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December 2016 Book Reviews

Hand in Hand

Written and illustrated by Rosemary Wells, 2016, for ages just born on up.

This loving picture book describes the nurturing relationship between parent and young child. Wells uses her brightly drawn illustrations to match her gently rhyming text to create a cosy narration that will calm the most unsettled among us. It starts with “Be my sky, my moon, my sun” and ends with “Be my lighthouse, my north star”. A perfect gift for anyone, big or small, who has guided or been guided in the past or has that adventure in their future. A real treasure.

The Girl Who Saved Yesterday

Written by Julius Lester, illustrated by Carl Angel, 2016, for ages 7ish on up.

The Girl Who Saved Yesterday is a richly illustrated picture book, telling us a folk tale of Silence, a young girl raised by jungle trees, being returned to the village to find Yesterday. Although she does not understand her quest, she bravely climbs the mountain to find it. Trees do her bidding, she works to uncover the mystery, and together with the villagers such ends up celebrating their ancestors–their Yesterday. At the Tattered Cover, we shelve this book in the Folk and Fairy Tales–Africa section. At home it goes on the shelf I reserve for books intended for children old enough to let stories enter their ears and be heard. So well done!


Written and illustrated by Deborah Freedman, 2016, for ages 4 and up

When one is shy, it is much easier and safer to sit at home reading, and that is just how Shy has lived his life–up until he heard a REAL bird trilling–it was beautiful, then gone! Shy left home in search of his bird- and the land “was far more
wondrous than it ever looked in pictures”. Just the perfect book to encourage the hesitant ones you know, who perhaps need a gorgeous book to boost them over the sill. A great conversation starter for the doubters!

New Mid-grade suggestions

Here are a few suggestions of terrific new mid-grade titles for those in the older-than-picture-book crowd. (Though you do know picture books are for everyone, right?)

  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon, by Kelly Barnhill
  • Furthermore, by Tahereh Mafi
  • The Secret Keepers, by Trenton Lee Stewart (author of The Mysterious Benedict Society series)
  • Greenglass House, by Kate Milford, now in paperback

And two Young Adult suggestions, both being SO SO GOOD! The Sun Is Also A Star, and Everything, Everything–both by the amazing Nicola Yoon.