100 Scope Notes
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10 to Note: Summer Preview 2012

It’s back to the future with this roundup of 10 summer releases that threaten to pull me away from my other favorite warm weather activity – consuming Oreo blizzards. Not a simple feat. June, July, and August – let’s see what you’ve got…


Bink and Gollie, Two for One by Kate DiCamillo, Alison McGhee, illustrated by Tony Fucile

June 12, 2012 | Candlewick Press | Grades 1-3

In the Top 20 Books of 2010 list Mr. Schu and I put together, the first Bink & Gollie was our top choice. I’m glad to see there are more adventures on the way.

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

August 7, 2012 | Random House | Grades 5-7

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more anticipated middle grade release in 2012 than Rebecca Stead’s Liar & Spy. Winning the Newbery (with the astounding When You Reach Me) has a way of building interest. Stead keeps things in New York and mysterious for Liar & Spy. That sound you don’t hear is me not complaining one bit.

Capture the Flag by Kate Messner

July 1, 2012 | Scholastic | Grades 3-7

Kate Messner is on one heck of a run right now – putting out books at a steady clip to critical praise and popular success. Here’s guessing Capture the Flag, about a trio of kids solving the mystery of a missing Old Glory while snowed in at the D.C. airport, will continue the streak. And it never hurts that it sports one of the most eye-catching covers of the season. Agreed?

Dinos Are Forever (The Adventures of Jo Schmo #1) by Greg Trine, illustrated by Frank W. Dormer

July 3, 2012 | Harcourt | Grades 1-4

In my experience, the readership of Captain Underpants is mostly boy. This illustrated early chapter book series looks to appeal to a similar sensibility (see: wacky as all get out), but features a girl protagonist. I say it has high interest written all over it.

Picture Books

Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown

August 21, 2012 | Simon & Schuster | Grades K-2

You know how judges on American Idol (at least back in the glory days when I was watching and Paula was completely crazy) say to a particularly talented contestant, “I’d listen to you sing the phone book”? If Peter Brown chose to illustrate the phone book, I’d be first in line to have a look. The man seems to turn out delightful artwork with each new release. Now teamed up with Aaron Reynolds (Joey Fly, Private Eye), Brown goes for a retro Twilight Zone vibe.

My Snake Blake by Randy Siegel, illustrated by Serge Bloch

June 19, 2012 | Roaring Brook Press | Grades PreK-1

A snake that can communicate with his owners by spelling out words with his body? You think I’m not going to be interested in that? Already sporting a starred review from Kirkus, this is a book that looks like it will be making a lot of fans in the near future.


The Superheroes Employment Agency by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Noah Z. Jones

July 24, 2012 | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | Grades 2-4

I love it when poetry can attract a new audience, and Marilyn Singer has a knack for bringing poetry outsiders into the fold (as evidenced most recently by her 2010 release, Mirror Mirror). This collection of B-list superhero-themed poems looks to be an attention-getter.


Super Science: Matter Matters! by Tom Adams, illustrated by Thomas Flintman

August 14, 2012 | Templar Books | Grades 2-5

You don’t usually see the words pop-up and chemistry anywhere near each other, which has me interested in this unusual (and, by the looks of it, unusually fun) book about the “key elements of science”.

The Book of Blood: From Legends and Leeches to Vampires and Veins by HP Newquist

August 7, 2012 | Houghton Mifflin | Grades 5 and Up

When nonfiction can turn heads and offer high-quality content, it’s worth sharing. This history of “the most important tissue in the body” has promise in both departments.

Graphic Novels

Cardboard by Doug TenNapel

August 1, 2012 | Scholastic | Grades 5-7

Can we start calling Doug Tennapel “The King of Weird”? Please? You gotta admit – that would look cool embroidered across the back of a satin jacket. With his first two books (Ghostopolis and Bad Island), this graphic novelist never settles for standard. Cardboard fits this broken mold, as a cardboard box comes to life.

Look for Fall Preview 2011 coming in August.

(Top Image: ‘summer background‘ http://www.flickr.com/photos/28801512@N00/558105541)

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. Great list, Travis . . . I’m forwarding it to a few librarians at schools where I’ve done visits recently. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I may have been at a wedding attended by Peter Brown last summer. Apparently he is friends with my cousin, but I’m not sure whether he made it to Northern Michigan for the wedding. She did get me a signed copy of one of his books for my library though.

    Sadly I did not learn of all this before attending said wedding or I would have paid a lot more attention to the seating chart!

    Anyway, if he were to illustrate the phone book, I would definitely buy a copy too.

  3. Wow! Fantastic new things I didn’t know about – Rebecca Stead!!Doug Ten Napel!! Love what you said about Peter Brown… Haven’t read and Kate Messner but will definitely look for “Capture the Flag.” Thanks!

  4. Really (really!) looking forward to the new Rebecca Stead novel. Thank you for the preview list. Looking forward to checking these out!