This season’s starred reviews have been lighting up our new releases each and every week since May. With Books like Elizabeth Wein’s The Pearl Thief and Ryan T. Higgins Be Quiet continuing to deliver out-of-this-world praise from industry periodicals and fans alike. While many of our upcoming titles like The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding and The Adventurer’s Guild have begun to gather their own star struck followings sure to send readers searching for exciting new reads at your school or library this fall. So with The Dog Days of Summer finally here, let’s take a look the books shining brightly at DBG this summer!
THE DREADFUL TALE OF PROSPER REDDING By Alexandra Bracken
“Bracken’s (Passenger, 2016) new middle-grade offering is an infectious, entertaining series starter. Hapless, dry Prosper is at hilarious odds with his demanding, old-fashioned demon companion, and the thrilling plot twists will keep even the most savvy readers guessing. Clever, occasionally frightening, and always fun, this will hook plenty.” – Booklist
SERAFINA AND THE SPLINTERED HEART By Robert Beatty
“Beatty decidedly keeps readers on the edge of discovery as the plot unfurls. Each character continues to surprise both one another and readers with their emotional complexity. A captivating, edge-of-your-seat, action-packed fantasy.” – Kirkus
SUPER SAURUS SAVES KINDERGARTEN By Deborah Underwood and Illustrator Ned Young
“Young cleverly makes Arnold’s imaginative adventures kid-doable: the Sticky Shoes are smeared with peanut butter, and the Rescue Rocket is a decorated box. Imagination as a coping mechanism equals lots of superpowered fun. (Picture book. 4-8)” – Kirkus
THE PEARL THIEF by Elizabeth Wein (FIFTH STARRED REVIEW FOR THIS TITLE!)
“Verity fans will find this irresistible and return to a reread of that title with this new backstory in mind, while fans of period drama such as Cooper’s A Brief History of Montmaray (BCCB 11/09) will appreciate this as an absorbing read that leads them inexorably to the next book.” Deborah Stevenson, Editor – The Bulletin for The Center of Children’s Books
WELCOME: A MO WILLEMS GUIDE FOR NEW ARRIVALS by Mo Willems
“Along with being a shoe-in for inclusion in every maternity ward’s gift bag, this loving heads-up will continue to resonate with all offspring as they go on to toddle, big-kid, and beyond. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Williams is a reliable best-seller, and love letters from parents to children are always in demand.” — Booklist
“The real audience is new parents, who will revel in having their devotion mirrored back to them and chuckle at the many knowing jokes (“If you have any further questions/ Do not hesitate to call or flail about or scream like a banshee”). And they’ll be grateful that Willems offers a modicum of hope regarding the world that the newborn will inherit: “We are happy to report there are people working day and night on making this a better place to be.” – Publishers Weekly
THE TAKEDOWN By Connie Wang
“Wang has managed to write an exciting, prescient story that brings to mind the unlikely combination of M.T. Anderson’s Feed, Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother, and Sara Shepard’s “Pretty Little Liars” series, with a little of Libba Bray’s “Gemma Doyle” trilogy and the cult classic film Heathers thrown in the mix. VERDICT Highly recommended for all YA collections” – School Library Journal
Our friends at Booklist, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books have us truly humbled and seeing stars after several of their recent reviews of our latest and upcoming releases. We are truly honored by what each reviewer had to say and have collected a few here for you to read and see for yourself.
The Pearl Thief Elizabeth Wein’s prequel to Code Named Variety doesn’t come out until this May but that didn’t stop the reviewers at Booklist from digging right in to this latest outing with Julie.
“A finely crafted book that brings one girl’s coming-of-age story to life, especially poignant for those who already know her fate.” – Ilene Cooper Booklist
Be Quiet! The next laugh-out-loud picture book from Ryan T. Higgins (Mother Bruce and Hotel Bruce) hits shelves next month and has already earned TWO starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly respectively.
“From Captain Quiet’s clever belt buckle (“SH”) to Rupert’s gaping tonsil shots, Higgins has once again drawn up a winner.” – Kirkus Reviews
“The story’s backdrops are as polished as the characters, Higgins breathes emotional life into his characters, both visually and verbally, and his smart, laugh-out-loud comedy is expertly paced.” – Publishers Weekly
Soldier Song: A True Story of the Civil War by Debbie Levy and Gilbert Ford received its second starred review from Booklist following Publishers Weekly’s own favorable words about this beautifully told story about music and American History available now.
“Levy’s prose is elegant and precise, and her tone positions readers at a respectful distance from the soldiers coping with fear, homesickness, and vulnerability. The text incorporates quotes from soldiers’ letters and musical scores, alternating songs just as the battling bands did. Uniting both sides, ultimately, were the tender strains of “Home, Sweet Home.” Ford’s vivid illustrations capture the desolation of the cold, dark evenings in blues and grays, and the vibrancy of the music that sustained the soldiers, in swirls of orange and red.” – Amina Chaudhri for Booklist
“Through insightful narration and vibrant silhouettes and cartooning, Levy (I Dissent) and Ford (The Marvelous Thing That Came from a Spring) vividly bring to life a chapter in the U.S. Civil War and the integral role music played during the conflict.” – Publishers Weekly
Night, Night, Groot the adorably out-of-this-world bedtime story starring two of the Marvel universes own rising stars, found favor from Kirkus Magazine thanks to author Brandan Deneen and illustrator Cale Atkinson’s interstellar adventure featuring none other than Rocket Raccoon and Groot of Guardians of the Galaxy fame along side page after page of superhero cameo’s both large and small. Keep an eye out for this one in May.
“A title comics aficionados will snap up in order to groom the next generation of fandom—even if they don’t have a next generation yet.” – Kirkus Reviews
Bob, Not Bob by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick with illustrations by Matthew Cordell earned its second starred review since it hit shelves last month thanks to The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books March 1st issue.
“This is a fond and funny take on the way illness can bring the normally independent to desperately wanting their mommy (“When Little Louie got sick, he felt littler than usual”), and the readaloud instructions make this a perfect cheer-up for a kid tucked up with a cold. Cordell’s scribbly lines are well suited to the bleariness of illness, and they contrast amusingly with the crisp hand-drawn dimensional lettering of Little Louie’s utterings (in which “Bob” meaning “Mom” is identified by the heart forming the space in the O).” The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Book
Those are just a handful of the DBG reviews out there from some of the top industry periodicals right now. Make sure to keep an eye out for more as the February and March issues of those magazines make their rounds at your school or library, and check back often right here for more news as it comes in.
It’s a new year, and we could not be more excited to share debut author Robin Roe’s heartfelt story A LIST OF CAGES with the rest of the world. A few lucky reviewers got their hands on advanced reader copies of this hope-filled tale of two foster brothers who must overcome insurmountable odds for a chance at peace.
When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he’s got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn’t easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can’t complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian–the foster brother he hasn’t seen in five years.
Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He’s still kind hearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what’s really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives.
Click on the links below to read what everyone is saying about A LIST OF CAGES:
“In her debut, Roe tells the story of a friendship between two young men who will linger in the thoughts and minds of readers long after the final page is turned.…A triumphant story about the power of friendship and of truly being seen.” — Kirkus Reviews
“A page-turner with a lot of compassion.” — Michael Cart Booklist
“Emotional, visceral, and heartbreaking, this novel offers expertly rendered characters and beautiful language, especially when describing Julian’s struggles. VERDICT A potent and moving work. Do not pass over this book.” –Tyler Hixson, School Library Journal
“Written with honesty and compassion, this book will resonate with a wide range of readers.” – Publishers Weekly