Each 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 May edition of BayViews. Not a member? Join, come to our monthly meetings, and hear about these Outstanding books in person!
Big Brown Bear’s Cave written and illustrated by Yuval, Zommer; Templar, 2018.
Big Brown Bear fills his cave with so much stuff he can’t fit, so he gets rid of it and learns that it’s not stuff, but family and friends, that make a home a home. (Grades PreK-2.)
Ducks Away! written by Fox, Mem and illustrated by Horacek, Judy; Scholastic, 2018.
A mother duck and five ducklings “waddled onto a bridge,” where one by one the babies fall into the water. The mother duck’s repeated phrase “What should I do? Where should I go?” makes this perfect for storytime. The full color, cartoon-like artwork has considerable white space and simple figures. (Baby/Toddler-K.)
Grace for Gus written and illustrated by Bliss, Harry; Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins, 2018.
When Grace’s diverse class is prompted by their teacher to donate to the class pet’s “buddy fund”, Grace takes the instruction to heart: sneaking out after bedtime on a creative, fundraising mission. Crisp colorful illustrations are packed full of jokes, pop culture references, and loving nods to both New York and comic history in this nearly wordless, graphic novel-style picture book. (K-3.)
Shake the Tree! written by Vignocchio, Chiara and illustrated by Borando, Silvia; minibombo/Walker, 2018.
Mouse sees a tasty-looking nut up in a tree, so she shakes the tree and down drops… a fox, causing mouse to scurry up the tree, and the fox to then shake the tree… Repeated refrains, and the fact that the book is held vertically, make this a storytime delight! (B/T-1)
Baby Monkey, Private Eye written by Selznick, Brian and David Serlin, and illustrated by Selznick, Brian; Scholastic, 2018.
In this unusual easy reader, a young monkey solves five different crimes by observation; the book design is what makes this a stand-out. Each chapter uses a similar format: very simple sentences in extra-large font on white backgrounds (repeated in each chapter), followed by wordless pencil drawings of monkey in his office and trying to put on his pants. (K-2.)
The Journey of Little Charlie written by Curtis, Christopher Paul; Scholastic, 2018.
To pay off a debt, 12 year-old Charlie, who is white, must journey north with a sadistic, white overseer, to hunt down and escaped, enslaved family. Curtis’s signature style mixes rural patois, humor, and the stomach-turning brutality of violent racism. Sure to prompt discussion. (6-9.)
Just Like Jackie written by Stoddard, Lindsey; HarperCollins, 2018.
Eleven year-old Robinson Hart lives with her grandfather and is overwhelmed by covering for his memory loss and dealing with her anger issues. This sweet story successfully deals with love, loss, and the consequences of children feeling the need to carry too much on their small shoulders. (4-7.)
The Oceans Between Stars written by Emerson, Kevin; Walden Pond/HarperCollins, 2018.
The second installment in the Dark Star series delivers fast-paced action, richly imagined worlds, complex characters, and moral dilemmas that test the bonds of friendship. A thought-provoking and deftly written adventure that will appeal to a wide-range of readers. (4-8.)
The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle written by Connor, Leslie; Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins, 2018.
Mason, the biggest, tallest, sweatiest seventh grader at Merrimack Middle School, is unable to read or write, so a teacher allows him to dictate into a speech-to-text software which finally enables Mason to put his thoughts into words. Mason is a loveable, eternally well-intentioned character whose first person narration in short sentences feels authentic. (4-7.)
Estranged written and illustrated by Aldridge, Ethan M.; HarperCollins, 2018.
When a cruel sorceress steals the throne of the World Below, the Human Childe travels to the World Above to find safety and to bring Edmund, the real son of the King and Queen, back to the World Below to fight for his rightful throne. Fans of the Amulet series will find everything they love – dragons, strange creatures, and dark themes of betrayal and figuring out where you belong. (3-7.)
Martin Rising: Requiem for a King written by Pinkney, Andrea Davis and illustrated by Pinkney, Brian; Scholastic, 2018.
Forty original free verse poems pay tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. in this oversized book that is perfect for school assemblies, church programs, or other oral presentations. The poems focus on the last few months of King’s life, including his assassination, funeral, and lasting legacy. The watercolor, gouache, and ink illustrations have energy. (3-8.)
The United States v. Jackie Robinson written by Bardhan-Quallen, Sudipta and illustrated by Christie, R. Gregory; Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2018.
“Long before anyone had heard of Rosa Parks, a guy named Jack refused to move to the back of the bus.” So begins an inspiring story that deepens reader’s understanding of how Jackie Robinson became the man who, with grace, guts, and skill, broke the MLB color barrier. Back matter includes a detailed timeline, an author’s note, and a brief bibliography. (2-6.)