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Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Murder at the Mena House
by Erica Ruth Neubauer

Publishers Weekly In 1926, American widow Jane Wunderly, the narrator of Neubauer’s promising debut, decides to vacation in Egypt with her matchmaking aunt, who’s determined to find her a beau. Jane, who appears to be in her 20s, doesn’t welcome those efforts, as she’s still struggling with the emotional fallout of her marriage to a man who viewed her as a “trophy... to win” and then break. That trauma has led Jane to vow to stand up for herself going forward, and that resolve is soon tested at the Cairo hotel where she and her aunt are staying, Mena House. Fellow guest Anna Stainton, a British colonel’s daughter, takes a dislike to Jane. Their public spat makes Jane the focus of the police inquiry after someone shoots Anna to death in her room. To clear her name, Jane sets about investigating on her own, even as she wrestles with feelings of attraction toward a handsome and mysterious stranger, who calls himself Redvers, whom she believes looks “too dangerous” to be the banker he claims to be. Mystery readers who enjoy a heavy dose of romance will be eager for the next installment. Agent: Ann Collette, Rees Literary. (Apr.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal DEBUT In 1926, American widow Jane Wunderly travels to Egypt, courtesy of her Aunt Millie, where she hopes to enjoy a stay at Mena House, an upscale hotel. Jane plans to visit the pyramids of Giza and to avoid any romantic dalliances while abroad, but things don't turn out that way. For starters, she is confounded by Aunt Millie's odd behavior, suddenly realizing her aunt's personal life is an enigma. Also, she gets off on the wrong foot with the beautiful socialite, Anna Stainton. When Anna is found murdered, Jane is a prime suspect. Fearing arrest, Jane must eliminate a variety of suspects to locate the culprit. The mysterious banker, Mr. Redvers, however, is a man Jane senses is both puzzling and fascinating and is as interested as she is in solving the case. VERDICT Stunning revelations, romance, adventure, and intrigue abound in this multilayered, delightfully entertaining whodunit. Neubauer's debut dazzles, with a smart plot, remarkable scenery, and skilled execution.—Julie Whiteley, Stephenville, TX

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

Book list A new sleuth is on the scene, and she starts her career in 1926 Egypt. American Jane Wunderly, a young widow hiding a few secrets, is accompanying her Aunt Millie on the trip of a lifetime. But though the goal is to see the sights, like the Pyramids of Giza, which sit tantalizingly close to her charming hotel, Jane is almost immediately restricted to the grounds when she becomes a chief suspect in the murder of a party girl with a few secrets of her own. Fortunately, a dashing banker, known as Mr. Redvers, steps up to help Jane as she tries to clear her name by finding out the identity of the murderer, even as other bodies fall in her path. There's lots to like here. Jane is a feisty heroine, the setting is enticingly depicted, and there are several intriguing subplots. Fans of Agatha Christie will enjoy this homage, and, as the flap copy indicates, Jane will be traveling the world, where she will no doubt encounter more murder and mayhem—along with romance.

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

Publishers Weekly In 1926, American widow Jane Wunderly, the narrator of Neubauer’s promising debut, decides to vacation in Egypt with her matchmaking aunt, who’s determined to find her a beau. Jane, who appears to be in her 20s, doesn’t welcome those efforts, as she’s still struggling with the emotional fallout of her marriage to a man who viewed her as a “trophy... to win” and then break. That trauma has led Jane to vow to stand up for herself going forward, and that resolve is soon tested at the Cairo hotel where she and her aunt are staying, Mena House. Fellow guest Anna Stainton, a British colonel’s daughter, takes a dislike to Jane. Their public spat makes Jane the focus of the police inquiry after someone shoots Anna to death in her room. To clear her name, Jane sets about investigating on her own, even as she wrestles with feelings of attraction toward a handsome and mysterious stranger, who calls himself Redvers, whom she believes looks “too dangerous” to be the banker he claims to be. Mystery readers who enjoy a heavy dose of romance will be eager for the next installment. Agent: Ann Collette, Rees Literary. (Apr.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal DEBUT In 1926, American widow Jane Wunderly travels to Egypt, courtesy of her Aunt Millie, where she hopes to enjoy a stay at Mena House, an upscale hotel. Jane plans to visit the pyramids of Giza and to avoid any romantic dalliances while abroad, but things don't turn out that way. For starters, she is confounded by Aunt Millie's odd behavior, suddenly realizing her aunt's personal life is an enigma. Also, she gets off on the wrong foot with the beautiful socialite, Anna Stainton. When Anna is found murdered, Jane is a prime suspect. Fearing arrest, Jane must eliminate a variety of suspects to locate the culprit. The mysterious banker, Mr. Redvers, however, is a man Jane senses is both puzzling and fascinating and is as interested as she is in solving the case. VERDICT Stunning revelations, romance, adventure, and intrigue abound in this multilayered, delightfully entertaining whodunit. Neubauer's debut dazzles, with a smart plot, remarkable scenery, and skilled execution.—Julie Whiteley, Stephenville, TX

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

Book list A new sleuth is on the scene, and she starts her career in 1926 Egypt. American Jane Wunderly, a young widow hiding a few secrets, is accompanying her Aunt Millie on the trip of a lifetime. But though the goal is to see the sights, like the Pyramids of Giza, which sit tantalizingly close to her charming hotel, Jane is almost immediately restricted to the grounds when she becomes a chief suspect in the murder of a party girl with a few secrets of her own. Fortunately, a dashing banker, known as Mr. Redvers, steps up to help Jane as she tries to clear her name by finding out the identity of the murderer, even as other bodies fall in her path. There's lots to like here. Jane is a feisty heroine, the setting is enticingly depicted, and there are several intriguing subplots. Fans of Agatha Christie will enjoy this homage, and, as the flap copy indicates, Jane will be traveling the world, where she will no doubt encounter more murder and mayhem—along with romance.

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

ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Midwinterblood
by Marcus Sedgwick

Book list Gr. 5-8. Igus' prose poems and Wood's evocative paintings combine to give a succinct overview of African American music. A useful time line sets the social context, and brief paragraphs describe the various types of music, from African origins and slave songs through ragtime; the blues; big band, bebop, and cool jazz; gospel; rhythm and blues; and the contemporary sounds of rock, hip-hop, and rap. Igus effectively uses snippets from song lyrics to communicate both a feel for the music itself and a sense of how the various styles played to the emotions of the musicians and their fans ("From the basements to the rooftops, / I see the cool tones of modern jazz / escape the city heat"). Wood's paintings are equally suggestive. Mixing modernist and primitive styles and using color nicely to communicate musical style and tone, her art not only complements the text but vivifies it. Audience may be a problem: the supportive text is too sophisticated for younger readers to grasp themselves, and the format may alienate some older readers. Perhaps best used in a junior-high classroom with audio accompaniment, this striking book, in the hands of a creative teacher or librarian, could give kids a feeling for the majesty, creativity, and continuity of African American music. (Reviewed February 15, 1998)0892391510Bill Ott

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

Kirkus The collaborators on Going Back Home (1997) return with a stunning history of African-American music. They begin 500 years ago, on the African continent, chronicle the slave trade, and document the work songs and spirituals of American slaves. The blues, ragtime, jazz, gospel, R&B, rock, funk, rap, and hip hop all come under scrutiny in free-verse poems that incorporate lyrics about and the rhythms of every style. In addition, Igus has added a brief description of each musical movement and a terrific timeline noting highlights of African-American history--both musical and more general information--which roots the whole book in a broader context. Wood's vibrant paintings are based in historical detail, and resonate with emotion. The color choices, postures of the figures, as well as the expressions on their faces, reflect various aspects of African-American music; the pictures broadcast joy, innovation, and exuberance in the face of systematic oppression. A child hidden in each scene adds a nice piece of personality for readers to interpret. Stylish and lively design pulls it all together into an absorbing, attractive package. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Double Bass Blues.
by Andrea J. Loney

Book list Young Nic plays an epic bass solo with his school orchestra and then travels across town to jam with a band made up of older musicians in this briefly worded tale of a boy who loves making music. A growling dog, a couple of teasing kids, a crowded bus, a cloudburst, and a broken elevator are not enough to discourage the boy from reaching his destination. Onomatopoeia and dialogue make up the few words used in the text. Gutierrez's acrylic paintings in rich colors exude movement and energy while delineating the sounds of the child's day, which he plays on his bass. Musical notes and measures decorate some pictures, while others show Nic in the background as he trudges along the street, carrying his huge bass. One intriguing double spread reveals an M. C. Escher-like staircase that seems endless to Nic as he lugs his instrument to his destination. The dreamy look on Nic's face clearly reveals the ""zone"" he enters when playing music, and readers will understand that Nic's talent brings him great joy.--Maryann Owen Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Kirkus A young musician is inspired by the beat and rhythm of his commute.Nic's journey begins with an enthusiastic "Ziiiiiiiiiiip!" and a contemplative "Hummmmm" as he's applauded in orchestra. Then, with his double bass strapped to his back, he trades the trees and space of his suburban school for towering buildings and city buses. He dodges dogs, bullies, and rain, hustling home to warm hugs and a jazz jam session replete with onomatopoeic improvisations taken from his commute. The, "whoosh" of the bus's windshield wipers pairs with the "plunk" of rain and the "clap" of his classmates as Nic releases the sounds and sights of the afternoon through his music. Acrylic-paint illustrations include geometric squiggles and swirls that outline and emphasize musical vibrations and the spare, expressive text. Defined shapes are rendered in a vibrant palette that brings out the range of colors present in the characters' skin tones. Nic, who presents black, is a blend of blues, blacks, golds, and reds, with his boxy, spiked hair a muted mixture of oranges, browns, pinks, and greens. One exceptional double-page spread uses interlocking triangles to separate scenes that capture Nic's movement from the suburbs to the city. This journey is also expressed in the stenciled endpapers, the front showing Nic in his orchestra and the back, at home, jamming.Simple language complements complex paintings to create the perfect literary melody. (Picture book. 4-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 1–3—In an explosion of vibrant color (thanks to Rudy Gutierrez's liquid acrylics), young Nic wins kudos for his double bass solo with the school orchestra, but faces a tough journey home. Lugging his beloved (but bulky) bull fiddle, the boy is harassed and taunted on his long trip, and is finally faced with an out-of-service elevator and multiple flights of stairs. Happily, he finds not only his loving grandfather waiting for him, but some of granddaddy's jazz-playing buddies sitting with their instruments at the ready, sorely in need of that boy and his bull fiddle. Colorful, full of movement, limited in text but loaded with emotion, this is an ode to the diversity of music and the determination of a talented kid. VERDICT A dramatic and emotional selection for older readers than the usual picture book audience, particularly kids who love music and have had their own tough journeys home. —Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY

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

Publishers Weekly A young double bass player faces obstacles en route to his grandfather’s house in this visual ode to the blues. Resting his cheek alongside melodic vibrations emanating from the instrument, Nic, who is black, seems harmoniously connected to his music. After a teacher applauds the performance, the diverse band packs up (“Epic solo, Nic!”) and heads out (“Catch you later!”). But Nic faces quite a commute outside the band room’s peace. With silent determination, he scales a suburban fence (“Ooof!”), faces a growling dog (“Grrrrrrrr!”), and navigates a bustling cityscape that drips with inclement weather (“Plunk, plunk, plunk”) and public commentary (“It’s bigger than him!” two children laugh, pointing at the bass). Persisting through storm and ridicule, Nic finally arrives at his grandfather’s city building—only to find the elevator out. But his celebrated arrival, at a loving, musical oasis not dissimilar from the practice room, offers him the space to make music based on his journey’s travails. Sparse, onomatopoeic text by Loney (Bunnybear) and vibrant, cubist-style art by Gutierrez (Mama and Me) combine to create a harmony of sound and emotion through a child’s journey, his family’s warmth, and music’s restorative powers. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Young Nic plays an epic bass solo with his school orchestra and then travels across town to jam with a band made up of older musicians in this briefly worded tale of a boy who loves making music. A growling dog, a couple of teasing kids, a crowded bus, a cloudburst, and a broken elevator are not enough to discourage the boy from reaching his destination. Onomatopoeia and dialogue make up the few words used in the text. Gutierrez's acrylic paintings in rich colors exude movement and energy while delineating the sounds of the child's day, which he plays on his bass. Musical notes and measures decorate some pictures, while others show Nic in the background as he trudges along the street, carrying his huge bass. One intriguing double spread reveals an M. C. Escher-like staircase that seems endless to Nic as he lugs his instrument to his destination. The dreamy look on Nic's face clearly reveals the ""zone"" he enters when playing music, and readers will understand that Nic's talent brings him great joy.--Maryann Owen Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Kirkus A young musician is inspired by the beat and rhythm of his commute.Nic's journey begins with an enthusiastic "Ziiiiiiiiiiip!" and a contemplative "Hummmmm" as he's applauded in orchestra. Then, with his double bass strapped to his back, he trades the trees and space of his suburban school for towering buildings and city buses. He dodges dogs, bullies, and rain, hustling home to warm hugs and a jazz jam session replete with onomatopoeic improvisations taken from his commute. The, "whoosh" of the bus's windshield wipers pairs with the "plunk" of rain and the "clap" of his classmates as Nic releases the sounds and sights of the afternoon through his music. Acrylic-paint illustrations include geometric squiggles and swirls that outline and emphasize musical vibrations and the spare, expressive text. Defined shapes are rendered in a vibrant palette that brings out the range of colors present in the characters' skin tones. Nic, who presents black, is a blend of blues, blacks, golds, and reds, with his boxy, spiked hair a muted mixture of oranges, browns, pinks, and greens. One exceptional double-page spread uses interlocking triangles to separate scenes that capture Nic's movement from the suburbs to the city. This journey is also expressed in the stenciled endpapers, the front showing Nic in his orchestra and the back, at home, jamming.Simple language complements complex paintings to create the perfect literary melody. (Picture book. 4-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 1–3—In an explosion of vibrant color (thanks to Rudy Gutierrez's liquid acrylics), young Nic wins kudos for his double bass solo with the school orchestra, but faces a tough journey home. Lugging his beloved (but bulky) bull fiddle, the boy is harassed and taunted on his long trip, and is finally faced with an out-of-service elevator and multiple flights of stairs. Happily, he finds not only his loving grandfather waiting for him, but some of granddaddy's jazz-playing buddies sitting with their instruments at the ready, sorely in need of that boy and his bull fiddle. Colorful, full of movement, limited in text but loaded with emotion, this is an ode to the diversity of music and the determination of a talented kid. VERDICT A dramatic and emotional selection for older readers than the usual picture book audience, particularly kids who love music and have had their own tough journeys home. —Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY

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

Publishers Weekly A young double bass player faces obstacles en route to his grandfather’s house in this visual ode to the blues. Resting his cheek alongside melodic vibrations emanating from the instrument, Nic, who is black, seems harmoniously connected to his music. After a teacher applauds the performance, the diverse band packs up (“Epic solo, Nic!”) and heads out (“Catch you later!”). But Nic faces quite a commute outside the band room’s peace. With silent determination, he scales a suburban fence (“Ooof!”), faces a growling dog (“Grrrrrrrr!”), and navigates a bustling cityscape that drips with inclement weather (“Plunk, plunk, plunk”) and public commentary (“It’s bigger than him!” two children laugh, pointing at the bass). Persisting through storm and ridicule, Nic finally arrives at his grandfather’s city building—only to find the elevator out. But his celebrated arrival, at a loving, musical oasis not dissimilar from the practice room, offers him the space to make music based on his journey’s travails. Sparse, onomatopoeic text by Loney (Bunnybear) and vibrant, cubist-style art by Gutierrez (Mama and Me) combine to create a harmony of sound and emotion through a child’s journey, his family’s warmth, and music’s restorative powers. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Bram Stoker Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Doctor Sleep
by Stephen King

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Kittens First Full Moon
by Kevin Henkes

School Library Journal : PreS-K-An irresistible offering from the multifaceted Henkes. The spare and suspense-filled story concerns a kitten that mistakes the moon for a bowl of milk. When she opens her mouth to lick the treat, she ends up with a bug on her tongue. Next, she launches herself into the air, paws reaching out for the object of her desire, only to tumble down the stairs, "bumping her nose and banging her ear and pinching her tail. Poor Kitten." Again and again, the feline's persistent attempts to reach her goal lead to pain, frustration, and exhaustion. Repetitive phrases introduce each sequence of desire, action, and consequence, until the animal's instincts lead her home to a satisfying resolution. Done in a charcoal and cream-colored palette, the understated illustrations feature thick black outlines, pleasing curves, and swiftly changing expressions that are full of nuance. The rhythmic text and delightful artwork ensure storytime success. Kids will surely applaud this cat's irrepressible spirit. Pair this tale with Frank Asch's classic Moongame (S & S, 1987) and Nancy Elizabeth Wallace's The Sun, the Moon and the Stars (Houghton, 2003) for nocturnal celebrations.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library

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