Outstanding! – January 2016

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 January edition of BayViews.



Rules for Stealing Stars written by Haydu, Corey Ann; Katherine Tegen Books 2015

Silly hopes a stolen star can save her family. But when dark truths are revealed along with wonderful secrets, it might be the thing that tears them apart. In Rules for Stealing Stars, Haydu paints a beautiful and realistic picture of a family in shambles trying to cope with their mother’s unpredictable moods. (4-8)



The Story of Diva and Flea written by Willems, Mo and illustrated by Diterlizzi, Tony;  Disney-Hyperion 2015

Set in Paris, this is an enchanting story about the friendship between a dog and a cat and how their friendship allows each to grow. Both text and illustrations are filled with humor and charm. The lush design of the book enhances the reading experience. (2-4)

Salt to the Sea written by Sepetys, Ruta; Philomel Books 2016

Based on actual events, this harrowing and moving historical YA novel brings a human dimension to a largely forgotten World War II tragedy. As thousands flee the Soviet advance through Eastern Europe, the novel’s four narrators are caught up in the melee as they try to escape to unoccupied Germany. (8-12)

Out of the Woods written by Bond, Rebecca; Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2015

People and wild animals, natural enemies, go to the lake to save their lives as a wild fire burns in the remote woods of Ontario, Canada. Based on a true story, the attention to details in the distinctive illustrations elevate this story from interesting to absorbing. (1-3)



Finding Monkey Moon written by Pulford, Elizabeth and illustrated by Wilkinson, Kate; Candlewick 2015

It is bedtime and Michael realizes his beloved doll Monkey Moon is lost in the park. He and Dad don hats and coats and set off into the snowy night to search for Monkey Moon. Double page acrylic illustrations capture the haunting experience of the park at night and simple text describes Michael’s determination to find Monkey Moon in spite of his fears. Large format pictures and subject matter any young child will relate to makes this book an excellent choice for preschool story time. (PS-3)

The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower :or John Howland’s Good Fortune written and illustrated by Lynch, P.J.; Candlewick 2015

Award-winning illustrator P.J. Lynch puts the adventure, romance and the ‘nightmare of sickness, death and danger’ back into the Pilgrim story, telling the true story of young John Howland, who survived falling from the Mayflower during a storm and went on to build Plymouth settlement. A bibliography and author’s note provide sources and intriguing historic context. (3-6)

The Plan written by Paul, Alison and illustrated by Lehman, Barbara; HMH Books for Young Readers 2015

A young farm girl enlists the help of her dog and her widower father to get her mother’s old plane flying again. Although the text only consists of twenty different words, with one letter difference between them, they work seamlessly with the crisp illustrations to tell a surprisingly nuanced story. (PS-1)

Float written and illustrated by Miyares, Daniel; Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 2015

In a wordless picture book a boy takes his paper boat outside in the rain with a predictable outcome. The dynamic illustrations, however, surprise with each page turn, inviting the eye to follow the boy as he splashes through puddles, scurries across pages, and returns home for hugs, hot chocolate, and a new paper vehicle to pilot. (PS-2)

Good Night, Good Dog

Goodnight, Good Dog written by Ray, Mary Lyn and illustrated by Malone, Rebecca; HMH Books for Young Readers 2015

At nighttime, a little dog cannot sleep thinking about the fun he had during the day. Colorful acrylic illustrations, and a sparse but playful text blend well to make this a cozy and worthwhile bedtime story. (B/T-2)




Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx written by Manzano, Sonia; Scholastic Press 2015

Sonia Manzana describes her childhood in the Bronx as a mixture of love and bright cultural color juxtaposed to the dreariness and isolation of poverty and the terrifying moments of growing up with a violent alcoholic father. She tells her story with humor and grace – no wonder she became the iconic Maria on Sesame Street and award-winning television writer and children’s author. (9-A)




National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry: More Than 200 Poems With Photographs That Float, Zoom, and Bloom! compiled by Lewis, J. Patrick; National Geographic Children’s Books 2015

This eloquent anthology, elegantly illustrated with vibrant, lush National Geographic photography, is an excellent resource for libraries and a treasure for poetry and nature aficionados of all ages. (1-A)




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