100 Scope Notes
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10 to Note: Fall Preview 2011

Catalogs pored over, eyes sufficiently sapped of all moisture – it must be time to look at the 10 books that come out in September, October, and November that have me going around saying “aww, yeah!” to strangers. Or maybe just thinking it. While I search for the Visene®, take a look at the list.

Middle Grade Fiction

The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman by Meg Wolitzer

Sept. 20, 2011 | Dutton | Grades 4-6

Although my highest-scoring Scrabble word is probably “mugs” or something of equal value, I’m looking forward to checking out this story about a boy with fingers that can foresee words on overturned Scrabble tiles.

The Outcasts (Brotherband Chronicles, Book #1) by John Flanagan

Nov. 1, 2011 | Philomel | Grades 5-7

I can’t say I ever got into the Ranger’s Apprentice series, but it has been circulating like mad at my 5th/6th grade building. As that series ends, the Brotherband Chronicles begins. It will be interesting to see if this one catches on.

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu; illustrated by Erin McGuire

Sept. 27, 2011 | Walden Pond Press | Grades 5-7

Reviews are coming in and they are stellar. Look for this book to come up on Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog. Anybody else dying for Heavy Medal to get up and running? There should be a Heavy Medal bat signal that we can shine or something. Nina Lindsay! Jonathan Hunt! We need you!

Nonfiction Picture Books

Just a Second by Steve Jenkins

Oct. 25, 2011 | Houghton Mifflin | Grades K-3

The master of paper illustration looks at time measurement through the lens of the natural world? Count me in.

Picture Books

Bumble-Ardy by Maurice Sendak

Sept. 6, 2011 | HarperCollins | Grades K-3

How long has it been since Maurice Sendak released his last author/illustrator title? Well, I’ve lived my entire life during the intermission. Bumble-Ardy, Sendak’s first book since Outside Over There (published in the year of my birth, 1981) looks to be a quirky, dark, complex, and, ultimately child-centric affair. I can’t wait to read it. Side note: Has there ever been a season when Sendak, Dr. Seuss (The Bippolo Seed), and Shel Silverstein (Every Thing On It) all had new books out? Seriously, can someone check on that? Also, can we come up with a name for this trio? The Trio of the S? Dr. SilverSeussDak? The “S” Bros? I nominate Fuse #8 to come up with something suitable.

Love, Mouserella by David Ezra Stein

Sept. 15, 2011 | Nancy Paulsen Books | Grades K-2

The creativity of David Ezra Stein seems to be endless. The man turns out winner after winner (literally so in the case of last year’s Caldecott Honor Interrupting Chicken) all while giving each book a unique look. Will Love, Mouserella, about a letter to Grandma, continue the streak? I’d put money on it.

The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man by Michael Chabon; illustrated by Jake Parker

Sept. 6, 2011 | Balzer + Bray | Grades K-2

A superhero with a secret, written by a Pulitzer Prize-winner and the illustrator of the super popular Missile Mouse series. Alert all boy readers.

Mustache! by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Kevin Cornell

Oct. 18, 2011 | Hyperion | Grades K-3

A little while back Mac Barnett appeared in this Scholastic summer reading video, where he felt obligated to explain (and apologize for) his facial hair.

Now we see the book, about a “terribly handsome” king, that inspired that glorious ‘stache. No apologies needed, Mr. Barnett.

Graphic Novels

Around the World by Matt Phelan

Oct. 11, 2011 | Candlewick Press| Grades 5-7

Few Fall books have me more excited than the latest graphic novel from Matt Phelan (The Storm in the Barn). And this story of three individuals who circumnavigated the globe is one I can vouch for – I reviewed it for an upcoming Katie Davis podcast and it’s excellent.

Nursery Rhyme Comics : 50 Timeless Rhymes from 50 Celebrated Cartoonists by Various

Oct. 11, 2011 | First Second | PreK-2

A who’s who of modern cartoonists and illustrators take on 50 classic nursery rhymes. First Second pretty much got everyone who has ever published a book with them, plus every other great cartoonist to contribute. Shall I name names? Jules Feiffer, Patrick McDonnell, Gene Luen Yang, David Macaulay, Mark Siegel, Sara Varon, Aaron Renier – I can keep going if you’d like – Craig Thompson, George O’Connor, Raina Telgemeier. My Awesome Cartoonist Fatigue Syndrom just kicked in, so I’ll have to stop there.

What did I leave out? A new Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Nov. 15), Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck (Sept. 15), The Chronicles of Harris Burdick (Oct. 25), Clementine and the Family Meeting (Sept. 13), and Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos (Sept. 13).

And, just for why not, cast your vote in the Most Awesome Book Title of the Fall Poll. Here are your choices:


[polldaddy poll=5427081]


Look for Winter Preview 2011-12 coming in November.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Thanks for the inside scoop!

  2. Thanks for this. I didn’t realize a new Clementine book was coming out (HOW DID I MISS THAT?!?!?), and I put several of the rest on order, too.

    I just read the new Jack Gantos. It made me laugh and laugh.

  3. Bat signal received! Look for us after Labor Day.