10 to Note: Spring Preview 2012
Here we go again. Time to round up the ten titles for the upcoming season that I can think of when I say to my reflection in the rear view mirror (with sunglasses tipped down), “the future is looking good…real good.”, before peeling out of the library parking lot. While I continue this obviously well-realized scene in my head, go ahead and take a look at the books.
Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
Apr. 10, 2012 | Knopf | Grades K-2
Aside from the striking cover image, courtesy of Dan Yaccarino, the story within (about a boy who thinks his robot is sick) is also promising.
Early Chapter Books
Marty McGuire Digs Worms by Kate Messner, illustrated by Brian Floca
April 1, 2012 | Scholastic | Grades 2-4
The last time out, Messner and Floca created one of my favorite early chapter books of 2011. Hopes are accordingly high for this second book in the Marty McGuire series about a classroom contest to create the best earth-friendly project.
The Adventures of Sir Balin the Ill-Fated (The Knight’s Tales, #4) by Gerald Morris, illustrated by Aaron Renier
Apr. 3, 2012 | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | Grades 2-4
Have you come to the Knight’s Tales party yet? It’s pretty fun over here. Great writing, humor, plenty of easy-on-the-eyes illustrations. Swordplay. If last year’s Top 20 book The Adventures of Sir Gawain the True didn’t sway you, perhaps this new installment in the series will.
Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems by Gail Carson Levine, illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Mar. 13, 2012 | HarperCollins | Grades 2-4
The downside of sticking to a strict three month at a time policy when I do a preview? Some books just miss the cut, and I want to include them so bad. That was the case with my Winter Preview and this book. But now I can shout it from the top of my Rav4 – I’M EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK. A batch of poems based on William Carlos Williams’s famous ”This Is Just to Say,” this looks to be a winner.
Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson
Mar. 1, 2012 | Scholastic Press | Grades 4-7
Although the Titanic is a topic that most libraries have covered pretty well, this book looks like a worthy addition to the ranks. Told through the eyes of the people involved and full of images, the starred reviews are already rolling in. Oh, and it’s written by Deborah Hopkinson, she of the stellar Abe Linocoln Crosses a Creek and recent A Boy Called Dickens.
Freedom! (Miss Annie, #1) by Frank Le Gall, illustrated by Flore Balthazar
Mar. 1, 2012 | Graphic Universe | Grades 2-4
While there are more and more lower level graphic novels that appeal to girls, the field is still pretty boy-centric. This one, about a kitten out for adventure, looks like it might appeal to both groups.
Explorer: The Mystery Boxes edited by Kazu Kibuishi
Mar. 1, 2012 | Abrams | Grades 4-6
Aside from putting out the occasional wildly popular Amulet graphic novel, Kazu Kibuishi also edits the occasional collection of comics (see the Flight anthology). This time out, we get a group of stories on a central theme – what’s in the box? With some great comics artists in the mix, including Raina Telgemeier (Smile), and Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy), this has serious potential.
Middle Grade Fiction
Fake Mustache by Tom Angleberger
Apr. 1, 2012 | Amulet | Grades 4-7
If you know me at all, you know I love the ridiculous. Give me something weird and I’m a happy camper. Thankfully, Tom Angleberger often obliges. His upcoming story of a boy who uses a faux face hairpiece for world domination should fit the bill nicely.
Spy School by Stuart Gibbs
Mar. 6, 2012 | Simon & Schuster | Grades 4-7
When a nerd is recruited to a new school, he’s surprised to find it’s a front for a junior C.I.A. academy. Looks like there’s plenty of fun to be had here.
Jake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli
May 8, 2012 | Balzer + Bray | Grades 3-7
Whenever there’s new Spinelli out, I’m taking notice. This one appears to be a bit of a coming of age tale about twins with opposite personalities who sleepwalk on their birthdays. I like that last part.
Cover artist blowing up alert! Every time I turn a corner, I see wonderful new cover art from Erwin Madrid (click here for his blog). The man has a distinctive animation-inspired style that strikes these eyes as nicely modern. A Fuse #8 Production recently highlighted the lovely Lone Bean – here are a couple of his other recent covers:
(Top Image: ‘The Crunge‘ http://www.flickr.com/photos/55539311@N00/2439509541)
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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