October 15, 2016 Booklist 51 www.booklistonline.com
factory outside Beijing. Certain that the note
was destined for her, Clara talks her parents
into traveling to China, where she plans,
against all odds, to rescue Yuming. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Yuming
has given up hope and is staging a breakout of
her own. This powerful, emotionally wrench-ing story follows two paths that become
surprisingly and delicately interwoven. Told
in alternating voices from the viewpoints of
Clara and Yuming, the story details a string
of surprising and sometimes traumatic events.
Although the ending is more abrupt and
not quite as uplifting as one might expect,
the girls’ journeys of hope, loss, and longing
make for a sad and ultimately satisfying read
from the author of Gracefully Grayson (2014).
The Warden’s Daughter.
By Jerry Spinelli.
Jan. 2017. 352p. Knopf, $16.99 (9780375831997); lib.
ed., $19.99 (9780375931994); e-book (9780553494631).
Most people would hate to call the Hancock
County Prison home, but 12-year-old tomboy
Cammie O’Reilly wouldn’t have it any other
way. As the warden’s daughter, she lives in an
apartment above the prison entrance with her
father and has a commanding presence that’s
earned her the nickname Little Warden. Set in
1959, just before Cammie turns 13 and enters
junior high, this is a story about facing hard
truths and growing up. In the background
swirl issues of race, treatment of prisoners,
and the arrival of a high-profile murderer, but
Cammie’s mounting anger over her mother’s
tragic death takes center stage. Spinelli’s latest
gives readers an interesting, often heartbreaking glimpse into the 1950s and the timeless
need for a parent’s love. Narrated by Cammie as an adult, the carefully constructed
story seems a little too neat and purposeful at
times, but readers will love the details of having a prison compound for a home and adore
the many secondary characters who help keep
Cammie’s head above water during her desperate search for happiness. —Julia Smith
5 Little Ducks.
By Denise Fleming. Illus. by the author.
Nov. 2016. 40p. Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane, $17.99
(9781481424226); e-book, $17.99 (9781481424233).
Papa Duck and his five little ducklings go
out to play on Monday, marching “through
the woods and far away,” until one goes
missing. Tuesday through Friday additional
ducklings disappear, despite Papa’s persistent
quacking for their return. Luckily, on Satur-
day they all return safe and sound. On Sunday
all are ready to go again, until Mama Duck in-
sists that everyone take a day to rest. Fleming’s
version of this familiar finger play features her
signature pulp-painting artwork, hued pre-
dominantly in blues and greens that contrast
nicely with the mallards’ brown bodies. The
illustrations become an alternate narrative of
sorts, detailing the other creatures the birds
encounter, and suggesting the sources of the
fledglings’ distractions. A final spread offers
additional information about mallards and
the other key characters (frogs, flying squir-
rels, wild turkeys, box turtles, pigs, and a
young child) and identifies the other depicted
animals. This is a natural fit for toddler story
hours or one-on-one sharing; the inclusion of
a male primary caregiver is an added bonus.
Calling the Water Drum.
By La Tisha Redding. Illus. by Aaron
Oct. 2016. 32p. Lee & Low, $17.95 (9781620141946).
Redding tells the heartbreaking story of
one Haitian boy’s survival and adaptation to
life in the U.S. in this picture-book immigration tale. Henri arrives in New York City
traumatized and unable to speak. He has only
a plastic bucket to call his own. His friend
Karrine teaches him to thump on it once for
yes and twice for no, and so his bucket becomes a drum. Henri takes to drumming to
fill the silence in his mind and the pain in his
heart, imagining the tones to be the sound
of his parents’ laughter, connecting with
them through his rhythms. Boyd’s expressive watercolor illustrations capture Henri’s
emotional struggles and throw the danger
of crossing the ocean in a rowboat into vivid
relief. The story highlights the realities faced
by children all over the world whose lives are
uprooted by calamity. Although the context
for Henri’s removal from Haiti is unclear,
astute readers can be guided to think about
why he left, and to make connections to current events. —Amina Chaudhri
By Bomi Park. Illus. by the author.
2016. 40p. Chronicle, $16.99 (9781452154725). PreS.
One night, a little girl wakens to the sound
of snow, “Pit, pit, pit against the window.”
Dressed for cold weather, she ventures out
into the yard, where a puppy joins her as she
makes a snowball. After rolling it down the
street, across a field, and through the woods,
she joins dozens of children building snowmen on a snowy plain. In one magical scene,
many of the kids and their creations float up
into the air together. The final picture shows
the puppy and snowman together in the girl’s
yard. Beginning realistically, the story gradually becomes more fantastic: a small child on a
solo journey at night; watchful polar bears in
the woods; and a sky full of cheerful, airborne
kids and snowmen. In her first picture book,
Park creates dreamlike scenes, softly drawn in
shades of white, black, and brown with red
accents. Most double-page spreads include
a bit of text, but near the story’s end, four
spreads are wordless, letting children supply
their own versions of events. An imaginative
picture book. —Carolyn Phelan
The Fix-It Man.
By Susan Hood. Illus. by Arree Chung.
Nov. 2016. 40p. Harper, $17.99 (9780062370853).
Joshua James is a fixer: he makes repairs,
and he invents and builds as well. To “fix” the
problem of his younger sister’s smelly diapers,
he hatches Operation: Dump the Diapers, a
fantastical plan that involves a series of pulleys,
cranes, Ferris wheels, and many more simple
machines to get the diapers removed from the
house. J.J. is a hands-on operator, tweaking his
invention as needed and comforting his sister
when she has a mishap. After the invention
is successfully put in motion, the hatching of
a bird’s egg demonstrates how nature “fixes”
things. The brief text is in a jaunty rhyming
format, and its enthusiasm is mirrored in the
illustrations. The digitally enhanced mixed-media pictures work on two levels: for those
interested in a quick read, the cartoon-style
illustrations show J.J. happily involved in various tasks, while schematic-style drawings are
included throughout to give a detailed view of
J.J.’s inventions. This will have broad appeal,
especially for those who like to have a tool in
their hands. —Randall Enos
A Gift from Greensboro.
By Quraysh Ali Lansana. Illus. by Skip
Oct. 2016. 48p. Penny Candy, paper, $13.95
(9780997221916). K–Gr. 3.
The author of several adult poetry volumes,
including The Walmart Republic (2014), here
offers one of those poems in picture-book
format. Based loosely on an experience from
the author’s life, the poem depicts an African
American boy and his white friend, who ride
their bikes downtown to eat at the newly integrated Woolworth’s lunch counter. Later,
when the Woolworth’s closes down, the white
boy purchases a coffee mug from the store
as a memento for his friend. Lansana transposes the poem’s setting from his native Enid,
Oklahoma, to Greensboro, North Carolina,
the site of a better-known Woolworth’s sit-in in 1960. Hill’s illustrations include both
black-line sketches and full-color double-page
spreads that depict this mercantile icon in all
its garish (and gritty) glory. An author’s note
supplies background that kids (and some
grown-ups) will require in order to fully appreciate this incident, which remains relevant
even today. Pair with Andrea Davis Pinkney’s
Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting
Down (2010) for another look at this pivotal
event. —Kay Weisman
By Kyo Maclear. Illus. by Júlia Sardà.
Oct. 2016. 40p. Tundra, $16.99 (9781770494961);
e-book, $16.99 (9781770494978). K–Gr. 3.
The Liszt family loves making lists. Mrs.
Liszt is compiling “ghastly illnesses and
the greatest soccer players of all time.” The
youngest son is writing down “fun things to
do.” Then there is Edward, the middle child,
keeping “lists to quiet the swirl of his mid-