Imagine if Sherlock Holmes were an 11-year-old girl at a ritzy boarding school. That’s the premise of Friday Barnes: Girl Detective, the first in a series by Australian writer R.A. Spratt. This children’s comedy TV writer and author of the award-winning Nanny Piggins series has crafted a likable, intriguing heroine and a lighthearted, breezy mystery.
Some years I approach the new crop of Hanukkah picture books with trepidation: What new stories could possibly be told about the Jewish Festival of Lights, an ancient holiday that’s become a staple of December festivities? Happily, though, this year’s Hanukkah books include three titles that reimagine the genre in ways that are rich, fresh and delicious.
Lenny & Lucy, the latest picture book from the award-winning husband and wife team of Philip and Erin Stead, is a quietly captivating story about a boy named Peter who moves with his father and a large dog, Harold, to a new home at the edge of a big forest.
Award-winning author-illustrator Laura Vaccaro Seeger tells a story of childhood fears in her newest picture book, starring a young protagonist who looks life’s scary things right in the eyes.
He doesn’t have the worm-fed physique of the robin, the glossy red pompadour of the cardinal, or the impressively sculpted chest muscles of the eagle. No, Nerdy Birdy’s glasses are too big, his wings are too small, and he’s allergic to birdseed.
With one action, Daniel Ellsberg became the most celebrated, most reviled and most dangerous man in America. Most Dangerous, by award-winning author Steve Sheinkin, tells the story of how Ellsberg, an unknown government analyst, compiled and then released 20 years of governmental records, reports and documents about the Vietnam War.
Ten-year-old Christa Adams has a problem. Her parents are making the disastrous mistake of selling the family cabin in Wisconsin’s Northwoods, where Christa has spent every summer of her life. In the past, she might have had help reasoning with her parents from her sister, Amelia—but she’s been replaced by Amelia-the-Princess, who only seems to care about texting and tanning. Luckily for Christa, her new friend Alex might have a solution buried in his family’s past.
On the third spread of this story of a rushed parent with a curious child, readers see a street scene with a “one way” sign in the background. It’s fitting for this horizontally oriented book of a mother rushing to get someplace on time. “Hurry!” she keeps telling her son, rushing to the next page. But “wait,” he says. There’s a big and endlessly intriguing world to see, and he wants to slow down and take it all in.
Nearly every person, no matter what age, has experienced the sting of knowing a friend said something behind her back. And all of us know what it’s like to misunderstand something and let a situation get out of hand. This is the drama at the heart of Liz Rosenberg’s What James Said, where one elementary-age girl tells readers how she refuses to talk to her friend James. “We are in a fight,” she declares. Word has gotten around, you see, that James said that he thinks our narrator thinks she is perfect.
In this lyrical look at the water cycle, Miranda Paul explores the many forms water can take. Jason Chin’s lush illustrations frame the story around a brother and sister, their family and friends through all the seasons of one year.