Log In

Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the Table-of-Contents Database.

Get a digital subscription to Publishers Weekly for only $19.95/month.

Your subscription gives you instant access exclusive feature articles on notable figures in the publishing industry, he latest industry news, interviews of up and coming authors and bestselling authors, and access over 200,000 book reviews.

PW "All Access" site license members have access to PW's subscriber-only website content. To find out more about PW's site license subscription options please email: pw@pubservice.com or call 1-800-278-2991 (U.S.) or 1-818-487-2069 (all other countries), Monday-Friday between 5am and 5pm Pacific time.

Gamer Army

Trent Reedy. Scholastic/Levine, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-338-04529-1

In this action-packed middle grade adventure, five top American gamers are chosen to participate in an elite tournament as part of a new reality show hosted by one of the world’s most powerful corporations. Rogan Webber, 12, is determined to win the competition and be crowned Laser Viper Grand Champion, all to prove himself to his workaholic parents. To succeed, Rogan and the other competitors must work as a team, tackling special Laser Viper missions. One gamer is voted out after every round, and as the contestants are winnowed down, they begin to suspect there’s more to the game than they first thought. Pop culture references fly fast and furious as the characters quip, argue, and form unexpected friendships amid constant danger and excitement. Readers will undoubtedly predict some of the tournament’s major twists, and Reedy (If You’re Reading This) folds in a heavy-handed message about the dangers of virtual reality as a substitute for real life. Still, Reedy offers a diverse cast and an over-the-top sense of excitement. Ages 8–12. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 11/16/2018 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Camelot Code: The Once and Future Geek

Mari Mancusi. Disney-Hyperion, $16.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-368-01084-9

Sophie, 12, and her best friend, Stuart, are avid players of Camelot’s Honor, an online video game based on Arthurian myth. Several centuries earlier, Arthur, 13, wants nothing more than to marry his best friend, Princess Guinevere, and become a knight. Then Guinevere accidentally drops Uther Pendragon’s magical scabbard into the Well of Dreams, sending it into Sophie’s timeline. Sophie receives a strange text urging her to download the Camelot Code, which sends her back in time to help Arthur and Merlin. Meanwhile, Arthur decides to retrieve the scabbard himself, travels to the present day, and discovers that he likes it there, leaving everyone’s future at risk. Mancusi (Princess, Inc.) impeccably incorporates contemporary and video-game elements into the original King Arthur story, creating an enjoyable and seamless narrative that leaves room for additional adventures. Ages 8–12. Agent: Mandy Hubbard, Emerald City Literary. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 11/16/2018 | Details & Permalink

show more
Beneath the Citadel

Destiny Soria. Amulet, $17.99 (480p) ISBN 978-1-4197-3146-4

In a walled city ruled by prophecy, where dreams and memories can be stolen, a group of friends works to expose the ruling council’s involvement in mysterious disappearances that are gripping the city. As the story opens, four teens are sentenced to death for high treason after infiltrating the catacombs under the Citadel: rebel-born Cassa; apothecary Alys; Evander, whose blood bond with silver enables him to manipulate the element; and Newt, able to contort his body to escape tight spots. After a daring escape, they regroup to plan their next move, but they must again venture beneath the Citadel, where an immortal man may hold the key to their futures or their downfall. Told via alternating viewpoints and flashbacks, the generally fast-paced tale is at times bogged down by exposition. However, the diverse characters—including those who are bisexual, asexual, and gay—have rich backgrounds; many scenes, especially those set on and around a creepy underground lake, are harrowing; and the emotional finale is truly shocking. Fans of dark, character-driven fantasy will find much to enjoy in this novel by Soria (Iron Cast), which raises interesting questions about fate, free will, and sacrifice. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 11/16/2018 | Details & Permalink

show more
Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero’s Journey

D.J. Milky. Tokyopop, $15.99 paper (112p) ISBN 978-1-4278-5897-9

This quirky graphic novel, published on the 25th anniversary of Burton and Henry Selick’s cult classic stop-motion animated movie, spotlights Zero, Jack Skellington’s glowing, floating, pumpkin-nosed ghost dog, and follows the events of the film. While Jack frets over his plans to discover new holiday lands, Zero is lost in the woods and ventures through the mysterious Holiday Doors into Christmas Town. Mischievous imps Lock, Shock, and Barrel are tasked by Jack to find him. Meanwhile, Zero’s joyous hunt for delicious Christmas cookies pits him against a foul-tempered gingerbread man who traps the hapless ghost dog in a cooking pot—at which point the book abruptly ends, promising continuation in a sequel. The lighthearted script by Milky (Sailor Moon) closely preserves the ambience of the screen on the printed page, and Kei Ishiyama’s art captures the spooky mood of the movie and the energetic, fluid nature of the curious, jittery Zero. Unremarkable lettering mars the work, however: a stark, plain font and oversized, awkwardly placed word balloons obscure the art and interrupt the narrative in panels with dialogue. The charming story and artwork are evocative of the original film, but the sudden to-be-continued end and jarring design limit the book’s effectiveness. Ages 9–12. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 11/16/2018 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Universe Is a Tree

Laura Filippucci. Creative Editions, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-56846-304-9

This thoughtful celebration of trees explores their mythological, biological, and spiritual significance, devoting each page to an idea and a tree species that supports it (and sharing a quotation for and information about each). Yew trees serve as “gates to the beyond” in Norse stories of Yggdrasil, a tree with roots that “[extend] to different realms.” Trees can also be “givers”—the baobab “provides food, medicine, water, and precious shade”—while the olive tree has long represented wisdom and peace. In Filippucci’s ornate watercolor-and-ink art, the trees are cavernous, imposing, and divine (the face of the Buddha peers from the gnarled trunk of the banyan tree), emphasizing how they have nurtured myths, legends, and the well-being of humans and animals throughout time. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 11/16/2018 | Details & Permalink

show more
Perfectly Peculiar Plants

Chris Thorogood, illus. by Catell Ronca. Words & Pictures, $17.95 (64p) ISBN 978-1-78603-286-7

Thorogood introduces 28 species of extraordinary plants. Many of the colorful names match their unique attributes, including the tree shew toilet pitcher, which obtains nutrients from tree shrew droppings, and the dead horse arum, which has hair-covered blooms and “smells like a rotten animal!” Less stinky plants include the queen of the night cactus, with “very beautiful flowers which open only at night.” Informative sections address plant communication, plant and animal coexistence, and protecting plants, among other topics, while Ronca’s textural collage-style art provides flashy colors and up-close perspectives on the subjects. From coconuts to vampire plants, readers will be struck by the range of biodiversity—and strangeness—within the botanical world. Ages 5–8. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 11/16/2018 | Details & Permalink

show more
Trees: A Rooted History

Piotr Socha, illus. by Wojciech Grajkowski. Abrams, $24.99 (80p) ISBN 978-1-4197-3723-7

This expansive volume takes a holistic approach to the topic of trees in nature, history, and the imagination, moving from strictly botanical content into tangential topics. The oversize spreads identify and compare tree species and tree-dwelling animals; substantive sidebars accompany each section. An illustration of tree rings places human history into perspective: “During the lifetime of this one tree, the Olmec, Aztec, and Maya civilizations blossomed and died out.” Spreads explore human uses for wood, show a fictionalized family tree, and depict tree monsters within mythology and literature. Grajkowski’s illustration style vacillates between naturalistic and playful; humans have exaggerated, cartoonish features, while trees and insects resemble specimens from vintage natural history tomes. Through the multiangled perspective, Socha and Grajkowski subtly allude to the way that branches of knowledge cross-pollinate and interconnect. All ages. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 11/16/2018 | Details & Permalink

show more
Who Believes What? Exploring the World’s Major Religions

Anna Wills and Nora Tomm, trans. from the German by Shelley Tanaka. Owl Kids, $19.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-77147-333-0

In a frank, lively, and informative guide to the world’s religions, Wills and Tomm explore the central tenets of Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. For each faith, the text covers its history, origins, and system of belief, and accompanying vibrant, wordless pages are busily filled with the religion’s iconic structures, symbolic objects, and practitioners in moments of worship or celebration. Spreads that resemble flowcharts identify many of the items from the illustrations, describing their significance within each faith (and offering a fun seek-and-find element): “In Buddhism, the dragon possesses special powers and stands for rebirth, change, and renewal.” It’s a hearty celebration of belief and tradition around the globe. Ages 7–10. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 11/16/2018 | Details & Permalink

show more
The News About Jesus and How He Saved the World

Benjamin Morse. Orson & Co., $30 (80p) ISBN 978-0-9858135-2-9

Morse’s second title in the Bible Beautiful series takes an inventive approach to the New Testament. Events in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus are recounted in “Good News Daily,” a fictionalized newspaper. Morse includes condensed tellings of the gospels, the acts and letters of the apostles, and the vision of John of Patmos, which are conveyed through abstract word-and- collage montages crafted from paper, fabric, ribbon, and other ephemera. Snappy headlines summarize pivotal events: “Trouble in Jerusalem” leads into an account from Matthew 26, in which “Jesus warned his disciples that his time on earth was coming to an end.” Morse’s frequently abstract compositions integrate rich patterns, contrasting colors, and moments that feel both stationary and fluid. While the newspaper concept is an effective organizational tool, it’s outshone by the alluring visuals, which provide an imagistic understanding of the layered stories. Ages 4–7. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 11/16/2018 | Details & Permalink

show more
And There Was Evening, and There Was Morning

Ellen Zahan Zager and Harriet Cohen Helfand, illus. by Zager. Kar-Ben, $17.99 (24p) ISBN 978-1-5124-8364-2

Zager and Helfand tell the creation story from the book of Genesis in the Torah. Rhyming couplets describe the acts of creation throughout six days, beginning with words set against pitch darkness: “The world began when God said ‘light,’/ And changed the world from dark to bright./ Dark in the night and light in the day,/ Our beautiful world was underway.” Zager’s dynamic illustrations utilize Hebrew letters (as well as some English letters, punctuation marks, and shapes) to create the objects appearing in each scene—they form the sun, moon, and stars created by God on the fourth day, and the shapes of bears, horses, and lions on the sixth day. Zager brings uncommon artistry to the proverbial story, inviting readers to peer more closely. Ages 3–8. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 11/16/2018 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

Parts of this site are only available to paying PW subscribers. Subscribers: to set up your digital access click here.

To subscribe, click here.

PW “All Access” site license members have access to PW’s subscriber-only website content. Simply close and relaunch your preferred browser to log-in. To find out more about PW’s site license subscription options please email: pw@pubservice.com.

If you have questions or need assistance setting up your account please email pw@pubservice.com or call 1-800-278-2991 (U.S.) or 1-818-487-2069 (all other countries), Monday-Friday between 5am and 5pm Pacific time for assistance.

Not Registered? Click here.