-86823-8 $12.99 le isbn 978-0-375-96823-5 $15.99

(4) Illustrated by Sal Murdocca. Magic Tree House series. This go-around, tree house-transported siblings Jack and Annie must remove a spell cast on Merlin's penguin, so they travel back in time to 1600s India in search of an emerald stone. Osborne delivers what she always does: a fastpaced, blandly written adventure that doubles as a history lesson. As usual, Murdocca's serene black-and-white illustrations make the fantastical seem accessible, nb

Peschke, Marci Blueberry Queen 109 pp. Capstone/Picture Window le isbn 978-1-4048-6756-7 $21.32 pe isbn 978-1-4048-6615-7 $4.95

(5) Illustrated by Tuesday Mourning. Kylie Jean series. Kylie Jean's life goal is to be a beauty queen. She prepares fiercely for her Texas town's Blueberry Festival pageant in hopes of becoming its first kid Blueberry Queen. Unfortunately, Kylie Jean is fairly unlikable; she's pretty shallow (if determined and self-motivated). In addition, the text's come-and-go Texas twang grows grating, inviting the pinkhighlighted illustrations and appealing design to outshine the little girl herself, sh

Peschke, Marci Daisy for President 80 pp. ABDO/Magic Wagon le isbn 978-1-61641-115-2 $25.65

Peschke, Marci Daisy's Fall Festival 80 pp. ABDO/Magic Wagon le isbn 978-1-61641-117-6 $25.65

Peschke, Marci Daisy's Field Trip Adventure 80 pp. ABDO/Magic Wagon le isbn 978-1-61641-116-9 $25.65

Peschke, Marci Daisy's Summer Essay 80 pp. ABDO/Magic Wagon le isbn 978-1-61641-114-5 $25.65

(4) Illustrated by M. H. PiIz. Calico Chapter Books: Growing Up Daisy series. Arizona fourth-grader Daisy loves her family, her friends, and her teacher. In her first four books, she writes an essay, runs for class president, enjoys a museum field trip with her abuela, and organizes her class's contribution to the school festival. The story lines are bland and unsurprising, but some readers may be drawn to amiable, energetic, super-cheerful Daisy, sh

Schneider, Josh Tales for Very Picky Eaters 48 pp. Clarion isbn 978-0-547-14956-1 $14.99

(3) Picky tittle boy James doesn't want any "disgusting broccoli" or "smeUy lasagna"; okay, offers his sly father, how about some dtit or pre-chewed gum? When James turns up his nose at "repulsive milk," Dad explains, tonguein-cheek, what fun it wUl be to have "nice soft bones." Watercolor, pen-and-ink, and colored-pencil iUustrations with plenty of white space display the imaginative scenarios. SH

Spyri, Johanna Heidi 103 pp. Random le isbn 978-0-375-96899-0 $12.99 pe isbn 978-0-375-86899-3 $5.99

(5) Adapted by Gail Herman. Illustrated by Lydia Halverson. Stepping Stone Classic series. Herman provides a fairly accessible, basic adaptation of the classic tale about the sunny orphan girl who goes up into the Alps to live with her grandfather and improves the lives of all she meets. Though the fundamentals of the story tine are there, the stripped-down characterizations (particularly in the case of Peter) lead to a bland and rather forgettable tale, sh

Stern, AJ Frankly, Frannie: Check, Please! 128 pp. Grosset isbn 978-0-448-45353-8 $12.99

(4) ILlustrated by Doreen Mulryan Marts. Published fall 2010. In her thtid story, Frannie convinces the town that the new fancy French restaurant is serving bugs (they're actuaUy escargot). In the process, she meets a food critic and writes a couple of her own reviews, one pre-bug-fiasco, one (retraction) after tasting the snails. Frannie (and Junie B.) fans may giggle at her made-up words and malapropisms; others will find them annoyingly cutesy, erg

Sternberg, Julie Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie 122 pp. Abrams/ Amulet isbn 978-0-8109-8424-0 $14.95

(2) Illustrated by Matthew Cordell. Eight-year-old Eleanor is bereft when her babysitter moves away; Eleanor's new babysitter sensitively gives her room to grieve. Sternberg uses short sentences spaced on the pages in very short lines, like poetry, and keeps the twenty-seven chapters very brief. The first-person narration and the detaUs of Eleanor's emotional journey wtil draw readers in, whUe CordeU's tine drawings add humor. Review 5/11. sdl

Venable, Colleen AF The Ferret's a Foot 48 pp. Lerner le isbn 978-0-7613-5223-5 $27.93 pe isbn 978-0-7613-5629-5 $6.95

(5) ILlustrated by Stephanie Yue. Graphic Universe: Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye series. When the absentminded pet-store owner advertises for an assistant, Sasspants the guinea pig and Hamisher the hamster fix his mixed-up signs so he won't need help. The next day the signs have been vandalized, and Sasspants reluctantly plays detective again to solve the mystery. Although the iUustrations in this short graphic novel are appealing, they don't compensate for the chaotic story line, pr

Voake, Steve Daisy Dawson at the Beach 90 pp. Candlewick isbn 978-0-7636-5306-4 $14.99

(4) Illustrated by Jessica Meserve. On a beach vacation, Daisy uses her gift of animal communication to teach two rabbits to surf "the blue uppy-downy things" and, with the help of some crabs, save a trapped dolphin. The plotting is a bit slow and the story somewhat uneventful, aside from the ride with the dolphins. Thoughtful design effectively incorporates the warm Ulustrations into the text, sh

Wells, Kitty Paw Power 201 pp. Random /Fielding isbn 978-0-385-75201-5 $13.99 le isbn 978-0-385-75202-2 $16.99

(4) Illustrated by Joanna Harrison. Pocket Cats series. Maddy settles for three ceramic cats instead of the real thing and is soon surprised when one of them - Greykin - comes to life. The magic cat's mission is to help Maddy confront the school bully and discover her own inner strength. Though the text is cutesy, the book, with its large type and numerous illustrations, will appeal to newly independent, cat-loving readers, acb

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