January 1 & 15, 2017 Booklist 15 www.booklistonline.com
the pair’s fates become entwined in important
and unforeseeable ways.
Ms. Bixby’s Last Day. By John David
Anderson. HarperCollins/Walden Pond,
$16.99 (9780062338174). Gr. 5–7.
When Ms. Bixby disappears from class
to battle cancer, her class concocts a mostly
legal plan to create a grand gesture of appreciation. Multiple narrators propel the plot,
eventually filling in all the gaps of the absorbing narrative puzzle.
When the Sea Turned to Silver. By Grace
Lin. Illus. by the author. Little, Brown,
$18.99 (9780316125925). Gr. 3–5.
Lin’s third book in her fantasy cycle set in
ancient China beautifully interweaves traditional folklore with the story of Pinmei, a
timid girl who must dig deep within herself
in order to rescue her storyteller grandmother
from the clutches of the emperor.
The Wild Robot. By Peter Brown. Illus. by
the author. Little, Brown, $16.99
(9780316381994). Gr. 3–6.
In the wake of a hurricane, a crate containing
a robot washes up on an island’s shore. What
follows is not a flash-bang robot adventure but
a tale of wilderness survival and friendship, as
the robot adapts to her surroundings and earns
the trust of the island’s animals.
Wolf Hollow. By Lauren Wolk. Dutton,
$16.99 (9781101994825). Gr. 5–8.
Eleven-year-old Annabelle’s idyllic life on
her family’s Pennsylvania farm is interrupted
by Betty Glengarry, sent to her grandparents
because she is “incorrigible.” When Annabelle
stands up to her, Betty shifts her attention to
Toby, a WWI veteran already saddled with a
Before Morning. By Joyce Sidman.
Illus. by Beth Krommes. HMH, $17.99
(9780547979175). PreS–Gr. 2.
A young girl’s pilot mother has, sadly, left
for the airport. But then: snow! Enough of
it, in fact, that the mother returns for sled-
ding and hot chocolate. Sidman’s story is
simple and powerful, and Krommes’ signa-
ture scratchboard art is first lonesome, then
Bramble and Maggie: Snow Day. By Jessie
Haas. Illus. by Alison Friend. Candlewick,
$14.99 (9780763673642). Gr. 1–3.
Maggie’s family prepares for a big winter
storm. That night, her horse, Bramble, escapes her stall and relishes the exciting storm.
She becomes a hero the next morning when
she helps clear away the snowdrift that blocks
her family’s door. A beautifully crafted book
for beginning readers.
Du Iz Tak? By Carson Ellis. Illus.
by the author. Candlewick, $16.99
(9780763665302). PreS–Gr. 2.
Crafting her own language, Ellis offers a
brilliant account of a few bugs who discover
a green shoot sprouting from the ground.
Readers and prereaders alike will find myriad
visual cues in the folk-style illustrations that
give meaning to the nonsensical dialogue and
signal the subtle changing of the seasons.
The Journey. By Francesca Sanna.
Illus. by the author. Flying Eye, $17.95
(9781909263994). K–Gr. 2.
A refugee family flees a war-torn country and
seeks out a safe new home in this gorgeous picture book. The captivating artwork, rendered
in bright colors and a playful, fairy-tale-like
visual style, is a bold contrast to the heartbreaking, sometimes scary, but always hopeful text.
(Top of the List winner—Picture Book.)
Juana & Lucas. By Juana Medina.
Illus. by the author. Candlewick, $14.99
(9780763672089). K–Gr. 3.
This early chapter book introduces Juana,
a spirited young Colombian girl, who is
reluctant to learn English. By integrating
playful artwork and Spanish words, Medina
provides excellent depictions of Juana’s life
in Bogotá and demonstrates the exciting opportunities that knowing another language
Nanette’s Baguette. By Mo Willems.
Illus. by the author. Hyperion, $17.99
Mom asks Nanette, a young frog sporting a
Madeline-style hat, to get a baguette. Elated
with this new responsibility, she sets off but
faces many distractions and obstacles along
the way. The delicious wordplay, energetic
illustrations, and relatable story make this a
School’s First Day of School. By Adam Rex.
Illus. by Christian Robinson. Roaring Brook/
Neal Porter, $16.99 (9781596439641).
This book about first-day jitters has a surprising twist: the nervous one is Frederick
Douglass Elementary, a brand-new school
building. Robinson’s blocky, naive-style paintings are the perfect match for this touching,
gently silly take on a classic picture-book story.
A Small Thing . . . but Big. By Tony
Johnston. Illus. by Hadley Hooper.
Roaring Brook/Neal Porter, $17.99
(9781626722569). PreS–Gr. 2.
In this gently uplifting book, a girl is intrigued by an old man’s little dog at the park,
and he gradually encourages her to interact
with the dog, first petting it and finally walking it. Small in plot? Yes, but big in impact.
Steamboat School. By Deborah Hopkinson.
Illus. by Ron Husband. Disney/Jump at the
Sun, $17.99 (9781423121961). K–Gr. 3.
African American James is growing up in
1847 when the sheriff and his men begin enforcing a new Missouri law prohibiting “the
instruction of negroes or mulattoes” to read
or write. Circumventing the law by teaching
school on a steamboat in the Mississippi River, Reverend John inspires James.
Super Happy Magic Forest. By Matty
Long. Illus. by the author. Scholastic, $17.99
(9780545860598). K–Gr. 2.
A unicorn, gnome, toadstool, pixie, and
centaur embark on an epic quest to recover
I say, “I’ll think about it.” “Good,” they say in unison. And then they look annoyed that
they said something in unison. Then they
fake smile at each other, but I’m starting to
understand that smiling is really just another
way of baring one’s teeth.
From Still Life with Tornado, by A. S. King
The big day is finally
here. The Poo Brothers are leaving. Thank
you, God. I won’t
have to go to the pool
with them anymore,
or fold their laundry.
They’ve decided to go
to UCLA. I don’t care
where they go, as long as I never have
to see them in their bathing suits again.