Every month, we post an annotated bibliography of books that were rated ‘Outstanding’ and nominated for our Distinguished List at our previous month’s meeting. Members can see full reviews of these books and many more in the April edition of BayViews.
Mitchell Goes Bowling by Hallie Durand; illustrated by Tony Fucile
Bowling should be the perfect sport for a 4-year-old who loves to knock things down – right? Well, it depends. Text and illustrations are full of the different types of physicality displayed by Mitchell and his dad as Mitchell flails away and Dad celebrates his more successful efforts with a “steamin’ hot potato dance.” The text is economical, but full of zesty dialog and sharp awareness of the emotional dance between father and son as Mitchell comes perilously close to a meltdown. (Preschool – Grade 2)
Paul Meets Bernadette written and illustrated by Rosy Lamb
A goldfish named Paul has a mundane life of doing nothing but swimming around and around in his bowl until the day that Bernadette drops in, and helps Paul to expand his world by pointing out objects outside the bowl that he has never noticed before. Bernadette’s erroneous labeling will have kids yelling at the book eager to correct her mistakes, and the dynamic oil paint illustrations will have readers wanting to reach out and touch the pages. (Baby/toddler – Grade 1)
Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller; illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf
Schwartz & Wade, 2013.
Sophie and Bernice go everywhere together; who knew a squash could be such a good best friend? Lively watercolor and ink illustrations cleverly depict their adventures and the satisfying conclusion as Bernice, inevitably, becomes soft and blotchy. (Preschool – Grade 2)
Take Me Out to the Yakyu written and illustrated by Aaron Meshon
In playful illustrations and simple, lively text, young readers are introduced to the way baseball is played in Japan and in the United States. Back matter includes a glossary of Japanese words and brief information on the history of baseball in the two countries. (Preschool – Grade 2)
The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel
Simon & Schuster, 2014.
In this riveting middle grade thriller set on The Boundless – a seven-mile-long train crossing late 19th century Canada – Oppel mixes railway history, creatures from folklore, and a splash of steampunk into an exciting yarn about a boy seeking his own adventure. (Grades 6 – 8)
The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage
K. Dawson/Penguin, 2014.
The colorful narrative voice of rising sixth grader Mo LoBeau and the quirky, small Southern town of Tupelo Landing again come to life in the companion to Newbery honor Three Times Lucky (Dial, 2012) as Desperado Detectives investigate the mystery of the haunted Tupelo Inn in hopes of earning extra credit on their history project. (Grades 5 -8)
A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
6th grader Felicity Pickle wants to bring magic back to Midnight Gulch, Tennessee and maybe even cure her itinerant Mama’s “wandering heart”, so that their family can put down some roots. Lloyd’s debut is sweet without being saccharine, packed full of quirky warm-hearted characters and will appeal to fans of whimsical tales like Ingrid Law’s Savvy. (Grades 4 – 7)
The Sound of Your Voice, Only Really Far Away by Frances O’Roark Dowell
Kate and Marylin have always been friends despite their individual differences, but in this closing novel in Dowell’s “The Secret Language of Girls” trilogy, they are each discovering new paths. As everything shifts, both girls learn to listen to themselves and each other in a novel that rings true to the middle school experience, even incorporating nasty cheerleaders without erupting into over-the-top drama. (Grades 5 – 8)
The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt
Two raccoons living in an old car in a Texas swamp dream of being useful to the gigantic Sugar Man who rules over their territory and to defend the swamp where they all live from a variety of predators. Rich characterization, fast moving brief chapters, and memorable prose combine for an unusual plotline involving both animals and people that works against all odds. (Grades 3 – 5)
Rutherford B., Who Was He? Poems About Our Presidents by Marilyn Singer; Illustrated by John Hendrix
Rhyming poems depicting the U.S. Presidents make up this delightful book. The full color illustrations are similar stylistically to political cartoons, exaggerating the features of the person, and often with a large head. (Grades 2 – 5)
At Home in Her Tomb; Lady Dai and the Ancient Chinese Treasures of Mawangdui by Christine Liu-Perkins; illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen
Fascinating and well-documented account of the discovery and the contents of Lady Dai’s tomb, dating from the Chinese Han dynasty (206 B.C. E – 220 C.E.), and discovered in 1971. Lively writing, clear descriptions, and magnificent photos and some watercolor illustrations combine with careful documentation to engage the reader’s interest and open up a long-ago time and place. (Grades 5 – 8)
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teen Speak Out by Susan Kulkin
Six transgender teens from diverse backgrounds share their experiences growing up and transitioning to their preferred gender identity. Immersive first-person accounts include brief editorial comments in a distinct typeface and, where permitted by the subject, illuminating photo essays. (Grade 8 – Adult)
Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd
Kidd has created an absolutely terrific, accessible look at graphic design, both historical and current, in order to introduce readers to the ways designers (and are we not all potentially designers, especially in this era?) communicate ideas, beliefs, and feelings through images and/or text and/or placement of both or either. (Grade 5 – Adult)