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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Review of the Day: Firefighters’ Handbook by Meghan McCarthy

If there is an art to rendering expository facts with a narrative feel, then Meghan McCarthy is this type of book’s Vincent Van Gogh. Never sacrificing beauty, never skimping on reality, she provides the perfect balance while also managing to come up with books that kids will really really enjoy reading. A treat to eye and ear and a blessing to parents of the firefighting obsessed nationwide. The best at what it aims to be.

Review of the Day: The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart

It’s kind of gratifying to know that the story has been finding its audience. And what child wouldn’t find the notion of living on a school bus, tricked out like a long, yellow mobile home, enticing?

Review of the Day: Small in the City by Sydney Smith

Small in the City is not flashy or gaudy or loud. It is quiet and serious and oh-so very beautiful. Beautiful right down to its little paper soul. Once in a while, a reviewer gets to talk about a modern day classic. Today, I am that reviewer, and this is that book.

Review of the Day: This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews

Don’t be surprised then if you detect a note of longing in the eyes of the kids that read this book. Thick with adventure, chock full of awe and beauty, this is what they mean when they say comics are an art unto themselves. The finest of the fine. Questing done right.

Review of the Day: The Usual Suspects by Maurice Broaddus

You know why you haven’t heard more people talking about this book? Because nobody knows how to sell it. Well, sorry folks, but the secret is out now. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read for kids, and maybe the best school rated children’s novel I’ve encountered period. This, right here, is the book of our times.

Review of the Day: Paws + Edward by Espen Dekko, ill. Mari Kanstad Johnsen

When is a book about a dog more than just a dog book? Or a book about grief more than just about death? To make their lives easier, publishers like to slot books into categories. This one goes in the pile of books about holidays, while that one is for kids afraid of getting haircuts. But no matter the type, the best picture books transcend their boxes. This one does.

Review of the Day: Monument Maker by Linda Booth Sweeney, ill. Shawn Fields

When a book is as funny, smart, beautiful, and interesting as Monument Maker, you have a chance to remember that old adage about judging a book by its cover.

Review of the Day: I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day

Set in contemporary Seattle with a Suquamish/Duwamish protagonist, Day (Upper Skagit) highlights a historical injustice by writing a book a kid might actually enjoy reading. No mean task. I think I may have devoured it entirely in one sitting.

Review of the Day: Mr. Nogginbody Gets a Hammer by David Shannon

I don’t know what it took to make Mr. Nogginbody come into the world, but whatever confluence of the planets allowed this madcap exercise in increasing hijinks to happen, I say let’s have more of it! In a sea of picture books that remain unmemorable five minutes after you’ve read them, Mr. Nogginbody hits the nail on the head. Hard.

Review of the Day: Up Verses Down by Calef Brown

By my thinking you can never have enough nonsense taking up residence in a human brain. Calef Brown’s latest just proves it.

Review of the Day: Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds

Good news. I know exactly what to do with this particular middle school book. You need to weigh it down with awards, so many that it can no longer stand under its own weight and is forced to stagger to the display unit that stands front and center in the library where all the best books go. Then, and only then, will it have found its true home.

Review of the Day: Pokko and the Drum by Matthew Forsythe

There’s something going on in this book. A wry, whipsmart, funny tale that actually may have a thing or two to say about female empowerment. Or not? It’s easy to read too much into this book, but I’d say it’s also just as easy to read into it everything that you need it to be. Intelligent writing for kids that will not just appeal but engage and entice.

Review of the Day: Magic Ramen by Andrea Wang, ill. Kana Urbanowicz

Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando looks like a simple tale about the man who invented instant ramen, but look closer and you’ll see that what the book truly is is a paean to the necessity of failure, the beauty of persistence, and the pleasure that comes after messing up 99 times only to get it right on the 100th.

Review of the Day: The End of Something Wonderful by Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic, ill. George Ermos

I like a dead pet book with good practical advice, some honestly touching moments, and, yes, a bit of humor. A book like The End of Something Wonderful: A Practical Guide to a Backyard Funeral by Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic. Euphemisms and platitudes can take a hike. This book proves that there’s more than one way to funeral.

Review of the Day: Queen of the Sea by Dylan Meconis

There are kids out there that like comics and like realism and have long been starved for illustrated stories of the past. Hand them this book, and then hand it to all the science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts too, because this is a book for everyone. Impossible to forget, undeniable in its delights.