Every month, we 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 August edition of BayViews.

Picture Books

PoolPool written and illustrated by JiHyeon Lee
Chronicle, 2015.
In this wordless picture book, a boy dives below the noisy crowd of inner-tube-wearing swimmers to discover another solo swimmer, and an amazing world of fascinating creatures, depicted in subtle colored-pencil drawings that emphasize the fragile-feeling secret world they explore. (Preschool – Grade 5)

Spy Guy: The Not-So-Secret Agent by Jessica Young; illustrated by Charles Santosospy guy
Houghton, 2015.
“Spy Guy was a spy./But not a very good one./ Spies are sneaky./Not Spy Guy.” The “Chief” (i.e., his father) helps him practice. Humorous details of spying in Santoso’s digitally painted illustrations extend and enhance Young’s quirky text. The book design is excellent and don’t forget to look for the spider! (Preschool – Grade 1)

squid kidSquid Kid the Magnificent by Lynne Berry; illustrated by Luke LaMarca
Disney/Hyperion, 2015.
Oliver is not just a squid, he is Squid Kid the Magnificent, master of illusion! His sister Stella is happy to chime in to disprove Squid Kid’s magic with scientific facts about ocean animals. Squid Kid is a great read-aloud choice, wonderfully designed, with illustrations that complement the text perfectly. (Preschool – Grade 2)

WonTon and Chopstick: A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw; illustrated by Eugene Yelchinwon ton and chopstick
Holt, 2015.
In this sequel to Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku (2011), Won Ton the cat becomes stressed when a new puppy, called Chopstick, arrives. This charming story of adjusting to a new family member is told in Senryu: a form of Haiku focused on the foibles of human—or in this case, animal—nature. (Preschool – Grade 1)


book scavengerBook Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman; illustrated by Sarah Watts
Holt, 2015.
Emily and her family move to San Francisco, home of her hero Garrison Griswold, publisher and creator of the Book Scavenger game (similar to geocaching). After Griswold is wounded, Emily and her neighbor James, who is Chinese-American, try to find out what happened, and the scattered puzzles, ciphers, and ink artwork add appeal. (Grades 4 – 8)

The Boy who Lost Fairyland by Cathrynne Valente; illustrated by Ana Juanboy who lost fairyland
Feiwel/Macmillan, 2015.
This strong fourth book in the Fairyland series begins with a twist on the Thumbelina story, when Hawthorn the troll is stolen from Fairyland and dropped onto the doorstep of the unsuspecting Roods. Valente’s exquisite visual descriptions and clever use of language reveal the beauty and strangeness of the Human World. (Grades 5 – 8)

circus mirandusCircus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley; illustrated by Diana Sudyka
Dial/Penguin, 2015.
A powerful magician has promised his grandfather a miracle, so ten-year-old Micah sets off to find the amazing Lightbender who performs with the Circus Mirandus. Vivid imagery and smooth transitions between magic and Micah’s real situation make this an excellent choice for independent readers and reading aloud to younger children. (Grades 3 – 6)

The Jumbies by Tracey BaptisteJumbies
Algonquin. 2015.
Corinne must save her village from evil creatures called Jumbies in this story based on Haitian folktales. A very fresh take in a popular genre. (Grades 3 – 5)

pieces and playersPieces and Players by Blue Balliett; illustrated by Brett Helquist
Scholastic, 2015.
Set in Chicago’s Hyde Park area, Balliett brings characters from five previous novels together in this complex and exciting mystery. There’s a helpful ghost; a cat that seems to be a spy; grumpy museum board members; as well as a number of young people dressed in black leather jackets popping up. (Grades 5 – 9)

Graphic Novel

Sleepless Knight written and illustrated by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold and Alexis Frederick-Frostsleepless knight
First Second, 2015.
A young knight with a trusty horse set off on a camping trip, and discover that they need the help of forest animals to find the knight’s lost teddy bear. Large boldly colored illustrations and an action-packed story ensure that this book will be welcomed by young readers. (Kindergarten – Grade 3)


call of the ospreyThe Call of the Osprey by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent; photographs by William Muñoz
Houghton, 2015.
Researchers are studying the impact of environmental degradation on a population of ospreys that nest and fish near a Superfund mine cleanup site in Montana. Students considering careers in biology or environmental science will appreciate this impressive addition to the long-running “Scientists in the Field” series. (Grades 7 – 10)

A Chicken Followed Me Home: Questions and Answers about a Familiar Fowl written and illustrated by Robin Pagechicken followed me home
Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster, 2015.
Colorful hens waddle and scurry across the pages of this informative, handsomely illustrated, and distinctively designed introduction to the care and behavior of chickens. (Kindergarten – Grade 3)

octopus scientistThe Octopus Scientist by Sy Montgomery; photographs by Keith Ellenbogen
Houghton, 2015.
Gorgeous underwater photography and entertaining stories about the intelligence and color-changing abilities of octopi make this a winning addition to the acclaimed “Scientists in the Field” series, whose new tagline, “Where Science Meets Adventure,” is right on target here. (Grades 7 – 10)

– Hayley

This entry was posted in Distinguished Nominations of the Month and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Outstanding!

  1. Tracey says:

    Reblogged this on Tracey Baptiste and commented:
    The Jumbies is included in this lineup of “outstanding” books!

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