APRIL 14, 2014

Book News by Trent Shaw

Welcome to the newest edition of Kids Only. There have been a number fun titles released over the past month or so that feature varied and unique hooks or interactive elements that set them apart from the rest. Here are a handful that really caught my eye:

In Édouard Manceau's Presto Change-o! [...]

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Beginning Readers

Chicken Squad

Doreen Cronin, Illustrated by Kevin Cornell
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers, $12.99, HC, 9781442496767)

The chicks from Doreen Cronin's J.J. Tully series (The Trouble With Chickens and The Legend of Diamond Lil) star in a spin-off series for younger readers, the first of which, The Chicken Squad, is just out. Meet the Chicken Squad: Dirt, Sugar, Poppy, and Sweetie. These chicks are not your typical barnyard puffs of fluff. No sir, they’re too busy solving mysteries and fighting crime so it's up to them to figure out what Tail, the not-so-brave squirrel, is so afraid of. When he describes it as BIG and SCARY, that doesn't give much insight as to what is lurking beyond the coop. Can our feckless, fluffy heroes defeat something that could very well be out of this world? FICTION/Mysteries, Espionage, & Detective Stories/Humorous Stories/Animals-Farm Animals

Also New in Beginning Readers:

Graphic Novels & Manga

The Adventures of Nislon Groundthumper and Hermy

Stan Sakai
(Dark Horse Books, $14.99, HC , 9781616553418)

Fans of Stan Sakai's long-running Usagi Yojimbo series will definitely want to check out the rabbit action epic, The Adventures of Nislon Groundthumper and Hermy. Before Miyamoto Usagi began his warrior's pilgrimage in Japan, another wandering swordsman set out on a path of adventure in Medieval Europe! Swashbuckling bunny Nilson Groundthumper may have the brain of a fool, but he has the heart of a hero, and once he meets simple, innocent Hermy, the two won't stop until they've found a quest to call their own! Here is Nilson and Hermy's complete exploits, newly scanned from Sakai's original art and colored by Usagi Yojimbo colorist Tom Luth, plus rarely seen extra art. Check out a preview here. FICTION/Comics & Graphic Novels/Action & Adventure/Fantasy & Magic/ Humorous Stories Rated E MIDDLE READERS

Also New in Graphic Novels & Manga:

Middle Readers

The Boundless!

Kenneth Oppel
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $16.99, HC, 9781442472884)

I really enjoyed Kenneth Oppel's new book, The Boundless!, due next week. The Boundless, the greatest train ever built, is on its maiden voyage across the country, and first-class passenger Will Everett is about to embark on the adventure of his life! When Will ends up in possession of the key to a train car containing priceless treasures, he becomes the target of sinister figures from his past. In order to survive, Will must join a traveling circus, enlisting the aid of Mr. Dorian, the ringmaster and leader of the troupe, and Maren, a girl his age who is an expert escape artist. With villains fast on their heels, can Will and Maren reach Will’s father and save The Boundless before someone winds up dead? Oppel throws in lots of fun facts and period detail, along with many genuine thrills - the bog-dwelling Muskeg Hag is particularly effective. FICTION/Action & Adventure/Transportation-Railroads & Trains/Historical-General

Also New in Middle Readers:

Picture Books

Princess Sparkle-Heart Gets a Makeover

Josh Schneider
(Clarion Books, $16.99, HC, 9780544142282)

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner Josh Schneider (Tales for Very Picky Eaters) is out with a great new book, Princess Sparkle-Heart Gets a Makeover. Amelia and her dog are best friends . . . until Princess Sparkle-Heart comes along. Soon, Amelia and Princess Sparkle-Heart are doing everything together: having tea parties, attending royal weddings, keeping each other's secrets. Princess Sparkle-Heart may be an awesome princess doll, but is she any match for a jealous canine? Schneider's watercolor, pen, and ink illustrations are great - his jealous pooch is spot-on. You can check out a few preview pages as well as some concept art here. FICTION/Humorous Stories/Toys,Dolls, & Puppets/Animals-Dogs/Social Issues-Emotions & Feelings

Also New in Picture Books:

Pre School

Pocket Piggies Numbers! / Pocket Piggies Colors!

Richard Austin
(Workman Publishing, $5.95 each, Board Book, Numbers: 9780761179795 / Colors: 9780761179801)

Make sure you check out two new board books from Workman, Pocket Piggies Numbers! and Pocket Piggies Colors!, featuring the irresistible Teacup Pigs of Pennywell Farm. Small enough to hold in the palm of your hand, the Pennywell pigs are an adorable lot. The Pocket Piggies board books marry the inherent appeal of these Teacup Pigs to the sweetness of the board book format. The photographs are full-color, full-page, and up-close. The subjects are classics: Pocket Piggies Numbers! celebrates an ever-growing crowd of piggies, from one to ten, through a rhyming text that's sweet and charming. On each spread of Pocket Piggies Colors!, one of the beloved piggy models is paired with an object or animal of a different color - the yellow chick and blue cup are particularly cute! NONFICTION/Animals-Farm Animals/Animals-Baby Animals/Concepts-Counting & Numbers/Concepts-Colors

Also New in Pre School:

Young Adult

Dreams of Gods & Monsters

Laini Taylor
(Little, Brown and Company, $19.00, HC, 9780316134071)

I really LOVE Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke & Bone series, and after a LONG wait, Dreams of Gods & Monsters, the conclusion to the trilogy, is FINALLY out, and, although I'm not yet finished, it appears it was worth the wait. This time out Karou, by way of a staggering deception (which I can't reveal because it's so delicious) has taken control of the chimaera's rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. When a brutal angel army trespasses into the human world, Karou and the chimaera forge an unlikely alliance with Akiva and the Misbegotten to fight the threat - and stand against even larger dangers that loom on the horizon. Taylor's prose, as always, has a beautiful, poetic quality to it: "Sunrise. Intense saturation of light; glowing clouds, a gilded sea, and the horizon a streak of radiance too pure to look at." Make sure you stock up on the first two books in the series, Daughter of Smoke & Bone (9780316133999, Little Brown, $10.00, TP) and Days of Blood & Starlight (9780316133982, Little Brown, $11.00, TP). FICTION/Fantasy & Magic/Action & Adventure

Also New in Young Adult: