Also published on this date: Wednesday, June 25, 2014: Maximum Shelf: The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, June 25, 2014

University of Texas Press: Grief Is a Sneaky Bitch: An Uncensored Guide to Navigating Loss by Lisa Keefauver

Berkley Books: Hair-raising horror to sink your teeth into!

Berkley Books: The Hitchcock Hotel by Stephanie Wrobel

Queen Mab Media: Get Our Brand Toolkit

Ballantine Books: Gather Me: A Memoir in Praise of the Books That Saved Me by Glory Edim

Ace Books: Rewitched by Lucy Jane Wood

Graywolf Press: We're Alone: Essays by Edwidge Danticat

St. Martin's Press: Runaway Train: Or, the Story of My Life So Far by Erin Roberts with Sam Kashner


Hachette and Ingram Buying Perseus

In a three-way transaction, Hachette Group is buying Perseus Books Group and will retain Perseus's publishing operations but sell its distribution companies to Ingram Content Group. The deal is expected to close after regulatory approval of the Hachette-Perseus transaction is received, as soon as the end of July.

Hachette will make Perseus Books "a major new publishing division" of the company, Hachette said. That division, with sales of about $100 million, will include nine imprints: Avalon Books, Basic Books, Da Capo Press, PublicAffairs and Running Press, as well as Perseus's partnerships with the Daily Beast, the Economist, the Nation Institute and the Weinstein Company. Perseus publishes some 700 new titles per year and has a backlist of more than 6,000 books.

Perseus's strength is in nonfiction--particularly history, science, religion, economics, biography, social criticism, music, popular culture, travel, health, parenting and self-help--and will complement Hachette's strong fiction list. Among Perseus's top sellers are Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger, Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin, A Problem from Hell by Samantha Power, Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter, Banker to the Poor by Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, Mighty Be Our Powers by Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee, The Feynman Lectures on Physics by Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman and the Rick Steves travel guides.

Ingram is acquiring Perseus's publisher services companies: Perseus Distribution Services, Publishers Group West, Consortium Book Sales & Distribution and Legato Publishers Group, which have sales of about $300 million and handle more than 400 publishers, including many of the most important medium- and small-size presses in the U.S. and Canada. With the acquisition, Ingram's distribution operations becomes the single-largest in the business, far surpassing National Book Network, Independent Publishers Group and others. Among the publishers distributed by Perseus are Abbeville Press, Akashic Books, BenBella Books, Canongate U.S., City Lights Publishers, Cleis Press, Coffee House Press, Copper Canyon Press, DreamWorks Press, ECW Press, the Feminist Press at CUNY, Fulcrum, Grove/Atlantic, Harvard Business Review Press, Hazelden Publishing, Manic D Press, McSweeney's, Menasha Ridge Press, Milkweed Editions, Naval Institute Press, the New Press, New World Library, Santa Monica Press, Skyhorse Publishing, South End Press, Soft Skull Press, Stone Bridge Press, Thunder Bay Press, Unbridled Books, Zagat and Zuccotti Park Press. (One of PGW's client publishers is Baker & Taylor Publishing Group, whose three imprints are Silver Dolphin Books, and Portable Press. B&T is Ingram's major wholesaler competitor.)

Ingram is also acquiring Constellation, Perseus's digital asset management and distribution service, as well as the Faber Factory relationship powered by Constellation. Ingram will also acquire Perseus Distribution's warehouse in Jackson, Tenn.

Although Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch told the New York Times that the purchase was not related to Amazon, general news reports have emphasized the Amazon-Hachette dispute--the Times headline was: "Hachette Adds Heft to Combat Amazon"--and downplayed the distribution angle. (While more nonfiction, academic and library titles may make Hachette less dependent on Amazon and particularly the Kindle, it's hard to imagine the combination would shake a $100-billion retailer. Still, we wonder if Amazon staff are already planning to take preorder buttons off Perseus titles and cut back on inventory.)

In a statement, Pietsch said that the acquisition "fits our strategic goals of growth and nonfiction expansion. At the same time it significantly increases HBG's backlist, and will expand our offerings for special markets, gift accounts, and academic markets. It also expands HBG's geographical diversity, adding new presences in Berkeley, Boulder, and Philadelphia to our existing New York, Boston, Nashville, Toronto, and Lebanon, Ind., locations. We look forward to working with Perseus's divisions on ways to expand still further their excellent publishing programs, and to bringing HBG's state-of-the-art publishing systems to work on their books and publishing."

John Ingram

For his part, Ingram Content Group chairman and CEO John Ingram said, "We're betting on the future of the book business, and this deal is proof of Ingram's commitment to the book industry. We are expanding our growing sales and services platform with this acquisition. We admire and respect what PGW, Consortium, Perseus Distribution, Legato and Constellation have accomplished in the industry and look forward to collaborating to bring even greater solutions for content distribution to all of our clients."

Perseus president and CEO David Steinberger, who is leaving the company but will consult with Hachette for a period, said, "I am tremendously proud of my colleagues whose hard work and determination built Perseus into an innovative industry leader. As CEO, one of my most critical responsibilities is to forge the right future for our people, our authors, our books and our client publishers. We greatly admire Hachette and Ingram as two companies with deep and long-standing commitments to the world of publishing and the written word."

Perseus was founded in 1996 by Frank Pearl and his private equity firm and has grown steadily through a combination of acquisitions and internal growth. On the distribution side, in 1999, the company started Perseus Distribution, then bought CDS Distribution in 2005; acquired Consortium in 2006; bought PGW after its owner, AMS, went bankrupt in 2007; and started Legato, a boutique distributor, last year under Mark Suchomel, former president of IPG. Pearl died in 2012, and the company has been on the market since then.

BINC: Click to Apply to the Macmillan Booksellers Professional Development Scholarships

B&N Reports; Plans to Split Retail and Nook

In the fourth quarter ended May 3, consolidated revenue at Barnes & Noble rose 3.5%, to $1.3 billion, and the net loss was $36.7 million compared to a net loss of $114.8 million in the same period a year earlier. For the full year, consolidated revenue dropped 6.7%, to $6.4 billion, and the net loss was $47.3 million compared to a net loss of $157.8 million the previous year.

In major news, B&N's board approved the division of B&N Retail and Nook Media into two separate public companies, which it aims to complete early next year. B&N has hired Guggenheim Securities as financial advisers and Cravath, Swaine & Moore as legal counsel for the transaction.

B&N Retail revenues in the quarter rose 0.8%, to $956 million, and for the year fell 6%, to $4.3 billion. (Adding a 53rd week of results added $57 million in extra sales. Sales for both the quarter and the year were also impacted by store closures and lower online sales.) Sales at stores open at least a year fell 4.1% in the quarter and 5.8% for the year. "Core" comparable store sales, i.e., excluding Nook sales, fell 1.9% in the quarter and 3.1% for the year.  

College division revenue in the quarter rose 18.2%, to $298 million, and for the year fell 0.9%, to $1.7 billion. (The additional 53rd week of results added $15 million in extra sales. Fourth-quarter results were also positively affected by the beginning of the semester rush.) Sales at College stores open at least a year fell 2.7% because of "a higher mix of lower priced used textbook rentals and lower textbook volume," the company said.

Nook revenue in the quarter fell 22.3%, to $87 million, and for the full year fell 35.2%, to $506 million. Device and accessories sales in the quarter fell 30.1%, to $25 million, and for the year fell 44.8%, to $260 million. Digital content sales in the quarter fell 18.7%, to $62 million, and for the year fell 20.6%, to $246 million, "due primarily to lower device unit sales."

B&N CEO Michael P. Huseby commented: "In fiscal 2014 we have taken certain actions to strengthen the company, including the ongoing rationalization of the Nook business, growing the College business through new contract acquisitions and increased offerings to students and faculty, and initiatives to improve retail's sales trends. Our fiscal 2014 results and solid financial position at year-end reflect the positive impact of those actions. We believe we are now in a better position to begin in earnest those steps necessary to accomplish a separation of Nook Media and Barnes & Noble Retail. We have determined that these businesses will have the best chance of optimizing shareholder value if they are capitalized and operated separately. We fully expect that our Retail and Nook Media businesses will continue to have long-term, successful business relationships with each other after separation."

Watkins Publishing: Fall Into Folklore! ARCS Available On Request

German Book Association in Antitrust Complaint Against Amazon

Charging that Amazon is misusing its market power in its battle with Bonnier Group, the Börsenverein--the German publishers, booksellers and wholesalers association--has filed a complaint with the German Bundeskartellamt, or Federal Antitrust Office.

As it's done with Hachette in the U.S., Amazon has slowed delivery of titles published by German subsidiaries of Swedish media company Bonnier Group, whose imprints in Germany include Ullstein, Piper, Berlin and Carlsen. In the first public report on the situation last month, Ullstein publisher Siv Bublitz told the Frankfurter Allgemeine that Amazon confirmed that it had taken the action because it wants to increase discounts on e-books from the usual 30% to somewhere between 40% and 50%.

In a statement about its complaint, Börsenverein CEO Alexander Skipis said, "With its blackmailing approach toward publishers, Amazon violates antitrust law. Amazon's business actions affect not only [Bonnier] but also represent a danger for all providers and distributors of e-books in Germany. We call for the Federal Antitrust Office to investigate and to prohibit Amazon's actions."

The Börsenverein said that the matter had been reviewed by antitrust lawyers, and that if Amazon were successful, it would have "significant advantages over other buyers of e-books without a factually justified reason." Because of Amazon's 70% share of online printed and e-book sales, publishers have practically no sales alternatives to turn to without suffering major competitive disadvantages.

The association noted that the Federal Antitrust Office is not required to act on the complaint, but if it decides to take action, it can halt the action at issue or levy fines.


According to the Bookseller, Amazon has responded to the Börsenverein complaint, and it mirrors the language--with a few German twists--of Amazon's post late last month commenting on the company's dispute with Hachette:

"We would like to present some local context: it's generally accepted that e-books should cost customers less than the corresponding print edition--in digital there is no printing, freight, warehousing, or returns.

"We believe that this fact should be reflected in the terms under which booksellers buy their books from publishers, and this is the case in our terms with most publishers around the world, including in Germany. For the vast majority of the books we sell from Bonnier, it is asking us to pay significantly more when we sell a digital edition than when we sell a print edition of the same title."

Amazon said it is buying less than normal from Bonnier, the Bookseller wrote. "Orders of titles that we have in stock, we ship immediately. Titles that we do not have in stock temporarily, customers can still order--then we order these titles at Bonnier. The delivery time of such title is accordingly dependent on how long Bonnier needs to execute our orders. Once the ordered titles arrive with us, we send it immediately to customers."

James Patterson Giving £250,000 to U.K. and Irish Bookshops

On the eve of Independent Booksellers Week, James Patterson has announced he will be donating £250,000 (about US$424,600) to independent bookshops in the U.K. and Ireland in a campaign similar to the one that has met with such success in the U.S. The Booksellers Association reported that independent bookshops with dedicated children's book sections are eligible for a grant of between £250 and £5,000. Awards will be made "on the basis of the strength and innovatory nature of the proposal submitted." As with the U.S. program, Patterson is particularly interested in funding initiatives that will encourage children to read.

"What a fantastic way to celebrate the start of this year's Independent Booksellers Week," said BA CEO Tim Godfray. "This is good news for bookshops and anyone who loves reading. We are delighted that James Patterson is acting on his love of bookshops and his appreciation of their vital importance to cultural and community life. His generous donation will give our bookshops a chance to create new programs, try out new ideas, and use their creativity to encourage children to read. I know our members will relish the opportunity!"

Noting that "far too many children are in danger of living their lives without books," Patterson said, "This runs the risk of living in a world run by the shortsighted, by the empathy-challenged, and by the glib. Bookshops are the most viable bulwark against this and I need to be part of the fight to ensure their survival. In the U.S., I have worked to identify independent bookshops for whom this money may make a difference, and bookshops that were already doing good work. I have been inspired, moved and delighted by the innovative proposals I have received over the last year. I can't wait to get started and see what the U.K. and Ireland's incredible and pioneering bookshops propose."

The names of the first bookshops to have made successful bids will be announced in September, as part of the autumn Books Are My Bag campaign.

Supreme Court Reaffirms 'Pre-enforcement' Precedent

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court declared unanimously that booksellers and others who fear prosecution under laws that violate their First Amendment rights can challenge them in court before they are enforced, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression reported. The Court reaffirmed the "pre-enforcement" precedent established by booksellers in a landmark case, Virginia v. American Booksellers Association, reversing a lower court decision in Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus.

"The Supreme Court's unanimous decision is great news," said ABFFE president Chris Finan. "Booksellers play a leading role in challenging unconstitutional laws, and this decision means they can continue to feel confident about going to court to defend the First Amendment rights of their customers."

ABFFE, the American Booksellers Association and 14 booksellers and regional bookseller association joined a Media Coalition amicus brief in the case.

Court Allows Hastings to Move Ahead with Merger

The U.S. District Court in northern Texas has denied a motion for a preliminary injunction in a suit trying to block Hastings Entertainment's merger with two companies owned by Joel Weinshanker, president and owner of National Entertainment Collectibles Association, which already owns 12% of Hastings. The court is allowing the merger to proceed, and as a result, Hastings has scheduled a special meeting of shareholders on July 15 to obtain approval of the merger. The court also denied a motion for expedited discovery but issued an order granting the plaintiffs' motion to amend. The court last month had issued a temporary restraining order against the merger.

The rulings came in a lawsuit by Hastings shareholders who, as the company has put it, "are alleging, among other things, that the merger contemplated in the Merger Agreement provides for insufficient consideration to be paid to Hastings' shareholders in exchange for their shares of Hastings' common stock, that the officers and directors of Hastings breached their respective fiduciary duties in the course of negotiating and approving the Merger Agreement and that the other defendants aided and abetted such breach of fiduciary duties." This was apparently one of many lawsuits that were filed in the weeks after the merger was announced.

Under the merger plan, announced in March, Hastings shareholders will receive $3 per share and the company will merge with Draw Another Circle and become a wholly owned subsidiary of Hendrix Acquisition Corp., both of which are wholly owned by Joel Weinshanker. Weinshanker owns National Entertainment Collectibles Association, which is a major supplier to Hastings of movie, book and video-game merchandise and collectibles.


Image of the Day: Neverhome in San Francisco

A group of local booksellers gathered for dinner with the author last week in San Francisco to buzz about one of the most buzzed-about books at BookExpo. "If you think all of the stories out of the Civil War have been told, Neverhome will prove you wrong," starts a blurb by Martin Sorenson of Green Apple Books (not pictured, but in attendance). "Laird Hunt's writing manages to convey the atmosphere of 19th-century America without drifting into cliché. I would add, on a personal note, that I think his book could stand without embarrassment, on the same shelf as Daniel Woodrell." Those are some hearty handselling words.

Pictured: (l.-r.) Michael Barnard, Rakestraw Books; Ann Leyhe, Mrs. Dalloway's; Laird Hunt, author of Neverhome; Margie Tucker, Books Inc.; Josh Kendall, Little, Brown and Mulholland Books; Brad Johnson, Diesel Bookstore; and Karen West, Book Passage. --Bridget Kinsella

Doctors Prescribe Reading Aloud to Children from Birth

Under a new policy announced this week by the American Academy of Pediatrics, doctors will advise parents to read aloud to their infants from birth. The New York Times reported the decision evolves from "the increased recognition that an important part of brain development occurs within the first three years of a child's life, and that reading to children enhances vocabulary and other important communication skills."

The group, representing 62,000 pediatricians across the country, "is asking its members to become powerful advocates for reading aloud, every time a baby visits the doctor," the Times noted. "It should be there each time we touch bases with children," said Dr. Pamela High, who wrote the new policy.

Bookshop Memories in Pictures and Stories

"In a context of disputes among publishers over the digital market, uncertainty around the future of the print book, the meteoric rise of self-publishing and the legendary Foyles' move to a new building in London," the Guardian asked its readers "to share your most cherished memories from independent bookshops. With an optimistic mindset and lots of love for the smell of paper, here is a selection of our favorites." Tucked in among the U.K. booksellers were a few American cousins, including the King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah ("Thanks to the women at King's English in 1980."), and Powell's Books, Portland, Ore. ("I took my retired English teacher father there and he went crazy.").

Personnel Changes at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Jane Lee has joined Little, Brown Books for Young Readers as associate manager of digital marketing and social media. She was previously online marketing associate at Grand Central Publishing.

Book Trailer of the Day: Famous Baby

Famous Baby by Karen Rizzo (Prospect Park Books), a debut novel with a trailer made by the author's actor/writer husband, James Macdonald.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Spelling, Garth on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live

Tomorrow on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live: Tori Spelling, author of Spelling It Like It Is (Gallery, $16, 9781451628616).

Also on Watch What Happens Live: Jennie Garth, co-author of Deep Thoughts From a Hollywood Blonde (NAL, $26.95, 9780451240279).

TV: The Leftovers

A new promo spot has been released for HBO's The Leftovers, the adaptation of Tom Perrotta's novel that premieres this Sunday. Indiewire noted that Justin Theroux is "at the epicenter of the story, which kicks off when 2% of the world's population just ups and vanishes one day, with everyone left to deal with the emotional and potentially supernatural aftermath. And this new spot highlights the fervor it has created in some corners of the community, with a hair raising sermon suggesting this is only the beginning of what's to come."

Previews: 'The Literary Films of Summer 2014'

"Book-loving moviegoers saw the summer of 2014 get off to a great start" with the box-office triumph of The Fault in Our Stars, which "cuts through the notion that literary films should be serious winter movies and released around the holidays for contention in the Oscar race," Jacket Copy noted in offering a "cheat sheet" to guide you through the "literary films of summer 2014."

Books & Authors

Awards: Pritzker Military Writing; PEN/Ackerley

British historian and author Antony Beevor won the 2014 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. Sponsored by the Tawani Foundation, the $100,000 literature award will be presented at the Museum & Library's annual gala on November 8.  

"The committee was unanimous in recommending Antony Beevor as this year's recipient," said award screening committee chairman John W. Rowe, who added that the recipient "is at the height of his powers as a military historian, and he is a wonderful representative of the tradition the Museum & Library has established with the previous recipients."

Beevor has published four novels and 10 books of nonfiction, including Inside the British Army: Crete--The Battle and the Resistance; Paris After the Liberation, 1944-1949; Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege: 1942-1943; and D-Day: The Battle for Normandy.

"Winning this award is, for me, the greatest honor imaginable--partly because of the reputation of the prize, but also because on the panel of judges are some of the historians that I admire most in the world," Beevor said. "It may be for lifetime achievement, which has a retrospective air in some ways, but I think the wonderful idea is that it is the greatest carrot imaginable to push you forward and keep you writing."


English PEN has announced the shortlist for the £3,000 (US$5,095) PEN/Ackerley Prize for Memoir, awarded annually "to a literary autobiography of outstanding merit, written by an author of British nationality and published in the U.K. in the previous year." The winner will be announced July 14. This year's shortlisted titles are:

Levels of Life by Julian Barnes
Stage Blood by Michael Blakemore
Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala  
Horace and Me by Harry Eyres
Ammonites and Leaping Fish by Penelope Lively

Book Brahmin: Emma Healey

photo: Martin Figura

Emma Healey grew up in London, where she completed her first degree in bookbinding, then, in 2011, received an MA in Creative Writing. Her novel Elizabeth Is Missing (Harper, June 10, 2014) is a disturbing, darkly suspenseful debut, a meditation on memory and identity that follows a woman grappling with the unexplained disappearance of both her sister 50 years ago and her friend in present day.

On your nightstand now:

I've just finished Alys, Always by Harriet Lane and started After the Fire, A Still Small Voice by Evie Wyld. They are both the first novels by authors whose second novels I have recently really enjoyed; somehow I missed the first novels when they came out, and it's a real treat to read them now.

Favorite book when you were a child:

A Lion in the Meadow by Margaret Mahy. It's all about imagination versus reality, which is a theme I still find interesting! I loved the book when I was three or four and remember getting a huge stuffed lion for Christmas because of my obsession with it.

Your top five authors:

This list is in no particular order and is chosen on the basis that if I were stuck on a desert island and was only allowed the complete oeuvre of five authors, these are the ones I'd want. They are full of humour and disappointment and the mysteries and joys of human relationships: Jane Austen, Penelope Fitzgerald, Michael Frayn, Graham Greene and Barbara Pym.

Book you've faked reading:

I've done that with countless books. I don't mean to, but often I realize too late that I haven't read something--especially if it's a very well-known story or has had a lot of publicity. I do that the other way round, too, realizing after a conversation has ended that I've actually read the book I'd denied any knowledge of. (No one is ever going to believe me when I say I've read something, ever again!)

Book you're an evangelist for:

Stag's Leap by Sharon Olds. I'm quite new to the joys of poetry, and this was a revelation to me. The collection describes the feelings of a breakup so unflinchingly well and with such humour, I couldn't put it down.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The London Train by Tessa Hadley. The hardback is gorgeous, with an Edward Bawden-esque cover illustration. Luckily the writing is as beautiful--Tessa Hadley is a fantastic writer.

Book that changed your life:

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. It made me want to be a writer--both in the style of Cassandra Mortmain, "sitting in the kitchen sink," and her father, the tortured genius who hides himself away in the castle gatehouse.

Favorite line from a book:

"The bathroom, with its water supply half connected, had the alert air of having witnessed something." This is from The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald and it sums up the quirkiness of Fitzgerald's writing. I also like that it's not a perfect sentence, but is still a pleasure to read.

Character you most relate to:

Probably Cecil Grey in The Greengage Summer by Rumer Godden. She is exactly the confused jumble of awkward/passionate/romantic/practical/knowing/innocent that I was as an adolescent. I just wish I'd had a summer in a French hotel with an international criminal.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

This is slightly cheating, but I was working at a bookshop when the final Harry Potter book came out and I worked the midnight shift, selling to the fans who were queuing out of the door. I hadn't read any of the books until then and so I spent July and August reading the whole series. It was the best summer reading experience I've ever had and I'd love to do that again. 

Book you're scared to revisit:

Voyage in the Dark by Jean Rhys. I loved Jean Rhys when I was in my late teens, but I worry that if I tried to read this book again now I wouldn't feel the same emotional connection. Her writing is fantastic and she was a strict editor, so I would still admire the work, but the themes of love and betrayal and general hormonal confusion were pretty perfect for me at that time in my life in a way that they wouldn't be now.

Book Review

Children's Review: Circle, Square, Moose

Circle, Square, Moose by Kelly Bingham, illus. by Paul O. Zelinsky (Greenwillow/HarperCollins, $17.99 hardcover, 40p., ages 5-8, 9780062290038, September 23, 2014)

Having disrupted a dramatic presentation of the alphabet in Z Is for Moose, the enthusiastic antlered hero is back, stirring up trouble in a lesson on shapes.

Once again, Paul O. Zelinsky starts the proceedings on the endpapers: in the upper left-hand corner, readers see Cat, Zebra and Kangaroo (with her joey) quietly reading at a library table, while Moose joyfully holds up the very book he plans to, ahem, revise. He peeks out of a semicircle before bursting through the "Triangle" of the title page to make it Circle, Square, Moose.

Kelly Bingham begins with deadpan text that paves the way to the heightened comedy to follow. "Shapes are all around us," the book begins. "Have you ever looked at a button? This one is a... circle." The font (Geometric 212 Book) resembles elementary primers, and the words "Shapes" and "circle" appear in a larger type size for emphasis. A sandwich illustrates "square." But before the text on the opposite page can explain that squares are made of four equal sides, Moose jumps in to take a bite. "Hey! Don't eat that!" reads a large rose-tinted rectangle stamped across Moose's snout. Fans of Z Is for Moose will recognize members of the supporting cast: Pie demonstrates a "triangle," Moose also uses Cat's ears as examples of triangles, and Queen models for "A diamond is... The shape in a crown." (Queen also tells Moose to "Get down!" from a diamond-shaped sign.)

By now, the omniscient narrator has had enough of Moose: "Okay. You have to leave. You are ruining the book." Zebra steps in to "handle" the situation. Or so he thinks. Once again Zelinsky plays with the boundaries of the physical book as Zebra chases Moose over the tops of the pages ("Time to leave now!" says Zebra in a cartoon bubble; "No!" cries Moose). Hilarious mayhem follows as they send bathroom tiles and checkers flying. Moose grabs a long pink ribbon as he exits the right-hand side of a spread while Zebra enters from the left-hand side, and Zebra gets ever more tangled in the ribbon in the next two illustrations.

Now the shoe is on the other hoof, and it's Moose's turn to rescue Zebra. The expressions on the pair's faces as they once again mend their differences and reaffirm their friendship will delight young readers (as will a surprise appearance by a third four-footed friend). Bingham and Zelinsky pace this rollicking adventure with clockwork precision, tucking in surprises along the way, but never losing sight of their primary focus: the friendship between Moose and Zebra. --Jennifer M. Brown

Shelf Talker: The stars of one of our Best Books of 2012, Z Is for Moose, are back for a fabulous encore about shapes.

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