100 Scope Notes
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10 to Note: Spring Preview 2014

Book hope springs eternal. It’s time to take a look at ten titles that I’m excited about for spring.

Picture Books

Help! We Need a Title! by Hervé Tullet

May 13, 2014 | Candlewick Press | Grades PreK-1

I’m a sucker for inventive picture books and Hervé Tullet is the master of this realm. This time out he presents the reader with a book that … well, it’s kind of self-explanatory. It looks to be another piece of pure playfulness from the Frenchman.

Tools Rule by Aaron Meshon

March 25, 2014 | Atheneum | Grades PreK-1

When we last saw Mr. Meshon, it was in the delightful Take Me Out to the Yakyu – now he’s bringing the tool shed to life in this picture book about teamwork. The appeal is strong with this one.

Send for a Superhero! by Michael Rosen; illustrated by Katharine McEwen

May 27, 2014 | Candlewick Press | Grades PreK-2

A good ol’ story within a story about evil villains let loose on an unsuspecting city. Who will stop the bad guys? Will the book successfully send Elmer and Emily off to dreamland? We shall see.

Bad Bye, Good Bye by Deborah Underwood; illustrated by Jonathan Bean

April 1, 2014 | HMH Books | Grades PreK-1

With Building our House and Big Snow, Jonathan Bean had a great 2013. Now he teams up with Deborah Underwood (The Quiet Book) for a curveball – both in terms of story (Underwood’s spare, yet strong, text about moving) and artwork (much different than any of Bean’s previous books). I’ve read this already and think it’s pretty great.

Early Reader

Pigsticks and Harold and the Incredible Journey by Alex Milway

May 27, 2014 | Candlewick Press | Grades 1-3

Is it just me, or does the early reader outlook seem to keep getting better and better? Offerings like Pigsticks and Harold, about an adventure seeking pig and his reluctant partner, ain’t hurting the cause.

Middle Grade

The Last Wild by Piers Torday

March 18, 2014 | Viking | Grades 3-7

You gotta love a book with a great hook, and I think The Last Wild has one. What if animals no longer existed? This story about a boy living in that world sounds intriguing.


Gravity by Jason Chin

April 29, 2014 | Roaring Brook Press | Grades K-3

Ah, Jason Chin – up to his usual nonfiction tricks. The man has a knack for presenting young reader with complex information in a way that never talks down. His latest effort will appeal to his youngest audience yet. I haven’t seen a book that presents the concept of gravity in such a clear way for young readers.

U.S. Presidents (Ken Jennings’ Junior Genius Guides) by Ken Jennings; illustrated by Mike Lowery

May 6, 2014 | Little Simon | Grades 3-5

As a topic studied in schools, U.S. Presidents are not going anywhere. This book mixes the lighthearted with the factual, creating a book that should work for fact-finders as well as pleasure readers.

Graphic Novels

Gaijin: American Prisoner of War by Matt Faulkner

April 15, 2014  | Disney-Hyperion | Grades 3-7

Michigan illustrator Matt Faulkner has been working steadily for years. This graphic novel, about a Japanese internment camp, immediately jumped out to me. With a stunning level of detail on a subject that is still unknown to many young readers, this is a book that I’m excited to read.

Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loïc Dauvillier; illustrated by Marc Lizano

April 1, 2014 | First Second | Grades 3-5

Originally published in France, this graphic novel tells the story of the Holocaust through the eyes of a young girl. I can see this pairing nicely with a number of text-only books on the topic.

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. These look amazing. Must get my hands on Gravity by Jason Chin! What a fun list to look at first thing in the a.m. :-)

  2. Great to see Pigsticks & Harold on here! Thank you so much!

  3. These look great! I can’t wait to get my hands on the Jason Chin book.