blank that might perplex some readers,
yet he makes their divergent political personas clear. Hotheaded Hamilton’s smear
campaign on crowd-pleaser Burr’s character contributed to Burr’s loss to Thomas
Jefferson in the 1800 presidential election, and eventually led to the duel that
cost Hamilton his life. Despite his relaxed
storytelling, Brown’s loose, minimally
detailed watercolors convey the emotions
that governed each man’s personality, as
well as the tumult of the nascent nation.
Especially dramatic is a close-up image of
both duelers pulling the trigger, with an
almost audible “BANG!” appearing
below each hand. Ages 5–7. Agent: Angela
Miller, Miller Agency. (Oct.)
; Game Changer: John
McLendon and the Secret Game
John Coy, illus. by Randy DuBurke. Carolrhoda,
$17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4677-2604-7
In an account brimming with suspense
and emotional tension, Coy (Hoop Genius)
and DuBurke (Best Shot in the West) show
how a game of college-level basketball one
Sunday morning in 1944 helped provide a
glimpse of the future of
the game and of a segregated nation. The man
behind the game was
John McLendon, coach
of the North Carolina
College of Negroes’
Eagles, who masterminded the clandestine
meet-up between his
team and the all-white
squad from Duke University Medical
School, at a time when segregation laws
prohibited play between black and white
teams. Initial uneasiness—the athletes,
“some of whom had never been this close
to a person of a different color, were hesitant to touch or bump into one
another”—gave way to a game in which
the Eagles trounced Duke using a hard-driving fast-break style; a follow-up
match saw the teams blending their ranks.
DuBurke’s shadowy images in pencil and
paint have the feeling of long-buried
photos snapped in secret, while Coy skillfully highlights both the energy and
importance of the game and the dangerous social climate in which it was
played. Ages 7–11. (Oct.)
The Dreadful Fate of Jonathan York:
A Yarn for the Strange at Heart
Kory Merritt. Andrews McMeel, $9.99 trade
paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-4494-7100-2
Originally published online as “No
Story, No Room,” Merritt’s print debut
follows the misadventures of a meek store
clerk named Jonathan York, whose life
takes a turn for the worse—or does it?—
when he gets lost in a forbidding swamp.
Along with three strange travelers,
Jonathan finds his way to the Cankerbury
Inn, whose elderly owners demand a story
in exchange for a night’s stay. While
Jonathan’s companions share accounts of
diabolical ice-cream factories, daredevil
undersea escapades, and alien abduction/
vivisection, Jonathan’s dull life leaves him
without anything to contribute. All that
changes when he is tossed back into the
swamp, falls in with merciless thieves,
outwits a giant terrapin, and more.
Terrifying and skillfully drafted, Merritt’s
illustrations conjure a world of hideous
creatures replete with
fangs, and leering eyes.
References to Sean
Connery and Willy
Wonka sit a bit oddly in
the Lovecraftian gothic
world Merritt has cre-
ated, and underneath all
the supernatural horror,
the message that what
doesn’t kill, digest, or zombify you makes
you stronger (and gives you a story to tell)
is actually quite conventional. Ages 8–12.
; A Year Without Mom
Dasha Tolstikova. Groundwood (PGW, dist.),
$19.95 (176p) ISBN 978-1-55498-692-7
Set amid the disintegration of the
Soviet Union, this absorbing graphic
memoir follows a year in the life of a
12-year-old Moscow schoolgirl left in the
care of her grandparents while her
mother studies in the U.S. “Grandpa
wakes me up and has the tea brewed by
the time I shuffle into the kitchen, but I
am on my own for everything else,”
Dasha explains. Working in black and
white enlivened by occasional splashes of
red and blue, Tolstikova (The Jacket) uses
a distinctive, naïf pen-and-ink style to
capture the bare streets of wintry
Moscow and the lively expressions of
Dasha and her friends. Readers will dis-
cover that beyond the bleak Soviet set-
ting—before moving, her mother wrote
“ads for places like Bread Factory #8”—
much of the memoir is familiar pre-ado-
lescent territory: difficulties with
friends, important exams, and clothing
woes. A final section reveals that Dasha
will spend the next year in the States
with her mother, and the story follows
their first weeks there—then ends
abruptly. Readers will wish the sequel
were available instantly. Ages 10–14.
Agent: Sean McCarthy, Sean McCarthy
Literary Agency. (Oct.) ;
Benjamin Franklin: Huge Pain in My...!
Alan Zweibel and Adam Mansbach, illus. by
Neil Swaab. Disney-Hyperion, ISBN 978-1-4847-
Blood and Salt Kim Liggett. Putnam, ISBN 978-
Finders Keepers Shelley Tougas. Roaring
Brook, ISBN 978-59643-990-0, Sept.
Keepers of the Labyrinth Erin E. Moulton.
Philomel, ISBN 978-0-399-16459-0, Aug.
; Lair of Dreams Libba Bray. Little, Brown,
ISBN 978-0-316-12604-5, Aug.
Nomad William Alexander. S&S/McElderry,
ISBN 978-1-4424-9767-2, Sept.
; The Shadow Behind the Stars Rebecca
Hahn. S&S/Atheneum, ISBN 978-1-4814-3571-0,
Violent Ends Edited by Shaun David Hutchinson.
Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-1-4814-3745-5, Sept.
Hot Pink: The Life and Fashions of Elsa
Schiaparelli Susan Goldman Rubin. Abrams,
ISBN 978-1-4197-1642-3, Sept.
This Side of Wild: Mutts, Mares, and
Laughing Dinosaurs Gary Paulsen, illus. by
Tim Jessell. Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-1-4814-
Win or Lose, I Love You! Lysa TerKeurst, illus.
by Jana Christy. Tommy Nelson, ISBN 978-0-529-