Penguin Kids Spring Preview

One of the perks of being a children’s librarian in New York is the opportunity to go to various publisher’s previews for librarians.

This week, Penguin hosted the first of the spring season. Below are my picks. Upcoming in the next few weeks are previews from Lerner, Chronicle, Random House, Harper and Little Brown.

To get your own preview, download the Jan thru April Penguin catalog here.

The Treasure Chest: Angel of the Battlefield, Ann Hood, illus by  Karl Kwasny, Grosset & Dunlap, Jan 24.

A new series from adult author Ann Hood, it’s the next step up in reading level from The Magic Tree House readers. It features twins, Felix and Maisie, who time-travel through the magic of the “treasure chest.” In each volume they meet a distinguished historic figure as a child. The first episode features Clara Barton. The second volume, Little Lion, also coming in January, features Alexander Hamilton.

Ann describes the inspiration for the series below:


Robbie Forester and the Outlaws of Sherwood Street, by Peter Abrahams, Philomel, Jan. 19.

The number one request that I have trouble filling is for new mystery novels…not horror, not adventure, not survival, not suspense, not fantasy, but MYSTERY. Looks like I have my answer in Robbie Forester, from the author of Down the Rabbit Hole and the Echo Falls series (as well as the popular adult Chet & Bernie mysteries written under the name Spencer Quinn).

A bonus; it’s set in my town, Brooklyn.
Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral, Razor Bill, February 2012. 12 and up

As you can see from my photo of an interior spread below, this romance is told in scrapbook style, combining photographs, illustration and text.

The combination of photos and text has worked successfully for Ms. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It’s interesting to see this technique applied to a teen romance.


Looking at Lincoln, Maira Kalman, Nancy Paulsen Books, Jan 5.

Kalman wrote a blog on the New York Times site about viewing a collection of photos of Abraham Lincoln (in Philadelphia’s Rosenbach Museum and Library), looking deep into his eyes, and … falling in love with him. The book is reformatted from the original postings with additional art.

Kalman is currently creating an illustrated column for The New Yorker based on travels to museums and libraries, beginning with the Peoples Palace, the New York Public Library (available to subscribers only).

During the preview, we were treated to a look at some of Kalman’s original art (see more interior pages here):


Playground, 50 Cent, Razorbill, Nov. 1.

The rapper 50 Cent bases this, his first novel on his own childhood experiences with bullying. Originally planned for publication in January, it’s been moved to November 1st. Entertainment Weekly‘s “Shelf Life” blog has posted the first three chapters.

Says Rita Williams-Garcia, “50 Cent takes monster to new depths in this character who haunts and inspires. Playground is both a sly and brutally smart novel.” VOYA approves it; “this story effectively suggests various underlying issues that can lead to bullying and how anger, if not treated, can lead to greater problems.”

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