Outstanding! (part 1)

Every month, we’ll post an annotated bibliography of books that were rated ‘Outstanding’ and nominated for our Distinguished List at our previous month’s meeting. Today we’ll look at picture books and fiction and I’ll post fiction, graphic novels and professional books tomorrow. Members can see full reviews of these books and many more in the May edition of BayViews.

Picture Books

Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman
Viking, 2011.
Freedman has created a story that is playful, creative and mischievous – and one that plays with the meta-fiction notion of characters wreaking havoc on an artist’s work. (PreK–grade 3).

A Bus Called Heaven by Bob Graham.
Candlewick, 2012.
When an abandoned bus ticketed for “Heaven” suddenly appears on Stella’s street, the neighborhood soon puts it to good use in a rollicking tale of such diverse values as recycling, game skills, and community. (Grades K-2)

Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Adam Rex.
Hyperion, 2012.
Adam and Mac are writing and illustrating a story about Chloe, but they can’t agree on the direction the tale will take. Kids will love the bickering and final resolution as these two friends cre­ate a truly funny story by working together. (Grades K-5)

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger.
Porter/Roaring Brook, 2012.
In this deceptively simple picture book, shades of green are celebrated in short, rhyming text. The illustrations are vibrant, highly textured and bursting with life and augmented with a clever use of die cuts. (PreK- Grade 2).

In the Sea by Holly Meade.
Candlewick, 2012
Intriguing sea creatures are introduced with cleverly crafted rhymes and beautiful woodcut illustrations with color washes which evoke the motion, mystery, and color of different ocean habitats. (PreK–1st grade).

Looking at Lincoln by Maira Kalman
N. Paulsen/Penguin, 2012.
Within the brief format Kalman accomplishes miracles: introducing readers to Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglas, discussing the origins and tragic costs of the Civil War, and shepherding us through Lincoln’s assas­sination. Kalman’s naïve and graphically strong gouaches in saturated colors match the spirit of this loving, inspiring trib­ute. (Grades K-3).

Petunia Goes Wild by Paul Schmid.
Harper Collins, 2012.
Petunia finds being human “too clean. Too careful. Too clothed. Too combed. Too quiet. Too…hafta.” and makes her parents a reasonable offer: “Can I be your pet instead?” The resulting compromise she makes allows her need for wildness to coexist with domestic comfort in a book whose simple text and sketchy illustrations perfectly capture Petunia’s age and temperament. (PreK-2nd grade)

Step Gently Out by Helen Frost; illustrated by Rick Lieder.
Candlewick, 2012.
A brief, evocative poem pays tribute to small wonders of the natural world in this lyrical picture book and the dreamy quality of the photographs perfectly complement the text and the subject matter. (Grades K-2).


Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Simon & Schuster 2012
Dante is the first friend that 15 year-old Aristotle has ever had. When Dante comes out, it starts Ari on a journey to adulthood and self-acceptance. (Grades 9-Adult).

Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson.
Paulsen/Penguin, 2012.
Laurel has lost her mother in a Katrina-like flood and starts a new life in a small town, but the boy she is attracted to introduces her to meth. Multiple award-winning author Jacque­line Woodson deals brilliantly with actual contemporary tragedies in a story that will resonate with teenagers. (Grades 7-12).

The Case of the Deadly Desperados by Caroline Lawrence.
Putnam/Penguin, 2012.
Opening with “My name is P. K. Pinkerton and before this day is over, I will be dead”, it’s full speed ahead in this action-packed mystery set in a vividly and realistically depicted Old West. (Grades 4-8).

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour.
Dutton, 2012.
Local author LaCour perfectly captures the transcendent moment after high school graduation when nothing is settled and everything is possible as four friends go on a road trip from San Francisco to Portland, stopping along the way to perform in a series of small gigs. (Grades 9-12).

Ghosts of the Titanic by Julie Lawson.
Holiday, 2012.
Kevin travels back in time and place to the sinking of the Titanic in order to solve a mystery and lay a ghost to rest. The blend of surrealism, historical fiction, and coming-of-age makes this a satisfying middle-grade read. (Grades 5-8).

Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood
Scholastic, 2012.
Gloria June Hemphill looks forward to her traditional 4th of July birthday party in the town’s community swimming pool, but in the summer of 1964, the segregated pool is closed down. Glory and her sister, along with neighbors and newcomers sort out their own growing up puzzles against a touching and convincing portrait of a small Mississippi town facing change. (Grades 5-8)

If Only by Carole Geithner.
Scholastic, 2012.
First-time novelist and longtime clinical social worker Geith­ner chronicles the anger, loneliness, misunderstandings, and re­alignment of relationships faced by 13-year-old Corinna during the 8th grade year that follows her mother’s death from can­cer. (Grades 6-9).

Same Sun Here by Silas House
Candlewick, 2012.
Meena, living in New York’s Chinatown and River, a boy from a coal mining area of Ken­tucky, have been matched in a school pen-pal program. Written in the form of their letters, this is a warm and gentle novel that looks at their cultural differences as well as their similarities. (Grades 5-8).

There is No Dog by Meg Rosoff
Putnam, 2012.
Wouldn’t Life make more sense if you knew that God was a self-absorbed and moody teenage boy? This satirical novel looks at what happens when this God falls in love with a mortal. (Grades 9-Adult).

– Hayley

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