February 15, 2016 Booklist 77 www.booklistonline.com
world—or at least their own. As in her previous
award-winning books, DiCamillo once again
shows that life’s underlying sadnesses can also
be studded with hope and humor, and she does
it in a way so true that children will understand
it in their bones. And that’s why she is Kate the
Great. —Ilene Cooper
HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Books by
the two-time Newbery medalist and former
National Ambassador for Young People’s
Literature are always publishing events, and
this will be no exception.
By Judith Rossell. Illus. by the author.
Mar. 2016. 272p. Atheneum, $16.99 (9781481443678).
Young Stella Montgomery lives at the Hotel Majestic, which overlooks the town of
Withering-by-Sea, with her three strict aunts
(Aunt Condolence, Aunt Temperance, and
Aunt Deliverance). Her days are spent practicing deportment, studying French, and
otherwise being seen and not heard. When she
is lucky, however, Stella slips away to revel in
her atlas and dream of exploring exotic locales,
like the Amazon, where there are snakes large
enough to gobble up three aunts. Things become decidedly more exciting when a hotel
guest entrusts Stella with the safekeeping of a
small, stoppered bottle, just before the malevolent magician Professor Starke breaks in to steal
it. Soon, the girl is on the run and facing countless dangers, yet also finding help in the most
unexpected of places. This charming mystery
carries just the right amount of suspense and
magic. Details, such as a troupe of singing cats,
will delight readers, as will Rossell’s frequent
spot illustrations. Stella’s determination to do
the right thing makes her an admirable and endearing protagonist whom readers will happily
follow anywhere. —Julia Smith
The Wooden Prince.
By John Claude Bemis.
Mar. 2016. 320p. Disney/Hyperion, $16.99
(9781484707272); e-book (9781484707371). Gr. 3–7.
All Collodi’s original Pinocchio wanted was
to be a real boy, and Bemis’ steampunk retelling pays homage by making him a robotlike
automaton. Geppetto is a felon in hiding, cast
out of the castle and the city of Venice for
mysterious acts that Pinocchio doesn’t fully
understand. Along with talking cricket Maestro, they set off on an adventure to rescue the
immortal Prester John, in hopes of learning
more about Pinocchio and his strange new
life. Along the way, they meet up with Abato-nian Princess Lazuli, who is on a quest for the
same immortal. Lazuli is a brave, impetuous
girl, and she may be more trouble than she
is worth, as Geppetto soon finds. Pinocchio’s
growth is sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes heartwarming, and bound to entrance
readers. Fairy-tale retellings are saturating
the market, and while this original attempt
tackles a tale that rarely gets its due, it might
languish on a smaller collection’s shelves.
Andy and Sandy’s Anything Adventure.
By Tomie dePaola and Jim Lewis. Illus.
by Tomie dePaola.
Mar. 2016. 32p. Simon & Schuster, $8.99
(9781481441575); e-book (9781481441582). PreS–Gr. 2.
DePaola and Muppets writer Lewis follow
up their series opener, When Andy Met Sandy
(2015), with this equally charming tale. When
friends Andy and Sandy get together, adventures are sure to follow. The dress-up trunk
provides a wealth of ideas—a cowgirl, a pirate,
a bumblebee sniffing a flower, and two robots.
A big surprise occurs when the two cooperate
to create a scaly green dragon. And in a final
amusing sequence, the two transform themselves into each other: Andy gets a curly-haired
red wig and glasses, and Sandy dons a blue
hoodie. Front and back endpapers contain simple drawings for even more costume ideas—a
duck, a witch, a princess, an explorer, a clown,
a ballerina, a wizard, and an astronaut. As their
friendship deepens, there will inevitably be
more adventures for these playful youngsters,
and this simple story will surely tickle readers’
imaginations. Acrylic and colored-pencil illustrations in dePaola’s familiar charming style
and the simple text make this a delightful first
reader for the younger set. —Lolly Gepson
Chuck and Woodchuck.
By Cece Bell. Illus. by the author.
Mar. 2016. 32p. Candlewick, $15.99 (9780763675240).
The multitalented Bell comes through with
another hit—a school story with heart. At
show-and-tell, Caroline’s first-grade class has
some neat stuff, including a ukulele, a tadpole,
and a sombrero. But shy Chuck brings the best
one: Woodchuck. The cute and funny pal is
so entertaining that the teacher invites him to
come to school every day. Since Chuck is sweet
on Caroline, Woodchuck is especially attentive to her, sharpening her pencil and giving
her Chuck’s hat, cupcake, and flower painting.
When Chuck whispers Caroline’s forgotten
lines to her in the school play, their friendship is sealed, and the three friends walk home
from school together with smiles all around.
Bell’s warm and colorful graphic style, which
uses ink and digital illustrations, embraces
the many personalities of the class, as well as
giving off the happy vibes of burgeoning affection. The bright and cheerful double-page
spreads show the toothy, fuzzy-tailed, lovable
Woodchuck comically facilitating a flowering
friendship. —Lolly Gepson
Houses Floating Home.
By Einar Turkowski. Illus. by the author.
Mar. 2016. 32p. Enchanted Lion, $16.95
(9781592701834). PreS–Gr. 3.
This German import offers a near-wordless
collection of surreal illustrations paired with
enigmatic, thought-provoking titles, which
together give it surprisingly broad age-range
appeal. Turkowski’s elaborate, fine-lined,
graphite-pencil depictions of otherworldly
landscapes and figures resonate perfectly with
the imaginative processes of young minds,
while the titles—pairs of words with opposite
meanings—invite spellbinding contemplation.
“One-Many” features a herd of mice racing to-
ward a hole in a wall, behind which lurks an
ominous cat. “Order-Disorder” is a bit con-
founding but beautiful nonetheless: an array of
ingeniously designed and labeled houses, such
as “stairway house” (a home surrounded by
stairs) and “disorderly house” (a house tipped
over on its side) scatter across a pale field. A
more complex example, “Calm-Impatience,”
shows a lighthouse illuminating a dark night
while a mechanical-looking creature similarly
shines a beam of light on the shore. Though
the meaning is sometimes hard to decipher,
part of the fun is puzzling over the odd images
and strange scenes in Turkowski’s captivating
artwork. A conversation piece worthy of long-
lingering looks. —Anita Lock
By Laura Logan. Illus. by the author.
Mar. 2016. 32p. HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, $14.99
(9780062281265). PreS–Gr. 1.
On wordless pages, Logan weaves a whimsical tale about imagination and empathy. A
young girl examines a tear in her cape while,
concurrently, a cat enters the scene and pounces on a monarch butterfly, leaving the insect
with a torn wing. Saddened at the sight of
the wounded delicate creature, the girl cares
for it before setting it free. Soon, she drifts off
to sleep. In her dream, the monarch returns
with a flutter of other butterflies that carry her
south to a forest awash in the orange-and-black
creatures and transform her cape into a set of
monarch wings. In her fine-lined, multimedia illustrations, Logan captures the curious,
imaginative mind of a child engrossed with the
beauty of nature. Centering on the young girl’s
fascination with a monarch butterfly, Logan
accents the pale, neutral-toned pencil scenes
with warm monarch-orange-hued shapes.
Combining poignant facial expressions with
gentle, playful illustrations on crisp white two-page spreads, Logan’s tender tale is captivating
and charming. —Anita Lock
My New Mom & Me.
By Renata Galindo. Illus. by the author.
Mar. 2016. 32p. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $16.99
(9780553521344). PreS–Gr. 1.
In this sweet, reassuring story, an adopted
anthropomorphized puppy describes adapting to a new home situation. In a first-person
narrative, the puppy expresses excitement and
anxiety in a realistic and age-appropriate manner. The text is purposely vague about why
these two characters, an older cat and younger
dog, came together. Instead, Galindo focuses
on the realities of a new family. At one point
the puppy says, “I was worried that I didn’t
look like Mom, so I tried to fix it,” and Galindo shows the puppy painting catlike stripes
all over itself. The patient mother washes off
the paint and reassures her son that she likes
him the way he is. Other worries, such as