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 March edition of BayViews.
Egg written and illustrated by Henkes, Kevin; Greenwillow, 2017.
Four pastel colored eggs hatch and overcome differences to form a friendship in this pastel-colored minimalist masterpiece. (Grades B/T-1)
Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life written and illustrated by Bryan, Ashley; Atheneum, 2016.
Historic slave documents serve as a template for author/illustrator Ashley Bryan to give voice to 11 slaves, contrasting their aspirations with the brutal realities of slavery. Recommended for all library collections, this visually stunning book provides an emotional connection to slavery that invites discussion and reflection. (3-6)
Grandpa’s Hal-La-Loo-Ya Hambone! written by Hayes, Joe and illustrated by L., Antonio Castro; Cinco Puntos, 2016.
A poor Caucasian American bean farming family sells crops to purchase a hambone which is shared among several neighbors in this extraordinary tall tale about recycling. Readers will delight in this ridiculous read-aloud by master storyteller Joe Hayes. (P-2)
In Plain Sight written by Jackson, Richard and illustrated by Pinkney, Jerry; Roaring Brook/Holtzbrinck, 2016.
Jackson’s story portrays a loving intergenerational relationship through a daily tradition, and Pinkney’s familiar colored pencil and watercolor illustrations are conducive to a very satisfying one-on-one reading. (P-2)
Tony written by Galing, Ed and illustrated by Stead, Erin E.; Roaring Brook, 2017.
Tony, a strong but gentle horse, and his driver deliver milk, eggs, and butter in the early morning hours. The late Ed Galing’s poem, combined with the incomparable artwork of Erin Stead, capture a beautiful moment, a memory, from another age. (K-3)
Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal’d written by Losure, Mary; Candlewick, 2017.
This unusual biography of Isaac Newton focuses on his interest in alchemy, and how that led him to more practical scientific discoveries. The narrative is almost like a novel, using a formal tone that suits the time period and subject, showing Newton as a shy, solitary individual fascinated with both magic and science. (6-12)
Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team written by Sheinkin, Steve; Roaring Brook, 2017.
Although this works well as a biography of Jim Thorpe, it is as much a history of American football, and the Carlisle Indian School, as it is a biography. Sheinkin doesn’t shy away from describing the hateful philosophy and practices of the Carlisle School, which aimed to remove Indian culture from the students, and the prejudice their football team and Thorpe received. The chapters are relatively brief and there is a b&w photo on nearly every other page. (6-12)
Poop Detectives: Working Dogs in the Field written by Wadsworth, Ginger; Charlesbridge, 2016.
This thoroughly researched book shows readers how former shelter dogs are being trained to detect animal scat to help scientists study wild animals without the danger and stress of trapping the animals. Present tense narration, crisp photographs, and extensive backmatter make this book an excellent choice for most libraries. (4-8)
Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness written by Bowman, Donna Janell and illustrated by Minter, Daniel; Lee & Low, 2016.
This informational picture book tells how William “Doc” Key toured the United States with his horse, “Beautiful Jim Key,” after using humane training methods to teach Jim how to spell, write, and count. Rich illustrations draw in the reader, and helpful backmatter and source notes provide tools for further research. (2-5)