Kids New Title Radar, Week of March 25

Next week, celebrate the new season, with an extraordinary picture book about the famous ballet, The Rite of Spring (it really did cause a riot). Preschoolers will fall in love with a little pig who speaks frog and get ready for summer reading programs with a new Origami Yoda Activity Book by Tom Angleberger.

These and other titles coming out next week are listed on our downloadable spreadsheet, Kids New Title Radar, Week of March 25

Picture Books

When Stravinsky

When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky: Two Artists, Their Ballet, and One Extraordinary Riot written and illus. by Lauren Stringer, (Harcourt)

There are many children’s picture books about music and musicians (the Pinkneys’ Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington, and Raschka’s Giant Steps) and dance and dancer’s (numerous Nutcrackers, even one illustrated by Maurice Sendak, lovely ballet books by Rachel Isadora, Dance! with Bill T. Jones featuring Susan Kuklin’s photos, and the Pinkneys’ Alvin Ailey).

But, believe me when I say there are none like this one. Stringer’s words are music and her illustrations dance. She captures the excitement and movement of a turning point in music and dance history. In 1913, the avant-garde composer Igor Stravinsky composed The Rite of Spring (in French, Le Sacre du printemps) to be choreographed by the internationally renowned dancer, Vaslav Nijinsky for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. The collaboration was so shocking at the time that the debut performance ended with the audience rioting.

Stringer’s lyrical text and exuberant paintings reflect the artistic styles of the period without being imitative, expressing the joy, frustration and excitement of creative processes.

In addition, Stringer offers a few gifts on her Web site, including an activity guide created with Tracie Vaughn Zimmer. There is also a curriculum guide to the Rites of Spring from Carnegie Hall, and you can also hear the music and a discussion of its reception on NPR.


Ribbit!, Rodrigo Folgueira, illus. by Poly Bernatene, (RH/Knopf BYR)

If, like me, parents and teachers continually ask you for more books like Bark, George and Meow Said the Cow, latch onto this one.  Pre-schoolers find it hysterically funny when an animal makes the wrong sound; it’s becoming a genre of its own.

Oversized Preschool Board Book

Tell Me Something Happy

Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go to Sleep (lap board book), Joyce Dunbar, illus. by Debi Gliori,  (HMH)

This oversized board book reprint of a book originally published in 1998 and no long in print, is just right for reading aloud with parenting classes, Headstart or a pre-school programs and is a good title for modeling the pleasure and possibilities of reading aloud.

Middle Grade Series

Stallion By Starlight  978-0-375-87026-2

Magic Tree House #49: Stallion by Starlight (A Stepping Stone Book) by Mary Pope Osborne and Sal Murdocca (RH BYR; Listening Library)

Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #27: Horse Heroes: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House #49: Stallion by Starlight, by Mary Pope Osborne, Natalie Pope Boyce and Sal Murdocca, (RH BYR)

It might not be news or cause for a parade when a new Magic Tree House book is published, but it should be. Whenever a new Jack and Annie comes out of the box (the series is now just one titles shy of 50 titles), my heart still sings. Osborne’s consistently engaging, just-right stories hit home with newly fluent readers. The companion Fact Trackers are a terrific way for classroom teachers to connect the fantasy with Common Core standards. So, who wants to help organize the parade?

Defies Category


Art2 – D2’s Guide to Folding and Doodling: An Origami Yoda Activity Book by Tom Angleberger, (Abrams/Amulet)

Angleberger’s The Strange Case of Origami YodaDarth Paper Strikes Back, and The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee were runaway hits with Bank Street’s 4th and 5th graders (Origami Yoda was a Mock Newbery honor winner). Fair warning, this is “consumable,”  because of its pull-out pages. Buy one for reference and start planning Star Wars summer reading programming, using this and  Star Wars Origami36 Amazing Paper-folding Projects from a Galaxy Far, Far Away by Chris Alexander (with forward by, guess who, Tom Angleberger).

You can thank me later.

Young Adult 

If You Find Me  Yaqui Delgado

If You Find Me, Emily Murdoch, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s)

A suspense-filled story about 15-year-old Carey, who is rescued after living in the Tennessee wods with her sister and meth-addicted mother. Prepub reviews are  strong, with Kirkus calling it a “deeply affecting story … made all the more so by Carey’s haunting first-person narration.” PW had issues with the credibility of the story, but still called it “memorable and deeply moving” and predicted that readers will fall in love with the characters.

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, Meg Medina, (Candlewick; Brilliance Audio)

Kirkus calls this first-person story about a 15-year-old who is bullied when she goes to a new school in Queens, NY, “nuanced, heart-wrenching and ultimately empowering.”


Witch & Wizard, Manga

Witch & Wizard: The Manga, Vol. 3, James Patterson and Jill Dembowski, Yen Press

It’s Patterson’s popular series, Manga style, a high-interest title that will appeal to graphic novel fans, both boys and girls.

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