Super Heroes Say Please

Given that superheroes began as examples of those who could bring justice, it’s fun to see the Super Friends versions used for moral instruction. Super Heroes Say Please by Morris Katz is a 20-page board book for ages 0-3 about manners. Uncredited clip art shows classically illustrated heroes being polite and kind. They introduce themselves, shake hands, say please when they need help, take turns, share, and compliment each other. It was odd for me to notice just how many […]

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Bird, Bath, and Beyond

E.J. Copperman’s Bird, Bath, and Beyond, the sequel to Dog Dish of Doom, is even better than the first. The mystery stars Kay Powell, theatrical agent for acting animals. She’s now repping a parrot who’s a supporting cast member of a TV procedural, playing the sidekick of a medical examiner on a show with zombie detectives. When the gorgeous actor playing the doctor is found dead, shot, in his trailer, under the cage, the real-life detectives expect a talking bird […]

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The Story Behind: The Extraordinary History Behind Ordinary Objects

The Story Behind: The Extraordinary History Behind Ordinary Objects is a book compiling short stories of object origins, taken from the podcast of the same name by Emily Prokop. When I was a kid, before the internet became what it is and destroyed traditional publishing, I gobbled up books like these. It was so cool learning where things came from and bits of trivia around their creation. The Story Behind taps into that same appeal. Each chapter runs only 4-6 […]

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Why The Beach Boys Matter

Review by KC Carlson It’s a pretty tall order to tell the Beach Boys’ oft-confusing, decades-long history in a 176-page, 5″ x 7″ book, but Tom Smucker does an admirable job in Why The Beach Boys Matter, recently published by Music Matters/University of Texas Press. I admire someone who can write well about such a complex subject in such relatively short space. It’s important to note some of the many bands that didn’t have the longevity of The Beach Boys, […]

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Batman & Robin Crime Scene Investigations

This set of four hardcover storybooks makes up a new series in which the famous caped crimefighters use forensic investigation techniques to solve crimes. It’s a clever way to encourage scientific thinking and understanding the real-life background behind superhero adventures. The Batman & Robin Crime Scene Investigations series is written by Steve Korte, illustrated by Dario Brizuela, and published by Capstone Press. The subjects are well chosen: Fingerprints and footprints are classic mystery elements, while DNA keeps the heroes up-to-date […]

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The Question of the Dead Mistress

Fifth in the Asperger’s Mystery series, which started with The Question of the Missing Head by E.J. Copperman and Jeff Cohen four years ago, The Question of the Dead Mistress is as enjoyable as any in the series, simply due to the character interactions. Samuel, who has Asperger’s syndrome, runs an agency called Questions Answered. Each of the volumes is spurred by an unusual question, which usually leads to a murder to solve. In this case, the question is, “Is […]

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Doctor Who: Tales of Terror

What an odd but effective mash-up. Doctor Who: Tales of Terror is a collection of twelve scary stories, each featuring one of the twelve Doctors. This would make an excellent Halloween gift for your favorite Whovian. I wouldn’t have thought to put the two together, but then I remembered that Doctor Who has lots of monsters in it, and particularly the fourth Doctor specialized in horror tales. This was put out by BBC Children’s Books, so nothing in it is […]

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The Two-Pencil Method

It’s been fascinating to see Mark Crilley’s how-to books move from genre, with the Mastering Manga trilogy, to a story about learning how to draw, to a set of illustrations with a wide variety of influences, to hyperrealistic art. His latest how-to book continues in the vein of that last one, although it could also be classed as almost fine art. The Two-Pencil Method: The Revolutionary Approach to Drawing It All is a series of instructions for using a regular […]

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