Books in Brief: Unicorns, Bears, and Indian Wool (Pashminas)
Razzle Dazzle Unicorn by Dana Simpson
ISBN 978-1-4494-7791-2 $9.99 pbk
Amp Kids, c2016
Unicorn Crossing: Another Phoebe and her Unicorn Adventure
ISBN 978-1-4494-8357-9 $9.99 pbk
Amp Kids, c2017
If young readers haven’t found Phoebe and her best friend the Unicorn, they have been missing out. Snarky, glib, and just plain fun, Phoebe and her best friend have adventures that range from Halloween parties to unclean rooms to going back to camp. While this series modestly circulated in my library since it first came out as a collection of comic strips, this year it has been highly requested.
Tucker Grizzwell’s Worst Week Ever by Bill Schorr and Ralph Smith
ISBN 978-1-4494-6910-8 $9.99 pbk
Amp Kids, c2017
Middle School is tough enough, but knowing that the week will end with a father son Jaw and Claws Weekend has Tucker on edge all week. He doesn’t want to go. This reads like any other middle school story with many of the same emotions, but Tucker and his family are bears and there are lots of other animals as well. Tucker’s family is reminiscent of the famous picture book characters the Berenstein Bears: Mother is quiet and stoic. Father is a bit of a doofus but loved and even looked up to by his children, and Tucker and his sisters are typical bear children. This will appeal to young middle grade readers. There’s lots of humor.
Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
ISBN 978-1-62672-088-6 hc. $21.99
First Second, c2017
Priyanka seems to always be at odds with her mother, who immigrated to the States from India as a young girl. Then one day, Priyanka finds an old suitcase of her mother’s things and inside is a pashmina shawl. When she wraps herself in the shawl, Priyanka is swept away on a guided tour of Indian culture and historic sites. To truly understand her family and her mother’s past, Priyanka will need to travel to the real India. Mother-daughter relationships are often complex, and Chanani brings this one to life; she uses vivid color as Priyanka travels with the pashmina, which contrasts with the grayscale used for the rest of her story. A worthwhile read.
About Esther Keller
Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. She also curates the Graphic Novel collection for the NYC DOE Citywide Digital Library. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.
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