Butler Bookshelf

This week on the Butler Bookshelf we are featuring recent and coming soon titles! The Waiting Place by Dina Nayeri is a look at the lives of 10 refugee children from Afghanistan and Iran. Check it out along with the other titles below!

Chasing Rainbows
Written and Illustrated by Gabby Grant
Published by Tate Publishing
Available today!

Karthik Delivers
Written by Sheela Chari
Published by Amulet Books
Available now!

My Sister’s Big Fat Indian Wedding
Written by Sajni Patel
Published by Amulet Books
Available now!

Twas the Night Before Pride
Written by Joanna McClintick and Illustrated by Juana Medina
Published by Candlewick
Available May 3rd!

The Waiting Place: When Home is Lost and a New One Not Yet Found
Written by Dina Nayeri and Photography by Anna Bosch Miralpeix
Published by Candlewick
Available May 3rd!

Wildseed Witch
Written by Marti Dumas
Published by Amulet Books
Available May 10th!

Found Family in France: A Review of The Pear Affair

The Pear Affair 
Judith Eagle 
Illustrated by Jo Rioux 
Walker Books US 
May 24, 2022 
Ages 10-14 

Penelope “Nell” Magnificent generally avoids her parents, as they are neglectful and care more about their material possessions and wealth than her. The only genuine love she has felt in her life comes from her au pair, Perrine, who left her five years ago to return to her home city of Paris. Perrine, or Pear as Nell calls her, wrote Nell letters monthly, though six months ago those letters stopped. Nell accompanies  her parents on a trip to Paris, determined to find Pear. Nell memorized the layout of Paris, studying maps and guidebooks, as she trusted that someday Pear would free her from her parents. Nell first looks at Pear’s job and home but is unable to find her. Even worse, the adults she asks for information increasingly appear to have something to hide. Nell befriends Xavier, a young bellhop, who helps her and introduces her to a group of youngsters who are also quick to help as needed. As the group of children works to find clues about Pear’s whereabouts, they uncover a plot tied to the Thing, a mysterious outbreak of mold affecting traditional Parisian bakeries, forcing many family businesses to close. 

Nell’s exploration of her world is fully engrossing, as she pores over the information she has about Paris before embarking on the family trip. Events escalate in a way that maintains suspense, with Nell initially looking for Pear alone but eventually working with a large group to unravel a greater mystery. The secondary characters are young children who roam underground tunnels beneath Paris, resulting in a unique aspect of the city being central to the story. While there are many villainous adults throughout the story, helpful ones are also present, which keeps the story from delving too far into extremes of good and evil in its realistic setting. Occasional black and white illustrations bring key moments to life. This story is sure to appeal to readers who enjoy the journey of watching a mystery become more complex as it marches towards its conclusion, which leads to Nell finding the sense of love and belonging from a found family that now extends beyond Pear. 

Butler Bookshelf

This week on the Butler Bookshelf we are featuring recent and coming soon books of poetry! It’s poetry month so find some verses! In Behold our Magical Garden Allan Wolf brings to life the fun of gardening through verse, supported by the illustrations of Daniel Duncan! Check it out along with the other titles below!

Behold our Magical Garden
Written by Allan Wolf and Illustrated by Daniel Duncan
Published by Candlewick
Available Now!

First & Last: The Changing Season
Written by Leda Schubert and Illustrated by Clover Robin
Published by Candlewick
Available Now!

Marshmallow Clouds: Two Poets at Play Among Figures of Speech
Written by Ted Kooser and Connie Wanek, Illustrated by Richard Jones
Published by Candlewick
Available Now!

Out of This World: Star-Studded Haiku
Written by Sally M. Walker and Illustrated by Matthew Trueman
Published by Candlewick
Available Today!

Take Off Your Brave: The World Through the Eyes of a Preschool Poet
Written by Nadim Shamma-Sourgen and Illustrated by Yasmeen Ismail
Published by Candlewick
Available Now!

Welcome to Your World
Written by Smriti Prasadam-Halls and Illustrated by Jamie Kim
Published by Candlewick
Available Now!

Brain Gain: A Review of Goodnight to Your Fantastic Elastic Brain

Goodnight to Your Fantastic Elastic Brain
JoAnn Deak, PhD and Terrence Deak, PhD
Illustrated by Neely Daggett
Sourcebooks
April 5th, 2022
Ages 4+

In Good Night to Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, we follow Brain, the pink walnut-looking organ in your head, starting with a brief and general explanation of what Brain does, and going through their nightly checklist, from development all the way through dreaming. With each task coming in the order they happen through a sleep cycle. As psychologists, the authors, Doctors JoAnn and Terrance Deak’s passion for the topic is evident. Using a tone of “isn’t the brain cool!” keeps the reader engaged and never talks down to them. Excelling when paired with a completely natural but potentially scary topic like REM paralysis that is part of dreaming. Illustrations by Neely Daggett are simple abstractions with implied details. For example, Brain has bumps along its edge letting the reader do the work of extrapolating the wrinkles in their mind without cluttering the illustrations. In diagrams, while not realistic, they show locations for different sections of the brain accurately, substituting the anthropomorphic brain for a clear cross-section in profile with colored highlights. The art and the writing use metaphors to explain brain processes to readers, using abstractions like stamping when creating memories and baths when Brain needs to clean themselves, to give children simple reasons to want to sleep. The journey through a sleep cycle wraps up with a reiteration that your brain is you, what happens if you don’t sleep well, and actionable advice on how to improve your sleep that is useful for everybody, not just children. One missing feature is a bibliography or a list of continued reading resources for those who want more.

An enthusiastic explainer made for kids who need a good reason to hit the hay.

Butler Bookshelf

This week’s Butler Bookshelf features recently released and coming soon titles! Once Upon Another Time is the beginning of the storybook character mixing trilogy of middle-grade novels by James Riley. Follow Jin, a young genie, and Lena, the kid of giants, as they try to stop the machinations of the Golden King! Check it out along with the other titles below!

How to Build a Human In Seven Evolutionary Steps
Written by Pamela S. Turner and Illustrated by John Gurche
Published by Charlesbridge
Available April 12th!

Once Upon Another Time
Written by James Riley
Published by Aladdin
Available today!

Planting a Garden in Room 6
Written by Caroline Arnold
Published by Charlesbridge
Available now!

Powwow Day
Written by Traci Sorell and Illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight
Published by Charlesbridge
Available now!

She Gets the Girl
Written by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick
Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Available today!

Smitten with Kittens
Written by Florence Minor and Illustrated by Wendell Minor
Published by Charlesbridge
Available now!

Be Bold, Be Brave: A Review of Epically Earnest

Epically Earnest–cover art

Epically Earnest
Molly Horan
Clarion Books
June 21, 2022
Ages 12+

At one-year-old, Jane Worthing was abandoned in the back of the Poughkeepsie train station. Despite this unlucky start, Jane’s led a happy life thanks to the generous and supportive man who found, and later adopted her. Now eighteen-years-old and in the final months of her senior year, Jane finds herself with all the typical high school drama and more. Her best friend Algie secretly, and high-handedly, sent her DNA to Ancestry.com. Jane has always avoided searching for her birth parents out of fear of what she might uncover. But now there’s a familial match in the form of an acorn, staring at her from the computer screen. On top of this, Gwendolyn Fairfax—Algie’s cousin and the girl Jane’s been in love with since she was 13—is visiting over school break. Jane has some big decisions to make. Should she click the acorn? Profess her love to Gwen? When the final decision is made, will chaos ensue, or will she finally find what she’s longing for?

Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Epically Earnest shares character names, loves, and the protagonist’s back story—left in an oversized handbag. Horan adds a contemporary twist to these plot lines with the discovery of baby Jane becoming a viral video and Jane’s bisexual identity. Epically Earnest centers themes of acceptance, believing in yourself, and what it means to be family. Jane comes to find that searching for her birth family isn’t a betrayal to her adoptive parents. Her birth family is an addition to the family she already loves. Throughout the story, Jane becomes more confident in herself. She gains the courage to pursue Gwen, believing that she deserves to be happy and that being honest with herself and others is the best way to get what she needs. Horan includes a further nod to Wilde by prefacing each chapter with a quote from one of his plays. A sweet and romantic comedy, this coming of age novel illustrates that happiness comes to those boldly open to it.

Some things are too important to be taken seriously. — Oscar Wilde.

Butler Bookshelf

This week’s Butler Bookshelf features recently released and coming soon titles! Abdul’s Story is a colorful story about how Abdul, with a little help from his teacher, learns that it’s okay to make mistakes when writing stories. Written by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, Illustrated by Tiffany Rose. Check it out along with the other titles below!

Abdul”s Story
Written by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow and Illustrated by Tiffany Rose
Published by Salaam Reads
Available today!

Always Jane
Written by Jenn Bennett
Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Available today!

A Spring Treasury of Recipes, Crafts, and Wisdom
Written by Angela Ferraro-Fanning and Illustrated by Anneliesdraws
Published by Ivy Kids
Available now!

Professor Figgy’s Professor Figgy’s Weather & Climate Science Lab for Kids
Written by Jim Noonan
Published by Quarry Books
Available April 12th

So This Is Ever After
Written by F.T. Lukens
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Available today!

Trigger
Written by N. Griffin
Published by Atheneum
Available today!

From Boring Summer Vacation to Surprise Quinceañera: A Review of Miss Quinces

Miss Quinces
Kat Fajardo
Scholastic
May 3, 2022
Ages 8 to 12

This coming of age graphic novel follows Suyapa Gutierrez, a young Latin-American girl who reluctantly journeys to Honduras for her summer vacation, only to receive an unwelcome surprise. Learning that she has to draw a comic over the summer break, Suyapa believes that her trip to Honduras will lead to boredom with no cell service or friends. However, during her stay in Honduras, Suyapa’s mom surprises her by planning a quinceañera. Reluctantly, Suyapa begins to enjoy the planning of the party and her Latina heritage. Blindsided by a close death in the family, but determined to honor the family, Suyapa perseveres and ultimately does have fun participating in the quinceañera. In the end, she completes her travelogue comic, giving insights into her trip and the importance of her cultural heritage.

The novel contains text that is mainly in English with some Spanish words throughout, but they can be interpreted easily in the contents of the English dialogue. As Suyapa’s family in Honduras only speaks Spanish, the speech bubbles reflect that language when the text is a different color. As speaking Spanish is important to Suyapa’s family and quinceañera traditions, this distinction is important as Suyapa begins the novel refusing to speak it but gradually ends up only speaking Spanish. The plot is fast-paced as Suyapa’s Honduras trip does happen within a month of time, which influences the fast development of the characters, especially the main character. Suyapa is portrayed as journeying through girlhood to womanhood as she transitions from disinterested in her family and Latin American roots to becoming culturally appreciative. The novel is efficient in its progression of actions within panels and its simplistic illustrations, moving from a darker scheme to vibrant colors engaging readers in the cultural heritage of Honduras and the traditions of the quinceañera. Miss Quinces will appeal to young readers looking for a fast-paced novel and those who struggle with the weirdness of identity and the cultural importance of traditions.

Butler Bookshelf

This week’s Butler Bookshelf features recently released and coming soon titles! In Some Questions about Trees by Toni Yuly, an inquisitive child asks about the trees they see on their simply illustrated adventure. Check it out along with the other titles below!

Bristlecone: The Secret Life of the World’s Oldest Tree
Written by Alexander Siy and Illustrated by Marlo Garnsworthy
Published by Web of Life Children’s Books
Available June 19th, 2022!

The Fairy Garden
Written by Georgia Buckthorn and Illustrated by Isabella Mazzanti
Published by Ivy Kids
Available April 5th, 2022!

Little People, Big Dreams: Florence Nightingale
Written by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara and Illustrated by Kelsey Garrity-Riley
Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Available now!

Make This Book Wild
Written by Jo Schofield and Fiona Danks and Illustrated by Anna Ivanir
Published by Wide Eye
Available now!

My World in 100 Words: My Garden
Illustrated by Marijke Buurlage
Published by Happy Yak
Available now!

Some Questions About Trees
Written and Illustrated by Toni Yuly
Published by Atheneum Books For Young Readers
Available Today!

Sharing Nature Through Seasons: A Review of Emile and the Field

Emile and the Field 
Kevin Young 
Illustrated by Chioma Ebinama 
Make Me a World 
March 15, 2022 
Ages 4-8 

Young Emile loves the field close to his home, spending time alone in the field where he appreciates all the animals. He sees the field as a living being itself, thoughtfully wondering about things the field cannot experience that are far away from it, such as the sea. He also contemplates how the field changes during the seasons. He is upset that in the winter he must share his field with others who come to loudly play in the snow. When Emile shares this thought with his father, his father explains that no one owns the field and that sharing it ensures that it will continue to exist. The book closes with an illustration of Emile playing in the field with someone else in the spring. 

This is Young’s first book for children, though his experience with poetry and essays comes through in the lyrical writing style. The book is written in rhythmic verse, with many rhyming lines. The text on each page is sparse and appears in a variety of placements. This highlights the watercolor illustrations which bring the vibrant field to life through the usage of a wide color palette. The textured look of watercolor further brings the field to life. The initial textual description of Emile’s field even takes pause early on to allow for a full two-page illustration which depicts the lush field. The illustrations are key to storytelling as at the end of the book we see that Emile has learned to share the field only through illustration. This ending highlights the theme of thoughtfully enjoying nature while sharing it with others. The eye-catching illustrations and rhythmic writing make this book a great option for story time and new readers.