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Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog A Great Reckoning
by Louise Penny

Library Journal The latest entry in Penny's popular series (after Nature of the Beast) places Armand Gamache in a new role as commander of the Sûreté Academy du Québec. Prior to the start of the term he is given an old map of the village of Three Pines with some curious symbols. This map becomes the focus of an investigation after a copy is found in the apartment of a murdered professor. Suspicion shifts from student to professor and back again as the story takes unexpected twists. Rooting out the corruption in the academy remains an underlying theme as Gamache mentors students who seem to be on the wrong path. The transport of these students to Three Pines and the involvement of the villagers in the investigation adds depth and interest. While this book may stand alone, fans of the series will enjoy revisiting old friends. Gamache remains admirable yet human, as he seeks to return the Sûreté to the force he first knew. A look back at World War I and an explanation about one mystery surrounding the little village round out the story in a satisfying manner. VERDICT This riveting read, with characters of incredible depth who only add to the strength of the plot, will keep readers guessing until the last page. For series fans and those who enjoy the small-town mysteries of Julia Spencer--Fleming.-Terry Lucas, Shelter Island P.L., NY © Copyright 2016. 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.

Publishers Weekly The lyrical 12th entry (after 2015's The Nature of the Beast) in bestseller Penny's remarkable series, which has won multiple Agatha awards, finds former Chief Insp. Armand Gamache coming out of retirement to clean up the corrupt Süreté Academy du Québec. When an old map is found hidden in the wall of a bistro in Three Pines, the remote village in which Gamache and his wife live, the locals treat it as only an interesting artifact. But Gamache uses the mystery of the map's origin to engage the interest of four cadets at the academy who are in particular danger of going astray. When someone fatally shoots Serge Leduc, a sadistic, manipulative professor, a copy of the map is found in Leduc's bedside table, and suspicion falls on the four cadets and Gamache himself. As the story unfolds, a web of connections, past and present, comes to light. This complex novel deals with universal themes of compassion, weakness in the face of temptation, forgiveness, and the danger of falling into despair and cynicism over apparently insurmountable evils. Author tour. Agent: Teresa Chris, Teresa Chris Literary Agency. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* Chief Inspector Gamache has a new gig: he's been appointed head of the Sûreté Academy du Québec and is tasked with cleaning house. The police school has become a seedbed for corruption, devoted to turning out bent cops. The inspector, of course, has a multilayered plan for ridding the school of its multiple malignancies, but before he can begin surgery, the chief offender is murdered, and Gamache himself becomes the leading suspect. Naturally, Penny finds a way for her plot to curlicue back to Three Pines, the remote village where Gamache now lives and whose idiosyncratic denizens provide much of the series' appeal. This time the hook is a map found in the walls of the local bistro not just any map but a cartographic curiosity that may be the only map ever made of Three Pines. So how does a copy of that map find its way to the bedside table of the murder victim? And does its presence further implicate Gamache?Once again Penny displays her remarkable ability to serve equally well both series devotees and new readers (if there are any of those still to be found). Gamache fans will be thrilled by the way this installment unlocks some of the series' enduring questions: Why is Three Pines off the grid? Why do we know so little about Gamache's past? At the same time, the main plot offers a compelling mystery and a rich human drama in which no character is either entirely good or evil, and each is capable of inspiring empathy. Evil, as Gamache notes, quoting Auden, is unspectacular and always human. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A first printing of 500,000 copies will ensure that at least the first wave of Penny readers get their hands on her latest as quickly as possible.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2016 Booklist

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

ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Winger
by Andrew Smith

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Smith takes readers inside the mind of Ryan Dean West, nicknamed Winger for his position on the rugby team of his tony private school. He's brilliant, immature (a 14-year-old junior), and anxious to prove himself to his teammates and especially to his crush, 16-year-old Annie. "You push things too far" advises his best friend and teammate Joey, who is gay and accepted for his honesty about it and his status as team captain. With only Joey, Annie, and the Tao of rugby to guide him, it's no wonder Ryan Dean has more than his share of missteps while trying to reinvent himself. Some are painfully awkward, and some are laugh-out-loud hysterical, especially his sponge bath by a hot nurse. The team's on-field camaraderie deteriorates into simmering hostility off the field, rife with drinking, crudeness, profanity, and constant verbal slurs. Still, readers will be shocked by a climactic violent act against Joey that leaves Ryan Dean changed forever. Smith's understanding of teen males is evident; nuances add depth and authenticity to characters that could have been cliches. However, Annie feels a bit idealized: one wonders what she sees in Ryan Dean. The pace moves quickly and holds readers' interest, punctuated by Bosma's charts and graphic-novel pages that cleverly depict the boy's hilarious inner turmoil. Readers don't need to know anything about rugby to appreciate this moving, funny coming-of-age novel.-M. Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY (c) Copyright 2013. 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.

Publishers Weekly This brutally honest coming-of-age novel from Smith (Passenger) unfolds through the eyes of Ryan Dean West, a 14-year-old, rugby-playing junior at the exclusive Pine Mountain school. He's two years younger than his classmates, hopelessly in love with his best friend Annie, and stuck in Opportunity Hall, the residence reserved for the worst rule-breakers. As Ryan Dean struggles with football-team bullies, late-night escapades, academic pressures, and girl troubles, he also discovers his own strengths. Like puberty itself, this tale is alternately hilarious and painful, awkward and enlightening; Bosma's occasional comics add another layer of whimsy and emotion, representing Ryan Dean's own artistic bent. The characters and situations are profane and crass, reveling in talk of bodily functions and sexual innuendo, and the story is a cross between the films Lucas and Porky's, with all the charm and gross-out moments that dichotomy suggests. That's what makes the tragedy near the very end all the more shocking and sudden, changing the entire mood and impact of Ryan Dean's journey. The last-minute twist may leave readers confused, angry, and heartbroken, but this remains an excellent, challenging read. Ages 12-up. Agent: Laura Rennert, Andrew Brown Literary Agency. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* After he opened a vein in YA lit with The Marbury Lens (2010) and then went completely nutso in Passenger (2012), about the only thing that Smith could do to surprise would be a hornball boarding-school romantic romp. Surprise! Well, sort of. At 14, Ryan Dean West is a couple years younger (and scrawnier) than the rest of the juniors at Pine Mountain. He is a plucky kid despite a tendency to punctuate his every thought with I am such a loser who stars in the rugby team due to his speed and tenacity. The rail ties of his single-track mind, though, are his exploits (or lack thereof) with the opposite sex, particularly his best friend Annie, who thinks he is adorable. In short, Ryan Dean is a slightly pervy but likable teen. He rates the hotness of every female in sight but also drops surprising bombs of personal depth on a friend's homosexuality, the poisonous rivalries that can ruin friendships, and his own highly unstable mix of insecurity and evolving self-confidence. Much of the story seems preoccupied with the base-level joys and torments of being a teenager, content to float along with occasional bursts of levity from some nonessential but fun minicomics by Bosma. But at its heart, it is more in line with Dead Poets Society, and by the end this deceptively lightweight novel packs an unexpectedly ferocious punch.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog A Hungry Lion; or, A Dwindling Assortment of Animals.
by Lucy Ruth Cummins

School Library Journal K-Gr 3-With its macabre humor and delightfully scribbly illustrations, this tale is sure to delight a wide audience of children. Using a metafiction style, the author starts the book with "Once upon a time, there was a hungry lion, a penguin, a turtle, a brown mouse, those two rabbits, etc.," but must stop and repeatedly revise the list as the bevy of animals slowly dwindle to one smugly grinning lion and "that turtle." With several surprises, and some truly extraordinary full-page illustrations, this story winds itself to a laugh-out-loud ending that will tickle the unconventional funny bone. VERDICT Highly recommended for any library, sure to be a favorite read-aloud.-Jasmine L. Precopio, Fox Chapel Area School District, Pittsburgh, PA © Copyright 2016. 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.

Publishers Weekly It's all very peaceable kingdom at the beginning of this ostensibly placid story. The ingenuous narrator introduces a self-possessed lion (marvelously drawn in rough pencil, charcoal, and a vigorous application of markers) and 13 cute animals, including "a pig, a slightly bigger pig, a woolly sheep, a koala, and also a hen." Though described as "hungry," the lion does not seem particularly threatening, but as the animals start euphemistically "dwindling," questions arise. Still, the narrator soldiers on, struggling to keep up as Cummins, an S&S art director making her debut as author-artist, keeps readers guessing-it's fitting that a book with as many "Once upon a time" beginnings as this one has more then one potential ending, some happier than others. Cummins's dizzy meta-tale has just enough wink and cheek to assure readers that it's all in good fun, and her visual style-sketchbook playful, slyly spiking sweet-seeming scenes with moments of menace and fear-should leave them hungering (in a nice way) for her next book. Ages 4-8. Agent: Emily Van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Meet one hungry lion and its menagerie of animal friends. Or are they friends? One by one, these animals disappear, while the lion remains hungry. Perhaps the lion is to blame, but could there be another explanation for these rapidly disappearing critters? Cummins' enjoyably repetitive text and droll illustrations give each animal a personality, despite their pending departure, from the stand-out sauciness of the lion to the affable nature of the ever-present turtle. The stark backgrounds play this up and allow each character to stand out. Of course, it's the brazen lion that drives the story: he gets in the reader's face, taking up the whole page with his loud red mane and cunning eyes, and seems curiously reserved throughout the ordeal. What's revealed is that the other animals have been preparing a birthday cake for the lion pretty great, right? Well, Cummins has a hilariously dark twist (two, actually) still to come. When this devilish book ends, there will, indeed, be only one animal left standing.--Dittmeier, Amy Copyright 2016 Booklist

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

Bram Stoker Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog After Death
by Eric J. Guignard

Publishers Weekly This anthology addresses one of the most basic questions of human existence: what happens when we die? The answers come in the form of 34 stories that explore diverse notions of ghosts (Edward M. Erdelac's "Sea of Dreams") and demons (William Meikle's "Be Quiet at the Back"), trapped souls (Steve Cameron's "I Was the Walrus"), mishaps in resurrection (Lisa Morton's "The Resurrection Policy"), and unbearable eternities (David Tallerman's "Prisoner of Peace"). The newly deceased protagonists may be confused, angry, resigned, or unaware that they are dead, so even those vignettes with more exposition than plot convey a sense of personal discovery (if perhaps of the hopeless kind). Though the majority of the pieces come from the darker side of the genre, a solid minority are playful, clever, or full of wonder. This makes for good variety but a bit of emotional whiplash, somewhat mitigated by Guignard's clever introductions and Audra Phillips's portraitlike illustrations. This strong and well-themed anthology is sure to make readers contemplative even while it creates nightmares. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog The Invention of Hugo Cabret
by Brian Selznick

School Library Journal : Gr 3–6—Brian Selznick's atmospheric story (Scholastic, 2007) is set in Paris in 1931. Hugo Cabret is an orphan; his father, a clockmaker, has recently died in a fire and the boy lives with his alcoholic Uncle Claude, working as his apprentice clock keeper in a bustling train station. When Hugo's uncle fails to return after a three-day absence, the boy decides it's his chance to escape the man's harsh treatment. But Hugo has nowhere to go and, after wandering the city, returns to his uncle's rooms determined to fix a mechanical figure—an automaton—that his father was restoring when he died. Hugo is convinced it will "save his life"—the figure holds a pen, and the boy believes that if he can get it working again, it will deliver a message from his father. This is just the bare outline of this multilayered story, inspired by and with references to early (French) cinema and filmmaker George Méliès, magic and magicians, and mechanical objects. Jeff Woodman's reading of the descriptive passages effectively sets the story's suspenseful tone. The book's many pages of pictorial narrative translate in the audio version into sound sequences that successfully employ the techniques of old radio plays (train whistles, footsteps reverberating through station passages, etc.). The accompanying DVD, hosted by Selznick and packed with information and images from the book, will enrich the listening experience.—Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Edgar Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog The Wicked Boy
by Kate Summerscale

Publishers Weekly Summerscale (The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher) bolsters her reputation as a superior historical true crime writer with this moving account of Victorian-age murder that is a whydunit rather than a whodunit. In East London during the summer of 1895, 13-year-old Robert Coombes and his younger brother, Nattie, attended a heralded cricket match on their own, telling neighbors that their mother was in Liverpool visiting family. In fact, Emily Coombes was already lying dead in her bed behind a closed door, having been fatally stabbed by Robert. Horrifically, her corpse remained undetected for well over a week while the brothers acted as if nothing were amiss. Upon arrest, Robert claimed he acted after his mother had beaten Nattie, and before she could do the same to him. The resulting trial focused on the question of Robert's mental state, whether he was really the wicked boy of the book's title, and how the penny dreadfuls he was so fond of may have warped his mind. Summerscale's dogged research yields a tragedy that reads like a Dickens novel, including the remarkable payoff at the end. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Summerscale's (The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher) book about Victorian child murderers Robert and Nattie Coombes starts out as a standard true crime read and ends with what was clearly a surprise to the author. That Robert killed his mother at age 13 was never a question-he admitted it freely in a confession-but the subsequent trial of a defendant so young and his sentencing to Broadmoor asylum rather than a prison (or a hanging) was sensational to Victorian newspaper readers. What happened next, however, was shocking. Coombes's incarceration seems to have actually benefitted him, contrary to the common notion of the affects of 19th-century asylum life. His service in World War I at Gallipoli was notable, and most important, his postwar life in Australia was quiet and uneventful, save for his rescue of a neighbor boy from an abusive home, a situation with which Coombes was all too familiar. Summerscale's research reveals that early tragedy for Coombes need not be his end, like it would have been for many, but that it would later provide him with a way to help another young boy in need. VERDICT For true crime readers, history buffs, and fans of the grittier side of Victorian life.-Amelia Osterud, Carroll Univ. Lib., Waukesha, WI © Copyright 2016. 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.

Horn Book Picture Book Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Big Momma Makes the World
by Phyllis Root

Publishers Weekly In this sassy creation myth that tweaks the first chapter of Genesis, Big Momma "roll[s] up her sleeves" and gets down to business ("Wasn't easy, either, with that little baby sitting on her hip"). " `Light,' said Big Momma. And you better believe there was light.' " Here Oxenbury shows mother and child jubilantly emerging from a watery world ("There was water, water everywhere") to greet the light at the surface. At the close of each day, a pleased Big Momma views her handiwork and pronounces a refrain that echoes the King James Bible "That's good. That's real good." On the sixth day, in a sly nod to another take on the world's beginnings, Big Momma "finish[es] things off in one big bang"-fashioning a host of creatures. As a final touch, the matriarch uses "leftover mud" to shape "some folks to keep me company" and charges them with caring for her creation. Root infuses her tale with a joyful spirit, and her lyrical vernacular trips off the tongue. Zaftig Big Momma and her chubby cherub are equally winning, and Oxenbury playfully tracks the creation process with compositions that move through subtle shades of blue and black and then transform with the addition of the golden shades of sunshine, the verdant greens of earth and an explosion of hues as birds, fish and more multiply across the pages. A gentle spin on the Genesis story sure to get youngsters talking. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-Here's a creation myth that casts the creator as a full-figured, down-home Big Momma, with a baby on her hip and a pile of laundry and dishes to do. Oxenbury's luminous, oversized acrylics perfectly capture the strong, no-nonsense personality of this barefoot creator capable of making and moving mountains. Big Momma doesn't mess around, as she commands each part of the world to appear: "`Earth,' said Big Momma, `get over here.'" Then, at the end of each day, she looks around and says, "That's good. That's real good." By the sixth day, she still doesn't have anyone to talk to or keep her company, so she makes folks in all colors, shapes, and sizes to sit on her front porch and swap stories. Before resting on the seventh day, Big Momma tells her people to take good care of the world she made for them. She keeps an eye on them from her perch in the sky, occasionally interrupting her chores to warn, "Better straighten up down there," but is ultimately pleased with her handiwork. This book's interpretation may offend many who take the biblical creation story literally, but for those who are open to variations on a theme, Big Momma's tale is an utter delight.-Laurie von Mehren, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Parma, OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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

Book list PreS^-Gr. 2. A raucous, joyous version of the creation story starring a big, bossy woman who knows what she wants and how to get it: "When Big Momma made the world, she didn't mess around." Down in the infinite water, her naked little baby on her hip, she sees what needs to be done: "Light," says Big Momma. "And you'd better believe there was light." She also creates dark on the first day, and for the next five days she's one busy lady. Sky, sun, moon, earth, flora, and fauna--there's so much to do, and after she does it, Big Momma always says approvingly, "That's good. That's real good." On the seventh day she rests, leaving the world to its own devices, though sometimes she looks down and tells her final creation--humans--that they'd "better straighten up." Sometimes, when she and baby look down, they like what they see. Root's text is strong and sassy, with a down-home cadence that has immediate appeal, and Oxenbury's Big Momma is the perfect embodiment of the story's earth mother--no particular race or color, just full of affection and determination. Some of the pictures are wonderful (a double-page spread of animals bursting out of the sun); some, such as the one of modern-day humans looking up at the sky, are more mundane. Yet overall, this is an exciting, new version of one of the world's oldest stories. And the baby is pretty cute, too. --Ilene Cooper

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

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-In this down-to-earth look at the creation, Big Momma calmly faces each new challenge and takes care of business and her baby besides. The spare, folksy language and glorious larger-than-life art reflect the enormity of the task and a reverence for the creator's handiwork. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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

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