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One New Fave, Plus Some Classics: Sunday Book Review

May 14th, 2023



In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month:

The new favorite on the shelf is “The Infinite Questions of Dottie Bing,” by Molly B. Burnham, with illustrations by Fanny Liem. (Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House, 2023, grades 3 and up, 199 pages, $17.99.) Thoughtful book about the death of a family member (Dottie’s grandma, Ima) and the difficulty her grandfather is having, processing the grief. (Or not processing, as the case may be. He seems perfectly happy carrying Ima’s ashes around in a Chock full o’ Nuts coffee can, enjoying his time with her, playing cards and hanging out.) Reminds me of Judy Blume’s writing — thoughtful, respectful of kids, and deals with serious family stuff in a considerate, humorous and loving way.

I found my copy of “The Silver Crown” by Robert C. O’Brien on the shelf the other day. Most readers are more familiar with O’Brien’s more well-known book, “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH,” but Silver Crown is equally brilliant. Family trauma, a huge adventure, and a fearless young girl and her companion.

“The Hundred Dresses,” by Eleanor Estes, with drawings by Louis Slobodkin, was written in 1944 and stands the test of time. When people tell you, oh bullying is a new thing, we never had issues with that when I was in school, sensitive little snowflakes, etc… hand them a copy of this book. Stays with you forever. Beautiful and strong.

“Chanticleer and the Fox,” adapted from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and illustrated by Barbara Cooney. Because, you know. Hens and roosters and foxes.

“Linnea in Monet’s Garden,” with text by Christina Bjork and art by Lena Anderson. Lovely, thoughtful way to introduce kids to the French impressionist and the world he painted.

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