Joseph Elliott’s debut novel, The Good Hawk (Walker Books, 368 pages, $17.99) takes young-adult readers to a mythical, violent Scotland, where war and plague have ravaged the land and the only children of a local clan to evade capture by enemy combatants are a most unlikely trio who must beat the all sorts of death-defying odds to save their family. Featuring a heroine with Down’s Syndrome, Abby couldn’t put this book down, and neither will your kids. Here’s her take:
Super Jumbo, by Fred Koehler; Dial Books, $16.99, 32 pages, ages 3-5.
What child doesn’t imagine saving the world? How many more children have engaged in a heroic act (saving ants from a giant’s wayward foot, for example), without recognition? In Fred Koehler’s second picture book featuring Little Jumbo, the caped, wrench-welding, pint-sized pachyderm fights crime (keeping his dad out of the cookie jar), assists the weak, and shoos annoying pigeons away from popcorn ‘dropped’ by an unsuspecting elderly park visitor. Unfortunately, sometimes Little Jumbo’s actions cause more chaos than intended. What happens when he’s faced with a real call for help? This tale of a well-meaning elephant with outsize ambitions is a charming, simple read aloud, and is a perfect match for Koehler’s illustrations of a small but mighty hero.