Significant Others III: (Voices of Young Adults from Northeast Iowa)

Barnett, Mac. 2014. Telephone. Chronicle Books. $16.99. 32pp. ISBN 978-1-4521-1023-3. Illustrated by Jen Corace.

This whimsically illustrated picture storybook depicts a telephone line full of multitalented birds of various breeds passing a message with mixed up results. The detailed illustrations and playful prose are both thoughtful and fun for the entire family. (JFJ) 

Black, Michael Ian. 2014. Naked!. Simon & Schuster. 36pp. $17.99 ISBN 9781442467385. Illustrated by Debbie Ridiopat Ohi.

What’s more fun to a young child than running around naked? As one might expect by the title, clothing is believed to be optional for our main character. The illustrations capture the joy of the child and the frenzied redirection of the parents. As the book progresses, the child eventually learns the benefits of wearing clothing. (JFJ)

Boyd, Lizi. 2014. Flashlight. Chronicle Books. $16.99. 3pp. ISBN 9781452118949.

This spellbinding, wordless picture book is illustrated primarily in grayscale with the warm beam of a flashlight illuminating a boy’s nocturnal discoveries while on a camping trip. Page cut outs and pops of color provide additional points of interest on each page. Animals progressively become more numerous from page to page. When the boy trips and loses hold of his flashlight, something magical happens. This rich and wonderfully illustrated tale will be a book that parents and children will reach for repeatedly, making new connections each time they travel with the boy on his camping trip. (JFJ) 

Dairman, Tara. 2014. All four stars. Penguin Random House LLC (G.P. Putnam’s Sons). 273pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0142426364.

What can a girl do when her parents prevent her from doing what she was born to do? Unbeknownst to her parents, eleven-year-old Gladys Gatsby has been cooking gourmet dishes since the age of seven. An unfortunate incident with a blow torch brings her clandestine hobby to light, and Gladys is restricted from any kitchen activities. During the period of probation, Gladys makes friends, and with their help, she is able to not only able to fulfill one of her wildest dreams, but she also learn to embrace the innate gifts she holds. The rich food descriptions and plot twists in All Four Stars will hold even the most finicky of readers. The only thing missing is a recipe or two! (JFJ) 

Goodrich, Carter. 2014. Mister Bud wears the cone. Simon & Schuster. 42pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-442-4-8088-9. Illustrated by Carter Goodrich.

Oh, the humiliation and inconvenience of wearing a cone! Mister Bud had a bad spot on his hindquarters and enjoys the care and attention of his owners until he must to don the cone. Join Mister Bud and his canine pal Zoreo in their troublesome dog play. Goodrich infuses this humorous depiction with the underlying themes of rivalry and unconditional love. The illustrations capture the different temperaments of the canines and the humiliating restriction of the cone. (JFJ) 

Loftin, Nikki. 2014. Nightingale’s Nest. Penguin Random House LLC (Razorbill). 24pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59514-546-8.

“Could the girl be a bird?” Gayle and Little John live through loss, grief, trust, love, and healing. Rich symbolism and foreshadowing are woven throughout this magical, heartwarming tale. An orphan, Gayle will steal the hearts of readers with her forlorn appearance and musical capability to heal those who are sick or hurting. Along with Gayle’s best friend, readers will question Gayle’s stability when she climbs a tree and believes her parents will return. Nightingale’s Nest is the type of literature that will stay with readers long after they have turned the last page. Through beautiful, magical, yet cuttingly realistic character development and plot twists, readers will experience life’s lessons in polarity. After reading, readers will be left with a resounding echo of friendship, forgiveness, and compassion. (JFJ) 

Ray, Mary Lyn. 2014. Deer Dancer. Simon & Schuster (Beach Lane Books). 36pp. $17.99. ISBN 9781442434219. Illustrated by Lauren Singer.

In this lyrical tale, a child is observed by a deer while dancing in a woodland clearing. The author and illustrator present many parallels between the girl and the deer by pairing prose and illustration seamlessly. Singer’s vibrant illustrations weave global themes embedded within the love and care for planet Earth throughout this picture storybook. Readers will see a culturally diverse population represented in the girl’s traditional dance class. (JFJ) 

Shannon, David. 2013. Bugs in My Hair!. Scholastic Inc. (Blue Sky Press). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-545-14313-4.

“Warning! This book will make you itchy!” This hysterical book is well worth the scratch. David Shannon does it again with his informatively honest yet fantastic approach to what every parent and child dreads: head lice. With his signature dynamic illustrations, David Shannon provides children and their parents with a course in ‘Head Lice 101. (JFJ)