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November 2, 2009
We've teamed up with the editors of Publishers Weekly to scour the latest titles, from books for babies to cutting-edge fiction and nonfiction for teens, to help you find that just-right book for your grandchild.
By Loren Long (Philomel Books, $17.99; ages 3-5)
Fans of classic children's books will find traces of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Little Toot, and The Story of Ferdinand in Long's lovely story of the friendship between a spirited tractor and a young calf.
The Lion & the Mouse
By Jerry Pinkney (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $16.99; ages 3-6)
Pinkney's wordless interpretation of Aesop's classic fable doesn't need a single syllable to get its message of friendship across. His affectionately detailed images of the two creatures, set on Africa's Serengeti Plain, speak volumes.
All the World
By Liz Garton Scanlon, illus. by Marla Frazee (Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane Books, $17.99; ages 3-7)
This gentle, heartwarming ode to the interconnectedness of our world shows families of all kinds playing, cooking, and simply living together—as well as weathering the occasional (and inevitable) storm.
By Deborah Hopkinson, illus. by Carson Ellis (Disney-Hyperion, $16.99; ages 4-7)
Sal, a heroine bursting with pioneer pluck, proves that quick thinking and a beautiful singing voice are more effective than a rifle at capturing "the most polite bandit in all of California" (though Sal's right handy with that rifle, too).
By Julia Donaldson, illus. by Axel Scheffler (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books, $16.99; ages 4-8)
Donaldson's buoyant verse never misses a beat as she tells the story of the hapless Stick Man (a walking, talking stick), who endures all manner of travails as he tries to get back to his family (and does so, with a little help from Santa).
FOR THE ELEMENTARY SET
Bobby Versus Girls (Accidentally)
By Lisa Yee, illus. by Dan Santat (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books, $15.99; ages 7-10)
With humor and an expert eye trained on the trying social lives of fourth-graders, Yee explores the strained friendship between former "sorta-best friends" Bobby and Holly as they face off in a student-council election.
The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis
By Barbara O'Connor (FSG/Frances Foster Books, $16.99; ages 8-12)
Memorably eccentric characters make for a charming, funny story about a boy named Popeye, whose tedious and rainy summer in Fayette, South Carolina, is transformed by the arrival of a motor home filled with rambunctious kids.
Everything for a Dog
By Ann M. Martin (Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $16.99; ages 9-12)
This well-crafted companion to Martin's A Dog's Life (2005) shifts between the perspectives of Bone, a dog searching for a home, and two boys. The lives of all three intersect in surprising and satisfying ways.
The Day of the Pelican
By Katherine Paterson (Clarion Books, $16; ages 10 and up)
Paterson tells the powerful and at times harrowing story of a family of Muslim Albanians who flee the conflict in Kosovo and immigrate to the United States. A realistic and important depiction of the plight of refugees.
The Museum of Mary Child
By Cassandra Golds (Kane/Miller, $16.99; ages 11 and up)
Raised by a stern godmother who forbids not only toys but use of the word "love," Heloise embarks on a magical journey that begins with the discovery of a doll. Kids are bound to soak up the rich, atmospheric prose.
By Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press, $17.99; ages 12 and up)
Collins's sequel to her bestselling novel The Hunger Games ratchets up the suspense, as the effects of Katniss's actions in the first book spread throughout Panem—the post-apocalyptic North America that is her home.
By Patricia McCormick (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $16.99; ages 12 and up)
Plagued by a traumatic brain injury that has impaired his memory, Matt Duffy, an 18-year-old soldier in Iraq, begins to question the events that led to his receiving a Purple Heart commendation. A timely and gripping thriller.
By Scott Westerfeld, illus. by Keith Thompson (Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $19.99; ages 12 and up)
Westerfeld conjures an action-packed and inventive alternative vision of WWI Europe. The action takes place in a steampunk world, where Darwinist forces pit genetically enhanced animals against mechanical "Clankers."
By Libby Bray (Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $17.99; ages 14 and up)
Bray offers up the comically surreal story of 16-year-old Cameron. After being diagnosed with mad cow disease, Cameron encounters an angel—or does he?—and sets out on a cross-country road trip of cosmic importance.
By Kristin Cashore (Dial Books for Young Readers, $17.99; ages 14 and up)
Starring a powerful female protagonist with the power to read minds, this companion to Cashore's Graceling features different characters and setting than its predecessor, but the same immersive prose, intrigue, romance, and adventure.
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