Home My Account Policies Kids Teens Library Staff Join the Friends Online Catalog Useful Websites
Search our Catalog:  
Horn Book Picture Book Awards
2013
Building Our House
Click to search this book in our catalog   Jonathan Bean

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-A year-and-a-half-long adventure of building a cozy home in the countryside involves an entire family of four. The oldest child describes the construction of the house, expertly shown in appealing soft-colored illustrations that vary in size from full spreads to small vignettes. Water and electricity are shown being connected to a temporary home in a trailer so the family can live on the property while the work is being done. Friends and family help out from time to time during the creation of the small timber-frame home, but the girl's parents perform the majority of work on their own (a third child arrives in the course of the story). Engaging pictures are reminiscent of Lisa Campbell Ernst's charming illustrations and are based on the building of the author/illustrator's childhood home. An author's note includes Bean's family photographs. Lovingly told, this captivating tale will help satisfy a child's curiosity of what it takes to create a building from scratch.-Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Not unlike Dan Yaccarino did in All the Way to America, Bean (At Night) turns family history into something larger, in this case a romantic portrait of the rewards of diligence, teamwork, and a DIY mentality. In a concluding note accompanied by family photos, Bean explains that the story is based on his family's experience of building a farmhouse when he was a toddler. A sense of familial dedication and cohesiveness fills the pages, with narration coming from a character modeled after Bean's older sister. The pale, matte illustrations are a flurry of activity (and filled with the sort of construction details that children adore), as the family equips a trailer to serve as temporary digs, buys lumber, builds a foundation, hosts a frame-raising party, and eventually turns to interior work. Bean's pictures provide a supplementary visual narrative (Mom becomes pregnant, an infant appears), and the father offers suitably dadlike truisms like "The right tool for the right job" throughout. A warm look at the nuts and bolts of building a house and turning it into a home. Ages 3-6. Agent: Anna Webman, Curtis Brown. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list An author's note reveals that this picture book is based on personal experience, as Bean's parents built their own house when he was a young child. Here we follow a mother, father, two children (and, eventually, a new baby) over the course of a year and a half through a harsh winter and plenty of lumber pickups all the way to move-in day at their new abode. Told from the point of view of the oldest child, a girl, the challenges and rewards involved in constructing from scratch become clear. The kids are not exempt from the do-it-yourself action, and they happily help fill the loud mixing machine. Bean (At Night, 2007) makes use of every inch of the tall trim size here, filling his pages to the brim with heavily lined illustrations of bustling people and activity often as a series of four vignettes across a spread. What's heartwarming throughout is the depiction of a tight-knit family ( My family makes up a strong crew of four ). The author's concluding personal photos add to the loving feel.--Kelley, Ann Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

...More
2012
Extra Yarn
Click to search this book in our catalog   Mac Barnett

Publishers Weekly Understated illustrations and prose seamlessly construct an enchanting and mysterious tale about a girl named Annabelle, who lives in a world "where everywhere you looked was either the white of snow or the black of soot from chimneys." After Annabelle finds a box filled with yarn of every color, she immediately sets out to knit sweaters for everyone she knows. Barnett's (Mustache!) story is both fairy tale lean and slyly witty. No matter how many sweaters Annabelle knits, the box always has "extra yarn" for another project, until the entire town is covered with angled stitches in muted, variegated colors-people, animals, and buildings alike. (Fans of Klassen's I Want My Hat Back may suspect that a few of the animals from that story have wandered into this one.) A villainous archduke offers to buy the box, but Annabelle refuses. He steals it, but finds it contains no yarn at all, and with the help of just a bit more magic, it finds its way back to Annabelle. Barnett wisely leaves the box's magic a mystery, keeping the focus on Annabelle's creativity, generosity, and determination. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* This understated picture book is certain to spark the imagination of every child who comes upon it, and what could be better than that? Annabelle lives in a black-and-white world, where everything is drab, drab, drab. So imagine her surprise when she finds a box filled with yarn of every color. Armed with the yarn and knitting needles, she makes herself a sweater, but after she finishes, she finds that she has extra yarn left over. After knitting a sweater for her dog, her classmates, and various (hilariously unsurprised) bunnies and bears, she still has extra yarn. So, Annabelle turns her attention to things that don't usually wear wool cozies: houses and cars and mailboxes. Soon an evil archduke with a sinister mustache who was very fond of clothes hears about the magic box of never-ending yarn, and he wants it for his own. Reading like a droll fairy tale, this Barnett-Klassen collaboration is both seamless and magical. The spare, elegant text and art are also infused with plenty of deadpan humor. Klassen (I Want My Hat Back, 2011) uses ink, gouache, and digital illustration to fashion Annabelle's world out of geometric shapes, set against dark, saturated pages, and against white as the town comes to colorful, stitched life. Quirky and wonderful, this story quietly celebrates a child's ingenuity and her ability to change the world around her.--Kelley, Ann Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal K-Gr 3-In a snow- and soot-covered town, Annabelle discovers a small black box filled with colorful yarn. She knits a sweater for herself, but there's still yarn left over. From the seemingly inexhaustible supply, she knits sweaters for her dog, a boy and his dog, her classmates, her mean teacher, her parents, and people in town. In an astounding feat of urban knitting, she covers the buildings in sweatery goodness, but the yarn does not run out. Disaster strikes when a mustachioed, piratical archduke arrives, demanding that the child sell him the magic box. When she declines, he steals it but does not benefit from his crime, as he finds it empty. In a fit of rage, the archduke curses Annabelle and flings the box into the sea. Happily, it finds its way back to her full of yarn again. Klassen's deadpan, stylized illustrations impeccably complement Barnett's quirky droll writing. Small details like a dog's sneer or sweater-covered mailboxes add to the subtle humor. The cheerful colors of the yarn contrast with the somber grays and blacks of the town. Give this one to fans of offbeat stories like Florence Heide's Princess Hyacinth: (The Surprising Story of a Girl Who Floated) (Random, 2009) or to young knitting enthusiasts.-Yelena Alekseyeva-Popova, Chappaqua Library, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

...More
2011
Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes
Click to search this book in our catalog   Salley Mayor
 
2010
I Know Here
 Laurel Croza
  Click to search this book in our catalog
2009
Bubble Trouble
 Margaret Mahy
  Click to search this book in our catalog
2008
At Night
 Jonathan Bean
Publishers Weekly : Starred Review. Bean (The Apple Pie That Papa Baked; reviewed below) creates almost magical rhythms in this pitch-perfect story. As the opening pages describe bedtime at the main character's urban house (At night, after her brother and sister went to bed/ long after her parents whispered Good night, happy dreams! and went to sleep), square watercolor panels move from scenes in the emptying hallway and into the girl's room. There, readers learn, she lies AWAKE, and the blank space surrounding the single, jarring word contains all the feeling in the close-up of the girl's face, seen for the first time on the opposite page. The plot is so quiet it would escape a lesser writer: lured by a breeze, the girl brings pillows and bedding up to the roof, followed by her cat (and, unbeknown to her, by her mother). Bean makes a visual poetics of this concept as the square panels now yield to full-spread illustrations. The artist supplies luminous aerial scenes of the roof garden amid a friendly, well-lit cityscape, then zooms out for more panoramic views (She thought about the wide world around her and smiled). His eye returns to rest on an image of the girl and her cat, comfortable at last in an improvised bed, at home in the world. The story breathes reassurance and adventure at the same time-just in case, after the girl has fallen asleep, the mother appears by her side. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : PreS-K—This quiet book tells the story of a city girl who can't sleep. When she feels a breeze blow in through her open window, she gathers pillows, her blanket, and the family cat and follows the wind up to the roof of her building. She doesn't realize that her mother is also awake and is trailing her up the stairs. On the rooftop, the child snuggles into a bed made of two chairs pulled together and contemplates the wide world and the open sky, eventually falling asleep. The final scene shows her mother, sitting next to her and thoughtfully gazing at the full moon. The watercolor illustrations, some full-page, some panels, perfectly depict the shadows, darkness, and light of the slumbering city. The volume's small size makes it most appropriate for sharing one-to-one.—Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

...More

  Click to search this book in our catalog
 
2007
Dog and Bear: Two Friends, Three Stories
Click to search this book in our catalog   Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. As inventive and fresh as Seeger's Hidden Alphabet, the three gentle stories in this inspired collection are utterly charming. Emerging readers will take to the rambunctious dachshund and winsome stuffed bear, and will find the bold font of the economical text easy to follow. Each story's conflict is satisfyingly resolved with a surprise ending that reflects these unique individuals. When Dog rattles off his inappropriate suggestions for changing his boring name, Bear suggests that Dog change his name to "My Best Friend Dog." Dog is delighted, but then blithely suggests that Bear call him "Dog for short." The uncluttered illustrations, in thick black line and swirling bright watercolor wash, work seamlessly with stories that rely on humor both child-centered and unexpected. When Dog coaches the timid bear off of a high chair ("Take one step. One little, tiny step"), their faces deftly mirror their emotions. Seeger comically combines Bear's narration of a story he is trying to read with Dog's rambunctious pleas ("Play with me! Play with me!"). When Bear finally puts his book down and asks what they should play, dog answers, "Read to me! Read to me!" After turning the last page, young readers will beg the same for this enchanting trio of tales. Ages 4-8.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : Starred Review. PreS-Gr 2—In this endearing picture book, a tail-wagging dachshund and a multicolored stuffed bear star in three tales about friendship. In the first, Dog wants to go outside, but Bear is perched atop a tall chair and can't get down. It takes encouragement and ingenuity, but the pooch eventually helps his pal descend; unfortunately, Bear's scarf has been left behind. Next, Dog wants to play and brings out numerous toys, but Bear is busy reading. At last, he closes his book and asks, "What shall we do?," and the pup appears with a stack of volumes ("Read to me!"). Finally, Dog decides to change his name. Bear points out that none of the traditional canine choices is suitable, imagining what his friend would be like if he were called Spot (speckled with colorful dots), Fluffy (pink, with a cotton-candy body), or Prince (dressed in royal regalia). They reach a consensus when Bear suggests "My Best Friend Dog" (Dog for short). The characters and a few highlighted objects are drawn with thick black lines, colored with bright variegated hues, and set against white backdrops. The eye-catching artwork shines with humor and warmth. Told with simplicity and charm, this story is appropriate for sharing aloud or for newly confident readers.—Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

...More

2006
Leaf Man
Click to search this book in our catalog   Lois Ehlert
Publishers Weekly: Ehlert (Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf) returns to one of her favorite themes—the rainbow beauty of autumn leaves—for this refreshing riff on leaf peeping and collecting. A narrator recalls the Leaf Man that used to live nearby but recently blew away with the wind. "He left no travel plans." From that breezy beginning, the narrator imagines the different flight patterns the Leaf Man may have followed "past the chickens, toward the marsh,... over the prairie meadows,... past the spotted cows," and punctuates the lyrical text with an occasional refrain ( "a Leaf Man's got to go where the wind blows"). All the while, Ehlert sparks her foliage flight of fancy with her snazzy leaf collages. Fiery maple, brown mottled catalpa and bright yellow ginko leaves take the shape of various animals and objects on each spread. The boldly colored background papers, of varying texture, make the leaves pop. And, in the type of clever book design for which Ehlert is known, the pages are die-cut and/or patchworked at the top to create a rolling, flowing effect throughout. Endpapers serve as a labeled field guide to leaf varieties and an author's note expresses Ehlert's passion for her subject, and describes her art technique. After this visual feast, young nature lovers are sure to look with fresh eyes as they walk through the woods. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal: Starred Review. PreS-Gr 3–Ehlert combines vivid collage artwork, effulgent colors, and an inventive design to create an eye-catching picture book. With a body made of fallen leaves and acorns for eyes, Leaf Man takes off from a backyard and flutters away on the breeze, meandering past animals, over fields of fall vegetables, above waterways, and across prairie meadows. The text suggests a range of possible destinations, along with the refrain, “Well, a Leaf Man's got to go where the wind blows.” Finally, readers are encouraged to listen for “a rustle in the leaves” and maybe find a Leaf Man of their own to take home. From ducks to pumpkins to fish, all of the objects described are fashioned out of life-size leaves of various shapes, sizes, and hues and set against backgrounds of textured paper. The die-cut pages curve and bend across the top edge, suggesting undulating mountains set against a sky-blue backdrop. The various leaves and seeds are identified on the endpapers. While the story is simple, the artwork is dazzling, and the book's concept will inspire nature walks, art projects, and curiosity about the changing seasons.–Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

...More

2005
Traction Man is Here
Click to search this book in our catalog   Mini Grey
Publishers Weekly : Starred Review. A cluttered house, lovingly rendered in comic-book panels by Grey (The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-to-Be), provides a perilous landscape for the titular square-jawed action figure. Readers infer Traction Man's origins from a "Dear Santa" letter on the title page ("I expect you know about what happened to my old Traction Man and the Terrible Parachute Accident") and a gift-box on a sleeping boy's bed. The new Traction Man, replete with special outfits, soon meets trouble in a flowerbed and among dirty dishes: "Traction Man is diving in the foamy waters of the Sink (wearing his Sub-Aqua Suit....) Oh, no! This Poisonous Dishcloth will envelop Traction Man and suffocate him!" Pursued by the glaring, squidlike Dishcloth, Traction Man is pulled to safety by a "brave little Scrubbing Brush," portrayed as a doglike sidekick with bristles for feet. Brown-paper thought balloons with italic type indicate the real-time story line; "I think it's someone's bathtime..." signals the hero's encounter with the Mysterious Toes, which he tickles into submission. Artful watercolor panels alternate with full-page compositions, and the keyed-up narrative is printed on torn graph-paper scraps for a casual, homemade effect. Grey sets the events on a damp English Christmas, but the holiday takes the back seat to the boy's implied stage-managing of Traction Man and transformation of ordinary objects. Will Traction Man rescue the quivering Cupcake from the villainous Doctor Sock? Stay tuned. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : Starred Review. PreS-Gr 2–This imaginative and very funny romp through the fantasy play of a young boy features his newly acquired action figure. Square-jawed and equipped with combat boots, scuba gear, space suit, and camouflage, Traction Man overcomes evil pillows, dastardly brooms, a poisonous dishcloth, and a wicked spade. But he and his little scrub-brush pet seem to be no match for Granny, who presents the action figure with a nerdy knitted green romper suit and bonnet. The evil-doers laugh at his silly get-up until Scrubbing Brush unravels the yarn to help Traction Man save a clutch of hapless spoons and he is once more the heroic figure. The angular, full-color art sweeps across the pages and perfectly animates the antics of Traction Man and his enemies. Grey has a way of exactly catching the nuances of a child's ability to turn even the most common object into a friend or looming foe in the never-ending battle between good and evil. This fresh, funny hero and Grey's celebration of a child's imagination definitely have traction.– Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha's Public Library, WI

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

...More

 
2004
The Man Who Walked between the Towers
 Mordicai Gerstein
Publishers Weekly : This effectively spare, lyrical account chronicles Philippe Petit's tightrope walk between Manhattan's World Trade Center towers in 1974. Gerstein (What Charlie Heard) begins the book like a fairy tale, "Once there were two towers side by side. They were each a quarter of a mile high... The tallest buildings in New York City." The author casts the French aerialist and street performer as the hero: "A young man saw them rise into the sky.... He loved to walk and dance on a rope he tied between two trees." As the man makes his way across the rope from one tree to the other, the towers loom in the background. When Philippe gazes at the twin buildings, he looks "not at the towers but at the space between them.... What a wonderful place to stretch a rope; a wire on which to walk." Disguised as construction workers, he and a friend haul a 440-pound reel of cable and other materials onto the roof of the south tower. How Philippe and his pals hang the cable over the 140-feet distance is in itself a fascinating-and harrowing-story, charted in a series of vertical and horizontal ink and oil panels. An inventive foldout tracking Philippe's progress across the wire offers dizzying views of the city below; a turn of the page transforms readers' vantage point into a vertical view of the feat from street level. When police race to the top of one tower's roof, threatening arrest, Philippe moves back and forth between the towers ("As long as he stayed on the wire he was free"). Gerstein's dramatic paintings include some perspectives bound to take any reader's breath away. Truly affecting is the book's final painting of the imagined imprint of the towers, now existing "in memory"-linked by Philippe and his high wire. Ages 5-8.

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : K-Gr 6-As this story opens, French funambulist Philippe Petit is dancing across a tightrope tied between two trees to the delight of the passersby in Lower Manhattan. Gerstein places him in the middle of a balancing act, framed by the two unfinished World Trade Center towers when the idea hits: "He looked not at the towers, but at the space between them and thought, what a wonderful place to stretch a rope-." On August 7, 1974, Petit and three friends, posing as construction workers, began their evening ascent from the elevators to the remaining stairs with a 440-pound cable and equipment, prepared to carry out their clever but dangerous scheme to secure the wire. The pacing of the narrative is as masterful as the placement and quality of the oil-and-ink paintings. The interplay of a single sentence or view with a sequence of thoughts or panels builds to a riveting climax. A small, framed close-up of Petit's foot on the wire yields to two three-page foldouts of the walk. One captures his progress from above, the other from the perspective of a pedestrian. The vertiginous views paint the New York skyline in twinkling starlight and at breathtaking sunrise. Gerstein captures his subject's incredible determination, profound skill, and sheer joy. The final scene depicts transparent, cloud-filled skyscrapers, a man in their midst. With its graceful majesty and mythic overtones, this unique and uplifting book is at once a portrait of a larger-than-life individual and a memorial to the towers and the lives associated with them.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

...More

  Click to search this book in our catalog
2003
Big Momma Makes the World
 Phyllis Root
Publishers Weekly : In this sassy creation myth that tweaks the first chapter of Genesis, Big Momma "roll[s] up her sleeves" and gets down to business ("Wasn't easy, either, with that little baby sitting on her hip"). " `Light,' said Big Momma. And you better believe there was light.' " Here Oxenbury shows mother and child jubilantly emerging from a watery world ("There was water, water everywhere") to greet the light at the surface. At the close of each day, a pleased Big Momma views her handiwork and pronounces a refrain that echoes the King James Bible "That's good. That's real good." On the sixth day, in a sly nod to another take on the world's beginnings, Big Momma "finish[es] things off in one big bang"-fashioning a host of creatures. As a final touch, the matriarch uses "leftover mud" to shape "some folks to keep me company" and charges them with caring for her creation. Root infuses her tale with a joyful spirit, and her lyrical vernacular trips off the tongue. Zaftig Big Momma and her chubby cherub are equally winning, and Oxenbury playfully tracks the creation process with compositions that move through subtle shades of blue and black and then transform with the addition of the golden shades of sunshine, the verdant greens of earth and an explosion of hues as birds, fish and more multiply across the pages. A gentle spin on the Genesis story sure to get youngsters talking. Ages 4-8.

Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : PreS-Gr 2-Here's a creation myth that casts the creator as a full-figured, down-home Big Momma, with a baby on her hip and a pile of laundry and dishes to do. Oxenbury's luminous, oversized acrylics perfectly capture the strong, no-nonsense personality of this barefoot creator capable of making and moving mountains. Big Momma doesn't mess around, as she commands each part of the world to appear: "`Earth,' said Big Momma, `get over here.'" Then, at the end of each day, she looks around and says, "That's good. That's real good." By the sixth day, she still doesn't have anyone to talk to or keep her company, so she makes folks in all colors, shapes, and sizes to sit on her front porch and swap stories. Before resting on the seventh day, Big Momma tells her people to take good care of the world she made for them. She keeps an eye on them from her perch in the sky, occasionally interrupting her chores to warn, "Better straighten up down there," but is ultimately pleased with her handiwork. This book's interpretation may offend many who take the biblical creation story literally, but for those who are open to variations on a theme, Big Momma's tale is an utter delight.-Laurie von Mehren, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Parma, OH

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

...More

  Click to search this book in our catalog
2002
"Lets Get a Pup!" said Kate
 Bob Graham
Publishers Weekly : Dog lover Graham (Max) adds another tail-wagging treat of a picture book to an oeuvre that includes the canine-inspired titles Benny and Queenie, One of the Family. Following the death of her cat, young Kate has grown lonesome for a new pet. Mom and Dad quickly catch Kate's enthusiasm when she suggests, "Let's get a pup!" and the family heads to the local animal Rescue Center. After looking over "fighters and biters, growlers and snarlers, short dogs, dogs long and thin, and dogs with their cheeks sucked in" they see a smallish, frisky puppy that's just right. As they exit the Rescue Center with their new pup, Dave, the family sees a large, sweet-natured older dog that tugs at their hearts. A sleepless night passes for everyone and the next day Kate's family rushes back to the shelter and expands their brood by one more the older dog they now call Rosy. Graham once again depicts common family situations with abundant humor and tenderness. His jaunty pen-and-ink and watercolor artwork captures universal themes with a contemporary spark thanks to his renderings of unconventional-looking parents (Mom and Dad both have piercings; Mom sports a tattoo). Throughout, copious white space and spot vignettes give the proceedings a breezy pace. Ages 3-6.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : K-Gr 2-When Kate and her parents visit an animal shelter, they first bring home a precious puppy, then return to adopt an older dog that had also captured their hearts. Graham's cartoon-style, plump figures include a Mom with a tattoo and nose ring, and a disheveled Dad. The cozy domestic scenes include typical particulars like a forgotten piece of toast, toys on the floor, and cleaning gear in the bathroom. With the comprehensive characterization chronicled in these pen-and-ink and watercolor panoramas, readers easily embrace this family whose affections extend to include pets on the bed. This endearing book successfully compels those previously pledged to pedigree puppies to try an alternative route.-Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

...More

  Click to search this book in our catalog
 
2001
Cold Feet
Click to search this book in our catalog   Cynthia DeFelice
Publishers Weekly : DeFelice and Parker (previously paired for The Dancing Skeleton) join forces again, this time to polish up a Scottish ghost story. When ragged, penniless Willie McPhee, "the finest bagpipe player in all of Scotland," stumbles across a dead man in the forest one snowy night, he helps himself to the boots. Unfortunately the man's feet come with them, snapping off when Willie tugs on the frozen legs. But "a poor man must be practical, after all," and Willie carries off the boots (and feet). Later he decides to play a trick on a heartless farmer who grudgingly sends him to the barn when he asks for shelter: Willie arranges the now-thawed feet to make it appear that their cow has eaten him. The horrified farmer and his wife quickly bury the evidence, but when Willie comes out of hiding and pipes a farewell tune atop the "wee small grave," they flee, thinking him a ghost. In the end, a bona fide ghost does appearDto Willie. DeFelice pitches this deliciously eerie tale in the kind of cadence and language that make for a grand read-aloud (e.g., the near-shoeless Willie goes "flip-flap, flip-flap, flip-flap down the road"), and she neatly preserves the regional flavor ("Och! They were fine-looking boots, they were!"). Beautifully set off by the understated book design, Parker's watercolors rank with his finest. The blotted impressionistic colors and scrawled lines are both edgy and amusing, while the cool gray tones create an appropriately chilly backdrop for the spooky antics. Ages 5-8.

Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : Gr 3-6-This ghost story for the strong of stomach features a bagpiper by the name of Willie McPhee. Hard times have forced him to seek a place where people can afford his entertainment. Months pass. His boots are "more holes than leather." Alone, hungry, and tired, he trips on what he soon realizes is the frozen body of a man whose boots are too fine to leave behind. He can't remove them until he drops the man's leg, which then snaps in two. Carrying the boots (and feet within them) tied around his neck, Willie seeks shelter on a farm, only to be told by the inhospitable owner to sleep in the barn with the cow. In the morning, Willie plays a trick on his mean-spirited host and places one foot in the cow's mouth, the other beside her. The shocked farmer quickly buries the feet, and when Willie reappears to play his pipes on the grave, the man and his wife take off, never to be seen again. Later that night, as Willie enjoys the cozy warmth of the farmhouse, a footless stranger appears at the door. So ends the tale. DeFelice's language, tone, and pacing capture the essence of the oral tradition while Parker's dark and stylized watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations reflect the playfully somber mood of the story. This is a yarn meant to amuse as well as frighten, and it succeeds at both.-Alicia Eames, New York City Public Schools

Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

...More

2000
Henry Hikes to Fitchburg
Click to search this book in our catalog   D.B. Johnson
School Library Journal : K-Gr 4-A nicely realized retelling of a short passage from Henry Thoreau's Walden. Henry and his friend decide to go to Fitchburg, a town 30 miles away. "I'll walk," says Henry, but his friend decides to work for the money for a train ticket and see who gets there first. Each subsequent spread marks their progress: "Henry's friend cleaned out Mrs. Thoreau's chicken house. 10 cents./Henry crossed a swamp and found a bird's nest in the grass. 12 miles to Fitchburg." The friend arrives first, barely. "`The train was faster,' he said." "I know," Henry smiled, "I stopped for blackberries." Johnson makes this philosophical musing accessible to children, who will recognize a structural parallel to "The Tortoise and the Hare." The author quotes Thoreau's original anecdote in his endnote. The two friends are depicted as 19th-century bears in the geometric, warm-toned, pencil-and-paint illustrations. Each picture is solidly composed, and although the perspectives may seem somewhat stiff and distracting up close, they work remarkably better from a short distance. The layout and steady pace, as well, make this suitable for storytime. The somewhat open-ended resolution could allow for classroom debate, and is also simply a good ending to a good story.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA

Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

...More

1999
Red-Eyed Tree Frog
Click to search this book in our catalog   Joy Cowley
School Library Journal : PreS-Gr 3-In a tropical rain forest in Central America, a red-eyed tree frog spends the night looking for food while avoiding potential predators. Bishop's high-speed photographic techniques transport viewers to this distant world and allow them to see other creatures from the tree frog's perspective. Larger-than-life images document the hunt, brought to a satisfying conclusion as the well-camouflaged frog settles among the leaves to spend the daylight hours in sleep. Cowley's simple text provides a narrative arc for the amazingly sharp, clear photos. Those who want more information can consult the two pages of explanations that follow the story. Accessible to a much younger age group than most books about rain forests, this volume will also attract older readers because of the striking visuals.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

...More

 
1998
And If the Moon Could Talk
 Kate Banks
Publishers Weekly : With quiet phrases and luxurious color, Banks and Hallensleben (Baboon) evoke a perfectly peaceful bedtime. In a stuccoed house, amid tranquil lakes and orderly rows of trees, a girl plays with stuffed animals and listens to a story read by her father. Far away, the moon glows on tall hills, desert, jungle and ocean, where people and wild animals prepare for sleep. Full-bleed spreads expertly relate the text's alternating descriptions of relaxed interior and exterior scenes. In the child's bedroom "on a small table sits a glass, a wooden boat, a starfish, too." Hallensleben connects the spread that follows, "if the moon could talk, it would tell of waves washing onto the beach, shells, and a crab resting," with a painting of boats bobbing on a tranquil sea, whose color gently echoes the water glass on the bedside table of the previous spread. The story closes with the child tucked into bed and the moon whispering, "Good night." Hallensleben complements the hushed narrative with warm cushions of paint: the girl's thick blanket is egg-yolk yellow with orange-red dots and the pillows are as deep blue as the night sky. The outdoor panoramas have the same intimacy, whether they feature a lioness and her cubs, or a red tractor lumbering toward a yellow-lit farmhouse. As night gently envelops the landscapes, the words and art convey the snug warmth of a featherbed and a world as small as a neighborhood. Ages 3-5.

Copyright 1998 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : K-Gr 2--In this quiet lyrical story by the collaborators of Baboon (Farrar, 1997), a sense of peace prevails. Evening approaches. Inside, a child goes through her bedtime rituals--a story, a glass of water, a hug from Mama. Outside, the moon shines down on a world slowly preparing for nighttime--stars appear, wind rocks a tree, a lion licks her cubs. The deeply saturated tones of the lovely, impressionistic oil paintings perfectly match the somnolent feeling of the text. Moonlight illuminates the countryside while warm colors exude a cozy ambiance in the house. The repetitious text adds to the subdued mood. Perfect for one-on-one sharing, this book will enhance bedtime story collections.

Anne Knickerbocker, Cedar Brook Elementary School, Houston, TX Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

...More

  Click to search this book in our catalog
1997
The Adventures of Sparrowboy
 Brian Pinkney
Publishers Weekly : Though sobering front-page headlines worry a young paperboy, the comics--especially a strip called Falconman--lift him up. Quite literally, in fact. After Henry peruses a Falconman strip in which a magical falcon converts a police trooper into a superman by lending him the power to fly, the boy's bike collides with a similarly gifted sparrow. Suddenly airborne, the boy delivers his newspapers in flight while saving innocent neighbors from a menacing bully and his growling pooch. For the course of Henry's transformation, the book adopts a comic-strip format, accenting the boxed, action-filled pictures with brief, punchy text and a chorus of sound effects like "CHIRP!", "WHOOSH!" and "THONK!" In a final, satisfying coup, Henry comes to the rescue of the benevolent sparrow, vulnerable because it has temporarily relinquished its powers of flight to Henry, a development that readers will delight in discovering before the boy does. The plot unravels chiefly through Pinkney's (Max Found Two Sticks; see I Smell Honey, reviewed above) airy, motion-filled art, expertly rendered in scratchboard, transparent dyes and gouaches in creamy colors never before seen in a comic book. Clever quips and asides add humor and playful melodrama. Pinkney clearly had a blast creating this soaring story, and his high spirits are transferable to the reader--ZAP! Ages 4-9.

Copyright 1997 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : PreS-Gr 1--Fretting over headlines in the newspapers he's delivering, Henry almost runs over a sparrow on the sidewalk. There's a flash of light, and suddenly, like his comic-strip hero Falconman, the boy is swooping through the skies fighting evil--or, at least, collaring a scary dog, rescuing a cat from a bully's clutches, and repeatedly snatching the temporarily flightless sparrow out of danger in the nick of time. Like newspaper comics, Pinkney's full-color scratchboard scenes are done in page-sized panels, with a minimum of text but maximum action, dramatized by swirling lines, wide gestures, and "THONK!" "ZAP!" sound effects. Henry's heroics will win readers over instantly; he may not save the world, but before he returns to Earth, he does make his suburban neighborhood "just a little better." That's a plausible goal for any actual or would-be superhero.

John Peters, New York Public Library Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

...More

  Click to search this book in our catalog
1996
In the Rain With Baby Duck
 Amy Hest
  Click to search this book in our catalog
 
1995
John Henry
Click to search this book in our catalog   Julius Lester
Publishers Weekly : A great American hero comes fully to life in this epic retelling filled with glorious, detailed watercolors. From his momentous birth, when all the animals come to see him and the sun won't go to bed, John Henry works wonders. As a child he helps his father by adding ``a wing onto the house with an indoor swimming pool and one of them jacutzis''-and that's just before lunch. Other episodes trace the growth of his generous spirit. His greatest feat is, of course, in his battle against the steam drill, as he races the machine to cut through ``a mountain as big as hurt feelings.'' He dies (``he had hammered so hard and so fast and so long that his big heart had burst''), but the onlookers understand that ``dying ain't important.... What matters is how well you do your living.'' This carefully crafted updating begs to be read aloud for its rich, rhythmic storytelling flow, and the suitably oversize illustrations amplify the text. As only one example, the animal witnesses of his birth reappear throughout, most notably to watch John Henry's funeral train pass by. This may not supplant more traditional retellings, such as Terry Small's The Legend of John Henry, but it is a triumph of collaboration from the creators of the noted Uncle Remus retellings. All ages.

Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : K-Gr 5-Another winning collaboration from the master storyteller and gifted artist of Tales of Uncle Remus (Dial, 1987) fame. Based on several well-known versions of an African American folk ballad, Lester's tale is true to the essence of the steel-driving man; yet, it allows room for touches of whimsy and even includes some contemporary references that tie the hero to our own times. Told with just a trace of dialect, the story moves along briskly toward the climax. Its moral message of the importance of a well-lived life is clearly stated, and the ending is uplifting. Pinkney's marvelous watercolors, abundantly rich in detail, convey both the superior strength and the warm sense of humanity that make John Henry perhaps a more down-to-earth character than some other tall-tale figures. The paintings' muted earth tones add a realistic touch to the text, bringing this John Henry alive. When viewed from a distance, however, figures and details sometimes blend together, making the book better suited to independent reading that group sharing. It will appeal to an older audience than Ezra Jack Keats's John Henry (Knopf, 1987) and is a fine addition to any folklore collection.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, Wheeler School, Providence, RI

Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

...More

1994
Grandfathers Journey
Click to search this book in our catalog   Allen Say
Publishers Weekly : Say transcends the achievements of his Tree of Cranes and A River Dream with this breathtaking picture book, at once a very personal tribute to his grandfather and a distillation of universally shared emotions. Elegantly honed text accompanies large, formally composed paintings to convey Say's family history; the sepia tones and delicately faded colors of the art suggest a much-cherished and carefully preserved family album. A portrait of Say's grandfather opens the book, showing him in traditional Japanese dress, ``a young man when he left his home in Japan and went to see the world.'' Crossing the Pacific on a steamship, he arrives in North America and explores the land by train, by riverboat and on foot. One especially arresting, light-washed painting presents Grandfather in shirtsleeves, vest and tie, holding his suit jacket under his arm as he gazes over a prairie: ``The endless farm fields reminded him of the ocean he had crossed.'' Grandfather discovers that ``the more he traveled, the more he longed to see new places,'' but he nevertheless returns home to marry his childhood sweetheart. He brings her to California, where their daughter is born, but her youth reminds him inexorably of his own, and when she is nearly grown, he takes the family back to Japan. The restlessness endures: the daughter cannot be at home in a Japanese village; he himself cannot forget California. Although war shatters Grandfather's hopes to revisit his second land, years later Say repeats the journey: ``I came to love the land my grandfather had loved, and I stayed on and on until I had a daughter of my own.'' The internal struggle of his grandfather also continues within Say, who writes that he, too, misses the places of his childhood and periodically returns to them. The tranquility of the art and the powerfully controlled prose underscore the profundity of Say's themes, investing the final line with an abiding, aching pathos: ``The funny thing is, the moment I am in one country, I am homesick for the other.'' Ages 4-8.

Copyright 1993 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : Gr 3 Up-A personal history of three generations of the author's family that points out the emotions that are common to the immigrant experience. Splendid, photoreal watercolors have the look of formal family portraits or candid snapshots, all set against idyllic landscapes in Japan and in the U.S. (Sept.,

Copyright 1998 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

...More

1993
The Fortune Tellers
Click to search this book in our catalog   Lloyd Alexander
Publishers Weekly : The hands of fate deftly propel this original folktale. A seedy fortune-teller profits from gullible and sometimes desperate villagers who seek predictions for a rosier future. One unhappy carpenter takes to heart the seer's hardly helpful advice--``Rich you will surely be, on one condition: that you earn large sums of money''--and looks forward to a prosperous life. Most surprising to the craftsman, he ends up in the right place at the right time and the prediction comes true. Alexander's chipper text has a jaunty and infectious ``just so'' tone. Amazing coincidences fuse the plot elements, but the story's logic remains intact, successfully suspending the reader's disbelief. Hyman's acrylic, ink and crayon illustrations capture the landscape and people of West Africa in vivid detail. Indigenous plants and animals--including comically placed lizards--dot each scene, and the villagers' lushly textured apparel is spectacular. Especially opulent are spreads featuring the fortune-teller's cluttered quarters and the market stalls with their baskets and pottery. Ages 5-8.

Copyright 1992 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : Gr 1-4--A master storyteller and an art maven join forces to create some marvelous, magical images. The texture of life and the colors of Cameroon are interwoven into this telling tale about a young man who wants to see what his future holds.

Copyright 1997 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

...More

 
1992
Seven Blind Mice
 Ed Young
Publishers Weekly : In a stunning celebration of color Caldecott medalist Young ( Lon Po Po ) offers a vibrant variation on the fable of the blind men trying to identify an elephant. Seven differently-hued blind mice approach the ``strange Something'' in their midst on successive days and report their findings to the group. A large black square provides the background for each painting, a dramatic contrast to the brilliant images ``felt'' by the sightless rodents. Young's textured, cut-paper illustrations allow readers to visualize just how a floppy ear might be mistaken for a fan (``I felt it move!''); the elephant's curving trunk springs to life as both a jewel-green snake and a glowing yellow spear. The spare text permits greater exploration and enjoyment of the artwork--it may be difficult to read the story straight through without stopping to compare the various images. The ``Mouse Moral'' that concludes the tale--``Knowing in part may make a fine tale, but wisdom comes from seeing the whole''--may seem superfluous to those who prefer the imaginative ``vision'' of the mice. Ages 4-up.

Copyright 1992 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : K-Gr 3-- A real winner, on many levels. The first impression is visual delight. Brilliant colors and varied textures of paper collage are placed in striking contrast against velvety black pages. Bold white lettering imposed on the dark background tells of seven blind mice, seen in seven bright colors. Over the course of a week each investigates, in turn, the strange ``Something'' it encounters. To one it is a pillar, to another a snake, to another a cliff. Finally, on the seventh day, the white mouse, running across the thing and remembering what the others found, concludes that it is an elephant. The tale ends with the moral that wisdom comes from seeing ``the whole.'' Adapting the old fable of the blind men and the elephant by weaving in the days of the week, the mice, and the beautiful shapes of the things they see, Young gives children a clever story, wise words, and a truly exciting visual experience.

Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

...More

  Click to search this book in our catalog
1991
The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks
 Katherine Paterson
Publishers Weekly : In another picture book retelling of a Japanese folktale, Paterson ( The Tongue-Cut Sparrow ) recounts the story of Shozo, a one-eyed Samurai unjustly forced to be a servant, and Yasuko, a kitchen maid. They befriend a mandarin duck who pines for his mate while kept in captivity by a fearsome lord. When Yasuko releases the duck, both servants are sentenced to death, but they are subsequently saved by two mysterious imperial messengers who care for them throughout the night and disappear, leaving in their place the two mandarin ducks. Yasuko and Shozo live happily from that time on because ``as they had learned years before, trouble can always be borne when it is shared.'' Paterson's story is rich with magic, compassion and love. The Dillons' elegantly detailed watercolor and pastel drawings, in the style of 18th-century Japanese woodcuts, are exquisite. Ages 5-8.

Copyright 1990 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : There is a quiet subtlety of tone in both text and illustration that perfectly captures the spirit of this Japanese folktale. Paterson's economical use of language conveys the pure essence of a story that needs no verbal embellishment. A mandarin drake is separated from his mate by a cruel lord who covets beautiful things, only for the honor they bring him as their possessor. When the drake's magnificently colored plumage fades, he is banished to a far corner of the kitchen where Yasuko, the kitchen maid, frees him. The lord blames Shozo, the one-eyed chief steward who had once been a powerful samurai, beats him, strips him of his rank, and forces him to haul waste and scrub toilets. When Yasuko and Shozo fall in love, the lord sentences them to death; they are saved, however, by two messengers announcing that the emperor has abolished capital punishment. The Dillons' watercolor and pastel paintings have the appearance of woodcuts with a luminous quality, conveying both the gentleness and the strength of the characters and of the bond of love between the two couples, human and duck. The illustrations are simultaneously powerful and ethereal with bold lines and fine details which, nonetheless, are more suggestive than definitive. This visual understatement is seen most clearly in the depiction of nature. Each tree, flower, or blade of grass hints of more behind. There is a grace in the flowing lines of the kimonos and beauty in the muted autumn/winter palette, giving a golden, blue-gray, or mauve glow to the various scenes. Although the obvious message of this tale is that of kindness rewarded, there is a more subtle message brought home in the final words, ``trouble can always be borne when it is shared.'' --Kay E. Vandergrift, Information and Library Studies, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Copyright 1990 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

...More

  Click to search this book in our catalog
1990
Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China
 Ed Young
Publishers Weekly : This version of the Red Riding Hood story from Young ( The Emperor and the Kite ; Cats Are Cats ; Yeh-Shen ) features three daughters left at home when their mother goes to visit their grandmother. Lon Po Po, the Granny Wolf, pretends to be the girls' grandmother, until clever Shang, the eldest daughter, suspects the greedy wolf's real identity. Tempting him with ginkgo nuts, the girls pull him in a basket to the top of the tree in which they are hiding, then let go of the rope--killing him. One of Young's most arresting illustrations accompanies his dedication: ``To all the wolves of the world for lending their good name as a tangible symbol for our darkness.'' Like ancient Oriental paintings, the illustrations are frequently grouped in panels. When the girls meet the wolf, e.g., the left panel focuses on their wary faces peering out from the darkness, the middle enlarges the evil wolf's eye and teeth, and the third is a vivid swirl of the blue clothes in which the wolf is disguised. The juxtaposition of abstract and realistic representations, the complicated play of color and shadow, and the depth of the artist's vision all help transform this simple fairy tale into an extraordinary and powerful book. Ages 4-8.

Copyright 1989 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : Gr 1-5-With forceful impressionistic paintings, Young artfully entices readers across the fairy-tale threshold into a story of three girls' fearless battle of wits with a famished wolf.

Copyright 1998 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

...More

  Click to search this book in our catalog
 

Back