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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Jackaby
by R William Ritter

Publishers Weekly Toss together an alternate 19th-century New England city, a strong tradition of Sherlockian pastiche, and one seriously ugly hat, and this lighthearted and assured debut emerges, all action and quirk. In the best Doyle tradition, the first-person narrator is pragmatic yet naive Abigail Rook, native of Britain and seeker of adventure. Thwarted in Ukraine, she catches ship for the U.S. and lands in New Fiddleham, penniless and with few employable skills. This matters not to R.F. Jackaby, the peculiar stranger with the awful hat, who is more interested in the kobold (household spirit) Abigail has unknowingly picked up on her travels. Jackaby is a detective in need of an unflappable assistant-literally, as his last one "is temporarily waterfowl." Abigail's keen eye for detail and complete ignorance of the paranormal make her observations invaluable to him, and she's soon caught up in the eccentric mayhem that is Jackaby's workaday world. Ritter is also capable of tenderness and pathos, as his description of a suffering banshee demonstrates, leaving room for development in any future cases Abigail may chronicle. Ages 12-up. Agent: Lucy Carson, Friedrich Agency. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Fans of Jonathan Stroud's The Screaming StaircaseĆ(Disne-Hyperion, 2013) will appreciate Ritter's initial foray into the realm of supernatural. When Abigail Rook abandons university, and her parents' hopes, she arrives at the fictional New England town of New Fiddleham. There, she promptly meets R. F. Jackaby, a paranormal detective, and is flung into the investigation of a serial killer suspected of being nonhuman.ĆWhere Ritter excels is in the fast and furious plotline-events unfold rapidly while satisfying tastes for mystery and a small amount of gore. Unfortunately, so much attention is paid to the unfolding circumstances that the two main characters remain mysteries themselves. While readers know Abigail is fleeing the expectations society and her parents have placed on her, little is done to explain why. The protagonist is also a mystery-he just appears, as if a ghost himself, with much fanfare but scant backstory. Ultimately, however, avid lovers of fantasy will enjoy this quick read.-Amanda C. Buschmann, Atascocita Middle School, Humble, TX (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog The Most Amazing Creature in the Sea
by Brenda Z. Guiberson

School Library Journal Gr 2-5-Handsome, softly realistic illustrations depict an assortment of ocean dwellers, each accompanied by a brief paragraph full of interesting factoids as each creature proclaims itself "the most amazing creature in the sea." A wide variety of oceanic life unfolds in the images, which brim with details, from the blue blood of the vampire squid to the natural antifreeze of the wolffish and the gelatinous slime of the hagfish. Other creatures depicted in these hauntingly vivid visuals include a toothy anglerfish, a massive leatherback turtle, and a leafy sea dragon. The final spread is devoted to the lesser fry that keep the oceans-and other fish-clean: the filterers, the alga-eaters, the reef-building corals, and the wrasse. An author's note on the importance of preserving these species is accompanied by a brief bibliography. Pair this with Erich Hoyt's more difficult Weird Sea Creatures (Firefly, 2013) and Sylvia Earle's Sea Critters (National Geographic, 2000). VERDICT An eye-catching jumping-off point for further investigation.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY © Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Similar in concept to Guiberson and Spirin's The Greatest Dinosaur Ever (2013), this handsome book presents a variety of fascinating ocean animals, from the anglerfish to the vampire squid. Speaking in first person, each one tells why it is the most amazing creature in the sea Twelve species vie for that title, along with one aggregate group called helpers (oysters, sea urchins, coral, krill, etc.) that play crucial, though perhaps less dramatic, roles in ocean ecology. Each double-page spread introduces a different contender boasting of its remarkable feats and features in a few lines of text, including passages such as, I can tie myself into a knot to squeeze slime off my body. I burrow into dead creatures for a meal and leave the bones for the zombie worms. With short paragraphs that read aloud very effectively and richly colored, intricately detailed paintings that look their best from a little distance, this picture book is well designed for sharing with groups of children. A natural for classroom science units.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In their fourth collaboration, Guiberson and Spirin echo the format of 2013's The Greatest Dinosaur Ever as a dozen aquatic creatures take turns claiming to be the "most amazing creature in the sea!" Each animal describes itself vividly and evocatively: "Predators don't stand a chance against my powers of evasion," boasts a vampire squid. Spirin's always lush illustrations go beyond naturalistic detail to give the subjects a dignity and majesty: a trio of 5,000-pound ocean sunfish, the "heaviest bony fish in the world," have the glow of Renaissance putti, while a mimic octopus's copper-and-cream tentacles unfurl languidly across an inky blue seascape. Readers will enjoy debating who deserves the coveted title-perhaps the utterly alien hagfish or the blue whale, which "takes in 17,000 gallons of food-filled water in a single mouthful"? An awe-inspiring look at ocean biodiversity that revels in the significance of every animal. Ages 4-8. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

British Crime Writers' Assoc.
Click to search this book in our catalog Free Falling As If in a Dream:
by Leif GW Persson

Library Journal Persson concludes his trilogy (Another Time, Another Life; Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End) about the assassination of Swedish prime minister Olof Palme on February 28, 1986, a case that was never solved but now is, though only as fiction. It is a meticulous reconstruction of the investigation of a highly sensitive case, long since past but now reopened. More than any other series of police procedurals today, Persson's exceptional novels show how cops actually pursue a difficult investigation, the thousands of steps and missteps that occur en route. The detectives are competent and human, with interesting quirks; their boss Lars Martin Johannsson, chief of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, is a veritable bloodhound once he gets a notion in his head. In the process of narrating this fascinating tale, Persson makes telling comments about the pernicious influence of the police presence in Sweden and paints an uproariously funny portrait of a very bad cop-venal, xenophobic, work-averse, and a liar-who attempts to force his way into the case with disastrous consequences. (For himself, of course.) Verdict Readers who enjoy Scandinavian crime fiction will love Persson's climactic volume in a series that may be the best around. [Interestingly, the late Swedish journalist and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo author Stieg Larsson may have cracked the case; according to the Guardian (, a Swedish newspaper recently reported that Larsson left 15 boxes of papers for the police supporting his claim that South African security forces were involved in the crime.-Ed.]-David Keymer, Modesto, CA (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Swedish crime fiction had a solid fan base in North America even before Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy hit the shelves, but since then the onslaught of new authors has become a tidal wave. Persson's trilogy of crime novels featuring Lars Martin Johansson (introduced in the author's first novel, 1978's The Pig Party) was originally published from 2002 through 2007 but didn't start appearing in English translation until 2010. Here, in the concluding volume, Lars Martin is now the head of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation. He remains obsessed with the still-unsolved 1986 assassination of Prime Minister Olof Palme, and now he has taken the highly unusual and politically unwise step of reopening the investigation. How much of his own life and career (not to mention sanity) is he willing to sacrifice to find, more than two decades later, Palme's killer? A gripping novel and a fitting conclusion to a trilogy that, in many ways, is nearly as powerful as Larsson's blockbusters.--Pitt, David Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog My Friend Rabbit
by Eric Rohmann

Publishers Weekly My friend Rabbit means well, begins the mouse narrator. But whatever he does, wherever he goes, trouble follows. Once Rabbit pitches Mouse's airplane into a tree, Rohmann tells most of the story through bold, expressive relief prints, a dramatic departure for the illustrator of The Cinder-Eyed Cats and other more painterly works. Rabbit might be a little too impulsive, but he has big ideas and plenty of energy. Rohmann pictures the pint-size, long-eared fellow recruiting an elephant, a rhinoceros and other large animals, and coaching them to stand one on top of another, like living building blocks, in order to retrieve Mouse's plane. Readers must tilt the book vertically to view the climactic spread: a tall, narrow portrait of a stack of very annoyed animals sitting on each other's backs as Rabbit holds Squirrel up toward the stuck airplane. The next spread anticipates trouble, as four duckling onlookers scurry frantically; the following scene shows the living ladder upended, with lots of flying feathers and scrabbling limbs. Somehow, in the tumult, the airplane comes free, and Mouse, aloft again, forgives his friend... even as the closing spread implies more trouble to follow. This gentle lesson in patience and loyalty, balanced on the back of a hilarious set of illustrations, will leave young readers clamoring for repeat readings. Ages 4-8. (May) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Picture Book Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog The Adventures of Sparrowboy
by Brian Pinkney

Publishers Weekly : Though sobering front-page headlines worry a young paperboy, the comics--especially a strip called Falconman--lift him up. Quite literally, in fact. After Henry peruses a Falconman strip in which a magical falcon converts a police trooper into a superman by lending him the power to fly, the boy's bike collides with a similarly gifted sparrow. Suddenly airborne, the boy delivers his newspapers in flight while saving innocent neighbors from a menacing bully and his growling pooch. For the course of Henry's transformation, the book adopts a comic-strip format, accenting the boxed, action-filled pictures with brief, punchy text and a chorus of sound effects like "CHIRP!", "WHOOSH!" and "THONK!" In a final, satisfying coup, Henry comes to the rescue of the benevolent sparrow, vulnerable because it has temporarily relinquished its powers of flight to Henry, a development that readers will delight in discovering before the boy does. The plot unravels chiefly through Pinkney's (Max Found Two Sticks; see I Smell Honey, reviewed above) airy, motion-filled art, expertly rendered in scratchboard, transparent dyes and gouaches in creamy colors never before seen in a comic book. Clever quips and asides add humor and playful melodrama. Pinkney clearly had a blast creating this soaring story, and his high spirits are transferable to the reader--ZAP! Ages 4-9.

Copyright 1997 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : PreS-Gr 1--Fretting over headlines in the newspapers he's delivering, Henry almost runs over a sparrow on the sidewalk. There's a flash of light, and suddenly, like his comic-strip hero Falconman, the boy is swooping through the skies fighting evil--or, at least, collaring a scary dog, rescuing a cat from a bully's clutches, and repeatedly snatching the temporarily flightless sparrow out of danger in the nick of time. Like newspaper comics, Pinkney's full-color scratchboard scenes are done in page-sized panels, with a minimum of text but maximum action, dramatized by swirling lines, wide gestures, and "THONK!" "ZAP!" sound effects. Henry's heroics will win readers over instantly; he may not save the world, but before he returns to Earth, he does make his suburban neighborhood "just a little better." That's a plausible goal for any actual or would-be superhero.

John Peters, New York Public Library Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Independent Booksellers List
Click to search this book in our catalog The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson
by Robert A. Caro

Publishers Weekly Caro's Pulitzer-winning multivolume biography reaches a magisterial climax (though not its Vietnam era denouement) in this riveting account of Johnson's vice-presidency in the Kennedy administration and early presidency through 1964. It's a roller-coaster narrative as Johnson plummets from the powerful Senate majority leader post to vice-presidential irrelevance, hated and humiliated by the Kennedy brothers, then surges to presidential authority with the crack of Lee Harvey Oswald's rifle and forces a revolutionary civil rights act through a recalcitrant Congress. Caro's penetrating study of competing power modes pits Kennedyesque charisma against Johnson's brilliant parliamentary street-fighting, backroom arm-twisting, and canny manipulation of personal motives, all made vivid by rich profiles: JFK, the polished, amused aristocrat; Bobby, the brutal, guilt-haunted zealot; Johnson, the uncouth neurotic-egomaniacal, insecure, sycophantic as an underling, sadistic as a boss, ruthless and corrupt yet possessed of an empathy for the downtrodden (he picked cotton in his penniless youth) that outshines Camelot's noblesse oblige. The author's Shakespearean view of power-all court intrigue, pageantry, and warring psychological drives-barely acknowledges the social movements that made possible Johnson's legislative triumphs. But Caro's ugly, tormented, heroic Johnson makes an apt embodiment of an America struggling toward epochal change, one with a fascinating resonance in our era of gridlocked government and paralyzed leadership. Photos. 300,000 announced first printing. Agent: Lynn Nesbit, Janklow and Nesbit. (May 1) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal The first volume of Caro's The Years of Lyndon Johnson was published in 1982; the third, Master of the Senate, garnered the 2003 Pulitzer Prize. Caro (The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York) now presents the fourth volume-a major event in biography, history, even publishing itself. The time span covered here is short, opening with Johnson's unsuccessful try for the 1960 Democratic presidential nomination and closing with his 1964 State of the Union address mere weeks after JFK's assassination. Caro's focus is on those seven weeks between the assassination and the address. He again alters our view of Johnson by illuminating how, even in the earliest moments of confusion and grief following the assassination, he moved beyond the humiliations of his years as vice president and, with a genius for public leadership buttressed by behind-the-scenes manipulation of the levers of power, ensured the success in Congress of JFK's dormant economic and civil rights programs while establishing himself, however briefly, as a triumphant president, fulfilling his lifetime ambition. VERDICT Caro has once more combined prodigious research and a literary gift to mount a stage for his Shakespearean figures: LBJ, JFK, and LBJ's nemesis Robert F. Kennedy. Readers' only disappointment will be the necessary wait for Caro's next volume.-Bob Nardini, Niagara Falls, NY (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* Wedged between LBJ's triumphant Senate career and his presidency, this fourth volume in Caro's acclaimed Years of Lyndon Johnson series addresses the failed presidential campaign of 1960, the three frustrating years as vice president, and the transition between the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Though seemingly focused on less compelling material than Master of the Senate (2002), the book is riveting reading from beginning to end, perhaps because Caro's real subject is political power, both its waxing and waning. There is plenty of both here, as Caro shows Johnson struggling with his lifetime fear of being humiliated, first in the brilliant account of his mystifying refusal to enter the 1960 campaign before it was too late to win and then in the agonizing story of the vice-presidential years, throughout which Johnson tiptoed on the edge of the humiliation he dreaded (mainly at the hands of Robert Kennedy, whose relationship with LBJ Caro calls perhaps the greatest blood feud in American political history ). But the real tour de force in this stunning mix of political and psychological analysis comes in the account of the seven-week transition between administrations, from November 23, 1963, to January 8, 1964, when Johnson delivered his first State of the Union message. From the moment he assumed the presidency, on Air Force One with Jackie Kennedy at his side, Johnson, as Caro portrays him, was a man reborn, his zeal for and uncanny understanding of the craft of governance risen from the ashes of the brow-beaten vice president. It is an utterly fascinating character study, brimming with delicious insider stories (the Bobby Baker scandal, the way LBJ maneuvered Senator Harry Byrd into passing the federal budget and clearing the way for the 1964 civil rights bill to reach the floor, and on and on). Political wonks, of course, will dive into this book with unbridled passion, but its focus on a larger-than-life, flawed but fascinating individual the kind of character who drives epic fiction should extend its reach much, much further. Unquestionably, one of the truly big books of the year. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This much-anticipated fourth in a roundly acclaimed series will receive top-drawer media coverage, in print, online, and on television. 125,000 first printing.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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