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. Members can see full reviews of these books and many more in the July edition of BayViews.

Picture Books

Infinity and Me by Kate Hosford; illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska
Carolrhoda, 2012.

A young girl explores the concept of infinity by asking people close to her to define it. This beautifully illustrated and designed book explores a complicated concept in a fun and imaginative way. (Grades 2-4)

Hippospotamus by Jeanne Willis; illustrated by Tony Ross
Andersen, 2012.

A hilarious rhyming read aloud about a hippopotamus with a mysterious “spotamus” on her “bottomus” taking advice from her friends to find a cure, with a surprising, satisfying gross-out conclusion. (Grades K-3)


Rebel Fire by Andrew Lane (Sherlock Holmes, The Legend Begins series)
Farrar, 2012.

In this second entry in the series “Sherlock Holmes, the Legend Begins,” 14-year-old Sherlock, his tutor Crowe and Crowe’s daughter Virginia travel to the U.S. in 1868 to rescue friend Matty from an unexpectedly alive John Wilkes Booth and his gang. The narrative is exciting, filled with dialogue instead of long descriptions, and with cinematic chase scenes and action. (Grades 5-10)

Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott
Candlewick, 2012.

This unconventional fairy tale is set in feudal Japan, and tells the story of Suzume, a 14-year-old girl, who with toughness, magic, and a little help from a fairy godmother-like mentor, realizes true love and happiness. (Grades 9-12)


Barnum’s Bones: How Barnum Brown Discovered the Most Famous Dinosaur in the World by Tracey Fern; illustrated by Boris Kulikov
Ferguson/Farrar, 2012.

This captivating biography of Barnum Brown, the most successful dinosaur hunter in history, tells the story of how he discovered the first T-Rex skeleton for the American Museum of Natural History. (Grades 1-4)

The Beetle Book by Steve Jenkins
Houghton, 2012.

A wide variety of brilliant, jewel-like beetles parade across oversized pages, accompanied by sometimes astonishing, sometimes basic information on different beetle species and their distinctive characteristics. (Grade 3-Adult)

Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team by Audrey Vernick; illustrated by Steven Salerno

Part baseball story, part family chronicle, this intriguing picture-book traces the remarkable history of the Acerra “all brothers” baseball team.  Retro illustrations take readers back to the 1930’s and 1940’s and family style baseball. (Grades 1-5)

Mastering Comics: Drawing Words and Writing Pictures by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden
Roaring Brook, 2012.

Two teachers write their second and more advanced book on comics, integrating narrative with pictures, proper inking, publishing, etc. Aspects of making comics as a business are also covered. (Grade 7-Adult)

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson
Scholastic, 2012.

Told chronologically from the point of view of several eyewitnesses, this account of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 reads as dramatically as it was shown in the 1954 film “A Night to Remember.”  The narrative is a real page-turner, and Hopkinson’s style adds to the tension with energetic pacing and the use of primary sources for quotations. The only negative about the book is the photo reproduction and the type of paper used, making for muddy pictures, maps, charts, and even gray sidebars. (Grades 5-12)

– Hayley

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