Books by Tim Jessell

TOGO by Kate Klimo
by Kate Klimo, illustrated by Tim Jessell
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 28, 2014

"An informative historical narrative with heart. (appendix.) (Historical fiction. 8-12)"
Affable sled dog Togo leads readers through his puppyhood, his racing career and "The Balto Business." Read full book review >
GINGER by Kate Klimo
by Kate Klimo, illustrated by Tim Jessell
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 8, 2013

"Assisted by Ginger's attractively gentle voice, pet lovers may be willing to overlook the sometimes heavy-handed narrative. (history of golden retriever breed, information on puppy mills, rescue groups, animal shelters, and how to choose a dog.) (Fiction. 8-12)"
Ginger, a golden retriever, is the product of a brutal puppy mill, inauspicious beginnings that don't improve much. Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2012

"An approachable lead-in that serves to fill in the background both for confirmed fans and readers new to the series. (finished illustrations, afterword and resource list not seen) (Historical fiction. 8-10)"
This prelude slips neatly into the classic series with a rural idyll that comes to a sudden, tragic end. Read full book review >
HOME COURT by Amar'e Stoudemire
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 1, 2012

"Though heavy on message, this will help address the dearth of chapter books featuring children of color positively engaged in the normal adventures of life. (Fiction. 8-12)"
NBA star Stoudemire draws on his own childhood and nickname, STAT (Standing Tall and Talented), to pen the first in a series of chapter books that celebrate sports, smarts and friendship. Read full book review >
RACING THE MOON by Alan Armstrong
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 26, 2012

"High-flying adventure grounded in reality. (suggestions for further reading) (Historical fiction. 8-12)"
Obsessed with rocket-building and outer space, two siblings living in Silver Springs, Md., in 1947 find the perfect ally right next door. Read full book review >
FALCON by Tim Jessell
by Tim Jessell, illustrated by Tim Jessell
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 27, 2012

"The initial rural setting and avian protagonist may be unfamiliar to some readers, but the author/artist's admiration for the beauty of the natural world and the fascination of imagining another life shine through clearly. (Picture book. 4-7)"
Gorgeous artwork and an unusual subject will likely boost the appeal of this (literal and figurative) flight of fancy. Read full book review >
LOOKING FOR MARCO POLO by Alan Armstrong
ADVENTURE
Released: Sept. 22, 2009

The author of Whittington (2005) profiles another medieval celebrity using a similar scenario—fleshing out historical incidents with imagined but thoroughly researched details and conversations and framing the entire narrative as a tale told to a rapt modern audience. When his anthropologist father goes missing on a Marco Polo—related expedition to the Gobi, 11-year-old Mark and his mother fly to Venice. As they wait for news, Mark visits local landmarks that Marco Polo would have known, absorbs historical background from a group of Venetian rats and a Tibetan mastiff and meets Dr. Hornaday, a friend of his father's, who regales him with a harrowing account of the 13th-century traveler's journey. Though laced with facts—what goods traveled over the Silk Road? "Rats, umbrellas, noodles, hissing cockroaches, ideas, walnuts, opium, gunpowder, and a whole lot more," says Hornaday—Armstrong's tale-within-a-tale never becomes pedantic. Young readers will likely skip the 25-plus pages of source notes at the end, but they will come away with vivid pictures of Marco Polo's character and world, plus the satisfaction of experiencing a well-told story. (Fantasy. 11-13) Read full book review >
BABE RUTH AND THE BASEBALL CURSE by David A.  Kelly
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 24, 2009

Two nonfiction baseball stories enclosed in one cover should be a winner for newly established readers who are baseball fanatics—unfortunately, it's not. The first is a thin sketch of the life of The Babe, the Bambino, George Herman Ruth, bad boy turned national hero, a figure larger than life. Too thin, alas: The Babe was so outsized, so personable, so human, and not enough of that comes through in this. The second story is the sad tale of the fall of the Boston Red Sox after The Babe was sold to the hated New York Yankees. Following that fateful event, Boston was in decline for decades as New York was in ascendancy. It's an exciting story, but Kelly's writing is flat, dependent on exclamation points and forms of "to get" instead of strong, chewy verbs—lazy and inexcusable writing in a book meant for developing readers. Furthermore, even as the book appears on shelves it is outdated, making no mention of Barry Bonds or of the Red Sox's ignominious defeat in 2008. Too bad. (Nonfiction. 6-9)Read full book review >
RALEIGH’S PAGE by Alan Armstrong
ADVENTURE
Released: Sept. 25, 2007

Young Andrew's mind's been set afire by his teacher's enthusiasm for the opportunities offered by America, so when his father finds him a position as page to Sir Walter Raleigh, he dares to hope for overseas excitement. Once ensconced in Raleigh's household, he quickly becomes caught up in the web of intrigue that is Queen Elizabeth's court. When events take Andrew, his teacher and Raleigh's navigator to Virginia, they find themselves at the mercy of both insufficient provisions and the military captain of the enterprise, whose determination to find gold leads to the first in a tragic history of conflicts with the Native Americans. The monumental research that provides the foundation for this tale is woven effortlessly into the account of Andrew's coming-of-age, the brutality and the prejudices of the times always evident. Armstrong walks a fine line between accurately representing the beliefs and sensibilities of 16th-century Englishmen and accommodating modern social attitudes, a feat he accomplishes neatly, between Andrew's native teenage sense of justice and the introduction of Sky, Andrew's Native-American friend. It's an absorbing historical adventure from an emerging master. (Fiction. 10-14)Read full book review >
TWO HOT DOGS WITH EVERYTHING by Paul Haven
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 25, 2006

Danny Gurkin is devoted to the game of baseball and most especially to the hapless Sluggers. Adhering to a variety of superstitious activities in order to prod the team into winning at least occasionally, Danny eats two hot dogs with everything immediately before each game and stands on his head during key innings. But the Sluggers have been cursed by events that occurred 108 years ago at the celebration of their only championship at the amazing mansion of their enormously wealthy, eccentric owner, Manchester Boddlebrooks. When he ate a poisoned pretzel given to him by his jealous brother, he fell over dead, landing on and crushing the team's star player. Now Danny becomes the catalyst of a wild, fantastical series of bizarre and hilarious adventures that range from cheating rivals, magic bubblegum and marvelously weird characters. Charles Dickens meets Harry Potter at the old ballgame. Huge, magical and delightful. (Fiction. 10-12)Read full book review >