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Click to search this book in our catalog Spare
by Prince Harry

Publishers Weekly Sibling rivalry, fatherly neglect, and the crushing weight of public opinion haunt this anguished, searching, and occasionally vindictive memoir from Prince Harry. Framing the narrative as an attempt to explain why he and his wife, Meghan Markle, fled the U.K. “in fear for our sanity and physical safety” in 2020, Harry begins with Princess Diana’s death in 1997, recounting how he and his brother William were made to walk behind their mother’s coffin “to garner sympathy.” For years afterward, Harry harbored a belief that Diana had disappeared to escape the paparazzi—an illusion that enabled him “to postpone the bulk of my grief.” Made to feel like a “nullity” by his family, he found solace and companionship on safari trips to Africa and boozy nights with friends, but the tabloids turned “basic teenage stuff” into allegations of drug addiction and his father chose “to play ball” rather than fight back. Time and time again, the twin pressures of the royal family and the British media scuttled Harry’s search for meaning and purpose, leaving him beset by panic attacks and self-doubt, until he met Meghan—and then those same specters turned on her. The mix of dirty laundry and earnest soul-baring sometimes jars, but Harry’s frustrations are deeply felt and authentically conveyed, as is the joy he takes in nature and in his friendships. This royal family tell-all delivers. (Jan.)

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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog The Cruel Prince
by Black, Holly

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 Chick and Brain: Smell My Foot!
by Cece Bell

Kirkus A comedic duo stars in their first comica playful homage to the Dick and Jane books. Brain certainly looks smart. But, by Chick's assessment, Brain's social ineptitude says otherwise. Chick minds their p's and q's, modeling proper behavior for Brain to emulate. Brain takes Chick's repeat-after-me lessons a bit too literally, however. Instead of copying, Brain responds directlyoften hilariously off-script. In exchange after exchange, the pair's silly chemistry peaks with the human and the bird smelling each other's feet. Soon, a dog named Spot arrives on the scene, adding their nose to the mix. All that foot sniffingspecifically, yummy chicken foot sniffingprompts Spot to invite Chick over for an exclusive lunch. Will Chick see through Spot's politeness before winding up on the menu? In this first series entry, Bell flips the repetitive primer structure on its head and transforms it into a winning oddball comedy. With a limited vocabulary of around 120 wordsexclusively presented through dialoguethe four-chapter story is a careful blend of verbal and visual humor. The comic-book format, with usually one to four panels per page, heightens the silly factor with well-placed punchlines. Bell's highly expressive watercolor and ink cartoon illustrations set characters against sparse backgrounds. It's up to readers to decide whether the wrinkly gray mass atop white-presenting Brain's head is tightly curled gray hair or an exposed brain. Fragrant fun for first readers. (Graphic early reader. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal K-Gr 2—Bell (El Deafo; I Yam a Donkey!; "Rabbit & Robot") returns with another story about grammar, miscommunication, and odd couple friends. In this graphic novel send-up of the "Dick and Jane" primers, Brain, clad only in heart-patterned boxers and sporting either an external brain or a gray hairdo that resembles one, is trying to convince a politeness-obsessed chick to smell his foot. Chick criticizes Brain's phrasing ("I will not smell your foot until you say PLEASE") and intelligence ("Brain, you look very smart…But you are not very smart"). This focus on manners at the expense of kindness almost causes Chick to miss out on what turns out to be Brain's truly alluring foot odor. When Spot the dog wanders by, sniffs Chick's foot, and invites the oblivious bird to lunch (as the intended main course), Brain comes to Chick's rescue by knocking Spot out with the aroma from his (apparently stinky) other foot. New readers may be thrown by the beats of Chick and Brain's dialogue, since the humor relies on unexpected responses (as in the opening exchange: "HELLO, BRAIN." "Yeah, I know. I am Brain.") and discussion of conversational norms. However, the short length and engagingly goofy art—reminiscent of James Proimos's "Johnny Mutton" series—will be a draw for kids who love quirky characters and the amusing premise. VERDICT Although not as successful as Bell's best work, and potentially confusing for some new readers, this hilariously wacky tale will resonate with many children.–Miriam DesHarnais, Towson University, MD

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

Book list You would not expect a book called Smell My Foot to be about good manners. Pleases and thank-yous are at a high premium, though, as Chick (a baby chicken) instructs his friend Brain (a large underwear-clad human with an exposed brain) in social niceties. In contention: the smelling of Brain's foot, which he claims has a great aroma. Chick, however, won't come near it without a polite greeting and formal invitation. The shoe is on the other foot, so to speak, when Spot (a hungry dog) joins in and his attempt to eat Chick can only by foiled by Brain's secret weapon: his other foot. It's as silly as it sounds, just the way budding readers like it, and the word and sentence repetition are good for literacy development as well as remembering your manners. Boisterous art matches the situations with goofy figures in hyperbolic positions, and young readers will love seeing the danger coming before the characters do. A viable Elephant & Piggie alternative for slightly more advanced readers.--Jesse Karp Copyright 2019 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly The title says it all: this early reader comic by Newbery Honor author Bell features plenty of bonkers humor. Four vignettes pair Chick, a dainty yellow bird, with a clonking human called Brain, who possesses an exposed brain, a pair of heart-printed boxer shorts, and huge feet. Chick wants Brain to be polite: “No, Brain, no. I say Hello, Brain. Then you say Hello, Chick.” Brain does not want to be polite, and he does not mind when Chick indicates he is not very smart. Instead, he says, “Smell my foot!” Weirdly, Brain’s foot smells great. Bell’s ink-and-wash panel artwork zeroes in on the characters’ faces and gestures. In the second tale, Spot the dog appears. He likes chicken and invites Chick for lunch. For lunch? Comic tension mounts as Chick, oblivious to danger, lectures the dog: “You did not say thank you for the salt.” Spot’s eyes narrow. “GRRRR,” he says. “THANK.” “YOU. “FOR.” “THE.” “SALT.” Thank goodness for Brain, whose secret weapon neutralizes Spot. Simple vocabulary packed with tension and humor keeps readers’ interest high. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)

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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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