Janice Floyd Durante

Janice Floyd Durante’s varied career includes copyediting for Wilmington News Journal, college and grade school educator in English and American literature and writing, and librarian. Her book reviews, travel articles, essays, and interviews have appeared in a number of newspapers and magazines. Her poetry has been published in Dickinson Review and Boulevard.

Book Reviews by Janice Floyd Durante

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In a striking package of 20 inspired poems and vibrant artwork, Out of Wonder honors the spirited work of poets from a range of eras and origins.

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“African folktales always invite us to talk about how characters behave,” writes acclaimed author Beverley Naidoo in the foreword to her latest title, a patchy collection of stories hailing from ni

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Light suffuses this unusual picture book created by acclaimed author/illustrator Demi and poet Coleman Barks, celebrated for translating and popularizing the mystical writings of the 13th-century P

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“energetic interplay of art and poetry . . .”

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“Middle-school girls with a fanciful flair will snap up this novel . . .”

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“a magical journey.”

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“an unusual opportunity to discuss with children the value of following one’s conscience and the need to stand up for justice, freedom, and equality.”

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With their rich symbolism; pleasing repetition of words, phrases and themes; and their stark revelation of human fears and fantasies, the vibrant folktales collected and edited by the Brothers Grim

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“With its understated story of conflict resolution, The Olive Tree offers adults a valuable opportunity to discuss with children the importance of respect for all.”

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“As with their previous work, Winter Bees hums with a glorious trio of lyrical poetry, vibrant artwork, and natural science explained in crisp prose.”

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a lucid and humorous expose of how particular facial features help 25 animals survive.”

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“The illustrator, making her American debut, shows a deft touch with pacing, as the tender story moves from morning to night.”

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“The sense of being pulled in two directions begets tension, alienation, and flecks of enlightenment . . .”

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“Young readers will most likely anticipate further adventures celebrating this wildly unlikely pair.”

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The Six Swans will inspire many young readers and caring adults who crave tales highlighting heroic females who do not resort to violence to save the day.”

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“With its understated title and placid cover image of a rosy-cheeked lion with a small gray bird on his shoulder, The Lion and the Bird is clearly not where the wild things are.

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“Readers will pore over the many humorous details that depict the miniature inventor’s thought process: how he pulls the shoelace from an old boot, how he peeps out of an old typewriter lab

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Winston & George highlights a surprising friendship between a crocodile and a crocodile bird and, at the same time, an unlikely publication, capping a creative

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The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky offers a gentle, inspiring story of economically disadvantaged people uniting to assert their right to define beauty on their own terms.”

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The cheerful sparrow Emma, whom readers met during her early days in Emma’s Journey, rises to the challenge of creating a new, adventurous life for herself in Paris.

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For three decades, Donna Leon has lived in Venice, the setting for her popular Commissario Guido Brunetti mysteries, a series distinguished by its engrossing plots, nuanced characterization, and mu

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“. . . a picture book rich with possibilities.”

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“. . . should fly off the shelves and into the waiting hearts of young readers.”

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“. . . will no doubt get passed along from one preteen girl to many another.”

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“. . . a refreshing and humorous angle on the importance of accepting others as they are.”

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“The Reprisal drags wartime cruelty out of the shadows. This translation should do the same for Laudomia Bonanni’s fierce fiction.”

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A dreamlike sense of wonder suffuses the singular picture book Jemmy Button as it unearths an odd social experiment conducted in the early 1800s.

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“. . . as sweet and as filling as the jelly beans fans flung at the Beatles.”

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In her pleasant picture book biography, Jan Pinborough’s debut highlights a woman who transformed libraries from hushed rooms designed for polite adults to vibrant environments that include childre

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“The author has reclaimed love and loveliness from an eternal winter—if only in a lyrical dream.”

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“While Edward Lear’s Alphabet of Nonsense might not look bright or tidy, it’s nice insidy—and as close as most of us can get to honoring a baby with an original book.”

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“. . . a welcome view of a likable young woman’s full-throttled claim on life in the early 20th century.”

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“Kadir Nelson has created a beautiful, heartfelt tribute to an icon of social justice.”

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“. . . a fascinating world . . .”

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“There is no future without forgiveness,”Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a 1984 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, has said.

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“. . . a magical, thought-provoking expedition.”

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“. . . an uplifting tale of compassion and triumph. . . . a humble hero worthy of admiration.”

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“. . . an effervescent cocktail . . . with just the right bite.”

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“Mr. Bedard masterfully interlaces the real with the supernatural . . . , evoking a sense of myriad magical possibilities.”

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“Children will relate to this dazzling little book in their own ways, while adults will likely marvel that the author and illustrator have expressed so much joy with so few words.”

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“Bravo to Jeanette Winter for this magical little book humming with hope.”

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“Resplendent with the vivid hues of its characters’ hopes and sorrows, The Humming Room gives young readers a compelling tale that does justice to its evergreen inspiration.”

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“That purple-haired Isabella playing in the sandbox is NOT a little girl; she’s an archeologist ready to explore the pyramids of Egypt—and that’s just for starters. . . . Mr.

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“While some purists might object to the many liberties Ms. Coombs takes in her retelling, most readers will rejoice at this lilting transformation of a too-grim tale.”

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“As this amiable picture book demonstrates so sweetly, love comes in all shapes, colors, and languages.”

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“The Third Gift is an unusually thoughtful and bittersweet story that shines a light on ordinary people in a historic place and time.”

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“Ms. Warren’s crisp, energetic prose is enhanced with a multitude of photos, drawings, and paintings that reveal the Victorian age Dickens examines in his novels. . . .

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“We can all use a comforting story of love, even—or especially—if it is ripped from a brutal past.”

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“While it has practical uses, Gifts from the Gods does not represent the author’s most compelling writing.

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“Enlivened by expressive drawings that evoke Old World places and people, The Mermaid of Warsaw is a collection worth dipping into.”

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". . . a gripping story few children today."

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“Adults and scholars will find much to enjoy both in the editor’s insightful introductory essay and in her concise, interesting biographies of the artists. . . .

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“Enhanced with Ms. McGuire’s frosty, atmospheric illustrations, Breadcrumbs intersperses elements of fairy tales and fantasies with the contemporary conflicts of the two friends.

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“The Patersons preface their work with a line by Eden Phillpotts: ‘The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow stronger.’ The Flint Heart is a bi

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“In living color and with a multitude of young voices, Children of the World testifies to the power of art in making our lives meaningful, in both personal and public ways.”

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“With a flurry of snipping and clipping, Levi Strauss produces pants that last and last.

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“For oinkers with large yellow eyes—or readers with more mundane irises—Maurice Sendak has delivered an unexpected treat that’s simply divine.”

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“What to say of the overarching effect of this delightful trilogy?

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“This story offers elementary-school educators a lovely opportunity to share an uplifting story set in Kenya. . . .

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“The author and illustrator beautifully balance this troubling tale with just the right amount of optimism. Even the dog with the red ball has reason to yelp with joy, . . .”

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“Hamilton presents readers with a precious gift: a collection of content not quite like anything we’ve heard or seen before.

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“By smoothly incorporating three crucial ingredients—accessible format, clear prose, and engaging images of diverse people—Mr.

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“A Full Moon Is Rising gives readers ample cause for celebration, regardless of the night sky’s performance.”

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“In author Paterson’s prayer to ‘the Father and Mother of all creation,’ she offers readers a simple, beautiful gift worthy of its roots.”

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The unlikely romance that crowned The Chicken Thief (2010) keeps shining in this wordless sequel. Ms.

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To pick up this picture book is to be transported right away to an older, simpler time and place.

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Upon first sight of Ladder to the Moon, the debut picture book by Maya Soetoro-Ng, one feels compelled to pick up and embrace the curvy cover image of a loving grandmother and her granddau

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Late one winter night, a weary traveler trudges through a fierce snowstorm. Just as he feels he can go no farther, he spies the blazing lights of a house in the distance.