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BOARD BOOKS : My Favorite Color by Aaron Becker, Paper Peek Animals by Chihiro Takeuchi, & This is a Book of Shapes by Kenneth Kraegel

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MY FAVORITE COLOR: I Can Only Pick One? by Aaron Becker Candlewick Studio, 2020 ISBN: 9781536214741 Source: publisher for review Ages 3-6 All opinions expressed are solely my own.   ABOUT THE BOOK   People always ask for your favorite color. But who said you can only have one? Open this gorgeous board book to find an ode to ever-changing colors, offering a spectrum of hues evoking the sun, the sea, clouds, and dew-dappled fruit. In colorful grids of small squares--some translucent inserts, some painted on the page--Aaron Becker uses layering to make colors shift and transition from spread to mesmerizing spread. As fun to look at as an alluring paint-chip display and as inspiring as an artful concept book can be, My Favorite Color promises to be a favorite, well-thumbed read and a prized art object in itself.   REVIEW   This is a hard book to describe.  It's full of die-cuts, translucent squares of various colors, and incredible layering that causes the colors to shift and

MIDDLE GRADE SPECULATIVE (Fantasy) FICTION : The Princess who Flew with Dragons by Stephanie Burgis

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  THE PRINCESS WHO FLEW WITH DRAGONS Tales from the Chocolate Heart #3 by Stephanie Burgis Bloomsbury, 2020 ISBN: 9781547602070 Source: purchased Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK Princess Sofia of Drachenheim is sick of being used for her older sister’s political gains. At twelve years old, she’s already been a hostage to invading dragons and a promised future fiancé to a wicked fairy. Her only comfort lies in writing letters to her pen pal and best friend--Jasper, a young dragon whom she's never even met. When Sofia's older sister sends her on a diplomatic mission to far-off Villenne, she's meant to play the part of a charming, smiling princess. But when an accident leads to her exile from the city, Sofia is free to wander as she pleases for the first time in her life. And when Jasper's food-mage sister Aventurine turns him into a human boy, Sofia thinks life can't get any better. Until… the legendary ice giants of the n

MIDDLE GRADE SPECULATIVE (Fantasy) FICTION : Curse of the Night Witch by Alex Aster

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  CURSE OF THE NIGHT WITCH Emblem Island #1 by Alex Aster Sourcebooks Young Readers, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-4926-9720-6 Source: purchased Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own.   ABOUT THE BOOK   On Emblem Island all are born knowing their fate. Their lifelines show the course of their life and an emblem dictates how they will spend it. Twelve-year-old Tor Luna was born with a leadership emblem, just like his mother. But he hates his mark and is determined to choose a different path for himself. So, on the annual New Year's Eve celebration, where Emblemites throw their wishes into a bonfire in the hopes of having them granted, Tor wishes for a different power. The next morning Tor wakes up to discover a new marking on his skin...the symbol of a curse that has shortened his lifeline, giving him only a week before an untimely death. There is only one way to break the curse, and it requires a trip to the notorious Night Witch. With only his village's terrifying,

PICTURE BOOK FICTION REVIEWS : Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away by Meg Medina & Love is Powerful by Heather Dean Brewer

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  EVELYN DEL REY IS MOVING AWAY by Meg Medina, illustrated by Sonia Sanchez  Candlewick Press, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-5362-0704-0 Source: publisher for review Ages 4-8 All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK From Newbery Medalist Meg Medina comes the bittersweet story of two girls who will always be each other's número uno, even though one is moving away. A big truck with its mouth wide open is parked at the curb, ready to gobble up Evelyn's mirror with the stickers around the edge . . . and the sofa that we bounce on to get to the moon. Evelyn Del Rey is Daniela's best friend. They do everything together and even live in twin apartments across the street from each other: Daniela with her mami and hamster, and Evelyn with her mami, papi, and cat. But not after today--not after Evelyn moves away. Until then, the girls play amid the moving boxes until it's time to say goodbye, making promises to keep in touch, because they know that their friendship

MIDDLE GRADE SPECULATIVE (Fantasy) FICTION : The Ghost in Apartment 2R by Denis Markell

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  THE GHOST IN APARTMENT 2R by Denis Markell Delacorte Press, 2020 ISBN: 9780525645719 Source: Purchased Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK What if there was a ghost in your brother's room? This kid-friendly mystery about three friends who try to help a restless spirit find peace is perfect for fans of Under the Egg and The Book Scavenger . It stinks that Danny's older brother moved out and went to college. But you know what's worse? He left behind an angry ghost in his room! With the help of his friends Nat and Gus, Danny interviews everyone his Brooklyn neighborhood to find out about spirits. Is it an Arabian ghoul? A Korean gwishin? A Polish haunting? Maybe the answer lies with Danny's own bubbe and her tales of a dybbuk, a Jewish mythological ghost. Regardless of its origins, what does the spirit truly want? And can Danny manage to bring the phantom to rest?   REVIEW   The Ghost in Apartment 2R provides a slightly spo

MIDDLE GRADE SPECULATIVE (Fantasy) FICTION : Hide and Seeker by Daka Hermon

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  HIDE AND SEEKER by Daka Hermon Scholastic, 2020 ISBN: 9781338583632 Source: school library Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own.   ABOUT THE BOOK   One of our most iconic childhood games receives a creepy twist as it becomes the gateway to a nightmare world. I went up the hill, the hill was muddy, stomped my toe and made it bloody, should I wash it? Justin knows that something is wrong with his best friend. Zee went missing for a year. And when he came back, he was . . . different. Nobody knows what happened to him. At Zee's welcome home party, Justin and the neighborhood crew play Hide and Seek. But it goes wrong. Very wrong. One by one, everyone who plays the game disappears, pulled into a world of nightmares come to life. Justin and his friends realize this horrible place is where Zee had been trapped. All they can do now is hide from the Seeker.   REVIEW   This book sucked me in from the very first page.  From the moment Justin and his friends meet to we

MIDDLE GRADE SPECULATIVE (Fantasy) FICTION : Rival Magic by Deva Fagan

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  RIVAL MAGIC by Deva Fagan Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2020 ISBN: 9781534439054 Source: purchased Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own.   ABOUT THE BOOK   A young wizard's apprentice discovers that the best magic is not the biggest or the brightest, but the magic unique to you, in this cinematic middle grade fantasy in the tradition of Kiki's Delivery Service and The School for Good and Evil. Antonia may not be the most powerful wizard the world has ever seen, but she's worked hard to win her place as apprentice to renowned sorcerer Master Betrys. Unfortunately, even her best dancing turnip charm might not be enough when Moppe the scullery maid turns out to be a magical prodigy. Now that Betrys has taken Moppe on as a second apprentice, Antonia's path to wizarding just got a bit more complicated. But when Betrys is accused of treason, Antonia and Moppe are forced to go on the run. To prove their master's innocence--and their own--the