Posted in Middle Grade, Non-Fiction, Non-fiction, Tween Reads

New nonfiction for Back to School

So the kids have been back to school for a minute. My Corona Kids are back in the library in full force – where were you all Summer, my friends? – and roaming the nonfiction stacks in search of stuff that interests them. I love this time of year, because this is the time where kids come in looking for nonfiction that relates to things they may be starting to learn about, or come across in school; whether other kids are talking about things they pick up on, they’ve seen something either in the halls or the library, or just noticed on TV. They’re in a learning frame of mind, and want nonfiction that sparks their brains. I’ve got some good picks here to share.

National Geographic Kids Dinosaur Atlas, by National Geographic, (Sept. 2022, National Geographic Kids), $24.99, ISBN: 9781426372797

Ages 7-10

This is a no-fail, no-brainer purchase: it’s NatGeo Kids and it’s dinosaurs. Both are easily the rock stars of my nonfiction collection. The Dinosaur Atlas is everything my kids (my own and my Corona Kids) love: full-color artists’ renderings of dinosaurs (now with feathers!), vibrant color photos of fossils and fossil sites, and readable maps to highlight where featured dinosaurs lived. Organized into periods of time: Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous, the “Preshistoric Planet” section is further organized into habitats, dinosaurs, and life in each era. “Finding Fossils” organizes dinosaur-centric areas of the world and further breaks down into spotlights on locations and the dinosaurs who roamed them. Fast facts, paleontologist profiles, and dino timelines run throughout the book; phonetic spelling helps reader pronounce each name. Back matter includes a Dino Dictionary, glossary, and further reading resources. This oversized reference is magic for dinosaur collections and is an essential purchase.

 

Can’t Get Enough Space Stuff: Fun Facts, Awesome Info, Cool Games, Silly Jokes, and More!, by National Geographic Kids, (Aug. 2022, National Geographic Kids), $14.99, ISBN: 9781426372803

Ages 7-10

Nat Geo Kids’s Can’t Get Enough series has a new home run: Can’t Get Enough Space Stuff is loaded with photos, facts, games, and jokes about space. Great for trivia and STEM/STEAM groups: quiz your kids on astronaut facts or print out pictures of clocks to illustrate how long a day is on other planets; Try It Out! spreads help guide you and your readers through outer space crafts like a scale model of the solar system. Keep one in reference for yourself and put one in circulation. The Can’t Get Enough books are fun, loaded with facts, and just great purchases.

 

5,000 Awesome Facts About Animals, by National Geographic, (Sept. 2022, National Geographic Kids), $19.99, ISBN: 9781426372612

Ages 8-12

These facts books are a staple in my collection. My readers love fast, fun facts, accompanied by the gorgeous photos of adorable animals. This is an animal fan’s dream; a trivia fan’s delight, and a program backbone: Animal Jeopardy! Animal Question of the Day! Help, I need some extra facts for a report I’m writing on [insert animal here]! One of my Corona Kids was in last week and asked for “books with fun facts about animals”; books like this are tailor-made for those kids. Each section has a fun title to bring related facts together: “24 Burly Facts About Animal Tough Guys”; “100 Pup-ular Facts About Dogs”; “15 Facts About Animal Mascots to Cheer For”. Facts are fun and informative: Socks, the Clinton’s Presidential cat, was the first presidential pet to have a website, and the Obama’s dog, Bo, had  his own trading card. Ostriches flutter their wings to create a breeze to cool themselves down. A group of mountain gorillas is called a troop. You can have endless fun with this book, and your readers will love it.

 

The Power of Architecture: 25 Modern Buildings from Around the World, by Annette Roeder/Illustrated by Pamela Baron (Sept. 2022, Prestel Junior), $19.95, ISBN: 9783791375144

Ages 8-12

I love finding a good architecture book for middle grade. Recent picture book biographies like Maya Lin’s picture book biography, Maya Lin: Architect of Light and Lines, and Andrea Beaty’s Questioneers picture and chapter books have led to an interest in how buildings look. Plus, you know… LEGOs. The Power of Architecture showcases 25 modern buildings from all over the world: buildings like the TWA Flight Center at New York’s JFK Airport (I can confirm, it’s a beautiful building) and the Elbe Philharmonic Hall in Hamburg Germany; the scrap metal lily pads of Dandaji Regional Market in Niger, Africa, and the sustainable, environmentally beneficial Tree House in Singapore. Beautiful illustrations give each building center stage and factual, interesting text describes the buildings and what inspired their architects. Thought-provoking questions and suggestions to inspire young architects and designers run throughout the book. The beginning spread shows each building’s location on a world map and a timeline lays out each building’s construction and a biography on each architect. Prestel Junior’s books bring together art and nonfiction in the best of ways and have quickly become stars in my collection. A good purchase if you have budding builders. Put this out during your LEGO challenges and see who it inspires.

The Power of Architecture: 25 Modern Buildings from Around the World was originally published earlier this year in Germany.

 

 

Sleuth & Solve: Science: 20+ Mind-Twisting Mysteries, by Ana Gallo/Illustrated by Victor Escandell, (Oct. 2022, Chronicle Kids), $18.99, ISBN: 9781797214559

Ages 8-12

The latest Sleuth & Solve book from Ana Gallo and Victor Escandell is all about the “why”: what are the scientific causes to these 21 mysteries? Mysteries are classified by subject, with a key to the symbols used in the book. Each mystery has a difficulty grade from Easy to Difficult, and if you were interested in making this a STEM challenge (ahem!), each mystery has a point value. Mysteries are presented across every spread, with a flap disguising the solution: NO CHEATING! Mysteries include a little girl who swears she’s too sick to go to school – but what will her doctor say? Another mystery ponders whether a group of researchers will be able to set out on their journey to the polar ice caps; what does a flock of cranes have to do with this decision? The principles behind each experiment are revealed in the back matter. If you have a strong science experiment/science fair collection, this is a good one to consider.

Posted in Graphic Novels, Middle Grade, Middle School, Non-Fiction, Non-fiction, Tween Reads

Underwear can kill you and other Fake News!

Killer Underwear Invasion: How to Spot Fake News, Disinformation & Conspiracy Theories, by Elise Gravel, (Sept. 2022, Chronicle Books), $14.99, ISBN: 9781797214917

Ages 8-12

Beneath the giggles – and there are many – lies a smart and frank discussion about fake news and disinformation. Elise Gravel breaks it down for middle graders in this graphic novel treatise on responsibly consuming media, with hilarious yet sobering examples. Gravel places fake news in an historical context by starting with a town crier announcing that “an evil magician has turned the king into a goat” and uses examples of politicians, puppy-pinching, and medicinal shampoo consumption to illustrate concepts like clickbait, conspiracy theories, and viral news stories. Her trademark colorful blob creatures lead readers through laugh-out-loud scenarios presenting readers with the whys, hows, and consequences of fake news. Gravel provides straightforward guidelines for readers to follow: thinking critically; checking sources and how to find reliable sources; separating fact from opinion, and more. An excellent introduction to being a smart media observer for middle graders and middle schoolers. A first purchase.

Get a free downloadable teacher’s guide on Chronicle’s Killer Underwear book detail page, and visit Elise Gravel’s webpage for free downloadables – her latest on Peer Review is a perfect accompaniment to Killer Underwear – and blog entries.

Posted in Middle Grade, Non-fiction, Tween Reads

Blog Tour: HOW TO SPEAK ANIMAL

Welcome to the How to Speak Animal Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of National Geographic Kids’ How to Speak Animal on August 16th and World Animal Day on October 4th, this week blogs across the web will feature special excerpts from the book, sharing fascinating insight into the secret language of animals of all shapes and sizes. If you’ve ever wondered why ants touch antennae when they meet, what it means when a cichlid fish pees, or why turkeys gobble, this is the blog tour (and book!) for you!

How to Speak… DOLPHIN

In the 1970s, researcher Dr. Louis Herman proved that dolphins could understand hundreds of commands. He did this by creating a sign language and teaching two bottlenose dolphins, Phoenix and Akeakamai, how to respond to those gestures. But this is just one way communication, meaning the human talking to the dolphin. A command is made, the dolphin understands, and it performs an action in response. It’s similar to how a dolphin trainer might teach a dolphin to do tricks.

Scientists continued to study dolphin communication. They learned that dolphins were naturally able to associate a sound with an object and were also able to mimic sounds. For example, each dolphin has a signature whistle that acts like a name. When a dolphin wants to get another dolphin’s attention, it can mimic its signature whistle. This discovery gave scientists further hope that one day we could “talk” to these marine mammals.

Today, Dr. Denise Herzing is a leader in dolphin communication. For more than 30 years, she’s been studying wild dolphins in the Bahamas. Her first goal was to bond with the wild dolphins. Then she developed an underwater keyboard that dolphins could touch with their snouts. Each of the four keys represented a different toy, such as a ball, and soon the dolphins learned how to use it. Finally, dolphins were “talking” to humans. But now it was the humans who couldn’t talk back.

Today, Herzing and her team of researchers use an underwater device called CHAT (Cetacean Hearing and Telemetry). It can send out artificial whistle sounds that Herzog hopes the wild dolphins will learn and mimic. She will associate the whistles with an object, such as seaweed. It’s kind of like the people and the dolphins are creating a new language together. Eventually, this language would allow humans and dolphins to communicate back and forth with each other. So far, the dolphins have mimicked the whistles and then added on their own whistle afterward. Dr. Herzing is still researching what this could mean. While it is incredible progress, translating any animal’s communication will take a very long time.


BuyGoodreads

Learn about the secret language of wild animals in this exciting and informative guide from the experts who brought you How to Speak Cat and How to Speak Dog.

We know animals can’t speak and express themselves in the same way as humans … but even the smallest and quietest animals have incredible ways of communicating with each other. With wildlife veterinarian expert Dr. Gabby Wild as a guide, How to Speak Animal helps kids understand how animals communicate through sound, body language, and behavior. It’s full of expert insights and real-life stories of humans exploring ways to “talk” to animals, from teaching great apes sign language to speaking “dolphin.” Packed with super-engaging animal photography that helps illustrate key concepts, this fascinating bookprofiles more than 60 different creatures―from birds to mammals to reptiles and more―and their amazing ways of communicating with each other.

If you’ve ever wondered why gorillas beat their chests and make hooting noises, what it means when chameleons change color, or why some elephants twist their trunks together, this is the book for you!

 

About the Authors

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube

DR. GABBY WILD earned her bachelor of science and doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) degrees at Cornell University. She completed her veterinary internship training at Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital in Akron, Ohio, and received her master’s of public health (MPH) from the University of Minnesota. She is a published genetics researcher and uses her research background to screen zoonotic disease transmission among wildlife, domestic animals, and people. To help maintain a healthy planet, she monitors herd and individual health for rising epidemics. Dr. Wild balances her Western medicine practices with traditional Chinese medicine in an effort to blend both methodologies. Acclaimed for her role as “the veterinarian” on Animal Jam, the world’s largest online “playground,” with 54 million players, she creates educational videos and teaches children internationally about wildlife conservation and medicine. When not in the wild, Gabby works as a Wildlife Health Program veterinarian for the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo and is a training veterinary surgeon at the Veterinary Medical Center of Long Island. She lives in New York City.

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest

AUBRE ANDRUS is an award-winning children’s book author with dozens of books published by National Geographic, Lonely Planet, American Girl, Disney, Scholastic, and more. She has also ghostwritten books for young YouTube stars. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her family.


GIVEAWAY

  • Five (5) winners will receive a copy of How to Speak Animal
  • US/Canada only
  • Ends 10/2 at 11:59pm ET
  • Enter via the Rafflecopter below
  • Visit the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!

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Blog Tour Schedule:

September 19th Susie’s Reviews and Giveaways
September 20th Pragmatic Mom
September 21st Mom Read It
September 22nd Randomly Reading
September 23rd YA Book Nerd

Posted in Middle Grade, Non-fiction, Tween Reads

Hope Wins: Inspiring personal stories from favorite authors

Hope Wins: A Collection of Inspiring Stories for Young Readers, Edited by Dr. Rose Brock, (May 2022, Philomel Books), $17.99, ISBN: 9780593463932

Ages 8-12

The last couple of years have been really hard for kids. Hope Wins is a collection of personal stories from some of the best-known names in kidlit – R.L. Stine; Christina Soontornvat, and Tom Angleberger, to name just a few – on overcoming adversity and embracing hope. Dr. Rose Brock, co-founder of the North Texas Teen Book Festival, brings together 22 authors to tell their stories, and every reader will find something – someone – to speak to them here. Origami Yoda series author Tom Angleberger writes about discovering his place on the autism spectrum in “Major Malfunction”; Black Panther author and Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award winner Ronald L. Smith writes about the new world waiting for him when he got glasses in “The Boy in the Back of the Class”; Newbery Medalist Christina Soontornvat describes the grace of going high when others go low in “Everything I Need to Know I Learned in a Thai Restaurant”. Readers will love the feeling of being invited into each author’s life, of seeing these writers as children. Vashti Harrison’s gorgeous cover features a young brown-skinned girl holding aloft a banner with the title, Hope Wins; the authors selected are diverse and offer a wide worldview. An excellent choice for readers: if you haven’t purchased a copy yet, now is the time. Booktalk these stories with your readers and familiarize yourself with them. After two years of strife, we all need a little extra hope. Hope Wins is the middle grade companion to Dr. Brock’s 2019 YA anthology, Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Moments of Personal Inspiration.

Posted in Fiction, Graphic Novels, Middle Grade, Middle School, Realistic Fiction, Tween Reads

Frizzy unleashes curly hair power!

Frizzy, by Claribel A. Ortega/Illustrated by Rose Bousamra, (Oct. 2022, First Second), $12.99, ISBN: 9781250259639

Ages 8-12

Marlene is a tween who loves her books, her supercool Tía Ruby, and her best friend, Camila. What she doesn’t love? Her mother’s insistence on “growing up” and having “good hair”, which means Marlene is spending every weekend in the salon having her hair straightened. She hates every bit of it, and wishes she could have curly hair like her Tía, or like one of her favorite characters, Dulce Maria from Super Amigas; then, she wouldn’t be teased or forced into a hellish hair straightening torture session. Tía Ruby and Camila both come together to help Marlene appreciate and care for her beautiful hair – and Marlene and her mom have deep conversations about self-esteem and value. Ortega examines cultural attitudes, grief, and self-worth with a plot that reveals itself as the story moves along, keeping readers invested with every page. Marlene is a lovable character that readers will cheer for as she – and her hair – come into their own. Tía Ruby is a bright spark who shows Marlene the key to self-acceptance and hair care. Rose Bousamra’s realistic illustration work is filled with rich color and Afro-Latinx characters. A first-purchase that so many readers need.

Frizzy has starred reviews from Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly.

Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Humor, Intermediate, Middle Grade

New intermediate series: Leo’s Map of Monsters

Leo’s Map of Monsters: The Armored Goretusk, by Kris Humphrey/Illustrated by Pete Williamson, (Aug. 2022, Kane Miller), $5.99, ISBN: 9781684644858

Ages 7-11

Set in a fantasy world where kids receive apprentice Assignments at the age of 9, Leo wakes up on the morning of his ninth birthday and discovers that he’s been given a Top Secret Assignment! The Village Chief appears and whisks Leo off to the curmudgeonly Guardian, who keeps everyone safe from the monsters that lurk in the forest outside the village walls. He hands Leo a map, some magical stones, and a slingshot, and sends him off on his first mission: to draw the Armored Goretusk away from the village. Black and white fantasy artwork with an Edward Gorey-bent features on almost every page; antiquing elements give the appearance of reading an ancient tome. The adventure is light and fun, with a buddy-cop partnership between Leo and Starla, one of the forest residents; the promise of more fantastic beasts to come will keep readers coming back. A map lets readers follow Leo’s adventures; back matter includes stats and descriptions of the creatures he encounters in this first book and a look at the different stones he uses. This one is a fun fantasy series to add to your chapter book/intermediate shelves.

Originally published in the U.K. in 2020, The Armored Goretusk is the first in the Leo’s Map of Monsters series. All four books are available in the States and fantasy fans will want them all, posthaste!

Posted in Fiction, Fiction, Intermediate, Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction

Marisol Rainey is back!

Surely Surely Marisol Rainey, by Erin Entrada Kelly, (Aug. 2022, Greenwillow Books), $16.99, ISBN: 9780062970459

Ages 7-10

Marisol Rainey is a middle grader with a little bit of an anxiety issue, introduced in Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey earlier this year. Her dad works on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, and she lives at home in Louisiana with her mom, older brother, and cat. This time out, Marisol is nervous when she her gym teacher introduces a unit on kickball: Marisol does NOT like kickball! She works on being brave, but it’s so hard, especially when classmate Evie, who is “an expert at throwing invisible darts at Marisol’s feelings”, is excellent at kickball. Newbery Medalist Kelly creates approachable, likable characters in her stories; Marisol and her best friend, Jada, are characters with depth that readers will see themselves in. Illustrations on almost every page make this a great book to move up from early chapter books and easy readers. Marisol is biracial; her mother is Filipino. Jada is brown-skinned with curly hair.

Surely Surely Marisol Rainey has a starred review from Horn Book. Visit author Erin Entrada Kelly’s webpage for resources on her books.

Posted in Middle Grade, Non-fiction

HERO FOR THE HUNGRY Blog Tour

Welcome to the Hero for the Hungry Blog Tour!

Follow along all week for exclusive guest posts from author Peggy Thomas, plus 5 chances to win Hero for the Hungry (on shelves 9/1)!

Researching with Primary Documents      
by Peggy Thomas

When I research a biography, I usually like to travel to the person’s hometown, walk the streets, and visit their home. I like to collect sounds and smells that I can weave into the narrative. I like to get the lay of the land — How far did George W. Carver walk to school? What was Lincoln’s view from his White House office?

But Covid hit just as I was starting to research Nobel laureate, Norman Borlaug, an agricultural scientist who saved millions of lives from starvation. I couldn’t get to Mexico where Norm worked for decades, or even Cresco, Iowa where he grew up. Just reading about him did not give me the same kind of connection.

Fortunately, Texas A & M and the University of Minnesota both have huge archives filled with Borlaug memorabilia, articles, and photos. The digitized images that I could access by computer showed me a time and place I could otherwise have never seen.

Dozens of speeches and taped interviews preserved Norm’s voice and mannerisms. From the comfort of my couch, I was transported to a wheat field in Mexico where Norm talked about plant breeding. Then I was whisked off to an auditorium in Oslo, Norway to hear Norm accept his Nobel Peace Prize. It was easy to see that he was the kind of guy that no matter what he was wearing, a tux or dust-covered khakis, he always spoke with the same enthusiasm.

But the material I found most helpful were Norm’s handwritten notebooks. For decades, Norman recorded the look, feel, and characteristics of every single wheat plant as he searched for a better crop for poor farmers. Each page documented his dedication and showed how much he valued his work.

They also revealed Norm’s private thoughts. They directed my eyes so I could see what he saw and understand his feelings. For example, the first time he visited rural India during a famine he simply wrote: Humanity – frightening. 

The more I read, the more I wished I had met Norm. Like me, when Norm rushed to get notes on paper, he didn’t worry about spelling.  It was more important to get his ideas down. In one note he said: To dam much philosophy and not enough action.

That was Norm in a nutshell. Once he figured out what he was supposed to do, he just did it.

And thank goodness he did.


Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

Can a quiet Iowa farm boy grow up to change the world? Norman Ernest Borlaug did. Norman Borlaug was the Father of the Green Revolution, saved millions from starvation, and won the Nobel Prize.

How? Science, true American grit, and a passion for helping those in need.

Born in 1914, raised on a small farm, and educated in a one-room schoolhouse, Norman Borlaug learned to work hard and excelled in sports. Against odds and adversity, Norm studied forestry and eventually became a plant scientist, dedicating his life’s work to ending world hunger. Working in obscurity in the wheat fields of Mexico, Norm and his team developed disease-resistant plants, and when widespread famine threatened India and Pakistan, Norm worked alongside poor farmers and battled bureaucracy to save millions from mass starvation. Often called the “Father of the Green Revolution,” Norm helped lay the groundwork for agricultural technological advances that alleviated world hunger. He won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1970. He was a true hero for the hungry.

Can pursuing science help you and your future generation? This book is sure to inspire young learners!

Sidebars include topics such as a deeper dive into the science Norm was using to produce new and better wheat varieties, agronomy, wheat genes, stem rust, nutrients and more. Back matter includes a timeline of events and discoveries and a call to action for readers to use science to solve problems and do small things to help with hunger and food waste.

Hero for the Hungry is excellent for a science class learning about genetics, an agriculture class studying agronomy, or a history or English class looking for a well-written biography on a hero scientist.

About the Author

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Peggy Thomas has always loved true stories, and can’t remember a time when she wasn’t thrilled to find animal bones, musty encyclopaedias, or a history plaque by the side of the road. It’s that same curiosity that has fueled the research and writing of more than twenty nonfiction books for children.

With a master’s degree in anthropology, Peggy explores a wide range of subjects, blending history and science to create award-winning titles. Her most recent books include Lincoln Clears a Path (Calkins Creek, 2021) and Full of Beans: Henry Ford Grows a Car (Calkins Creek, 2019), which earned NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book, 2020 Best Book from the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, and Book of the Year from the Henry Ford Heritage Association.

Peggy is a member of SCBWI, a blogger for Nonfiction Ninjas, and on the creative team behind Nonfiction Fest, a month-long celebration of writing nonfiction for children.

About the Illustrator

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Sam Kalda is an illustrator and artist based in Saint Paul. His commissioned works include editorial, book, advertising and pattern illustration. In 2017, he received a gold medal in book illustration from the Society of Illustrators in New York. He also won a medal from the Cheese Club in college for being able to identify the most amount of, well, cheeses. His first book, Of Cats and Men: History’s Great Cat-loving Artists, Writers, Thinkers and Statesmen, was published by Ten Speed Press in 2017. He recently illustrated his first picture book, When We Walked on the Moon, written by David Long and published by Wide Eyed Press in 2019, as well as the follow-up, When Darwin Sailed the Sea.

He lives in an old house with his husband and two cats, Arthur and Frances. In their role as studio assistants, the cats specialize in houseplant demolition and pencil relocation. He enjoys futzing around in his garden, going to estate sales, and taking long walks. So basically, when he’s not working, he’s retired. He’s taught at CUNY Queens College and Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

About the Publisher

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Feeding Minds Press is a project of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, whose mission is to build awareness and understanding of agriculture through education. We focus on helping young readers understand where their food comes from, who grows it, and how it gets to them and believe in cultivating curiosity about food and farming and how agriculture plays a role in our daily lives. All books from Feeding Minds Press have accompanying lessons, activities, and videos to further learning available on their website, http://www.feedingmindspress.com.

 


GIVEAWAY

  • One (1) winner will receive a finished copy of Hero for the Hungry
  • US/Can only
  • Ends 9/11 at 11:59pm ET
  • Enter via the Rafflecopter below
  • Visit the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!

 

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Blog Tour Schedule:

August 29th Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
August 30th Mom Read It
August 31st A Dream Within A Dream
September 1st Randomly Reading
September 2nd YA Books Central

Posted in Fiction, Graphic Novels, Middle Grade

Prunella and the Cursed Skull Ring is sweetly ghoulish

Prunella and the Cursed Skull Ring, by Matthew Loux, (Oct. 2022, First Second), $18.99, ISBN: 9781250162618

Ages 8-12

A girl discovers a skull-shaped ring that transforms her into a skeleton girl, earning her the ire of her monster-fearing neighbors in this delightfully weird and macabre story by Time Museum creator Matthew Loux. The town turns on her, including her indifferent mother, who mistakes a lushly groomed dog for her daughter, banishing her and setting Prunella off on a journey to find a way to reverse the curse. She meets other monsters on the way, all of whom readily accept her, and realizes that maybe the so-called “monsters” aren’t the villains after all. Befriending Captain Rip Skeleton and a floating skull named Francis, Prunella quickly becomes a story of friendship and adventure, leaving Prunella with decisions to make at the end of her journey. Cartoony artwork makes for a friendly cast of ogres, skeletons, and ghosts. Prunella is a young girl with a head of ample red hair held with a bow that stays intact through her transformation. Give this one to your Margo Maloo fans. A good purchase for graphic novel collections that like a little dark humor.

Prunella and the Cursed Skull Ring has a starred review from Kirkus.

Posted in Fiction, Horror, Middle Grade, Tween Reads

A middle grade horror classic gets a graphic novel retelling: Wait Till Helen Comes

Wait Till Helen Comes Graphic Novel, by Mary Downing Hahn/Illustrated by Meredith Laxton, (Sept. 2022, Clarion Books), $12.99, ISBN: 9780358536895

Ages 8-12

A classic work of children’s horror gets its day in graphic novel form.  Siblings Molly and Michael have tried time and again to bridge the divide between them and their 7-year-old stepsister, Heather, but Heather only seems to want to make their lives miserable. She lies to get them in trouble, she spurns any overtures from Molly, Michael, and their mother, and wants 100% of her father’s time. When the family relocates to an old church with a graveyard in back and sets up residence, things become even worse: Heather claims to have made a new friend: Helen, the ghost of a girl who died in a fire years ago, and who will make Molly and Michael pay when she comes. Wait Till Helen Comes is a chilling ghost story that receives an equally chilling graphic adaptation, with creepy imagery and a chilling blue and purple palette. Meredith Laxton maintains the spooky atmosphere that Hahn masterfully creates with her words. Characters are realistically human, all presenting as white.

With the current trend of popular novels being adapted into graphic novels, Wait till Helen Comes Home is about to reach even more readers. A great add to graphic novel collections.

Written in 1986, Wait till Helen Comes has won multiple awards and garnered a 2016 film adaptation.