The storyline of Leigh Hodgkinson’s Troll Swap is familiar, but her playful language and hilarious illustrations bring freshness to a simple story of children who don’t quite fit in with their families.
Children who linger over the cover of Lola M. Schaefer’s One Busy Day will see that they’re in for a grand adventure: A brother and sister sit outside. She’s wearing a crown, they’re in front of an elaborate sand castle, and behind the boy a dragon lingers. Toys are strewn everywhere. Clearly, the siblings have had a day of exhilarating play.
Forbidden love among teenagers has been a hot topic since long before Romeo first met Juliet at a party in fair Verona. The latest YA entry in this genre has Kestrel, daughter of a conquering Valorian general, falling for Arin, a native Herrani slave. Romance and politics quickly intersect as the Herrani stage a violent attempt to take back their land, and loyalties are tested when Kestrel, Arin and their various allies must choose between love, power, security and family.
Heather Nill is living a dead-end life in a washed-up town. Prospects are so grim that the high school kids’ best hope of escaping is through a legendary game called Panic. Everyone pays in, and there can be only one winner, but it's not just a matter of facing down your worst fears—the stakes can be life or death.
It’s 1917, and 16-year-old Russian noble Natalya feels confident of her future: She’ll become tsarina when she marries Romanov heir Alexei and live a life filled with glittering parties and beautiful gowns. Her plans seem especially secure when Alexei shows her a Fabergé egg that’s been infused with magical healing powers by royal advisor Grigori Rasputin.
No matter that Cuckoo, an adorable light gray bird with stripes, doesn’t look like his polka-dotted mother and siblings. All’s well until they open their beaks in this latest pet book by Fiona Roberton, also the author of Wanted: The Perfect Pet and The Perfect Present. While the other birds give a soothing tweet, the aptly named Cuckoo responds with a definitive “cuckoo!” that his family doesn’t recognize. Cuckoo is no ugly duckling, though; he’s not interested in becoming a swan, just in finding a friend who will understand him.
Midnight Gulch, Tennessee, used to be a magical town where people caught stars in jars, called up thunderstorms with songs and even turned invisible at will. But ever since a pair of musical brothers dueled and then went their separate ways, a curse has lingered over the townsfolk, leaving them with only a tiny snicker of their previous power.
Mia is famous because she fell into a well at the age of 4. Now she’s nearly 17 and attends Westbrook, an elite boarding school, and people still call her “Baby Mia.” Westbrook happens to be located in Mia’s hometown of Fenton, which gives her “townie” status and keeps her close to her widowed father. Not that she sees him very often. He’s obsessed with his secret work at the Cave, which Mia believes has something to do with microchips and the government. Mia is wrong.
Whether you’re an adult or a child, this new picture book biography gives an informed overview of intriguing nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale. It’s not a surprising subject choice for gifted author-illustrator Demi (born Charlotte Dumaresq Hunt, nicknamed by her father because she was half the size of her older sister). Demi is well known for her biographies of historical and spiritual figures, as well as her fairy tales, folk tales and stately art.
BookPage Top Pick in Children's Books, March 2014
When Lucy’s family moves to an old house on a New Hampshire lake, she must adjust to new surroundings and new friends—all without her father, a professional photographer, who is gone on yet another extended business trip.