Brianna’s Books: February Favorites 2024

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I’m back and I’m excited to share with you all some of the new books coming out this month! As always, if you prefer reading or listening digitally, check the catalog after the book’s publication date to see if we have the eBook or e-audiobook.

Picture Books

coverWhat’s New, Daniel?” written and illustrated by Micha Archer

Alright, I know that it’s not actually spring yet. But we can still prepare for it! Daniel is visiting the park with his grandfather, and Grandpa asks him what’s new. As adults, we’re used to casually using phrases like this, but Daniel takes the question very literally and ventures out into the park to seek an answer. Daniel finds new baby ducklings, a snake with new skin, and tadpoles with new legs as well as many other springtime discoveries. As he reports back to Grandpa, he adds his own new developments, like the ability to whistle and a new tooth. The vibrant acrylic and collage illustrations joyfully herald spring and will likely inspire other young nature lovers — it’s the perfect book to enjoy as we’re finishing out winter.

coverTomorrow’s Lily” written and illustrated by Chris Raschka

I couldn’t resist sharing this springtime book with you as well. Books about spring often focus on new life, but this book beautifully incorporates themes of impermanence. Daylilies bloom for just one day, before they wither and a new blossom takes their place. The author shows who the lily blooms for each day over the course of a week, whether it’s the cat, a bunny or no one in particular. The beautiful pastel watercolors celebrate the lily’s life and death, as each new day shows the previous day’s wilted blossom alongside the fresh bloom and adorable garden animals. The structure of the book cleverly reinforces the days of the week along with its deeper themes, as the author invites readers to consider who they bloom for. Share with little ones for the cheerful illustrations, or use it as a starting point for conversations about the transient nature of life.

Chapter Books

coverDread Detention” by Jennifer Killick

Horror books aren’t generally my style, my “Goosebumps” phase was very brief, but the character development in this one caught my eye! Four seventh graders report to Dread Wood Academy for Saturday morning detention, each from very different social circles. Like “The Breakfast Club,” the four students learn to work together and respect each other…because otherwise they’ll likely be eaten by giant spiders. Their supervising teacher has already been dragged beneath the athletic field, and the creepy caretakers of the school are no help. I read an excerpt of this one, and even in the first chapter the banter is delightful. Pick this up if you’re in the mood for suspense and horror that doesn’t sacrifice authentic and deep character development.

coverMax in the House of Spies” by Adam Gidwitz

Max did not want to leave home. But his parents loaded him onto a train with 200 other children and sent him from Berlin to London, despite his best arguments. He wasn’t alone on the journey though — two little men that nobody else can see were sitting on his shoulders. The German kobold and Jewish dybbuk have a lot to say, mostly critical comments about Max’s choices. Now Max is staying with the wealthy Jewish Montagu family in England and seeking a way to get back to his parents. When he discovers that one of the Montagus is a British spy, Max sees espionage as his ticket home. He begins to train as a spy, determined to prove to British intelligence that he’s ready to head back into Nazi Germany. This is clever and engaging WWII fiction from a unique angle, and the supernatural elements add refreshing humor to an otherwise undeniably dark setting. Heads up that this is first in a duology, so be prepared for a cliffhanger!