October 2018 Prime Picks
Biography & Autobiography
13 Days in Ferguson
Captain Ronald Johnson with Alan Eisenstock
13 Days in Ferguson tells of Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and details his experiences, images, social issues, and confrontations on the street.
Ferguson recreates many moments of racial injustice and conflict, but 13 Days in Ferguson is really the story of a black police officer of 30 years who struggled to bring peace to his community, acting as a liaison between two different worlds after the 2014 fatal shooting of Michael Brown sparked riots that attracted the nation's attention.
As Johnson tells his story and narrates his experiences both within the force and in his community, readers receive a memoir that shares these 13 turbulent days in which Ferguson received condemnation from both sides.
The result is a powerful survey that transcends individual lives and interests to examine the greater social forces that divide or unite Americans: a memoir that deserves a place not just in autobiography holdings, but in any social issues collection strong in American racial history.
Radiation Diaries: Cancer, Memory and Fragments of a Life in Words is about a serious subject, cancer, and a woman diagnosed with three forms of pelvic cancer in 2011.
As Janet Todd underwent treatments, faced their side effects, and handled pain and recovery processes, she kept a diary that examined her beliefs, her health, and her life.
These stories embrace her past and present experiences, reflecting on influential writers, life-threatening illnesses, family history, and other topics.
The result is a powerful survey that will appeal to any undergoing their own struggles for health and survival: one that blends unexpected humor into the overall literary and autobiographical examination.
The Complete Cook's Country TV Show Cookbook
America's Test Kitchen
The Complete Cook's Country TV Show Cookbook appears in an 11th anniversary edition to gather every recipe and review from all eleven seasons of the TV show; which means over 700 pages packed with tested, foolproof dishes and close-up color photos of preparations and finished products.
Of particular note are the 'why this recipe works' insights which provide clues to common problems experienced with, say, Stuffed Tomato recipes. In this example, "Too often you get tasteless tomatoes and a lackluster stuffing that falls out in a clump." The discussion goes on to explain how these common pitfalls are remedied in this particular recipe's approach.
The hints also include descriptions of the mouth-watering finished product ("Deeply flavored, earthy, and subtly sweet, mashed sweet potatoes hardly need a layer of marshmallows to make them into a tempting side.").
These tips and insights, in addition to the testing conducted on each recipe by America's Test Kitchen, contribute to a cookbook packed with flavor and insights that not only feature foolproof recipes, but make for better cooks with a greater understanding of kitchen science, overall.
Eat at Home Tonight
Eat at Home Tonight: 101 Simple Busy-Family Recipes for Your Slow Cooker, Sheet Pan, Instant Pot, and More is for busy cooks who have minimal time and ingredients at hand, or who want to spend one evening cooking for the week ahead, and offers many family-friendly dishes. From Spice Rack Slow-Cooked Turkey Breast to One-Sheet Asian Salmon, Snap Peas and Potatoes, these dishes are versatile, minimal in effort and ingredients, and hold a maximum amount of flavor.
Tiffany King, founder of a meal-planning website of the same name as this book, spent thirty years feeding her family, choosing recipes that fit into her hectic schedule.
Eat at Home Tonight resolves a range of common culinary issues, from too little food in the fridge to too little time in the kitchen, and makes it easy to turn out a home cooked meal under virtually any condition.
Eating in Shanghai
Shanghai Daily, Editor
Eating in Shanghai isn't a recipe
book, but surveys modern Shanghai
restaurants for destination-bound visitors to the country who want to
the modern Shanghai food scene.
From restaurants reflecting Peruvian fare to Noble Seafood Restaurant, which has been making creative Cantonese cuisine for over 15 years, Eating in Shanghai pairs full-page color photos of intriguing dishes with profiles of restaurants, chefs, and their fusions of international fare.
Popular mini coffee shops to spicy Indian fare from Bombay Bistro owner Sameer Kalia represent a mix of old and new flavors, specialty dishes, and changing cultural influences affecting Shanghai's restaurant scene.
Eating in Shanghai is highly recommended for destination travelers to Shanghai with a specific interest in the region's culinary innovations, and also for foodies who would read about the specific kinds of culinary fusions and dishes that reflect Shanghai's changing multicultural cuisine.
Lonely Planet Ultimate
Lonely Planet, Publisher
Lonely Planet Ultimate Eats ranks 500 top selected food experiences around the world and serves as both a travel and a culinary guide that will attract readers from both audiences.
This is a book that travelers and food lovers can use to plan a trip, profiling such dishes as a classic Jordanian Mansaf feast, Tasmania's famous Scallop Pie, a Cape Verde hotpot called Cachupa, and an in-depth discussion of bouillabaisse (fish stew) in Marseille.
Packed with full-page and smaller color photos of both countrysides and profiled dishes, Lonely Planet Ultimate Eats will also serve as an inspiration for home cooks looking for classic extraordinary fare that can be reproduced at home.
No recipes are
included, but Lonely Planet Ultimate Eats
provides the starting point for exploring cuisines of the
world in more
ways than one.
Manoomin: The Story
of Wild Rice in Michigan
Barbara J. Barton
Michigan State University Press
Manoomin: The Story of Wild Rice in Michigan
is the first book to
explore the history of wild rice in Michigan and its importance to the
people native to the area, pairing a botanical and biological focus
with a regional
and Native American history.
This wide-ranging approach brings with it details that will make Manoomin of interest not only to Michigan residents, but to Native American and American history, as well as culinary history, holdings.
It's reviewed here because its details about wild rice, its nature and propagation, and its place in American culinary history should not be missed.
Orange Blossom &
Honey: Magical Moroccan Recipes from the Souks to the Sahara
Orange Blossom & Honey: Magical Moroccan Recipes from the Souks to the Sahara isn't just an overview of Moroccan dishes, but focuses on regional dishes across the country.
John Gregory-Smith traveled far and wide to learn how to cook traditional dishes from mountain barbecue to Imperial Court fare, and thus this book is rich in both colorful travel and culinary photography and a wide-ranging approach to Moroccan food that moves beyond familiar fare to such dishes as a celebratory Chicken Rfissa spicy stew, a lamb liver Barbecue Boulfaf which is introduced by the author's experience in the High Atlas Mountains village of Tacheddirt, and an Artichoke & Beef Tagine.
The beautiful illustrations embellish both dishes and countryside, while the recipes themselves will prove quite accessible to home cooks.
Even experienced cooks already familiar with the many Moroccan cookbooks on the market will find many new, accessible, inviting recipes that make Orange Blossom & Honey a standout among others.
Porto: Stories from
Portugal's Historic Bolhāo
Gabriella Opaz and Sonia Andresson Nolasco
At first glance, one might think that Porto: Stories from Portugal's Historic Bolhāo Market is just another collection of Portuguese recipes; but closer inspection reveals a treasure trove of colorful photos, with its focus on the sellers, buyers, and users of Portugal's Bolhāo Market.
Families long involved in the market are profiled, discussions of Portuguese breads and other specialties are woven into the stories, and readers receive a vivid collection pairing colorful images of Portuguese people and countryside with the fresh ingredients involved in some of its most classic dishes. A fine photo of stone crab, prawns, and fish fresh from the fishing boats at the Matosinhos docks is just one of the eye-catching embellishments which make this more than another cookbook.
Anyone with an interest in more than recipes alone will find Porto a far more wide-ranging discussion than most, highly recommended for culinary, cultural, and travel readers alike.
The Ultimate One-Pan
Page Street Publishing
Busy cooks looking to make fresh homemade fare have a wealth of 'quick' cookbooks to choose from; but The Ultimate One-Pan Oven Cookbook comes with a difference: a focus on sheet pan, roasting pan, and Dutch oven cookery which places the entire meal in one utensil for a minimum of clean-up and equipment.
The section on 'Hands-Off Main Dishes' will prove the most useful to cooks who struggle to come up with dinner ideas, presenting such dishes as Chicken Thighs Stuffed with Ricotta and Broccoli, Spatchcocked Chicken with Lemons and Oranges, and Baked Trout with Fresh Salsa and Cheese Two Ways; but those chapters holding a Roasted Cauliflower, Sweet Potato or a Garlic Mash and Roasted Pears Stuffed with Ricotta are also outstanding and packed with easy, flavorful one-pan oven-baked ideas.
The result is an excellent collection that will delight cooks who like baked dishes that are a snap to produce, packed with the flavorful embellishments of homemade fare.
The Death of Hitler:
The Final Word
Jean-Christophe Brisard and Lana Parshina
Da Capo Press
The Death of Hitler: The Final Word examines what happened to Hilter after the fall of Berlin: a puzzle that has been the subject of so many books that one might question the need for yet another.
The Death of Hitler, however, isn't just a rehash of old material: the authors performed their own investigative detective work, gaining access to classified documents, Hitler's remains, and even the Russian State Military Archive. They combined their survey with new eyewitness interviews to reconstruct the final hours and moments of Hitler's experience, carried out forensic tests on a piece of his skull, and assembled conclusive evidence that provides a definitive end to the decades of debate over Hitler's final days and ultimate fate.
Any collection strong in Hitler and World War II history should have this original piece of detective work in their collection as a hallmark of stellar research.
Rowman & Littlefield
Hard Times: Economic Depressions in America is no singular survey of the Great Depression, as so many books have already covered in enough detail; but a comparison of various economic depressions in the country from colonial to modern times.
Another differentiating factor is that it's written not for a history or economics audience alone; but for the general public. Thus, it adopts a more lively narrative than most as it surveys facts about how each depression began, how it affected people in different economic, social and political circles, and how it ended.
The result is more than a history or a comparative study, offering lay readers and students alike a well-reasoned examination of economic patterns and policies that usually are limited to more scholarly audiences. Lay readers receive essential food for thought as well as insights into American economics that will prove key to Americans seeking to identify the origins and structure of hard and good times alike.
The History of Jihad
The History of Jihad from Muhammad to Isis should be considered a key acquisition for any collection strong in Middle East, European, or Islamic history. It traces 1,400 years of Islamic jihadis around the world, gathering accounts from other modern historians (both Muslim and non-Muslim) to consider the ideology, roots, and progression of jihad operations around the world.
The contrast between historical ideology and expression and modern-day events makes for a particularly strong juxtaposition of belief systems and theological roots in a title that should be considered a basic introductory discussion for anyone interested in Islam and its connections to radical terrorism.
Into the Hands of the
David D. Kirkpatrick
Into the Hands of the Soldiers: Freedom and Chaos in Egypt and the Middle East comes from an international correspondent and bureau chief for the New York Times who provides new discoveries about American policy and its effects on democratic processes not only in Egypt, but in the Middle East as a whole.
Washington played a key role in the demise of the Arab Spring and in many other events that actually threatened democratic processes in these countries, and Kirkpatrick's eyewitness stories of these events juxtaposes a reporter's dispassionate eye for facts with personal experience, as a result.
As Kirkpatrick strove to understand what was happening in Cairo, he uncovered White House operations and involvements that were eye-opening, contradictory, and powerful influencers on Egyptian and Middle East events and politics.
No Middle East history or political studies collection should be without this riveting blend of personal reporting and political observation.
Sword and Scimitar
Da Capo Press
Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War Between Islam and the West comes from a military historian who surveys the eight most powerful clashes between two groups, providing a chronological survey of key events beginning with Year 636 jihadi conflicts and moving through the centuries.
From how Muslim actions prompted the Crusades to Europe's colonization of the Muslim world in the 1800s and Islam's growing strength today, Sword and Scimitar provides a powerful survey of lesser-known influencers on Islam's birth, growth, progression and clashes with the West. Key early knowledge is revealed that contrasts the ancient beliefs and tactics of Islamic jihad with modern Islamic approaches.
The result is an overview that should begin points of discussion for any course in Islamic history and culture.
Film, Stage & Television
The Beatles - Yellow
Story Adaptation by Bill Morrison
The Beatles - Yellow Submarine adapts a screenplay originally written by Lee Minoff, Al Brodax, Jack Mendelsohn and Erich Segal, and features artwork adaptations by Bill Morrison from the designs of Heinz Edelmann.
This full-color graphic novel is published to coincide with the 50th's anniversary of Yellow Submarine, and its redrawn panels do a fantastic job of bringing the animated movie to life in book format.
Graphic novel readers, Beatles fans, and artists working in the graphic novel arena will relish this hardcover collector's edition, which takes a classic film and brings it to life.
Chris Enss and Howard Kazanjian
Cowboys, Creatures, and Classics: The Story of Republic Pictures presents a focus most performing arts books don't provide: a film discussion that centers upon one company, Republic Pictures, and the changes it brought to the movie industry when it translated the American pop scene of the 1930s and 1940s to the big screen.
From classic Westerns to World War II battle scenes and monster movies, Republic had its lens on the pulse of American popular entertainment and produced an amazing array of hits and films with lasting impact (over a thousand) through the late 1950s.
This history surveys their films, actors and actresses, directors and producers, and how their projects changed the face of the movie industry. Black and white images from these notable pictures accompany a detailed discussion of Republic that should be a mainstay of any serious film history collection.
When Women Wrote
Rosanne Welch, Editor
When Women Wrote Hollywood: Essays on Female Screenwriters in the Early Film Industry gathers over twenty new essays that examine the lives of female screenwriters in Hollywood. Iconic women such as Lillian Hellman, Clara Berenger, and June Mathis are covered by various contributors who trace their lives and achievements.
While theater history and literary collections will be the most likely users of When Women Wrote Hollywood, it also will attract women's issues and history collections, pairing vivid insights into Golden Age Hollywood history with a survey that considers the works of female screenwriters who helped change that world and who made an impact and a difference in Hollywood's story.
Chroma: A Photographer's Guide to Lighting with Color offers a basic primer on working with light, one of the most basic challenges a photographer faces in producing superior, artistic works; and is recommended for any who would move beyond the mechanics of lighting to consider the color of light itself and its effects on photos.
Basic color theory is imparted in a survey that examines how to determine which shades and colors will work most effectively in a photo shoot; how to balance and layer colors for unique combinations; different methods for controlling or modifying light; and how to use color techniques in black-and-white productions.
Packed with full-page and smaller color photo examples throughout, Chroma moves far beyond most primers on working with available or artificial light, and should be considered a 'must' reference for any photographer interested in better incorporating color into their works.
Comic Book Explosion
Keith Dallas and John Wells
Comic Book Explosion: An Oral History of DC Comics Circa 1978 will reach teen through adult DC comic fans with an in-depth survey of the changes DC made in order to rejuvenate and revitalize its comic book brand.
Only weeks after launching the "DC Explosion," the company pulled back, leaving stacks of comics unpublished which changed an 'explosion' of promotional opportunity into a disastrous implosion.
Comic artists will relish this history of these cutbacks, which incorporates oral insights from the artists and executives involved in the project, commentary by fellow industry professionals and fans, and discusses how DC's decision changed many things about the comic industry's approach to marketing and promoting new artists.
Black and white (and a peppering of color) comic panels, photos, and images accompany a discussion that lends insight into bigger picture approaches to comic book marketing in a production that should be on the reading list of any comic artist looking to understand the genre's history.
Elegance in Japanese
PIE International Inc.
Elegance in Japanese Art: Edo Rinpa Bird and Flower Painting profiles the Edo-Ripna style, a significant and major historical movement in Japanese art established in the 17th century and revised during the 19th century Edo period.
Gorgeous and colorful full-page examples of this style accompany discussions of Rinpa, his contemporaries, and his influence upon those who came after him. These visual and textual references create a fine discussion presented in both Japanese and English that profiles the major works and creators of Rinpa.
Elegance in Japanese Art's powerful collection should be in any library strong in Japanese art in general and Rinpa-era productions in particular.
Edward Weston: The
Karen Haas and Margaret Wessling
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Edward Weston: The Early Years fills in a surprising gap in the many books surrounding Edward Weston's photography by narrowing its focus to his early years, before he gained a reputation for being a modernist and became famous.
This book features
rare prints from the unplumbed holdings of the Lane Collection at the
Fine Arts, Boston; so it's truly an original piece and not a rehash of
better-known, more widely published Weston works.
This focus creates an excellent gathering of formative works that will especially help prior Weston fans understand the origins of his inspiration and his chronological progression from initial ideas to the evolution of his art as a whole.
No serious Weston art
collection should be without this definitive glimpse into his early
Think Like a
Designer: Don't Act Like One
Jeroen Van Erp
Think Like a Designer: Don't Act Like One gathers over seventy insights from designers into how the world operates, expanding the views of designing and purpose in a manner that embraces music, art, daily lives, and culture.
Readers don't have to be designers in order to appreciate this succinct yet thought-provoking survey of how design operates in daily lives, and why.
Arts as well as general-interest holdings will find Think Like a Designer: Don't Act Like One an inviting account of expanding boundaries and overcoming design misperceptions and limitations.
Four new audio releases are recommended picks for libraries looking for durable plastic cases, strong narrators and authors, and topics that promise much patron interest and lending attention.
Robert Coover's Huck Out West (9781681683812, $34.99) is read by Eric Michael Summerer, whose voice brings to life this continuation of Twain's Huckleberry Finn, providing a series of Western adventures where Huck and Tom join the Pony Express, become heroes, and depart for different paths in life: Tom to pursue a law degree and Huck to serve as a scout and horse wrangler, among other mishaps and adventures.
Fans of Twain's stories will relish seeing Huck, Tom, Becky and the gang back together in a series of compelling Western-based sagas.
Andrea Penrose's Murder on Black Swan Lane (9781681686134, $34.99) is narrated by James Cameron Stewart, who brings to life a ribald adventure centered upon a war of words between a popular satirical cartoonist, a pious Reverend, and a reckless Earl.
As a female artist adopts her husband's pen name and enters the fray, murder and suspects mount in a London-based story of murder, mystery, and a hidden world.
David Grossman's A Horse Walks Into a Bar (9781681664376, $29.99) receives a vivid and fine reading by Joe Barrett, who captures the comedy and ironies of a story where a standup comedian in a small Israeli city brings listeners into a world that reviews his childhood, his family, the meaning of life as a Holocaust survivor, and the evolution of his acceptance of loss.
This fine novel of cultural and psychological inspection comes to life in audio.
Heather Abel's The Optimistic Decade (9781684411788, $39.99) receives a lively reading by Tanya Eby, who perfectly captures this story of a real estate boom, ranchers who face varying challenges to their lifestyles and land, a woman who is an activist facing love and changes, and a teenager who are all changed by Llamalo and its history and fate.
A warm story of a sense of place and purpose makes for an engrossing listen especially recommended for audiobook novel readers.
500 Words You Should
500 Words You Should Know is for wordsmiths and English language buffs interested in both usage and building vocabulary, featuring words that may seem familiar but which are popularly misused or misunderstood.
Some 500 of tricky, most-often-misused words are arranged thematically, with discussion including their history, etymology, and modern applications.
A pronunciation key
for each would have made for an even handier compendium for words the
might not have heard before; but this refresher and reference course is
packed with useful detail without it, and is a fun gift for authors and
regularly use the English language beyond ordinary daily
An Informal History of the Hugos
An Informal History of the Hugos comes from a notable genre writer who herself has won the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards.
Here Jo Walton turns away from fiction to consider the history of the Hugo Awards, gathering a series of posts written between 2010 and 2013 which used each year's finalists to consider the state of science fiction writing at the time they were produced.
Her personal involvement with the awards lends to a survey that creates an insider's viewpoint of their impact, changes, meaning, and challenges over the decades.
These essays have been lightly edited and are gathered under one cover along with some of the comments posted by science fiction fans and famous personalities alike.
A chronological arrangement accompanies notes on award-winning novels and the state and evolution of the Hugo Awards, as in the first entry from 1953 which profiles award winner Alfred Bester's The Demolished Man and adds that between 1953 and 1958, the Hugos were somewhat disorganized and in flux.
Anyone with an interest in science fiction awards in general and the evolution of the Hugos and their winners must have this lively survey.
The Beatles: Tom
Murray's Mad Day Out
Paul Skellett and Tom Murray
ACC Art Books
The Beatles: Tom Murray's Mad Day Out coincides with 50th anniversary of Royal photographer Tom Murray's famous day out with The Beatles, and places photos from a day spent following and photographing The Beatles under one cover.
This day is captured not only in full-page color and black and white photos, but with Murray's written memories of viewing, following, seeing their encounters with others, and interacting with the Beatles.
Longtime fans will likely be more than familiar with Murray's works and his 'Mad Day Out,' so may find relatively little new here; but anyone with less familiarity with these images or who appreciate Beatles descriptions and photo celebrations will find The Beatles: Tom Murray's Mad Day Out a treasure trove packed with fun detail.
The End of Strategic
Lawrence Rubin and Adam N. Stulberg, Editors
Georgetown University Press
The End of Strategic Stability? Nuclear Weapons and the Challenge of Regional Rivalries contrasts how different states in different regions view nuclear deterrence and management policies and strategies, collecting essays that consider regional rivalries, the long-standing view of strategic stability and mutual assured destruction, and how current national policies are changing not just within and between long-standing nuclear powers, but with others posed at the brink of nuclear capabilities.
Having such a volume in a college-level political or military studies collection provides students with an important key to understanding the latest concepts and differing perceptions of nuclear weapons management. The End of Strategic Stability? will prove an important library addition covering everything from Russian perspectives on cyber warfare to Iranian policies and development plans and changing notions of strategic stability within and between India and Pakistan.
O. Sami Saydjari
Engineering Trustworthy Systems: Get Cybersecurity Design Right the First Time comes from a cyber security expert who considers solutions that thwart even the most sophisticated cyber hackers and attackers. It provides IT professionals and business managers with a step-by-step discussion of securing systems, the costs of success and failure, various ways of building better cyber security into internal operations, and insights on how to work with cyber security engineers.
Perhaps the greatest value here lies in discussions of pitfalls and common problems, insights into how non-IT professionals can best understand cyber security options and architecture, and how engineering basics apply to agility, computer science basics, and evolving cyber situations.
Business and IT collections alike will find Engineering Trustworthy Systems a foundation acquisition.
The Real Trump Deal
Martin E. Latz
Life Success Press
Martin Latz is a
negotiation expert, the founder of Latz Negotiation, and has been long
recognized for his insights on business strategies. His The
Real Trump Deal: An Eye-Opening Look at How He Really Negotiates
is a close inspection of Trump's negotiation skills, successes, and
both business and politics.
Some 100 Trump negotiations are analyzed to examine his underlying strategies and those which have proven successful or which have led to failures.
The focus is designed to educate readers about these approaches and will interest anyone involved in research-backed analyses of Trump's patterns of engagement.
Cleo and Cornelius
Elizabeth Nicholson, et.al.
The J. Paul Getty Museum
Courageous Cleo and less courageous Cornelius cat live in ancient Egypt in an era where cats are pampered all day long and need do little more than lie about.
When Cornelius accidentally embarks on an unwelcome voyage away from his beloved Egypt, it's up to Cleo to head to Rome to find him in an alien world where dogs are the ones being pampered and cats look for adventure outside.
The two cat friends have such fun, they may never return to Egypt and their former pampered lifestyle.
Michelle Thies provides the engaging cat and countryside drawings that invites all ages to enjoy the adventure and its ultimate message.
Three new books are excellent choices for libraries seeking appealing stories for young readers. Sylvia Bishop's The Bookshop Girl (9781682630457, $16.95) will appeal to ages 8-12, is illustrated in black and white by Poly Bernatene, and tells of a family that wins the best bookshop in Britain, only to find that it holds some secrets, threats from an evil villain, and a host of peculiarities not usual in the bookshop world.
Can Property Jones save her family and their new bookshop? A quirky story evolves with a fine young heroine at the helm.
Bethan Woollvin's Hansel & Gretel (9781682630730, $16.95) tells of good witch Willow, who never used to worry about her gingerbread house falling prey to devious and naughty children.
But Hansel and Gretel are another story, and their antics have even the good witch at odds with her world and patience.
A three-color display of funny drawings adds to a wicked sense of humor to keep this alternative Hansel and Gretel version lively and unexpected.
Melissa Stewart's Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs (9781561459360, $16.95) is illustrated by Stephanie Laberis and offers a lively introduction to "animal underdogs" who are traditionally considered weak in some way, but who actually are quite clever.
Humorous drawings are particularly fun and well-done and add much to this survey of animal facts, habits, and abilities.
Penguin Random House
Hudson Talbott's Picturing America: Thomas Cole and the Birth of American Art (9780399548673, $17.99) provides ages 6-8 with an inviting survey of how Thomas Cole developed the Hudson River school of painting, fostered America's first formal art movement, and succeeded in creating landscapes that captured the beauty outside his back door.
His landscapes produced more than art: they fostered discussions about the country's nature and how best to preserve it, and this survey of Cole's paintings and his environmental influence will satisfy young artists, readers of biographical sketches, and appreciators of nature.
Patricia Polacco's Holes in the Sky (9781524739485, $18.99) tells of Trisha's grandmother, who passes away through the "holes in the sky" and of how she moves to California, meets a new best friend, and discovers a feisty grandmother on a mission to save her dying gardens.
Good reading skills will lend to an appreciation of this gentle book about many things, including life changes, attitudes, and a girl's ability to accept loss, move on, and discover new qualities in a beloved elder.
The Pout-Pout Fish
and the Can't-Sleep Blues
Farrar Straus Giroux
The Pout-Pout Fish and the Can't-Sleep Blues pairs large-size, fun drawings by Dan Hanna with the engaging rhyming tale of Mr. Fish, who is feeling tired but can't sleep. His friends all try to give good advice, but nothing works.
Hanna's drawings are whimsical, fun, creative embellishments to a fine rhyme that outlines all of Mr. Fish's woes and a plan for creating a sleepy slumbertime.
Simon & Schuster
Five new books are recommendations librarians will wish to consider for collections catering to elementary-level readers. Elena Delle Donne's Full-Court Press (9781534412347, $16.99) adds to the Hoops series with a new story of Elle, who makes new friends working with kids with special needs when her basketball team is invited to hold a service day. But she's already juggling sports and schoolwork, and it seems her volunteering duties are cutting into her grades. How can Elle do everything? A moving story of a girl's good intentions will especially intrigue young basketball fans.
Tim Federle's Nate Expectations (9781481404129, $17.99) provides the final book in the Nate series and tells of a show's closing, which leaves Nate Foster out of a job. Nate's musical career seems over long before he's achieved the fame he desires; but when his grades slip and high school proves to be a challenge, Nate needs to find a purpose in being off Broadway and a freshman in the ordinary world. This conclusion to the Nate series about a boy's theater aspirations is especially recommended for prior fans.
Susan Verde's picture book Hey, Wall (9781481453134, $17.99) is illustrated by John Parra and tells of a creative boy, a bare, abandoned wall, and a lively neighborhood that lives with this bleak emptiness. Ages 4-8 will find this a delightful story of not just a wall, but a community which surrounds it: one which cooks and eats together, shares jokes and stories, and is changed by a creative youngster's decision.
Jane Kurtz's What Do They Do With All That Poop? (9781481479868, $17.99) is illustrated by Allison Black and provides picture book readers with the creative story of poo at the zoo and how some of it holds some surprises. Large-sized colorful animal drawings accompany a fun tale which includes biological facts about animal poo, its different makeup, and its possible uses.
Blake Liliane Hellman's Something Smells! (9781481488648, $17.99) is illustrated by Steven Henry and tells of young Elliot's determination to find out the source of a terrible smell. It's not the trash, the dog, or Grandma's brew; so what is it? As the investigation unfolds, youngsters receive plenty of details on what the smell is not, until a surprise conclusion reveals a revelation.
Sleeping Bear Press
Two excellent new releases from Sleeping Bear Press provide kids with moving stories that stand out from many.
Helen Foster James writes With Love, Grandma (9781585369423, $15.99), which receives lovely drawings by Petra Brown who brings to live the gentle story of a busy Grandma Hedgehog who is not too busy to write to her grandchild expressing her adventures and love. Letters from Grandma to her grandchild accompany fun drawings and examples of how long-distance relationships and separate experiences can eventually come full-circle to shared fun.
Rachel Kolar's Mother Ghost: Nursery Rhymes for Little Monsters (9781585363926, $16.99) receives fun and spooky drawings by Roland Garrigue, whose dark but zany images lends to fun and whimsical reflections that are take-offs on tradition. From 'What Are Little Bats Made Of?' to 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Lantern Jack', kids will appreciate these very different nursery rhymes with their darker flavors.
The Sloth Who Slowed
The Sloth Who Slowed Us Down features fun drawings by Vivienne To, which bring to life the fun story of Amy and her speedy family who are used to living life on the run, whether it's chores or playtime.
But when Amy brings home a sloth, the family eventually learns the value in a slower pace of life in this engaging story of the benefits that come with taking time to eat, talk, reflect, and enjoy the world.
Kids and parents will appreciate both the message and the method of its slow, appealing delivery.