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Caldecott Medal Winners
2019
Hello Lighthouse
Book Jacket   Sophie Blackall
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316362382 Painted with the featherlight touch that distinguishes Caldecott Medalist Blackall's work, this graceful account of a lighthouse keeper's life celebrates a lost era. While it was lonely and sometimes dangerous, watching the lighthouse was monastic in its simplicity: "He tends the light and writes in the logbook." The lighthouse keeper readies his home for the arrival of his wife, who nurses him when he falls ill; then he helps her as she gives birth to their first child. Soon the family receives word that the lighthouse is to be fitted with a mechanical light, and their idyll comes to a serene end. Many spreads, delicate as painted porcelain, depict the lighthouse amid the breaking waves and changing life of the ocean. Seals bask, whales pass, and the aurora borealis flickers overhead. Repeated images of circles echo the lighthouse's circular rooms, from vignettes framed with nautical rope to a breathtaking sequence of the lighthouse-keeper's wife walking through her labor, each moment like the hand on the face of a clock. It's a jewel of a creation and a gift to those who dream of retreat. Ages 4-8. Agent: Nancy Gallt, Gallt + Zacker Literary. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316362382 PreS-Gr 3-On the highest rock of a tiny island at the edge of the world stands a lighthouse. Every day and every night, the lighthouse guides the way for passing ships, as its keeper tends to the light and writes in his guidebook. Over time, the lighthouse becomes a constant fixture in the middle of the sea as endless waves, ships, winds, whales, fish, storms, and keepers come and go. Here, Blackall tells the story of a lighthouse and its keeper, and how they both serve the sea. In the end, a machine is able to tend the light and the keeper must move on. But he will be forever connected to his lighthouse. The keeper's own light across the bay shines back at the lighthouse, saying "hello!" Gorgeous and appealing illustrations done in Chinese ink and watercolor make readers feel as though they are inside the lighthouse along with the keeper, surrounded by the beauty and drama of the ever-changing sea. A spread full of information about lighthouses for those who seek further knowledge is appended. VERDICT A lovely picture book, recommended for all libraries. A delightful bedtime read perfect for one on one sharing.-Elizabeth Blake, Brooklyn Public Library © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316362382 *Starred Review* When a new keeper arrives at a remote lighthouse, he sets out to make it a home, and in Blackall's rhythmic lines and gorgeous artwork, his adoration for the building, with its round rooms and windy ocean views, warmly comes through. Amid his responsibilities of lighting the beacon, clanging the bell in a fog, recording events in the logbooks, and helping ensure the safety of passing sailors, the lighthouse keeper makes a home with his wife, has a daughter, and feels remorse when he has to leave to make way for an automated light. All the while, Blackall's bright, crisp artwork depicts the changing skies and seas around the proud, solid lighthouse. Softly chopping waves give way to billowing white breakers that crash against the rocks. Clear blue skies transform into the black, inky clouds of a storm. It occasionally seems dangerous to live in a lighthouse, but the repeated refrain of Hello! . . . Hello! . . . Hello! is stalwart, friendly, and reassuring, just like a lighthouse should be, and the adoring expressions and gestures of the family living in it quietly demonstrate their affection for the building. Blackall's charmingly old-fashioned art style is beautifully matched to this nostalgia-rich story, which imbues an antiquated place with warmth and wonder.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2018 Booklist
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2019
Alma and How She Got Her Name
Book Jacket   Juana Martinez Neal
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763693558 PreS-Gr 2-It's said there's a story behind every name and Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela is surely a moniker worthy of six tales. After complaining that her name is so long that it "never fits," Alma's father shares stories with the girl about the people she's been named after, including a book lover, an artist, and a deeply spiritual woman, among others. Martinez-Neal, the recipient of the 2018 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award for La Princesa and the Pea , works in print transfers with graphite and colored pencils for these images, limiting her palette to black, charcoal gray, and blushes of color. The round, stylized figure of the girl, dressed in pink striped pants and a white shirt, pops against the sepia pages (reminiscent of old, family photo albums). As Alma's namesakes emerge from the shadows when they are introduced, they and their distinguishing items (books, plants, paintbrushes, etc.) are highlighted in a pale, gray-blue. The softly colored images and curvilinear shapes that embrace the figures evoke a sense of warmth and affection. At the story's end, the only tale readers have not heard is Alma's. "You will make your own story," states her father. VERDICT A beautifully illustrated, tender story to be shared with all children, sure to evoke conversations about their names.-Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780763693558 Her full name is Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela, and it's so long that "it never fits," as the girl explains to her father. (When she writes it on a sheet of paper, she has to tape an extra piece to the bottom.) But as Daddy explains that there's a remarkable relative behind each of her names, Alma realizes that she embodies their talents and character, and she comfortably communes with the spirits of the departed. She loves to draw like her paternal grandfather, José, and she's so inspired by her activist maternal grandmother, Candela, that she strikes the classic Norma Rae pose and declares "I am Candela!" surrounded by her stuffed animals. Best of all, Daddy concludes, she is "the first and only Alma. You will make your own story." Martinez-Neal's first outing as author is a winner-her velvety and largely monochromatic pencil drawings, punctuated with cherry red, teem with emotional intimacy. It's an origin story that envelops readers like a hug. Ages 4-8. Agent: Stefanie Von Borstel, Full Circle Literary. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780763693558 *Starred Review* Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has a very long name for a little girl. So long, in fact, that she has to tape extra paper to the page when she writes it, just so it will fit. One day she complains about this to her father, and he sits down with her to tell Alma the story of her name. Tucked together in a cozy armchair, he opens a photo album to a black-and-white picture of Alma's grandmother Sofia. He tells his daughter how Sofia loved flowers and books, and Alma realizes she also loves those things. I am Sofia, she declares. Next, she hears about her great-grandmother Esperanza, who dreamed of traveling; and when readers turn the page, Alma stands before a large world map, zigzagged with red string marking all the places the girl wishes to go she is Esperanza, too. As her father continues, Alma comes to understand that her name fits her perfectly. Martinez-Neal brings her gentle story to life through beautiful graphite- and colored-pencil artwork set against cream-colored backgrounds. Soft blue and red details pop against the charcoal scenes, which perfectly reflect the snapshots of Alma's family. While Alma feels enriched by learning her family's history, she is also empowered by the knowledge that she will give her name Alma its own story.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2018 Booklist
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2019
A Big Mooncake for Little Star
 Grace Lin
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316404488 Nighttime paintings by Lin (Where the Mountain Meets the Moon) add magic to this fable about why the moon waxes and wanes. The story's events unfold against the velvety black of the night sky as Mama and Little Star, dressed in black pajamas spangled with yellow stars, work on their mooncake (an Asian holiday treat, Lin explains in an author's note) in the kitchen. Mama takes the cake out of the oven and lays it "onto the night sky to cool." She tells Little Star not to touch it, and Little Star attends but awakens in the middle of the night and remembers the cake. A double-page spread shows Little Star's speculative glance on the left and the huge golden mooncake-or is it the round, golden full moon?-on the right. Whichever it is, Little Star takes a nibble from the edge, another the next night, and so on until the moon wanes to a delicate crescent. Lin successfully combines three distinctive and memorable elements: a fable that avoids seeming contrived, a vision of a mother and child living in cozy harmony, and a night kitchen of Sendakian proportions. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316404488 PreS-Gr 1-Little Star's mother admonishes her not to eat the giant mooncake, which she left cooling in the night sky, but Little Star has her own ideas. Little Star makes a mischievous choice. "Yum!" Each night, she wakes from her bed in the sky and nibbles from the giant mooncake. "'Little Star!' her mama said, shaking her head even though her mouth was curving. ' You ate the big mooncake again, didn't you?'" Rather than scolding, Mama responds with a kind offer to bake a new mooncake. Observant eyes will recognize that the final pages showing Little Star and her mama baking a new mooncake are a repeat of the front papers-a purposeful hint that the ritual is repeated monthly as Little Star causes the phases of the moon. Artwork is gouache on watercolor paper. Each page has a glossy black background and small white font. Little Star and her mother have gentle countenances twinkling with merriment. Both wear star-studded black pajamas that are distinguishable from the inky sky only by their yellow stars and the occasional patch of Little Star's exposed tummy. The cherubic Little Star floats through the darkness, her mooncake crumbs leaving a trail of stardust in the sky. VERDICT The relationship between Little Star and her mother offers a message of empowerment and reassurance. Lin's loving homage to the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is sure to become a bedtime favorite.-Lisa Taylor, Florida State College, Jacksonville © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316404488 Against the backdrop of a black sky, Mama and Little Star bake a giant mooncake. But as she puts the cake out to cool, Mama admonishes her daughter not to touch it. And she doesn't until she wakes up in the night. Then, it's pat, pat, pat over to the mooncake, where she nibbles just a bit. Each night, there's more nibbling, causing the mooncake to change shape, until it's just a crescent. That's when Mama sees what's happened, but she isn't mad. It's just time to make another mooncake. Although the story is slight (and there's no direct aligning of the mooncake with the stages of the moon, either in text or note), the gouache illustrations are excellent. Mother and daughter, both dressed in star-covered black jumpsuits that add bits of light to inky backgrounds, are intriguing characters who come alive through facial expressions. Little Star's impish looks are worth the price of admission. This has no roots in Chinese mythology, Lin says, but she associates it with Asian moon festivals. A complementary read for those holidays.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2018 Booklist
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2019
The Rough Patch
 Brian Lies
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062671271 *Starred Review* Farmer Evan, portrayed as a fox in overalls, has a dog. Constant companions, they enjoy playing games, taking hikes, and working in the garden. But after the dog's death, Evan feels that nothing will be quite the same and so hacks his beloved garden to bits. Time passes. Weeds move in, and he lets the itchy, spiky-looking ones stay. He begins to tend a prickly vine, which eventually produces an enormous pumpkin. Feeling an old, familiar sense of excitement, Evan hauls his pumpkin to the local fair, where he enjoys the food, the games, and talking with old friends. His pumpkin wins him a prize: $10 or a puppy. He drives home with a new companion. Spare and beautifully phrased, the story is well told in the text. But Evan's emotions are most vividly conveyed in the artwork, created with acrylics, oils, and colored pencils. In the graveside scene, a shadow literally falls over Evan, while on the facing page, the phrase and nothing was the same appears on a light gray background, encroached by looming, chaotic darkness. Lies' rich colors and expressive use of light are evident throughout this picture book, which acknowledges grief and delivers a hopeful message with subtlety, empathy, and eloquence.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2018 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062671271 Gr 2-5-Lies taps into the powerful nature of love, loss, grief, and hope in his latest picture book. Evan, a fox, and his dog are best friends and in a series of acrylic, oil, and colored pencil vignettes, they are shown attending a fair, playing games, and, most important, working in Evan's meticulously groomed garden. These loving scenes are abruptly cut short by a large spread of white space with spare text stating: "But one day, the unthinkable happened." On the opposing page, white space surrounds a grieving Evan as he mourns the loss of his dog. In his grief, Evan destroys the garden that reminds him so much of his friend and weeds grow in its place. When a pumpkin vine sneaks into the garden, Evan allows it to take root and with it, hope returns. With lyrical figurative language, Evan transitions from being devastated by heartache to a being willing to step back into the world again. With his pumpkin, Evan rejoins his friends at the fair. Although it's not the same without his best friend, he enjoys himself again and even wins a prize for his pumpkin. His prize and the hope of all those who suffer love's loss is a chance to love again with a new puppy. While best suited for independent readers or shared moments during a loss, this poignant picture book provides an exquisite depiction of grief and hope. VERDICT A remarkable first selection for all libraries and a helpful guide for children and adults who are going through their own rough patches.-Rachel Zuffa, Racine Public Library, WI © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780062671271 The polished, jaunty spreads that open this story by Lies (Gator Dad) give little hint of the deep emotion to come. Evan, a fox, cuts a handsome figure in his overalls and wire-rimmed spectacles, and he and his beloved black-and-white dog are always together. They drive in Evan's red farm truck and play games, "But what they loved the most was working in Evan's magnificent garden," a lush, fertile enclosure studded with neat trellises. Then, two terrible things happen: Evan's dog dies-readers see the fox slumped over the hound's body-and in his grief, Evan destroys his garden, swinging a hoe that fells the plants and snaps the trellises in two. The story of how Evan finds his way through his grief rings true, and Lies's atmospherically lit, exquisitely drafted paintings will absorb readers as they trace Evan's journey through mourning. Some sensitive readers may draw back from tragedy this stark, but others will be fascinated by Evan's mysterious world, in which pumpkins grow into prize-winning behemoths and rubber boots come specially made for fox feet. Ages 4-8. Agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2019
Thank You, Omu!
Book Jacket   Oge Mora
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316431248 PreS-Gr 2-In her apartment on the top floor, Omu (Igbo for queen) makes a tasty, thick red stew for her dinner. The smell wafts through her community, enticing neighbors to knock at her door to inquire about the delicious smell. A little boy is first, followed by a police officer, the hot dog vendor, and many other neighbors. Omu shares a bit of her stew with each person until she has none left for her dinner. When she hears the next knock, it is the visitors again, but this time with a feast to share with Omu. Even the little boy makes a contribution: a red envelope that conveys everyone's sincere gratitude. The richly textured and expressive collage illustrations were created with patterned paper and old-book clippings using acrylic paint, pastels, and markers. Mora has crafted a memorable tale of community and the unexpected rewards of sharing. VERDICT Children will enjoy this fresh, engaging story of friendship and community building, perfect for any group gathering. -Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316431248 Omu (pronounced AH-moo, it's Igbo for queen), the matriarch of her city neighborhood, is making "thick red stew in a big fat pot." As the delicious scent-rendered as an undulating strip of paper-wafts through the neighborhood, a little boy drops by, then "Ms. Police Officer," and then a deluge of hungry humans that eventually includes the mayor. Mora, a major new talent making her debut as an author-illustrator, gives her book a rhythmic, refrainlike structure: There's a "KNOCK!" at the door, a moment of thought on Omu's part, the presentation of a bowl, and a hearty "Thank you, Omu!" in brightly colored capital letters. Dinnertime arrives, and a chagrined Omu discovers that she's given all her stew away ("There goes the best dinner I ever had!"). But she isn't sad for long. The stew eaters arrive en masse at her door with a bountiful potluck (the boy proffers a handmade thank-you note), and "together they ate, danced, and celebrated." This sweet story of inclusivity, gratitude, and delicious fellowship is also a feast for the eyes, with its warm colors and inventive mAclange of cut paper and other materials. Ages 4-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316431248 Omu (Nigerian for queen, but here grandma) enjoys cooking thick red stews for her evening meal. One day, while her pot simmers, a little boy knocks at her door, enticed by the delicious aroma. Of course Omu shares with him and later with others: a police officer, a hot dog vendor, a shop owner, a cab driver, a doctor, an actor, a lawyer, a dancer, a baker, an artist, a singer, an athlete, a bus driver, a construction worker, and the mayor! Predictably, the pot is empty when suppertime arrives, but Omu's friends give back with a feast that everyone enjoys. Mora's mixed-media collage art makes use of patterned papers and book clippings in addition to paints and pastels. She uses simplified forms to represent people and objects (somewhat reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats' style), well suited to this cozy, urban setting. Particularly effective is the white trail of steam from Omu's stew that travels through the neighborhood. A great choice for food-themed story hours, or for introducing the concept of sharing.--Kay Weisman Copyright 2018 Booklist
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2018
Wolf in the Snow
Book Jacket   Matthew Cordell
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781250076366 Caught in a blizzard on her way home from school, a girl in a red parka discovers a wolf pup left behind by its pack. Cordell's story is wordless, but there's a soundtrack: the cub whines, and distant howls reveal the pack's presence over the next hill. The snow is deep, and the girl is tired, but she puts the pup first, scooping it up and heading toward the howls, undaunted by frightening encounters along the way. Cordell (Leaps and Bounce) uses his customary light and loopy scrawl for the girl, but the bristling fur and open mouths of the wolves are startlingly real. The mother wolf comes to meet them: her golden eyes blaze, and she growls softly. But she's grateful, and when the girl collapses going home, the pack shows its gratitude in an unexpected way. Cozy vignettes, framed in rough circles, help reassure readers that the story will end well, and so does a tender opening portrait of the family. The girl's story is a hero's journey, and Cordell tells it with skill and heart. Ages 2-6. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781250076366 *Starred Review* In parallel opening spreads, a little girl says good-bye to her parents and dog as she heads off to school, and a wolf cub ranges across the field with his pack. At day's end, the girl, wearing a bright red coat and hood (catch that allusion!), heads home as snow begins to fall. The snow thickens across the subsequent pages, and soon she is lost, just as the wolf cub is separated from his pack in the storm. A chance encounter leads to a moment of solidarity: when the wolf cub sinks in the snow, the girl scoops him up, carrying him towards the distant howls of his family. He's home safe, but she's still lost until the wolves, realizing a debt is owed, return for her, and their howls bring her own family. This nearly wordless picture book is a tender, never precious story of kindness and cooperation. The ink-and-watercolor illustrations, though simple, are packed with emotion, while the minimal text relays only sounds: the distant howls of the wolves, the whines of the wolf cub, the girl's huffs of breath as she struggles through the snow. Cordell's wolves aren't cuddly cartoons by any means, but neither are they monsters; instead, they're realistically depicted wild animals who inherently understand loyalty. Expect this wintry tale to bring only warmth.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2016 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781250076366 K-Gr 2-In this mostly wordless picture book, a girl gets lost in a snowstorm while walking home from school. At the same time, a wolf pup gets separated from its pack. The girl discovers the pup and carries it through dangerous and icy terrain to reconnect with its pack, and the wolves assist the girl by howling to attract her searching family. Cordell's artistic approach is a little more free-form than in his past titles. It works well in depicting the twisting trees in the snowstorm but is more challenging to pull off with the characterization of the girl. Yet he succeeds. Only her eyes are visible in her large red triangular parka, with a scarf across her mouth and nose, as she trudges through the snow; there is so much emotion in her eyes that viewers know all that they need to know about this almost comically bundled, shapeless figure. Cordell's landscapes do a wonderful job showing the vastness and desperation of the girl's journey, his blended watercolors of the snow and trees adding eloquence to the experience. VERDICT A heartwarming adventure about helping others, best shared one-on-one to pore over the engaging images.-Peter Blenski, Greenfield Public Library, WI © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2018
Big Cat, Little Cat
 Elisha Cooper
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781626723719 PreS-Gr 1-Bold and simple illustrations perfectly depict life with cats. Elegant, expressive black line drawings on white backgrounds capture the essence of all things feline and call to mind the work of Clare Turlay Newberry and Nikki McClure. The book follows a lone white cat who gains a small black companion, their life together, and the eventual loss of the elder cat ("Years went by-and more years, too-") and ends with the addition of a new kitten. The spare text does an excellent job of conveying the story from the animals' point of view. Readers are told that "the older cat got older and one day he had to go...and didn't come back. And that was hard. For everyone." VERDICT A gentle, loving look at the life cycle of pets; young readers will be able to gain confidence in retelling the story using the text and the pictures. A must-have for all collections.-Paige Mellinger, Gwinnett County Public Library, Lawrenceville, GA © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781626723719 It's all about simple text and clean lines in this picture book about feline camaraderie. Cooper certainly loves and understands cat behavior, as exemplified in his various poses of cats at rest and in action. A big cat (white) welcomes a new little cat (black) to the household, and shows it when to eat, when to drink, where to go, how to be, and when to rest. The white cat is outlined in black lines on generous white space as the two partake in these activities; the black cat is profiled in silhouette, with only one tiny white dot for an eye. As the years go by, the black cat grows bigger, and eventually the white cat has to go. A silhouetted family mourn along with the black cat. But soon a little white cat arrives, and the now-big black cat teaches it all the same lessons. In a final double-page spread the two dream happily, completing the concept of the circle of life in loving contentment.--Gepson, Lolly Copyright 2017 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781626723719 Like a Japanese brush painter, Cooper (8: An Animal Alphabet) uses bold, black lines to trace the outlines of a white cat; it roams through an apartment, playing with yarn and gazing at the bird feeder. Then a black kitten arrives, and the white cat shows it "when to eat, when to drink, where to go, how to be." "Big cat, little cat," Cooper writes as the two sleep embraced, their curves a rhythmic composition of black and white. The two grow ever closer until, with little warning, the white cat "got older, and one day he had to go... and didn't come back. And that was hard. For everyone." The black cat is pictured alone on the page; the next spread pulls back to reveal its human family, all bereft. Even younger readers will understand their grief. But when a white kitten arrives, the story begins again: "The cat showed the new cat what to do. When to eat, when to drink, where to go, how to be." With quiet grace, Cooper delivers the message that love persists through loss. Ages 3-6. Agent: Liz Darhansoff, Darhansoff & Verrill. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2018
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut
 Derrick Barnes
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781572842243 How good can a haircut make a person feel? "Magnificent. Flawless. Like royalty." In a powerfully moving tribute to barbershop culture, Barnes (We Could Be Brothers) addresses readers directly-and it's safe to say his audience is primarily boys of color-using hyperbole to boost their confidence and help them recognize their own value. "You came in as a lump of clay," he writes, "a blank canvas, a slab of marble./ But when my man is done with you,/ they'll want to post you up in a museum." Created with thick, forceful daubs of paint, James's luminous portraits reinforce the idea that, when a person looks this good, not even the sky is the limit. Of a man admiring the curving designs newly shaved into his head, the narrator remarks, "Maybe there's a river named after him on Mars. He looks that important." Pride, confidence, and joy radiate from the pages, both in the black and brown faces of men, women, boys, and girls featured in Barnes's majestic paintings, and in writing that celebrates human worth with every syllable. Barbers included: "Tip that man! Tip that man!" Ages 3-8. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781572842243 K-Gr 3-Rhythmic text describes the feeling of a young African American boy as he gets a "fresh cut" and how a trip to the barbershop changes the way he feels about the world and in turn how the world perceives him. He might just "smash that geography exam" or "rearrange the principal's honor roll" and, of course, the cute girl in class won't be able to keep her eyes off of him. The protagonist spends time looking at black men in chairs next to him and creating vivid stories about their lives: "the dude to the left of you with a faux-hawk.looks presidential.maybe he's the CEO of a tech company." Oil paintings illustrate the intricacies of the haircuts, details in the characters' faces, along with the sense of well-being that is conveyed along the way. While a trip the barbershop is the main story line, the themes of confidence-building, self-esteem, and joy of young black boys are the important takeaways, and the illustrations jump off the page and invite readers to share in the experience. VERDICT A super fun read-aloud, this title is a recommended purchase for all picture book collections.-Kristen Todd-Wurm, Middle Country Public Library, NY © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781572842243 Barnes (Ruby and the Booker Boys, 2008) playfully tells the story of a black boy getting a haircut at a barbershop. The boy comes in as a blank canvas, but as the haircut starts, Barnes leads the reader into all the things that might happen because of the cut, from passing a geography test, to becoming a star, and even impressing a girl. The other men in the barbershop look important and full of swagger because of their hair, and the barber knows what he's doing and doles out shape-ups and a faux hawk with skill. Colorful images illustrate all of the patrons, including a woman. Barnes mixes fresh and sharp lines with an integral part of the African American experience: maintaining one's hair. Illustrator James deftly uses bright colors including teal and fuchsia, and a colorful galaxy complements Barnes' words well. The strong voice will resonate with readers, soothe any young child scared of their first cut, and give a boost of confidence to the seasoned pros.--Gilfillian, Courtney Copyright 2017 Booklist
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2018
A Different Pond
Book Jacket   Bao Phi
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781623708030 Phi, a poet whose parents were Vietnamese refugees, draws from childhood memories in this story about fishing with his father before sunrise on the lakes of Minneapolis. They didn't do it for fun; it was a way to put food on the table. "Everything in America costs a lot of money," his father tells him. Sometimes, they run into fishermen from other marginalized communities: a Hmong man "speaks English like my dad and likes to talk about funny movies," and a black man "shows me his colorful lure collection." Though the morning is an adventure for the boy, it's the start of a long day for his father, who heads to work afterward (as does the boy's mother). Bui (The Best We Could Do) uses confident ink lines and watery washes of deep blue to evoke the predawn setting and tender familial relationship. Graphic novel panels and strong figures give the pages the air of a documentary as Phi celebrates an unexpected superhero: a father who endures a strange new culture, works to support his family, cherishes time with his son, and draws no attention to the sacrifices he's made. Ages 6-8. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781623708030 K-Gr 2-This gorgeous tale about a father/son fishing trip shows the interconnectedness of family and the inexorable way that generational history impacts the present. The story is told from the boy's perspective, as his father wakes him long before dawn to go fishing. Although the child enjoys the outing as a special adventure with his dad, they are fishing for food, not sport, and they must be home in time for the father to leave for work. The quiet time together provides opportunities for the man to talk about his past life fishing with his brother in a different pond in Vietnam, long ago before the war and before coming to America. After they return home, triumphant, with a bucket of fish, the boy contemplates his role as the youngest in the family-no longer a baby-and even though he is sad that both his parents have to work, he knows there will be a happy, love-filled family dinner later that night. Bui's cinematic illustrations make use of panels and weighted lines, evoking the perfect background or facial expression for each piece of text. The text placement and composition of the illustrations allow each occurrence or observation to be its own distinct event, stringing together the small, discrete moments that make up a life, a memory, and a history into a cohesive whole. VERDICT This gentle coming-of-age story is filled with loving, important aspects of the immigrant experience and is a first purchase for all libraries.-Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, MN © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781623708030 *Starred Review* Before dawn, a Vietnamese American man and his young son set out to fish for their supper in a nearby lake. As they travel the lamp-lit streets, build a small fire, and drop their hook into the water, the little boy contemplates his parents' lives, the everyday task of fishing for their supper, and the stories they've told him about living in Vietnam before coming to America as refugees. Phi's bittersweet story of the resourcefulness of an immigrant family is lovingly illustrated in Bui's evocative artwork. Her expressive ink-black brushstrokes stand out against a background of star-speckled, crepuscular blues, and at poignant moments in Phi's story, she movingly homes in on the facial expressions of the boy and his father. While the story occasionally hints at painful things, the gravity of those events is depicted in the emotional reactions of the characters in the present, rather than images of war in the past. The boy's father has fond memories of Vietnam, heartbreak for the people he lost in the war, and gratitude for the opportunities afforded to him in the U.S., all of which the boy silently internalizes into both appreciation for his life and curiosity about a place he's never been. This wistful, beautifully illustrated story will resonate not only with immigrant families but any family that has faced struggle.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2017 Booklist
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2018
Grand Canyon
Book Jacket   Jason Chin
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781596439504 Chin (Island: A Story of the Galapagos) packs the geologic history of the Grand Canyon into a stunningly illustrated story of a magical father-daughter hike. The duo's daylong trek out of the magnificent landform becomes a journey through time, as discoveries along the trail transport the girl to various eras in the canyon's creation. A prosaic narrative of facts follows their ascent ("Above the basement layer, you'll reach the Grand Canyon Supergroup"), while, at each new rock layer, the girl notices a fossil or other anomaly through a small die-cut hole. Turning the page, readers find her transported across epochs: a trilobite fossil turns into its living namesake as the surprised girl finds herself floating in an ancient sea. Vignettes of flora and fauna from different elevations frame scenes of the hike, as do explanatory sidebars about how rock layers and fossils form. With narrow white borders, the already-realistic ink-and-watercolor illustrations resemble photographs, evoking a scrapbook, and a concluding gatefold opens to reveal an awe-inspiring panoramic portrait of the Grand Canyon near sunset. Endnotes to this multilayered, thorough, and ingeniously assembled primer offer additional ecologic, geologic and anthropologic information. Ages 7-12. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781596439504 Gr 3-5-A breathtaking walk through multiple habitats and deep time. Beginning at the banks of the Colorado River, a child and her adult companion hike up the South Kaibab trail from 1.84 billion-year-old "basement rocks" past the layers of the Grand Canyon Supergroup, the Bright Angel Shale, and other major formations to the Kaibab Limestone layer at the top. At the same time, the two pass through riparian greenery, sun-baked desert scrub, and pinyon juniper woodland to reach the South Rim's ponderosa pine forest. In Chin's cleanly drawn scenes, viewers who follow along will catch glimpses of characteristic flora and fauna (with other wildlife lined up along the margins) at each elevation, plus clear looks at each distinctive rock layer. Better yet, occasional fossils in the rocks, seen through cutouts, temporarily transport the child with a page turn to prehistoric mudflats, sand dunes, and sea floor. A double gatefold vista vividly underscores Chin's opening proposition that the canyon is "much more than just a big hole in the ground," and the author supplements his information-rich running commentary with further notes and illustrations covering the canyon's history, human settlement, ecology, and geology. It's all Grand. VERDICT An outstanding introduction to one of the world's greatest outdoor wonders, with much to offer elementary students about Southwestern biomes, sedimentary geology, and the profound pleasures of observing nature.-John Peters, Children's Literature -Consultant, New York City © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781596439504 *Starred Review* Filled with arresting artwork and fascinating information, Chin's imposing latest proves that the Grand Canyon is much more than just a big hole in the ground. Following a father and daughter from the North Rim to the South Rim, Chin's virtual hiking tour, which features actual locations and views, takes readers from the oldest, deepest area of the Grand Canyon (the Inner Gorge) to the youngest (Ponderosa Pine Forest). His stunning illustrations do double duty, offering snapshots of the pair's trek as well as myriad details in the page margins, such as a visual catalog of plants and animals that live in each featured region of the canyon, diagrams clearly explaining how the canyon was formed, and spreads revealing what the canyon looked like millions, even billions, of years ago. Chin's straightforward, lucid text seamlessly integrates concepts and scientific terms in engaging paragraphs full of surprising information, all of which is beautifully complemented by the illustrations. A culminating, panoramic gatefold spread reveals a breathtaking vista of the canyon, now made all the more incredible by the wealth of information in the preceding pages. Plenty of additional reading and information about the canyon closes out the volume. With vivid imagination, a crystal-clear grasp of the facts, and brilliant artwork, this illuminating look at one of the planet's most fascinating features will entrance young readers.--Lock, Anita Copyright 2016 Booklist
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2017
Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat
 Javaka Steptoe
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316213882 In this visually arresting and vibrantly narrated biography, Steptoe (In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall) charts the childhood of incandescent, ill-fated artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988). Although the book includes no work by Basquiat himself, Steptoe emulates 1980s street art by layering paint, paper scraps, paint tubes, and photos on found-wood panels. The artist, Steptoe writes, learned to see art in the "messy patchwork of the city," the "street games of little children," and the "terrible blues" of growing up. Basquiat's early influences include his Puerto Rican mother, Matilde, who encourages him with museum visits and with the textbook Gray's Anatomy. Poetry and his Haitian father's jazz records fuel his imagination, too: "His drawings are not neat or clean, nor does he color inside the lines." Basquiat's radiance was suffused with trauma, and Steptoe alludes to Matilde's mental illness and Basquiat's teenage strife ("His mother's mind is not well, and the family breaks"). Passing references to Warhol, Haring, graffiti, and Basquiat's heroin overdose appear in the afterword: "Basquiat lived an exhilarating life, but... he struggled with a drug addiction until his death." Overall, Steptoe focuses on Basquiat's meteoric rise, and readers see the artist smiling as he walks on the gritty Lower East Side. Collaged photographs picture a crowded gallery, and Steptoe concludes in the present tense: "He is now a famous artist!" Steptoe downplays tragic elements, instead celebrating Basquiat's irreverence and brilliance. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316213882 Gr 1-5-Through a simple text and vivid mixed-media collage art, the author evokes the life and work of the Brooklyn-born Basquiat, who was nurtured in a loving family and schooled in the museums and streets of New York City. Incorporating found materials into the illustrations, Steptoe captures the originality and urban vibe of a charismatic artist whose talent revealed itself early on and matured into a powerful social and political voice. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316213882 Beautifully evoking his subject's exuberant, colorful, and playful art style in jostling paintings on scraps of found wood, Steptoe introduces young readers to Basquiat's childhood and early career. Born in Brooklyn, Basquiat loved art early, and with the encouragement of his similarly artistic mother, he actively pursued his dream of being a famous artist, finding creative inspiration not only at museums but also in the color and rhythm of the city around him. Basquiat's signature style sloppy, ugly, and sometimes weird, but somehow still beautiful should appeal in particular to kids who find joy in free-form scribbles, and that same spirit animates Steptoe's collage illustrations. Thickly laid paints and exploded perspectives in bright hues depict scenes from Basquiat's life and highlight some of his iconic imagery, like golden cartoon crowns, eyeballs, and vehicles scattered everywhere. There's no mention of his problems with addiction or untimely death; rather, the book closes with him achieving his dream, crown overhead and surrounded by clipped headlines about his work. A lively, engaging introduction to a one-of-a-kind artist perfect for art-loving kids.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2016 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316213882 Gr 1-5-One extraordinary artist illuminates another in this textured, heartfelt picture book biography of the 1980s cultural phenom. Employing signature features of Jean-Michel Basquiat's work-vibrant colors, found objects, repeated motifs-Steptoe allows his own emotionally rich style to shine through the artistic and biographical references dotting the illustrations. Pieces of discarded wood from Basquiat's stomping grounds fit together to form the painted surfaces for Steptoe's scenes of the Afro Puerto Rican artist, each unfolding within a colored frame. Occasional collage elements of newsprint, photographs, and art materials add dimension and immediacy, highlighting both artists' immersion in their work and surroundings. Adhering to a straightforward chronology, Steptoe addresses events in Basquiat's life primarily as they affected his artistic growth from young boyhood in Brooklyn through the triumphant years as a critical and popular success in Manhattan. With minimal detail, the author sensitively touches upon his subject's childhood car crash and his mother's mental illness, though the story avoids his drug use and stops before his early death. Crucial back matter provides context for readers in every respect. Additional biographical information fleshes out the lyrical text of the main narrative, and an introduction to symbolism in Basquiat's work helps readers appreciate the layers at play in Steptoe's illustrations. An author's note articulates feelings that radiate from every page of the book: Steptoe's admiration for and attachment to Basquiat and his personal investment in depicting a complicated, loving relationship between a child and a mentally ill parent. VERDICT Pairing simple text with expressive, encompassing illustrations, this excellent title offers a new generation a fittingly powerful introduction to an artistic luminary.-Robbin E. Friedman, Chappaqua Library, NY © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316213882 Gr 1-5-A visually stunning picture book biography about modern art phenomenon Jean-Michel Basquiat. Coretta Scott King Award-winner Steptoe's vivid text and bold artwork reflect the Haitian Puerto Rican artist's collage-style paintings that rocketed him to fame in the 1980s. Back matter and an introduction to symbolism in Basquiat's work help readers appreciate the layers of Black identity and Yoruba influences at play in Steptoe's illustrations. © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2017
Leave Me Alone!
 Vera Brosgol
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781626724419 Graphic novelist Brosgol's (Anya's Ghost) first picture book opens in a traditional folk tale setting as a Russian grandmother in a tiny cottage struggles to finish her winter knitting. She has dozens of grandchildren, and they swarm all over her yarn: "Her grandchildren were very curious about her knitting.... Could you eat it? Could you make your brother eat it?" Brosgol's cartooning delivers laughs throughout; here, a girl in a kerchief stuffs a ball of yarn into a baby's mouth as three boys chase another ball with sticks. Fed up, the old woman takes off (after cleaning the house thoroughly, of course), bellowing, "Leave me alone!" The cry is repeated in the forest, in the mountains, and even on the moon, where aliens inspect her "with handheld scanners that went 'beep boop.' " She finds peace at last in the black void on the other side of a wormhole, where she finishes her knitting. The fizzy collision of old-fashioned fairy tale elements with space-age physics is delightful, and even the most extroverted readers will recognize that sometimes you just need a little space. Ages 4-7. Agent: Judith Hansen, Hansen Literary. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781626724419 PreS-Gr 2-Brosgol incorporates folktale elements in her amusing story of an old woman in search of a quiet place to knit. Fleeing her too small house overrun with too many energetic grandchildren, she packs her needles and yarn and heads for the mountains. Unfortunately, she can't find an undisturbed spot. Hungry bears, curious mountain goats, and little green moon-men provoke her to shout: "Leave me alone!" Climbing through a wormhole, she discovers a dark and quiet place to complete 30 little sweaters. Then she crawls through a wormhole that leads to her house, where 30 grandchildren rush to meet her. Peasant clothing, wooden houses, and village scenes create a setting reminiscent of the Brothers Grimm or of Fiddler on the Roof. The humorous illustrations depict the determined woman knitting in improbable circumstances as she climbs ever higher. A huge bear looms above her, curious "about what she might taste like." Mountain goats frolic with balls of yarn they consider tasty snacks. Green creatures investigate the woman with handheld scanners while she sits on a chair-shaped moon rock. Brosgol is a master of facial expressions, using eyes, mouth, and forehead lines to indicate the old woman's thoughts and emotions. VERDICT This offbeat tale will please readers who appreciate subtle humor, especially those who crave some time alone. A good choice for collections needing to bolster their supply of humorous titles.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University Library, Mankato © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781626724419 It's time for Granny to knit new winter sweaters for her gigantic family, but every time she tries to get started, her grandchildren make a mess of things, unraveling her balls of yarn and getting their wet, grubby mouths all over her projects. There's only one thing to do: leave! So she packs up her supplies and heads out to the woods with a resounding, Leave me alone! Finally at peace in the calm forest, she finds a cozy spot to knit, but soon a bear family comes along and interrupts her yet again. Leave me alone! she shouts, and she departs to find a quieter location, but at every turn, she encounters an obstacle. Brosgol infuses her fairy tale-like story with a hefty dose of humor, thanks to her fantastic page turns and comedic timing, culminating in the surprising, otherworldly solution to Granny's problem. Warm, jewel-toned artwork and cartoonish details add to the warm atmosphere, and the sweet ending, when the woman finally returns home, is as cozy as a new sweater.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2016 Booklist
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2017
Freedom in Congo Square
Book Jacket   Carole Boston
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781499801033 Gr 1-3-This vibrant picture book examines Congo Square in New Orleans. A foreword and author's note explain how, historically, slaves in Louisiana were allowed Sunday afternoons off. This custom continued after the territory joined the United States, although in time, New Orleans established one location for all slaves to gather: an area that became known as Congo Square. This unique practice helped enslaved and free Africans maintain cultural traditions. The impact was felt far beyond New Orleans as musicians, dancers, and singers developed, explored, and shared rhythms that eventually grew into jazz music. The text is realistic but child appropriate. Couplets count down the days to Sunday in a conversational tone ("Slavery was no ways fair./Six more days to Congo Square."). The writing is accompanied by folk art-style illustrations, with paint applied in thick layers. Some images, such as faces, are more detailed, while others are presented as silhouettes. Collage with painted elements is incorporated on occasion. The architecture portrayed evokes the New Orleans setting. Bright colors suggest the exuberance displayed at Congo Square. Spreads where the slaves are finally able to sing, dance, and express emotion contrast effectively with the forced restraint of those depicting the work week. VERDICT Unique in its subject and artistic expression, this beautiful book belongs in most collections.-Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781499801033 *Starred Review* Coretta Scott King Honorees Weatherford and Christie have created a gorgeously artistic and poetic homage to the birthplace of jazz and a people whose legacy is too often ignored. For one day a week, the slaves of New Orleans were allowed by law to gather on one public space: Congo Square. Through sparse, deliberate language, Weatherford tangibly captures the anticipation of those Sundays, listing the physical and emotional work that slaves endured without respite. They tend to animals and crops, cater to their masters, endure losses and lashings, all the while counting the hours until they can revel in the freedom of Congo Square. Holding on to that joyful experience feels like a form of silent resistance as the slaves bear the harshness of the week. The blunt words are richly supplemented by illustrations reminiscent of Jacob Lawrence's work. Christie elegantly renders people's gestures in chalk, capturing their energy or lack of, depending on the context. Blocks of color stamped with texture bring to life the landscape and movement in a place where they rejoiced as if they had no cares; / half day, half free in Congo Square. Subtle and layered, this is an important story, beautifully told.--Chaudhri, Amina Copyright 2015 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781499801033 Located in what is now the Treme neighborhood, Congo Square was the one place where the slaves and free blacks of New Orleans were allowed to gather on Sundays, a legally mandated day of rest. There they could reconnect with the dance and music of their West and Central African heritages and feel, at least for a few hours, that they were in "a world apart," where "freedom's heart" prevailed. Weatherford hits a few flat notes with her rhyming ("Slaves had off one afternoon,/ when the law allowed them to commune"), but she succeeds in evoking a world where prospect of Sunday becomes a way to withstand relentless toil and oppression: "Wednesday, there were beds to make/ silver to shine, and bread to bake./ The dreaded lash, too much to bear./ Four more days to Congo Square." Christie, who worked with Weatherford to illuminate another historic neighborhood in Sugar Hill (2014), takes readers on a visual journey, moving from searing naïf scenes of plantation life to exuberantly expressionistic and abstract images filled with joyous, soaring curvilinear figures. An introduction and afterword provide further historic detail. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781499801033 Gr 1-3-Couplets count down the days of the week and detail the daily labor duties of those who were enslaved in New Orleans-all leading up to Sunday, the day of rest and an afternoon in Congo Square. Acknowledging and contrasting the brutal toll of slavery with the exuberance and collective power of their one half-afternoon of free expression, Weatherford has created a masterly and multifaceted work. Christie's illustrations, so loaded with color and movement, are the perfect accompaniment to this must-have book. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2017
Du Iz Tak?
Book Jacket   Carson Ellis
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780763665302 Ellis's (Home) bewitching creation stars a lively company of insects who speak a language unrelated to English, and working out what they are saying is one of the story's delights. In the first spread, two slender, elegantly winged creatures stand over a green shoot. "Du iz tak?" says the first, pointing. The other puts a hand to its mouth in puzzlement. "Ma nazoot," it says. The insects marvel at the plant as it grows, build a fort in it (complete with pirate flag), exclaim as it produces a spectacular flower ("Unk scrivadelly gladdenboot!"), then disappear one by one, like actors exiting the stage. Observant readers will notice other changes over the course of the seasons: a fabulously hairy caterpillar spins a cocoon on a dead log, the log opens to reveal a cozy dwelling, and what looks like a twig atop the log is not a twig at all. Ellis renders the insects with exquisite, baroque precision, outfitting them with hats, eyeglasses, and tweed jackets; in a romantic interlude one serenades another with a violin. Generous expanses of cream-colored empty space emphasize the smallness and fragility of these living beings, who move busily along the forest floor at the bottom edge of the pages. Very gently, Ellis suggests that humans have no idea what wonders are unfolding at their feet-and that what takes place in the lives of insects is not so different from their own. Has there ever been anything quite like it? Ma nazoot. Ages 4-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780763665302 *Starred Review* Ellis (Home, 2015) elevates gibberish to an art form with her brilliant account of a few bugs who discover a green shoot sprouting from the ground. Du iz tak? a dapper wasp asks upon seeing it. Ma nazoot, comes the puzzled reply. Next, three beetles come across the young plant, which has grown a little higher, and the question goes around again, Du iz tak? This time, they go to a nearby log to borrow a ribble (ladder) from Icky the pill bug so that they can sit on its highest leaves. The bugs' curiosity and excitement grows along with the plant, which eventually blossoms into a magenta flower. Soon the bugs have built a magnificent furt among its leaves, complete with a rope swing and pirate flag. Eventually, colder weather moves in (evidenced in the sweaters and hats the beetles don), the flower wilts, and the bugs bid their furt adieu. Readers and prereaders alike will find myriad visual cues in Ellis' splendid folk-style gouache-and-ink illustrations that will allow them to draw meaning from the nonsensical dialogue, as well as observe the subtle changing of the seasons. The entire story unfolds on the same small stretch of ground, where each new detail is integral to the scene at hand. Effortlessly working on many levels, Ellis' newest is outstanding.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2016 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763665302 PreS-Gr 3-Using intricate illustrations supported by spare dialogue in an invented language, Ellis elegantly weaves the tale of several square feet of ground in the insect world as the seasons pass. Multiple story lines intersect: a mysterious plant bursting from the soil, the rise and fall of a spectacular fort, and a caterpillar's quiet then triumphant metamorphosis into a shimmering moth. The illustrations demand to be pored over, with exquisite attention to detail, from the extravagantly dressed anthropomorphized insects in top hats to the decor of Icky the pill bug's tree-stump home. Much of the book's action occurs on the lower halves of the pages, the ample white space emphasizing the small world of the critters. As the flower and fort grow together and larger animals come into play, the illustrations take up more vertical space until the climax, when the plant blooms and is revealed to be a "gladenboot" (flower) and all of the insects come out to rejoice. As the weather cools, readers are treated to a delightful nighttime spread of the moth finally emerging and flying to a cricket's tune as the decayed flower's seeds dance all around. Though this could nearly work as a wordless book, the invented, sometimes alienlike language seemingly contains real syntax and offers readers the opportunity to puzzle over the meanings of the words and tell the story using their own interpretations. VERDICT This is a title that calls for multiple readings, as there is something new to be discovered each time. Perfect for one-on-one or small group sharing.-Clara Hendricks, Cambridge Public Library, MA © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2017
They All Saw a Cat
 Brendan Wenzel
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781452150130 *Starred Review* What does saw mean anyway? If you're Wenzel, the word is an invitation to explore, to think, and to see in new ways. Here, a repeating refrain with more than a hint of nursery rhyme pads through the book, right along with the central character: a cat. The cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears, and paws. Yes, they all saw a cat. Each page turn reveals how a series of creatures sees the cat. To the child, it is big-eyed and adorably fluffy; to the fish in the bowl, it's two huge, blurry eyes; and to the bee, it is a series of faceted dots. To create these varied visions, Wenzel uses the spacious width of double-page spreads and a wide range of materials, including oil, pastels, watercolor, and pencils. He plays with perspective in other ways, too. A yellow bird looks down at the cat below, and a flea peers through a forest of fur. The result is fascinating, thought-provoking, and completely absorbing. Rich in discussion possibilities and curriculum applications, this is a treasure for classrooms, story hours, and just plain enjoyment.--Rutan, Lynn Copyright 2016 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781452150130 "The cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears, and paws," writes Wenzel (Beastly Babies) at the opening of this perspective-broadening picture book. What those features add up to depends on the eyes of the beholder, not to mention scale relationships, instincts, and history. To a child, the cat looks like a pet: affectionate, big eyed, and adorable. But a flea sees a vast forest of dense hair to conquer. A mouse cowers before the dragonlike creature of horror that bounds out of a blood-red background with blazing yellow eyes. And a bee sees a collection of multicolored dots-a pointillist pussycat. The simple text ("the skunk saw a cat, and the worm saw a cat, and the bat saw a cat. Yes, they all saw the cat") creates a powerful, rhythmic juxtaposition between word and image, and inventively varied renderings showcase a versatile, original talent at work, in media ranging from collage to pencil and watercolor. This is Wenzel's first book as both illustrator and writer, and it's marvelous-no matter how you look at it. Ages 3-5. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781452150130 PreS-Gr 3-Readers see the world through a different set of eyes thanks to Wenzel's whimsical and eye-catching artwork as a child, a fox, a worm, and others look on as a tabby saunters through a variety of environments. Each distinctive and imaginative spread features a shape-shifting perspective-such as a bee's pointillistic view of the feline-set to a stripped-down, rhythmic text. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2016
Finding Winnie: The True Story of the Worlds Most Famous Bear
 Lindsay Mattick
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316324908 K-Gr 3-This sweet tale of the black bear that inspired the legendary children's book character Winnie-the-Pooh will resonate with readers. In the framing story, a mother tells her son, Cole, a bedtime tale about how veterinarian Harry Colebourn, a young Canadian soldier on his way to train and fight in Europe during World War I, stumbled upon a baby black bear that he bought off a trapper at a train depot. Colebourn named the bear Winnie, short for Winnipeg, a gentle reminder of his hometown, and took the bear with him to England. Winnie quickly became the mascot of his unit. But when the time came to ship out to France for combat, Colebourn left his beloved pet in the capable hands of the London Zoo. Later, Milne and his son, Christopher Robin, visited the London Zoo and Christopher Robin took an immediate shine to Winnie, developing an unusually strong bond with the animal and even playing with her in her enclosure. The boy imagined all sorts of adventures for Winnie, which became the basis for the now-famous stories written by Milne. Washes of muted colors convey a cozy cheeriness that imbues the book with warmth and comfort, while occasional interjections from young Cole add to the fun. Blackall's characters are rosy-cheeked and expressive, while Winnie is curious and whimsical. A perfect melding of beautiful art with soulful, imaginative writing, this lovely story, penned by Colebourn's great-great granddaughter, is ideal for sharing aloud or poring over individually. VERDICT Children everywhere will enjoy this tale for years. A must-have.-Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316324908 *Starred Review* Mattick's family ties to Winnie-the-Pooh form the backbone of her cozy debut. Framed as Mattick telling a bedtime story to her young son, Cole, her tale begins in 1914 in Canada, when veterinarian Harry Colebourn, her own great-grandfather, sets off to join the war in Europe. A fateful whistle-stop encounter with a gentle bear cub begins the historic friendship, when Colebourn buys the cub for 20 dollars. Though officers in Colebourn's division were initially aghast that he would bring a wild animal along, they were quickly won over by her irrepressible charm (and appetite), and the bear, named Winnipeg after their hometown, became the division's mascot. Winnie accompanied the soldiers all the way to England, where Colebourn eventually took Winnie to the London Zoo. There Christopher Robin met Winnie and the rest is literary history. Blackall's warm, beautiful gouache-and-ink illustrations capture an impressive depth of feeling, even in relatively simplified faces. The visuals not only complement the fablelike cadences of Mattick's text but also include subtle details that enrich the story the opening pages, for instance, recall a storybook forest before melting into the surroundings of Cole's bedroom, where he hears the story of Colebourn and Winnie. Little ones who love A. A. Milne's classic stories will be enchanted by this heartening account of the bear's real-life origins.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2015 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316324908 Mattick is the great-granddaughter of Capt. Harry Colebourn, the Canadian veterinarian who set all things Winnie-the-Pooh in motion: while en route to join his unit during WWI, Harry rescued an orphaned bear cub from a trapper (it cost him $20) and named her Winnipeg (Winnie for short), after his hometown. She accompanied Harry to England and became the mascot of the Second Canadian Infantry Brigade. Knowing Winnie couldn't follow him to France, Harry arranged for a new home for her at London Zoo, where a boy named Christopher Robin discovered her, and the rest is literary history. Framed as a bedtime story that Mattick tells her toddler son, Cole (who interjects questions such as "Is twenty dollars a lot?"), the book strikes a lovely, understated tone of wonder and family pride. It also suits Blackall (A Fine Dessert) to a T. While her work usually has a strong streak of fantasy, or at least ethereal otherworldliness, she proves that she's equally imaginative at chronicling straight-on reality, too. Ages 3-6. Author's agent: Jackie Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists. Illustrator's agent: Nancy Gallt, Nancy Gallt Literary Agency. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2016
Trombone Shorty
Book Jacket   Troy Andrews
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781419714658 In this contemporary autobiography, Andrews pays tribute to the New Orleans neighborhood of Tremé and the culture and community that propelled him into becoming the Grammy Award-nominated musician he is today. Like other stories of artistic achievement, this is one of determination and passion. Young Troy, nicknamed Trombone Shorty by his brother, forms a band with his friends using homemade instruments, until one day Troy finds a real trombone to call his own. But this story breaks from the motif of individualism to recognize that family, community, mentors, and friends are always part of life's journey. It reminds young readers particularly boys of color that they can follow their dreams and lean on people who will nurture and guide them. Andrews' journey is perfectly complemented by Collier's illustrations. Sharp panels of color and image, perspective that dips and soars, and layers of mixed-media collage unite to feel like renditions of brass band music itself. The author's note fills in the gaps in the story and reaffirms the importance of people and place. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit the Trombone Shorty Foundation.--Chaudhri, Amina Copyright 2015 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781419714658 The streets of New Orleans are filled with music, and so is the house of Troy Andrews, who narrates the story of his growth into the musician known as Trombone Shorty. Troy dreams of having his own band, and when he finds a battered trombone, he knows he's on his way: "It didn't sound perfect, but finally with a real instrument in my hand, I was ready to play." He brings it to a Bo Diddley concert, and Diddley brings him onstage. Andrews shares the culture of Tremé, his New Orleans neighborhood, punctuating his story's high moments with the traditional greeting-"Where y'at?" Collier's (My Country 'Tis of Thee) collaged illustrations give the story even more joyful power. He paints sound with sunbursts of color, the fragrance of gumbo with misty swirls, and Troy's dreams about the future with bubbles that rise from his bed as he sleeps with his arm around his trombone. If a fairy tale were set in New Orleans, this is how it would read. Ages 4-8. Illustrator's agent: Marcia Wernick, Wernick & Pratt. (Apr.)? © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781419714658 Gr 1-4-"Where y'at?" Troy Andrews, aka Trombone Shorty, opens his book with this phrase, letting readers know that it's New Orleans parlance for hello. In this stunning picture book autobiography, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Andrews shares the story of his early years growing up in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans. Andrews desperately wished to emulate the musicians in his family and those he saw performing all over his city, so he and his friends made their own instruments out of found materials, played in the streets, and marched with bands. When one day he found a battered, discarded trombone bigger than he was, Andrews finally had a real instrument to play, and he practiced day and night, acquiring the nickname Trombone Shorty from his older brother. The moment Bo Diddley pulled Andrews on stage to play with him during the New Orleans jazz festival was a turning point, and he hasn't stopped performing since. Collier's beautiful watercolor, pen-and-ink, and collage artwork picks up the rhythm and pace of Andrew's storytelling, creating an accompaniment full of motion and color. Each spread offers a visual panoply of texture, perspective, and angles, highlighting the people and the instruments. Andrews's career is still on the rise, his music gaining an ever wider audience, and this title will be an inspiration to many. VERDICT Coupled with a selection of Trombone Shorty's music, this work will make for fun and thoughtful story sharing. A must-have.-Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA © Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2016
Waiting
Book Jacket   Kevin Henkes
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062368430 PreS-K-Five toys sit on a windowsill, each waiting for something. There's an owl with spots waiting for the moon, a pig with the umbrella waiting for the rain, a bear with a kite waiting for the wind, and a puppy on a sled waiting for the snow. And then there's a "rabbit with stars," content to simply look out the window. With an economy of words and gently repeating patterns, the text informs readers about the emotional ups and downs of this tiny band of friends: what makes them happy (getting what they've waited for), what makes them sad (when one of them goes away), and what surprises them (gifts, visitors, new friends.) Along with happiness and friendship, there are small moments of grief, anxiety, and existential wonder-all thoughtfully and authentically depicted with childlike honesty and optimism. On thick, creamy pages, Henkes uses brown ink with touches of watercolor and colored pencil in muted shades of pink, green, and blue to depict the softly rounded figures, shown small before the expanse of the four-paned window. Henkes varies the compositions with vignettes and a four-page wordless sequence showing the beautiful (a rainbow, fireworks) and sometimes scary (lightning) sights that the toys observe from the vantage point of their windowsill. The careful placement of the text and images establishes a leisurely pace, encouraging readers and listeners to slow down, examine the pictures, and discuss. Are these sentient little beings or are they moved and posed by an unseen child? Henkes leaves it up to readers to determine. VERDICT Waiting further cements Henkes's place alongside picture book legends like Margaret Wise Brown, Crockett Johnson, and Ruth Krauss, through his lyrical text, uncluttered yet wondrously expressive illustrations, and utmost respect for the emotional life of young children.-Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780062368430 Waiting can make anyone feel helpless and frustrated, so the five toylike knickknacks in Henkes's (Penny and Her Marble) story should be at their collective wits' end. Perched on a windowsill, this odd, diminutive crew-a pig with an umbrella, a bear with a kite, a puppy attached to a sled, a rabbit on an accordion spring, and an owl-have little volition of their own ("Sometimes one or the other of them went away, but he or she always came back"). But while their lives are spent waiting, their existence seems full and rich with meaning. Waiting reinforces their sense of identity: the pig waits for the rain and when it comes, "the pig was happy. The umbrella kept her dry." Waiting also connects them to each other: looking out the window together, "they saw many wonderful, interesting things," like frost on the windowpane or a sky lit up with fireworks. Henkes never tells readers explicitly what he's up to, and several incidents are wide open to interpretation-and that's what makes this enigmatic, lovely book intriguing and inimitable. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062368430 *Starred Review* A pig with an umbrella, a spotted owl, a puppy on a sled, a bear holding a kite, and a rabbit with a long accordion body. These five little toys look out a tall window at nothing much, waiting. Pig waits for rain; Owl, the moon; Bear, the wind; Puppy, the snow; and Rabbit just waits. One day they are joined by a round wobble of a cat. She tumbles over and out come nested cats of decreasing size, who join the friends on the windowsill to wait and watch. Quiet yet evocative, this is a lovely melding of artwork, design, and text. The pictures, executed in a soft palette of brown ink, watercolors, and colored pencils, get a suitable home on buff-colored pages. The thoughtful design begins on the jacket, where the window, its panes accentuated by a shiny gloss, allows the toys to view clouds reflecting altered views of their own images: Pig's umbrella floats through the sky, while the staid owl soars with wings spread. The short sentences of the text flow with the precision one would expect from a master picture-book creator like Henkes. Little ones, to whom each experience is new, will know what it's like to dream and wait. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Caldecott medalist and Newbery Honor Book author Henkes is a favorite among librarians and booksellers (and, of course, children). Any new book will spark demand from his fans.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist
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2016
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement
 Carole Boston Weatherford
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763665319 Gr 6 Up-This welcome biography brings to light one of the civil rights movement's most inspiring leaders. The youngest of 20 children, Fannie Lou Hamer grew up in a family of sharecroppers in the Mississippi Delta. Forced to leave school after sixth grade, she joined the rest of her family in the fields picking cotton. Still hungry for knowledge, she found strength in the love of her family and through her Christian faith. Weatherford describes the hardships that Hamer endured. For instance, in 1961, while she was having a small tumor removed, a doctor performed a hysterectomy without her consent; at that time, Mississippi law allowed poor women to be sterilized without their knowledge. Hamer was in her 40s when young activists spoke at her church; until that point, she hadn't known that she could vote, and she volunteered to register. Though she faced threats and in 1963 was brutally beaten, she spent the rest of her life rallying others. Told in the first person from Hamer's own perspective, this lyrical text in verse emphasizes the activist's perseverance and courage, as she let her booming voice be heard. Holmes's beautiful, vibrant collage illustrations add detail and nuance, often depicting Hamer wearing yellow, which reflects her Sunflower County roots and her signature song, "This Little Light of Mine." Pair this title with Don Mitchell's The Freedom Summer Murders (Scholastic, 2014), which features a short chapter on Hamer, for a well-rounded look at this tumultuous, turbulent era. VERDICT Hamer's heroic life story should be widely known, and this well-crafted work should find a place in most libraries.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780763665319 *Starred Review* In this stunning biography of Fannie Lou Hamer, we walk beside her through tears and smiles on a remarkable journey of resilience and determination that leaves us transformed. The narrative is organized into a sequence of free-verse poems that stand alone as successfully as they link together. They describe what it was like to begin life under Jim Crow oppression and emerge a national hero. We learn that she cared for her aging mother, married, and adopted children; that she was forcibly sterilized, arrested, beaten, and most important, remained an activist her entire life. Caldecott Honor winner Weatherford (Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, 2006) has rendered Hamer's voice so precisely that it is like sitting at her knee as she tells her story. Holmes' multimedia collages perfectly capture the essence of each poem. Like Hamer's life, the illustrations are filled with light, texture, movement, and darkness. They are both abstract and realistic, brilliantly juxtaposing gentle floral motifs with protest placards and Fannie Lou Hamer's face in bold relief. Ultimately, though this is Hamer's story, it includes the collaborative struggles of others with whom she worked and fought for a different America. Bold, unapologetic, and beautiful.--Chaudhri, Amina Copyright 2015 Booklist
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2016
Last Stop on Market Street
 Matt De La Pena
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780399257742 Like still waters, de la Peña (A Nation's Hope) and Robinson's (Gaston) story runs deep. It finds beauty in unexpected places, explores the difference between what's fleeting and what lasts, acknowledges inequality, and testifies to the love shared by an African-American boy and his grandmother. On Sunday, CJ and Nana don't go home after church like everybody else. Instead, they wait for the Market Street bus. "How come we don't got a car?" CJ complains. Like many children his age, CJ is caught up in noticing what other people have and don't have; de la Peña handles these conversations with grace. "Boy, what do we need a car for?" she responds. "We got a bus that breathes fire, and old Mr. Dennis, who always has a trick for you." (The driver obliges by pulling a coin out of CJ's ear.) When CJ wishes for a fancy mobile music device like the one that two boys at the back of the bus share, Nana points out a passenger with a guitar. "You got the real live thing sitting across from you." The man begins to play, and CJ closes his eyes. "He was lost in the sound and the sound gave him the feeling of magic." When the song's over, the whole bus applauds, "even the boys in the back." Nana, readers begin to sense, brings people together wherever she goes. Robinson's paintings contribute to the story's embrace of simplicity. His folk-style figures come in a rainbow of shapes and sizes, his urban landscape accented with flying pigeons and the tracery of security gates and fire escapes. At last, CJ and Nana reach their destination-the neighborhood soup kitchen. Nana's ability to find "beautiful where he never even thought to look" begins to work on CJ as the two spot people they've come to know. "I'm glad we came," he tells her. Earlier, Nana says that life in the deteriorated neighborhood makes people "a better witness for what's beautiful." This story has the same effect. Ages 3-5. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399257742 K-Gr 2-After church on Sundays, CJ and his nana wait for the bus. It's a familiar routine, but this week CJ is feeling dissatisfied. As they travel to their destination, the boy asks a series of questions: "How come we gotta wait for the bus in all this wet?" "Nana, how come we don't got a car?" "How come we always gotta go here after church?" CJ is envious of kids with cars, iPods, and more freedom than he has. With each question, Nana points out something for CJ to appreciate about his life: "Boy, what do we need a car for? We got a bus that breathes fire." These gentle admonishments are phrased as questions or observations rather than direct answers so that CJ is able to take ownership of his feelings. After they exit the bus, CJ wonders why this part of town is so run-down, prompting Nana to reply, "Sometimes when you're surrounded by dirt, CJ, you're a better witness for what's beautiful." The urban setting is truly reflective, showing people with different skin colors, body types, abilities, ages, and classes in a natural and authentic manner. Robinson's flat, blocky illustrations are simple and well composed, seemingly spare but peppered with tiny, interesting details. Ultimately, their destination is a soup kitchen, and CJ is glad to be there. This is an excellent book that highlights less popular topics such as urban life, volunteerism, and thankfulness, with people of color as the main characters. A lovely title.-Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, MN (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780399257742 CJ and his nana depart church and make it to the bus stop just in time to avoid an oncoming rain shower. They board the bus, and while CJ is full of questions and complaints (why don't they have a car? why must they make this trip every week? and so forth), Nana's resolute responses articulate the glories of their rich, vibrant life in the city, as presented by the bus' passengers and passages. A tattooed man checks his cell phone. An older woman keeps butterflies in a jar. A musician tunes and plays his guitar. At last the pair arrive at the titular destination and proceed to the soup kitchen where, upon recognizing friendly faces, CJ is glad they came to help. Robinson's bright, simple, multicultural figures, with their rounded heads, boxy bodies, and friendly expressions, contrast nicely with de la Peña's lyrical language, establishing a unique tone that reflects both CJ's wonder and his nana's wisdom. The celebratory warmth is irresistible, offering a picture of community that resonates with harmony and diversity.--Barthelmess, Thom Copyright 2015 Booklist
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2015
The adventures of Beekle : the unimaginary friend
Book Jacket   Dan Santat
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316199988 On an island of imaginary friends waiting "to be picked by a child and given a special name," one friend-he's adorably pudgy, and wears a paper crown-resolves to wait no longer. He sets sail in a small boat, but the sea serpents and whales he encounters are not nearly as daunting as the real world, which is gray and pedestrian: "No kids were eating cake. No one stopped to hear the music." At last, his human appears: she's a geeky, mop-headed girl who likes to draw. A sweet sequence shows the two shifting and blushing next to each other; she turns to him with his new name: "Beekle." He's overjoyed. Santat (Crankenstein), a versatile and talented illustrator, ranges wide, drawing underwater ocean scenes, grim cityscapes, and appealing alien creatures. The third-person retelling weighs the story down somewhat-there's no conversation-and the pace drags as Beekle's search has more obstacles than it needs to. Affirming thoughts abound ("thinking about his friend gave him the courage to journey on"), but fans may miss the cracked humor of Santat's more irreverent work. Ages 3-6. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316199988 In this picture book, imaginary friends are born on a distant island, where they await their real-life kid friends to dream them up and name them. One surprisingly expressive pudgy white blob gets sick of waiting, so he hops in a boat and embarks on an adventurous voyage to the real world, departing on a sunny sea next to a rainbow-scaled dragon and arriving in a gray, dingy city harbor. Once he reaches his destination, a fortuitous breeze brings him to bespectacled Alice, who names him Beekle, and it's the beginning of a beautiful friendship. It's unclear why Beekle is so unimaginary, since the only thing that sets him apart is his initiative, but that's an easily forgivable quibble. Santat's plush illustrations fill each two-page spread with beautiful, varied layouts and a kaleidoscope of tones. Whether he's lost amid a sea of black pants-legs, lonely on top of a bare tree, or joyful at discovering the loopy, colorful world of vivacious children with vivid imaginations, Beekle's journey is lovely.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2014 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316199988 PreS-Gr 2-How long would you wait and how far a journey would you make to find your truest friend? Born on an island for imaginary friends, Beekle waits to be "imagined by a real child." He waits and he waits, but his turn never comes. Filled with impetuous courage, Beekle does the unimaginable and heads out across deep waters until he reaches the real world. He finds that life there is so harried that no one notices him. Eventually, as he waits at the top of a star-leafed tree, a small girl with a friendly face calls out to him with a picture in her hand. They learn to be friends, share adventures and snacks, joke, "and together they did the unimaginable." Santat's attention to detail in the mixed-media illustrations shares a child's eye for laughter and movement on full-bleed spreads with strategically placed text. Gazes of wonderment, broad smiles, and changes in perspective ensure an easy transition from page to page. Beekle's round white visage and taped orange paper crown are immediately identifiable in each scene, a sharp contrast to his surroundings against variations of dark neutrals on a city street or the brightly colored dragons of a child's imagination. Like Beekle's new friend, there's something here that feels just right as an "unimaginary" friendship creates a joyous, recognizable bond. A terrific addition to any library.-Mary Elam, Learning Media Services, Plano ISD, TX (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2015
Nana in the city
Book Jacket   by Lauren Castillo
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780544104433 When a little boy arrives in a big city to stay with Nana in her new apartment, he is overwhelmed and scared by the noise, the crowds, and the new experiences, from subway trains to panhandlers to graffiti. That next morning, though, he feels brave in the red cape Nana has knitted for him brave enough to venture out with her to explore. Now confident, he embraces new experiences and finds the city filled with extraordinary things! The short, simple text reads aloud well, and the watercolor artwork extends the narrative's tone and content beautifully. Strong, expressive black lines define the characters and settings, while autumn colors and interesting textures help bring the images to life. Children will want to linger over the busy urban scenes, discovering for themselves what might scare or excite the boy, while watching his body language convey his initial fears and his later engagement with all that he sees. A rewarding picture book with a vibrant setting.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2014 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780544104433 "I love my nana," a boy explains, "but I don't love the city." She greets him with a hug, but he's still nervous. "The city is busy," he says (crowds press in). "The city is loud" (a whistle shrieks). "The city is filled with scary things" (the boy shrinks from a homeless man holding out a cup). "It is no place for a nana to live," he concludes. While he sleeps, nana knits him a gift-a big red cape. A series of vignettes shows him wearing it the next morning, striking delighted poses. With new courage, the boy discovers a city he hasn't seen before-one full of life, wonder, and pretzels for homeless men: "It is the absolute perfect place for a nana to live," he decides. Castillo (The Troublemaker) examines childhood anxiety and the crucial love of grandparents with sensitivity, while her portraits of the city's challenges are honest and affectionate. It deserves a place on the shelf of classic New York City picture books. Ages 4-8. Agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780544104433 PreS-Gr 1-Nana's young grandson is excited about staying with her, but her new apartment is in the city, which, according to him, is "busy," "loud," and "filled with scary things." Nana, however, thinks the city is "bustling, booming, and extraordinary," and the next day, she takes him out to experience the sights and sounds for himself. Soon, the boy discovers that "busy" can be fun as he romps through Central Park, which is filled with people appreciating a fine fall day. "Loud" is actually enjoyable as he listens to street musicians and sees a fellow break-dancing to recorded music. By day's end, he comes to realize that the city is "filled with extraordinary things" and is "the absolute perfect place...to visit." While the child's account is related in brief text, the watercolor illustrations tell readers much more. They see him initially hang back as his grandmother leads him into the cavernous subway, hold hands over his ears and grimace at construction and traffic noises, and cling to Nana as a street person approaches her for money, which later becomes for him a friendly encounter when she offers the man a pretzel. Dark, graffiti-filled scenes change to a spread dominated by reds and yellows as the boy points in wonder to the lights, buildings, and bustle of the city at day's end. This is a fine example of how firsthand experience can overcome initial fear. Pair it with Lilian Moore's celebration of the city in Mural on Second Avenue (Turtleback, 2013).-Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2015
The noisy paint box : the colors and sounds of Kandinsky's abstract art
 by Barb Rosenstock ; illustrated by Mary GrandPre
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780307978486 Gr 1-4-A stirring tribute to a prominent pioneer of abstract art, Paintbox follows the life of Russian-born artist Vasya Kandinsky from his childhood to adulthood, conveying the astounding imagery conjured in the painter's (probably genetic) condition, synesthesia, which caused sensory fields to collide in explosions that enabled him, for example, to hear colors. In this delightful homage, Rosenstock's crisp visual language unites with GrandPre's deeply expressive and whimsical paintings to re-create the intriguing world of art as seen through Kandinsky's distinct lens. The book offers diverse potential for different types of study, whether one is reading for information or for pleasure. Outstanding.-Kathryn Diman, Bass Harbor Memorial Library, Bernard, ME (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780307978486 *Starred Review* Richly colored, large acrylic paint and paper collage pictures illustrate the life of Vasily Kandinsky, one of the first painters of abstract art. As a young boy, Vasya was given a paint box, and when he first mixed colors, he was amazed to find he could hear the colors he created. Throughout his early life, Kandinsky struggled to live as others expected but couldn't forget his exhilarating experiences with painting. Even after giving in and taking lessons, he was unable to suppress the need to create his own style of art. He would see colors and hear music, hear music and see colors. Art should make you feel. Like music. Narrow white frames surround the wonderfully dense illustrations that reveal the sounds the colors make to the artist. The rich word choice is a delight: pistachio, cobalt, and saffron introduce readers to colors while hissing, blaring, and whispering reveal the sounds of the colors. This not a full biography, but rather a revelation of a real and talented person striving to express himself and succeeding. The author's note and source list impart more information. This is a beautiful blend of colors, music, and life.--Owen, Maryann Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780307978486 "Is it a house?" "Is it a flower?" "What's it supposed to be?" When an aunt gives Moscow schoolboy Vasily Kandinsky a paint box, no one knows what to make of the wild shapes he creates. He doesn't just see the colors. He hears them: "blaring crimson... burbling green, clanging orange, and tinkling violet." Even after he gives up his career teaching law years later and decides to study art, his teachers steer him toward traditional subjects. He resists, and his works become the art world's first abstract paintings. Rosenstock (Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library) focuses on passages of Kandinsky's writing that seem to indicate he experienced synesthesia, the neurological phenomenon that blurs the boundaries between the senses, and her prose strikes a balance between lightheartedness and lyricism. GrandPre's (The Wee Hours) paintings, meanwhile, conjure up an entire epoch, lingering over the candelabras and tasseled drapes of the Kandinskys' apartment, breathing life into all the characters, and conveying the energy and vitality of the colors Kandinsky hears. Contains an afterword and reproductions of some of Kandinsky's works. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2015
Sam and dave dig a hole.
 Mac Barnett
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763662295 PreS-Gr 1-The winning picture book team that created Extra Yarn (HarperCollins, 2012) is back together in this understated, humorous, and charmingly perplexing tale. Sam and Dave, who are either identical twin boys or friends who look astonishingly alike and share a sartorial sensibility, set out to dig a hole in the hopes of finding "something spectacular." With shovels in hand, the boys (with an eager terrier looking on) begin to tunnel into the soil, but they just can't seem to find anything of interest. What works spectacularly is the clever play between words and pictures. As in Klassen's This Is Not My Hat (Candlewick, 2012), readers are in on a joke to which the characters are oblivious. Namely, that each time the boys change direction, they narrowly miss discovering increasingly enormous jewels hidden in the earth. The book progresses with each verso showing the boys' progress, while the recto features simple text, mostly dialogue between the practical but unlucky explorers. About halfway through, a spread reveals a diamond so large it can barely be contained on the page; it dwarfs the two boys and their trusty canine companion-but all for naught, since they decide to dig in a different direction. Exhausted and covered from head to toe in dirt, Sam and Dave decide to take a rest. Klassen's use of muted earth tones and uncomplicated compositions is paired well with Barnett's deadpan humor. As they nap in their hole, the dog continues to dig.until suddenly the trio is falling; they soon land in a place that looks an awful lot like home. Small details reveal that this house and its inhabitants are ever so slightly changed. Are they dreaming? On the other side of the world? In a different dimension? Readers will have to puzzle that one out for themselves.-Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780763662295 Sam and Dave, each wearing baseball caps and wielding long-handled shovels, set out to dig a hole. How big a hole? We won't stop digging until we find something spectacular, says Dave, so off they go, digging ever deeper while their little dog follows their progress. A cross section of their dig reveals that Sam and Dave come awfully close to their prize, but they keep digging and missing treasure until they decide to take a nap, during which they tumble right through the earth. Their landing sets them right back on safe ground though, and that, of course, is pretty spectacular. Klassen's pebbly, earth-toned, colored-pencil and digital illustrations of Sam and Dave's dig are exaggerated to comic effect, especially when coupled with Barnett's dry, simple text. Subtle visual clues (the final absence of dirt on Sam's and Dave's clothes; a closing house that's just slightly different from the opening one) suggest there's more to the story than meets the eye, and canny little ones will likely be delighted by the beguiling ending. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: From I Want My Hat Back (2011) to The Dark (2013), New York Times best-selling Klassen's titles have made him a star of the moment.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2014 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780763662295 Starred Review. Barnetts comic voice is at its driest as he recounts that quintessential American childhood activity-the digging of the giant hole. His deadpan prose mimics the declarative sentences of early readers: On Monday Sam and Dave dug a hole. When should we stop digging? asked Sam. We are on a mission, said Dave. Klassens boys, with identical poker faces and glassy expressions, hold their shovels American Gothic-style, considering their next move. Cross-sections of earth show them further and further down, and comic tension erupts as readers see gigantic diamonds buried at intervals underground while Sam and Dave tunnel on, missing every one: So Dave went one way, and Sam went another. But they didnt find anything spectacular. Meanwhile, their dogs pursuit of a small bone leads further downward, possibly through the Earth and out the other side. They land in their own backyard again-or do they? Barnett and Klassen (Extra Yarn) dangle the prospect of fantastic subterranean treasure before readers, but leave them with an even greater reward: a tantalizingly creepy and open-ended conclusion. Ages 4-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2015
Viva Frida!
Book Jacket   Yuyi Morales
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781596436039 Readers will recognize Morales's (Nino Wrestles the World) handmade Frida Kahlo doll from Kahlo's self-portraits-Morales's doll has the same haunting beauty and direct gaze, and she wears the same Mexican peasant clothing. In a series of composed photographs, Frida gazes at her pet monkey-another handmade creation-who slips the artist a key. The key opens a locked box, which holds a marionette, a jointed skeleton. Spare, lyrical text is set in English and, in fainter type, in Spanish, and each page turn reveals a new word or phrase. "Juego/ I play," Frida says, manipulating the marionette while the monkey sits on her shoulder. Now a paper cutout, Frida is shown dreaming, rescuing an injured fawn, then awakening, restored to doll form, as her husband-a plump, affectionate Diego Rivera-gives her a kiss on the cheek. "Vivo!" she says. "I live!" Frida is presented less as a historical figure than as an icon who represents the life Morales holds sacred; Frida lives because she loves and creates. A detailed biography is included. Ages 4-8. Agent: Charlotte Sheedy, Charlottte Sheedy Literary Agency. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781596436039 Gr 1 Up-Kahlo's unusual life story, background, and art have made her a frequent topic of biographies. Morales's perception of her creative process results in a fresh, winning take on an artist who has rarely been understood. The author uses strong verbs to give Kahlo voice: "I see (Veo)"; "Se (I know)." Kahlo is depicted as a self-possessed woman with a drive to create. Her artistic process has room for others to participate, though-love, imagination, and dreams are closely entangled in her art. In the illustrations, Diego Rivera is shown creating alongside his wife. While the artistic process seems magical to readers, Kahlo knows what she is searching for. Each spread has just one or two words on it, both in English and Spanish. The text floats on the page, with the Spanish in a lighter color, adding to the ethereal, dreamlike feel of the book. Morales's art and O'Meara's photographs take this book to another level. Created with stop-motion puppets, paintings, and digital elements, these are amazing works of art themselves. The puppets are lifelike, resembling Kahlo (with her unibrow) and Rivera accurately. They are surrounded by the animals Kahlo loved, including vibrant feathered parrots, a monkey, and dog. Throughout the book, Kahlo goes searching for inspiration and finds it all around her. Morales incorporates many of the hallmarks of Kahlo's art into her own. The artist wears silver, open-hand earrings and multicolored dresses. She plays with a skeleton puppet on these pages and imagines herself soaring, freed from her fragile body. Morales's note in both English and Spanish describes her connection with Kahlo. A resonant title that can be used anywhere Kahlo's art is studied. It will also be admired in bilingual collections.-Susan E. Murray, formerly at Glendale Public Library, AZ (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781596436039 Morales artistically distills the essence of the remarkable Frida Kahlo in this esoteric, multigenre picture book. Morales layers English and Spanish words never more than four to a page to depict a Frida who is curious, playful, wise, and inspired. Rather than tell a story, the text captures fragments of Frida's life, like snapshots with bilingual captions. Readers who know about this artist will appreciate that she is so much more than the product of the bus accident that robbed her of her health, and readers who do not know about her will be intrigued to learn more. The heartfelt yet succinct biography at the end provides that information in both languages. The three-dimensional quality of the illustrations lends realism, even though they are quite surreal, and the photography always captures the sparkle in Frida's eyes and the lights at any fiesta. While the picture-book format and bright photographed tableaux will appeal to a younger audience, it's slightly older readers who will be best suited to appreciate the deceptively simple text and references to Kahlo's art.--Chaudhri, Amina Copyright 2014 Booklist
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2015
The right word : Roget and his thesaurus
Book Jacket   by Jen Bryant ; illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780802853851 *Starred Review* Bryant's and Sweet's talents combine to make the lowly thesaurus fascinating in this beautifully illustrated picture-book biography of Peter Mark Roget. Born in the late eighteenth century, shy Roget was prone to wandering alone and began keeping lists of words at a young age. Even as he went to medical school and became a talented and respected physician, he still kept his book of word lists, gradually improving on the concept until he published his first thesaurus, classified thematically rather than alphabetically as it is today, in 1852. Echoing Roget's obsession with words, Sweet's intricate and elaborate collage illustrations made out of textbooks, graph paper, maps, fabric, typewriter keys, and other found objects put words on center stage. Lists in wildly expressive handwritten fonts along with cut-paper assemblages stuff the dynamic pages, even the appended time line and endpapers, with arresting detail. Pivotal moments in Roget's life get a similar treatment: terms related to plants bloom in tendrils around a watercolor illustration of Roget on one of his many walks. In brilliant pages teeming with enthusiasm for language and learning, Bryant and Sweet (A Splash of Red, 2013) joyfully celebrate curiosity, the love of knowledge, and the power of words.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2014 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780802853851 The award-winning team behind A River of Words takes on the story of British physician Peter Mark Roget, author of the eponymous thesaurus. Bryant draws a clear line from the dislocations of Roget's youth-the death of his father in 1783 and the family's frequent moves thereafter-to his need for order as he starts making lists of words. "Words, Peter learned, were powerful things. And when he put them into long, neat rows, he felt as if the world itself clicked into order." Yet Roget wasn't merely a reclusive scholar. He meant for his thesaurus to have a democratizing effect: "I want everyone to be able to use my word book, not just doctors, politicians, and lawyers, but cobblers, fishmongers, and factory workers." Sweet envisions Roget's work as a shadow box crammed with the wonders of the natural world, adorned with exuberant hand-lettered typography. Together with Bryant's sympathetic account, Sweet's gentle riot of images and words humanizes the man behind this ubiquitous reference work and demystifies the thesaurus itself. Ages 7-up. Author's agent: Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Trident Media Group. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780802853851 Gr 2-5-Those who have relied upon a thesaurus (meaning treasure house in Greek), either in print or through the tool menu of word processing software, will gain a greater appreciation for the reference tool in this beautifully designed picture book biography of its creator, Peter Roget. Bryant describes bibliophile Roget, taking him from a timid, studious child who was always compiling lists to an accomplished doctor who by 1805 had compiled the beginnings of the first thesaurus. Busy and exuberant, Sweet's charming watercolor illustrations, layered over collages of vintage images and fonts, capture Roget's passion for classification while also providing readers new opportunities for discovery (Latin translations of animal names, mathematical terms, and a plethora of synonyms). Expertly researched and well written, Bryant's narrative not only details the creation of the thesaurus; it also conveys a sense of Roget the man: his shy nature, his keen intelligence, and his passion for knowledge. There truly was a particular blend of artistry and intellect that went into Roget's book, as evidenced from a reproduced page from the original thesaurus. The book contains extensive back matter, including an incredibly detailed time line that goes into the man's other inventions (the slide rule, the pocket chess set) and an author and illustrator's note, as well as Roget quotations that are sure to inspire if not a love of language then at least a search for the perfect turn of phrase. An excellent illustrated biography.-Joanna K. Fabicon, Los Angeles Public Library (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2015
This one summer
 Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781596437746 Rose and Windy, friends for two weeks every summer in nearby Ontario lake cottages, have hit early adolescence. Rose, a bit older, has knowledge and polish that tubby, still-childish Windy lacks, and Windy sometimes bores her. Yet Windy's instincts are often sound, while Rose is led astray by an infatuation with a local convenience store clerk. As Rose's parents' marriage founders and the taunts of local teens wake her to issues of social class, Rose veers between secret grief and fleeting pleasure in the rituals of summer. Jillian Tamaki's exceptionally graceful line is one of the strengths of this work from the cousin duo behind Skim. Printed entirely in somber blue ink, the illustrations powerfully evoke the densely wooded beach town setting and the emotional freight carried by characters at critical moments, including several confronting their womanhood in different and painful ways. Fine characterization and sensitive prose distinguish the story, too-as when Rose remembers the wisdom a swimming teacher shared about holding his breath for minutes at a time: "He told me the secret was he would tell himself that he was actually breathing." Ages 12-up. Agent: Sam Hiyate, the Rights Factory. (May)? (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2014
Locomotive
 Brian Floca
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781416994152 *Starred Review* Floca follows up the acclaimed Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 (2009) with this ebullient, breathtaking look at a family's 1869 journey from Omaha to Sacramento via the newly completed Transcontinental Railroad. The unnamed family is a launching point for Floca's irrepressible exploration into, well, everything about early rail travel, from crew responsibilities and machinery specifics to the sensory thrills of a bridge rumbling beneath and the wind blasting into your face. The substantial text is delivered in nonrhyming stanzas as enlightening as they are poetic: the smoke and cinders, / ash and sweat of the coal engine and the Great Plains stretching out empty as an ocean. Blasting through these artful compositions are the bellows of the conductor ( FULL STEAM AHEAD ) and the scream of the train whistle, so loud that it bleeds off the page: WHOOOOOOO! Font styles swap restlessly to best embody each noise (see the blunt, bold SPIT versus the ornate, ballooning HUFF HUFF HUFF ). Just as heart pounding are Floca's bold, detailed watercolors, which swap massive close-ups of barreling locomotives with sweeping bird's-eye views that show how even these metal giants were dwarfed by nature. It's impossible to turn a page without learning something, but it's these multiple wow moments that will knock readers from their chairs. Fantastic opening and closing notes make this the book for young train enthusiasts.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781416994152 In 1869, not long after the golden spike is driven into the rails at Promontory Summit, a mother and her two children climb aboard the Transcontinental Railroad, leaving behind their old life in Omaha for a new one in California, where Papa awaits. Floca (Moonshot) chronicles their journey from multiple perspectives: documentarian, poet, historian, tour guide, and irrepressible railroad geek. With the rhythmic, verselike text that's become his signature; expressive typography; and handsome, detailed watercolor, ink, and gouache paintings, he celebrates the majestic (the passing western landscape), the marvelous (the engineering and sheer manpower required to keep the engine safely on its course), and the mundane, from the primitiveness of the toilets to the iffiness of depot food ("If the chicken/ tastes like prairie dog,/ don't ask why"). It's a magisterial work (even the endpapers command close reading), but always approachable in its artistry and erudition. And readers will come away understanding that the railroad wasn't just about getting a group of passengers from Point A to Point B; it carried an entire nation into a new, more rapid world: "Faster, faster, turn the wheels,/ faster, faster breathes the engine!/ The country runs by, the cottonwoods and river./ Westward, westward,/ runs the train,/ through the prairies,/ to the Great Plains,/ on to the frontier." Ages 4-10. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781416994152 Gr 3-5-It all started with "a new road of rails/made for people to ride" where "covered wagons used to crawl." Almost 150 years ago-just after the Civil War-the completion of the transcontinental railway radically changed both this country's landscape and the opportunities of its people. The book traces the advent of cross-country train travel, focusing on an early trip from Omaha to Sacramento. As in Moonshot (2009) and Lightship (2007, both S & S), Floca proves himself masterful with words, art, and ideas. The book's large format offers space for a robust story in a hefty package of information. Set in well-paced blank verse, the text begins with a quick sketch of "how this road was built" and moves abruptly to the passengers on the platform and the approaching train. The author smoothly integrates descriptions of the structure and mechanics of the locomotive, tasks of crew members, passing landscapes, and experiences of passengers. Simply sketched people and backgrounds, striking views of the locomotive, and broad scenes of unpopulated terrain are framed in small vignettes or sweep across the page. Though a bit technical in explaining engine parts, the travelogue scheme will read aloud nicely and also offers absorbing details for leisurely personal reading. Substantial introductory and concluding sections serve older readers. There's also a detailed explanation of the author's efforts and sources in exploring his subject. Train buffs and history fans of many ages will find much to savor in this gorgeously rendered and intelligent effort.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2014
Journey
Book Jacket   Aaron Becker
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780763660536 *Starred Review* First-time author Becker sweeps readers away on the very best kind of journey, allowing a complex color scheme, intricate fantasy environments, and a stirring sense of adventure to tell the story without a single word. Worn out by an urban world of washed-out colors and too-busy adults, a young girl makes her escape through a slightly foreboding mystical forest and floats into a city-sized castle, where she spies a magnificent bird that is captured and caged. Without hesitation, she takes on an army of Samurai-like air-warlords and saves the bird, who ushers her back into her own world, where friendship and great new adventure await. Becker's background in movie animation is apparent in his sense of pace, motion, and action; his extraordinary detail work; and his sharp visual cues: objects of imagination and escape, for example, are all colored in blazing red. But through elements that reverberate with the power of Crockett Johnson's Harold and the Purple Crayon (1955), Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are (1963), and Barbara Lehman's The Red Book (2004), he clearly has a deep understanding of his literary antecedents, too. Laudable for its adventuresome female protagonist, scope, and sense of fun, this title will draw girls and boys back to it again and again.--Karp, Jesse Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780763660536 Becker develops concepts for film studios, and his wordless picture book debut reads like a cinematic tribute to Harold and the Purple Crayon. Drab sepia drawings introduce a lonely girl whose afternoon is jolted into life (and full color) when she uses a piece of red chalk to draw a door on her wall, walking through it into a lantern-lit forest with a winding river. Drawing a red boat, she drifts toward a breathtaking castle city whose gleaming turrets and domes promise adventure and intrigue. Yet she does not linger-she draws a hot-air balloon, takes to the air, and encounters a squadron of magnificent, steampunk-style airships manned by soldiers who have trapped a phoenix-like bird. Her release of the bird earns the ire of the airmen, the bird in turn rescues her, and a clever resolution leads the girl to a friend with his own magic chalk. Wonder mixes with longing as the myriad possibilities offered by Becker's stunning settings dwarf what actually happens in the story. Readers will be both dazzled and spurred on imagined travels of their own. Ages 4-8. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763660536 Gr 1-4-In this auspicious debut picture book, a lonely girl escapes the boredom of a sepia-toned world by drawing a doorway to a magical realm. Harkening back to Crockett Johnson's Harold, this child uses a red crayon and a lot of imagination to venture across a Venice-like kingdom, fly among a fleet of steampunk airships, and take off on a magic carpet ride. When an act of compassion and bravery lands the heroine in a cage, it's her magic crayon and a bit of help from a new friend that save the day. This captivating wordless story has all the elements of a classic adventure: unknown lands, death-defying stunts, and a plucky lead. Finely detailed pen-and-ink line drawings combine with luminous washes of watercolor to create a rich and enchanting setting. Becker builds a sense of suspense by varying colorful full-page spreads with smaller vignettes that feature the girl and her red crayon surrounded by ample white space. The final page shows the youngster and her new friend riding a tandem bicycle pointing onward. Endpapers spotlight all manner of transportation: ships, trains, cars, and even space shuttles. The strong visual narrative makes this an appealing choice for a wide range of ages. By the turn of the last page, children will immediately begin imagining the next adventure.-Kiera Parrott, Darien Library, CT (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2014
Flora and the Flamingo
Book Jacket   Molly Idle
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781452110066 Without providing a backstory for the eponymous pair's curious meeting, Idle (Nighty Night, Noah) imagines a wordless encounter between a lithe, sultry flamingo and a pudgy little girl in a bathing suit, swim cap, and flippers. The call-and-response nature of their dance-the flamingo poses in a series of sinuous movements on the left, Flora does her awkward best to mimic them on the right-produces a series of beautifully lighthearted tableaus. At first, Flora models her movements on the flamingo's, unbeknownst to the bird. A series of stumbles draws a sharp reaction from the flamingo and a sulk from Flora, but the flamingo relents and the two collaborate on a graceful duet that ends with a joyous flourish. Inset flaps add drama by revealing new poses, and Idle's crisp, confident drafting produces a reading experience akin to flipping through a series of animation cells. There's an undertone of a growing-up story, too, as Flora almost seems to shed childhood self-consciousness and take her first tentative steps into womanhood. It's seamless and dynamic visual storytelling. Ages 3-up. Agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781452110066 PreS-Gr 2-This charming story begs to be an animated short-unsurprising, given the author's animation background-yet it works remarkably well as a wordless lift-the-flap book. Sparely illustrated, its full-spread white backgrounds with delicate pink-blossom borders emphasize the actions of the two protagonists. A lone flamingo lands onto the nearly blank expanse of the title page. Soon, it is joined by little Flora, who provides a sweetly round counterpoint to the angular bird. She furtively imitates the flamingo's moves with utmost concentration and extremely comical poses until it catches on and squawks angrily, driving her away in a sulk. Friendship triumphs in the end, and the unlikely couple dance together and joyously cannonball into water on the last double foldout page. As neither flamingos nor little girls are known for their inherent elegance, the duo's surprisingly graceful moves are reminiscent of dancing hippos and ostriches from Disney's Fantasia. This delightful romp is a worthy addition to most collections and will appeal to flamingo and ballet fans alike.-Yelena Alekseyeva-Popova, formerly at Chappaqua Library, NY (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2014
Mr. Wuffles!
 David Wiesner
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780618756612 K-Gr 4-Mr. Wuffles ignores all his fancy cat toys. Still sporting price tags, they line the hallway as he strolls by. But resting quietly among the feathers, balls, and mice is a tiny metal spaceship, and this catches his attention. His playful batting knocks around the alien explorers inside, causing bumps but no injuries. The ship's flying disks do not survive, however, and the aliens set out to explore the house and repair their craft. Barely escaping Mr. Wuffles's claws, they dash behind the radiator and discover primitive art of the cat's previous battles and make friends with the house's insects. The bugs help the aliens repair the spaceship, avoid capture, and fly away. Nearly wordless, the story is told through pictures and the languages of the ants and aliens, depicted by dashes and symbols. The book is fairly complex, best suited for elementary students, who will enjoy decoding the aliens' cryptographic alphabet. Wiesner humorously captures the curiosity and confusion of Mr. Wuffles and his human, who remains oblivious to the drama underfoot. The idea of a separate, tiny world next to ours makes a great premise, and Wiesner's engaging art and lively pacing carry the day. Visual storytelling at its best.-Suzanne Myers Harold, Multnomah County Library System, Portland, OR (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780618756612 Mr. Wuffles, a handsome black cat with white paws and an arrogant air, couldn't care less about the many toys purchased for his amusement. But he homes in on a metal object (imagine two doll-size colanders soldered shut), imperiling the tiny green aliens inside. Mr. Wuffles bats their spaceship about playfully, damaging it, and in a daring move, the aliens break for safety under the radiator. Wiesner constructs his story in a mix of full spreads and comics-style panels. Though the artwork, done in watercolor and India ink, is superbly colored and composed, the most inventive aspect of the story may be the hieroglyphic language the three-time Caldecott Medalist has invented for his aliens: this is a nearly wordless book full of dialogue no one (excepting maybe Wiesner) will know how to speak aloud. The aliens succeed in befriending the insects that live within the walls of the house, and together they concoct a plan to outwit Mr. Wuffles-yes, humans aren't even a factor in this story of extraterrestrial first contact. Wiesner once again produces a fantasy adventure that isn't like anything else around. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780618756612 *Starred Review* Once again Wiesner dips into his irrepressible imagination to deliver a mostly wordless conceptual picture book where the mundane and the magical collide. Mr. Wuffles, an aloof, perspicacious black cat, takes no interest in his playthings, save one peculiar toy that looks something like a hobnail tea strainer. Closer inspection, like only Wiesner can provide, reveals that it is a miniature alien spacecraft experiencing mechanical trouble. Its little green passengers evade Mr. Wuffles and retreat to a hole beneath the radiator, where they discover a series of cave paintings immortalizing battles between the cat and troops of ants and ladybugs. The aliens and the bugs join forces and, speaking in rectangular pictographic word balloons (that some readers will thrill to decipher), hatch a plan to repair the spaceship, foil the feline, and return home. The drama plays out across long, low panels full of kinetic energy and comic detail, all captured in the artist's careful watercolor renderings. In the end, the mission is successful and the aliens escape, but not without leaving behind a few reminders of their visit and an updated record of the epic conflict on the inner wall. Wiesner's many fans will delight at poring over the detailed account of this master plan, again and again, discovering something new with each successive reading. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Wiesner is a three-time Caldecott winner. Three. Fans will be ready to pounce.--Barthelmess, Thom Copyright 2010 Booklist
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2013
This Is Not My Hat
 Jon Klassen
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763655990 PreS-Gr 1-With this new creation, Klassen repeats the theme from I Want My Hat Back (Candlewick, 2011), but with a twist. The narrator here is the thief-a small, self-confident fish who has pilfered a little blue bowler from a big sleeping fish. He wastes no time or words in confessing his crime as he swims across the page announcing, "This hat is not mine. I just stole it." He continues his narrative with no regrets, but with a bit of rationalizing ("It was too small for him anyway.") as he swims to his hiding place, unaware that the big fish is in quiet pursuit. Readers, of course, are in on this little secret. When the two disappear into a spread filled with seaweed, the narration goes silent, and youngsters can easily surmise what happens as the big fish reemerges with the tiny blue bowler atop his head. Simplicity is key in both text and illustrations. The black underwater provides the perfect background for the mostly gray-toned fish and seaweed while the monochromatic palette strips the artwork down to essential, yet exquisite design. Movement is indicated with a trail of small white bubbles. This not-to-be-missed title will delight children again and again.-Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County, Cincinnati, OH (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763655990 K-Gr 3-The narrative tension between text and art is as crystalline as the water at the bottom of the sea is murky in this tale of underwater mischief. The little fish in the stolen hat is absolutely sure he is going to get away with his crime, but attentive children will holler, "Look behind you!" (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780763655990 *Starred Review* Klassen's authorial debut, I Want My Hat Back (2011), became one of the surprise picture-book hits of the year. This follow-up is really only related in its hat-theft theme, animal characters, deadpan humor, and a suggestively dark conclusion. Which might seem like everything, but whereas the first book featured light sleuthing by a semi-dopey bear looking to find his lost lid, this is a similar story from a fishy absconder's point of view. This hat is not mine. I just stole it, claims a minnow darting through the deep-sea black. He tells how he lifted it from a bigger fish. At each stage, the minnow reassures himself that he's gotten away with his perfect crime. We see it ain't so, as the big fish trolls along right behind him, right down to the minnow's final, prophetic double entendre: Nobody will ever find me. Once again, the simple, dramatic tension and macabre humor mesh splendidly with Klassen's knack for tiny, telling details and knockout page turns. Who knew hat thievery was such a bottomless well? HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Klassen's debut was a #1 New York Times best-seller and Geisel Honor Book. The publisher is rolling out a 15-city tour and pulling out all the publicity stops in support of this release.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780763655990 Like Klassen's very funny and much-praised I Want My Hat Back, this story involves a hat theft; this time, Klassen ups the ante by having the thief narrate. It's a small gray fish who has stolen a tiny bowler hat from a much larger fish ("It was too small for him anyway," the little fish sniffs. "It fits me just right"). Klassen excels at using pictures to tell the parts of the story his unreliable narrators omit or evade. "There is someone who saw me already," admits the little fish, about a goggle-eyed crab. "But he said he wouldn't tell anyone which way I went. So I am not worried about that." The spread tells another story; the crab betrays the small fish in a heartbeat, pointing to its hiding place, "where the plants are big and tall and close together." Readers hope for the best, but after the big fish darts in, only one of them emerges, sporting the hat. It's no surprise that the dominant color of the spreads is black. Tough times call for tough picture books. Ages 4-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2012
A Ball for Daisy
Book Jacket   Chris Raschka
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780375858611 This story about loss (and joy) is accomplished without a single word, which is perfect it puts you directly in the head space of its canine protagonist. The title tells us her name is Daisy, but she is a pretty anonymous little thing, drawn by Raschka as just a few indistinct yet somehow expressive squiggly lines. What's clear is that she loves playing with her ball, both indoors and out, until the fateful moment that another dog bites too hard on the ball and deflates it. In a heartaching series of nearly identical paintings, Daisy slumps into a sofa as depression overtakes her. Dogs, of course, don't know that there are more balls in the world, which makes her glee at the end of the book all the sweeter. Raschka uses fairly sophisticated comic-book arrangements long, narrow, horizontal panels, and so forth but masks them with soft watercolor edges instead of sharp corners. The result feels like something of pure emotion. Pretty close approximation of what it's like to be a dog, probably.--Kraus, Danie. Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780375858611 PreS-Gr 2-A gray-and-white pup and her red ball are constant companions until a poodle inadvertently deflates the toy, taking the air out of Daisy as well. Raschka's nuanced illustrations brilliantly depict joy, shock, disbelief, sadness-and, with the gift of a blue ball-renewed contentment. (Aug.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780375858611 PreS-Gr 2-Ever the minimalist, Raschka continues to experiment with what is essential to express the daily joys and tribulations of humans and animals. This wordless story features Daisy, a dog. The motion lines framing her tail on the first page indicate that a big red ball is her chief source of delight. Ever-changing, curvy gray brushstrokes, assisted by washes of watercolor, define her body and mood. Blue and yellow surround her ecstatic prance to the park with toy and owner. The story's climax involves another dog joining the game, but chomping too hard, deflating the beloved ball. A purple cloud moves in, and eight squares fill a spread, each surrounding the protagonist with an atmosphere progressing from yellow to lavender to brown as the canine processes what has occurred; a Rothko retrospective could not be more moving. Until that point, the action has occurred within varying page designs, many showing Daisy's shifting sentiments in four vertical or horizontal panels. Her attentive human's legs are glimpsed frequently, a sunny child whose warmth is transferred in comforting full view at bedtime. When another day dawns, the frisky dog's person proffers a blue surprise; the exuberance at having a ball and a friend is barely containable across two pages. Raschka's genius lies in capturing the essence of situations that are deeply felt by children. They know how easy it is to cause an accident and will feel great relief at absorbing a way to repair damage.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2011
A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Book Jacket   Philip C. Stead
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781596434028 Zookeeper Amos McGee always makes time to visit his good friends at work: he plays chess with the elephant, runs races with the tortoise (who always wins), sits quietly with the penguin, lends a handkerchief to the rhinoceros (who has a runny nose), and reads stories to the owl (who is afraid of the dark). Then, after Amos gets a cold, his friends miss him, and they leave the zoo and ride the bus to his place to care for him and cheer him up. Like the story, the quiet pictures, rendered in pencil and woodblock color prints, are both tender and hilarious. Each scene captures the drama of Amos and the creatures caring for each other, whether the elephant is contemplating his chess moves, his huge behind perched on a stool; or the rhinoceros is lending Amos a handkerchief; or the owl is reading them all a bedtime story. The extension of the familiar pet-bonding theme will have great appeal, especially in the final images of the wild creatures snuggled up with Amos in his cozy home.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781596434028 With quiet affection, this husband-and-wife team tells the story of a zookeeper whose devotion is repaid when he falls ill. On most days, the angular, elderly Amos rides the bus to the zoo, plays chess with the elephant ("who thought and thought before making a move"), sits quietly with the penguin, and spends time with his other animal friends. But when Amos catches a cold, the animals ride the bus to pay him a visit, each, in a charming turnabout, doing for Amos whatever he usually does for them. The elephant sets up the chessboard; the shy penguin sits on the bed, "keeping Amos's feet warm." Newcomer Erin Stead's elegant woodblock prints, breathtaking in their delicacy, contribute to the story's tranquility and draw subtle elements to viewers' attention: the grain of the woodblocks themselves, Amos's handsome peacock feather coverlet. Every face-Amos's as well as the animals'-brims with personality. Philip Stead's (Creamed Tuna Fish and Peas on Toast) narrative moves with deliberate speed, dreaming up a joyous life for the sort of man likely to be passed on the street without a thought. Ages 2-6. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781596434028 K-Gr 2-Amos McGee, an elderly man who works at the zoo, finds time each day for five special friends. With empathy and understanding he gives the elephant, tortoise, penguin, rhinoceros, and owl the attention they need. One morning, Amos wakes up with a bad cold and stays home in bed. His friends wait patiently and then leave the zoo to visit him. Their trip mirrors his daily bus ride to the zoo and spans three nearly wordless spreads. Amos, sitting up in bed, clasps his hands in delight when his friends arrive. The elephant plays chess with him, and the tortoise plays hide-and-seek. The penguin keeps Amos's feet warm, while the rhinoceros offers a handkerchief when Amos sneezes. They all share a pot of tea. Then the owl, knowing that Amos is afraid of the dark, reads a bedtime story as the other animals listen. They all sleep in Amos's room the rest of the night. The artwork in this quiet tale of good deeds rewarded uses woodblock-printing techniques, soft flat colors, and occasional bits of red. Illustrations are positioned on the white space to move the tale along and underscore the bonds of friendship and loyalty. Whether read individually or shared, this gentle story will resonate with youngsters.-Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2010
The Lion the Mouse
 Jerry Pinkney
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316013567 Other than some squeaks, hoots and one enormous roar, Pinkney's (Little Red Riding Hood) interpretation of Aesop's fable is wordless-as is its striking cover, which features only a head-on portrait of the lion's face. Mottled, tawny illustrations show a mouse unwittingly taking refuge on a lion's back as it scurries away from an owl. The large beast grabs and then releases the tiny creature, who later frees the lion who has become tangled in a hunter's snare. Pinkney enriches this classic tale of friendship with another universal theme-family-affectingly illustrated in several scenes as well as in the back endpapers, which show the lion walking with his mate and cubs as the mouse and her brood ride on his back. Pinkney's artist's note explains that he set the book in Africa's Serengeti, "with its wide horizon and abundant wildlife so awesome yet fragile-not unlike the two sides of each of the heroes." Additional African species grace splendid panoramas that balance the many finely detailed, closeup images of the protagonists. Pinkney has no need for words; his art speaks eloquently for itself. Ages 3-6. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316013567 PreS-Gr 3-The African Serengeti forms the backdrop for a lion that captures a rodent and-for reasons left for readers to ponder-releases it. His decision is rewarded, and the value of even the smallest creature is recognized in this stunning Caldecott winner rendered in expressive watercolors. A visual feast. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316013567 PreS-Gr 3-This story starts on the cover with the glorious, golden countenance of a lion. No text is necessary to communicate the title: the direction of the beast's gaze and the conflicted expression on his tightly cropped face compel readers to turn the book over, where a mouse, almost filling the vertical space, glances back. The endpapers and artist's note place these creatures among the animal families of the African Serengeti. Each spread contributes something new in this nearly wordless narrative, including the title opening, on which the watchful rodent pauses, resting in one of the large footprints that marches across the gutter. In some scenes, Pinkney's luminous art, rendered in watercolor and colored pencil, suggests a natural harmony, as when the cool blues of the sky are mirrored in the rocks and acacia tree. In other compositions, a cream-colored background focuses attention on the exquisitely detailed and nuanced forms of the two main characters. Varied perspectives and the judicious use of panels create interest and indicate time. Sounds are used sparingly and purposefully-an owl's hoot to hint at offstage danger or an anguished roar to alert the mouse of the lion's entrapment. Contrast this version with Pinkney's traditional treatment of the same story (complete with moral) in Aesop's Fables (North-South, 2000). The ambiguity that results from the lack of words in this version allows for a slower, subtle, and ultimately more satisfying read. Moments of humor and affection complement the drama. A classic tale from a consummate artist.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316013567 *Starred Review* The intricate lion's face that crowds the cover of Pinkney's latest folktale adaptation is unaccompanied by any title or credits, and that is entirely appropriate there are no words inside, either. Through illustration alone Pinkney relates the well-known Aesop fable of the mouse who is captured by a lion, only to be unexpectedly released. Then, when the lion finds himself trapped by hunters, it is the mouse who rescues him by gnawing through the twine. Pinkney bends his no-word rule a bit with a few noises that are worked into the art ( Screeeech when an owl dives; Putt-Putt-Putt when the hunters' jeep arrives), but these transgressions will only encourage young listeners to get involved with read-along sessions. And involved they will be how could they not get drawn into watercolors of such detail and splendor? Pinkney's soft, multihued strokes make everything in the jungle seem alive, right down to the rocks, as he bleeds color to indicate movement, for instance, when the lion falls free from the net. His luxuriant use of close-ups humanizes his animal characters without idealizing them, and that's no mean feat. In a closing artist's note, Pinkney talks about his choice to forgo text.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2009 Booklist
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2009
The House in the Night
 Susan Marie Swansonk
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780618862443 PreS-Gr 1-Inspired by traditional cumulative poetry, Swanson weaves a soothing song that is as luminescent and soulful as the gorgeous illustrations that accompany her words. A journey both humble and epic begins with a key to a house. "Here is the key to the house./In the house burns a light./In that light rests a bed-." In the bedroom of the house, a girl reads a book in which a bird "breathes a song-all about the starry dark." Swanson's poem then takes readers on a flight across the night sky to the realm of the moon and sun, then back along the path to the key that marked the beginning of the journey. Krommes's folk-style black-and-white etchings with touches of yellow-orange make the world of the poem an enchanted place. Patches of light and shadow give shape to the darkness, while smiling celestial bodies populate the potentially lonely night with their friendly warmth. This picture book will make a strong impression on listeners making their first acquaintance with literature. It is a masterpiece that has all the hallmarks of a classic that will be loved for generations to come.-Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780618862443 *Starred Review* A young girl is given a golden key to a house. In the house / burns a light. / In that light / rests a bed. On that bed / waits a book. And so continues this simple text, which describes sometimes fantastical pleasures as a bird from the book spirits the child through the starry sky to a wise-faced moon. The cumulative tale is a familiar picture-book conceit; the difference in success comes from the artwork. Here, the art is spectacular. Executed in scratchboard decorated in droplets of gold, Krommes' illustrations expand on Swanson's reassuring story (inspired by a nursery rhyme that begins, This is the key of the kingdom ) to create a world as cozy inside the house as it is majestic outside. The two-page spread depicting rolling meadows beyond the home, dotted with trees, houses, barns, and road meeting the inky sky, is mesmerizing. The use of gold is especially effective, coloring the stars and a knowing moon, all surrounded with black-and-white halos. A beautiful piece of bookmaking that will delight both parents and children.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2008 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780618862443 Using only a few graceful words per page to illuminate the dark, this bedtime gem shines its light clearly on things that matter--a home filled with books, art, music and ever-present love. Krommes's (The Lamp, the Ice, and a Boat Called Fish) astonishing illustrations are so closely intertwined with the meticulous text that neither can be isolated without a loss of meaning. The book begins, intriguingly, "Here is the key to the house./ In the house burns a light./ In that light rests a bed./ On that bed waits a book." That book takes the child reader up into the skies and back home again, to sleep ("dark in the song, song in the bird, / bird in the book, book on the bed"). Krommes's black-and-white scratchboard illustrations are as delicate and elegant as snowflakes, and she uses a single color, a marigold, to bring warmth to both home and stars. This volume's artful simplicity, homely wisdom and quiet tone demonstrate the interconnected beauty and order of the world in a way that both children and adults will treasure. Ages 3-6. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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2008
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Book Jacket   Brian Selznick
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780545003636 Selznick's unique, visually arresting illustrated novel is transformed into an equally unique audiobook-plus-DVD presentation here. The story of 12-year-old Hugo Cabret-orphan, clockmaker's apprentice, petty thief and aspiring magician-and how a curious machine connects him with his departed father and pioneering French filmmaker Georges Melies is full-bodied material for Woodman. The narrator dives in, reading with both a bright energy and an air of mystery-befitting the adventurous plot. Listeners will likely cotton to Woodman's affable tone and be fascinated by all the unusual elements here, including the sound-effects sequences (footsteps, train station noises) that stand in for Selznick's black-and-white illustrations, which appear like mini-silent movies in the book. Selznick himself takes over as host on the making-of style DVD, in which he divulges his love of film and his inspiration for the book, discusses (and demonstrates) his drawing technique and even performs a magic trick. The "chapters" of his interview are interspersed with excerpts from the audiobook, as he explains how the recording was a translation of both his words and pictures to sound. This inventive audio-visual hybrid will be a welcome addition to both home and classroom libraries. Ages 9-12. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780545003636 Gr 3-6-Brian Selznick's atmospheric story (Scholastic, 2007) is set in Paris in 1931. Hugo Cabret is an orphan; his father, a clockmaker, has recently died in a fire and the boy lives with his alcoholic Uncle Claude, working as his apprentice clock keeper in a bustling train station. When Hugo's uncle fails to return after a three-day absence, the boy decides it's his chance to escape the man's harsh treatment. But Hugo has nowhere to go and, after wandering the city, returns to his uncle's rooms determined to fix a mechanical figure-an automaton-that his father was restoring when he died. Hugo is convinced it will "save his life"-the figure holds a pen, and the boy believes that if he can get it working again, it will deliver a message from his father. This is just the bare outline of this multilayered story, inspired by and with references to early (French) cinema and filmmaker George Melies, magic and magicians, and mechanical objects. Jeff Woodman's reading of the descriptive passages effectively sets the story's suspenseful tone. The book's many pages of pictorial narrative translate in the audio version into sound sequences that successfully employ the techniques of old radio plays (train whistles, footsteps reverberating through station passages, etc.). The accompanying DVD, hosted by Selznick and packed with information and images from the book, will enrich the listening experience.-Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2007
Flotsam
Book Jacket   David Wiesner
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780618194575 PreS-Gr 4-The properties and attendant framing shapes of the magnifying glass, camera, and microscope focus on photographs from a camera found on the beach. The watercolor sequence moves around the world and back in time, revealing a child holding a picture of the subsequent child (and an underwater fantasy) in this Caldecott winner. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780618194575 PreS Up-Photos developed from a "Melville underwater camera" washed ashore astound the boy who discovers the device. Fantastic scenes of undersea life and images of children from years before encourage him to add his own photo to the series. Wiesner wordlessly stretches readers' imaginations about the timeless ocean circling the globe. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780618194575 PreS-Gr. 2. As in his Caldecott Medal Book Tuesday 0 (1991), Wiesner offers another exceptional, wordless picture book that finds wild magic in quiet, everyday settings. At the seaside, a boy holds a magnifying glass up to a flailing hermit crab; binoculars and a microscope lay nearby. The array of lenses signals the shifting viewpoints to come, and in the following panels, the boy discovers an old-fashioned camera, film intact. A trip to the photo store produces astonishing pictures: an octopus in an armchair holding story hour in a deep-sea parlor; tiny, green alien tourists peering at sea horses. There are portraits of children around the world and through the ages, each child holding another child's photo. After snapping his own image, the boy returns the camera to the sea, where it's carried on a journey to another child. Children may initially puzzle, along with the boy, over the mechanics of the camera and the connections between the photographed portraits. When closely observed, however, the masterful watercolors and ingeniously layered perspectives create a clear narrative, and viewers will eagerly fill in the story's wordless spaces with their own imagined story lines. Like Chris Van Allsburg's books and Wiesner's previous works, this visual wonder invites us to rethink how and what we see, out in the world and in our mind's eye. --Gillian Engberg Copyright 2006 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780618194575 K-Gr 4-A wave deposits an old-fashioned contraption at the feet of an inquisitive young beachcomber. It's a "Melville underwater camera," and the excited boy quickly develops the film he finds inside. The photos are amazing: a windup fish, with intricate gears and screwed-on panels, appears in a school with its living counterparts; a fully inflated puffer, outfitted as a hot-air balloon, sails above the water; miniature green aliens kowtow to dour-faced sea horses; and more. The last print depicts a girl, holding a photo of a boy, and so on. As the images become smaller, the protagonist views them through his magnifying glass and then his microscope. The chain of children continues back through time, ending with a sepia image of a turn-of-the-20th-century boy waving from a beach. After photographing himself holding the print, the youngster tosses the camera back into the ocean, where it makes its way to its next recipient. This wordless book's vivid watercolor paintings have a crisp realism that anchors the elements of fantasy. Shifting perspectives, from close-ups to landscape views, and a layout incorporating broad spreads and boxed sequences, add drama and motion to the storytelling and echo the photographic theme. Filled with inventive details and delightful twists, each snapshot is a tale waiting to be told. Pair this visual adventure with Wiesner's other works, Chris Van Allsburg's titles, or Barbara Lehman's The Red Book (Houghton, 2004) for a mind-bending journey of imagination.-Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780618194575 Two-time Caldecott winner Wiesner (Tuesday; The Three Pigs) crafts another wordless mystery, this one set on an ordinary beach and under an enchanted sea. A saucerlike fish's eye stares from the exact center of the dust jacket, and the fish's scarlet skin provides a knockout background color. First-timers might not notice what's reflected in its eye, but return visitors will: it's a boxy camera, drifting underwater with a school of slim green fish. In the opening panels, Wiesner pictures another close-up eye, this one belonging to a blond boy viewing a crab through a magnifying glass. Visual devices binoculars and a microscope in a plastic bag rest on a nearby beach towel, suggesting the boy's optical curiosity. After being tossed by a wave, the studious boy finds a barnacle-covered apparatus on the sand (evocatively labeled the "Melville Underwater Camera"). He removes its roll of film and, when he gets the results, readers see another close-up of his wide-open, astonished eye: the photos depict bizarre undersea scenes (nautilus shells with cutout windows, walking starfish-islands, octopi in their living room ? la Tuesday's frogs). A lesser fantasist would end the story here, but Wiesner provides a further surprise that connects the curious boy with others like him. Masterfully altering the pace with panel sequences and full-bleed spreads, he fills every inch of the pages with intricate, imaginative watercolor details. New details swim into focus with every rereading of this immensely satisfying excursion. Ages 5-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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2006
The Hello, Goodbye Window
 Norton Juster
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780786809141 PreS-Gr. 2. Two well-known names come together in a book that speaks to the real lives of children and their experiences. The young narrator visits her grandparents, Nanna and Poppy, in their big house. They explore Nanna's garden, and Poppy plays his harmonica. The narrator rides her bike and takes a nap, and nothing happens till I get up. Looking out the picture window, the hello, goodbye window, she sees the pizza guy, and, more fancifully, a dinosaur. She also spots her parents coming to pick her up. The curly-haired girl is happy to see them, but sad because it means the end of the visit. The window imagery is less important than the title would make it seem. More intrinsic is Juster's honest portrayal of a child's perceptions (a striped cat in the yard is a tiger) and emotions (being happy and sad at the same time just happens that way sometimes ). Raschka's swirling lines, swaths, and dabs of fruity colors seem especially vibrant, particularly in the double-page spreads, which have ample room to capture both the tender moments between members of the interracial family and the exuberance of spending time in the pulsating outdoors, all flowers, grass, and sky. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2005 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780786809141 Juster (The Phantom Tollbooth) crafts a cozy portrait of a grandchild and her grandparents in this endearing book, illustrated in paintbox colors by Raschka (Be Boy Buzz). A curly haired girl-who dances with wiggly energy in Raschka's lush paintings-describes playful visits to her Nanna and Poppy, whose kitchen window provides the perfect venue to say hello and goodbye. "You can climb up on the flower barrel and tap," she says, "then duck down and they won't know who did it." Her grandparents welcome her into a sunlit, spacious kitchen filled with plants, where she doodles and listens to Poppy play "Oh, Susannah" on the harmonica. At night, the "Hello, Goodbye Window" functions as a mirror, and the girl jokes about being outside looking in: "Poppy says, `What are you doing out there? You come right in and have your dinner.' And I say, `But I'm here with you, Poppy,' and then he looks at me in his funny way." Juster departs from the over-the-top punning of his earlier works to create a gently humorous account of a family's conversations and games, all centered on the special window. Raschka warms the pages with glowing yellow, emerald, sapphire and golden brown, and he pictures the garden and trees in emphatic midsummer greens. The characters smile at one another with a doting twinkle in their eyes, and grandparents especially will be charmed by this relaxed account of how a child's visit occasions everyday magic. Ages 2-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780786809141 PreS-Gr 1-The window in Nanna and Poppy's kitchen is no ordinary window-it is the place where love and magic happens. It's where the girl and her doting grandparents watch stars, play games, and, most importantly, say hello and goodbye. The first-person text is both simple and sophisticated, conjuring a perfectly child-centered world. Sentences such as "When I get tired I come in and take my nap and nothing happens until I get up" typify the girl's happy, imaginative world. While the language is bouncy and fun, it is the visual interpretation of this sweet story that sings. Using a bright rainbow palette of saturated color, Raschka's impressionistic, mixed-media illustrations portray a loving, mixed-race family. The artwork is at once lively and energetic, without crowding the story or the words on the page; the simple lines and squiggles of color suggest a child's own drawings, but this is the art of a masterful hand. Perfect for lap-sharing, this book will find favor with children and adults alike.-Angela J. Reynolds, Washington County Cooperative Library Services, Hillsboro, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2005
Kittens First Full Moon
 Kevin Henkes
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780060588298 PreS. Henkes creates another winner in this simple, charming story about a naive little kitten who mistakes a round, shining moon for a bowl of milk.itten laps at the sky's creamy circle, but she is surprised when she tastes bugs instead of milk. Then she chases the milk-bowl moon through the garden and field to the pond, where she climbs a tree, discovers another milk bowl shining in the water, and dives in after it. Finally, wet and sad and tired and hungry, she returns home to find, at last, a true bowl of milk, out of the sky and on the porch, waiting for her. Henkes' text, reminiscent of Margaret Wise Brown's work in the elemental words, rhythms, and appealing sounds, tells a warm, humorous story that's beautifully extended in his shimmering, gray-toned artwork. Working in bold black lines and the silvery palette of moonlight, he creates a lovable, expressive character in the determined kitten, and his dramatic contrasts of light and dark capture the excitement of a nighttime adventure. Wise preschoolers may chuckle at the kitten's folly, but they'll also recognize the mysterious power of moonlight to transform the familiar world of daytime into something altogether new. --Gillian Engberg Copyright 2004 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780060588298 PreS-K-An irresistible offering from the multifaceted Henkes. The spare and suspense-filled story concerns a kitten that mistakes the moon for a bowl of milk. When she opens her mouth to lick the treat, she ends up with a bug on her tongue. Next, she launches herself into the air, paws reaching out for the object of her desire, only to tumble down the stairs, "bumping her nose and banging her ear and pinching her tail. Poor Kitten." Again and again, the feline's persistent attempts to reach her goal lead to pain, frustration, and exhaustion. Repetitive phrases introduce each sequence of desire, action, and consequence, until the animal's instincts lead her home to a satisfying resolution. Done in a charcoal and cream-colored palette, the understated illustrations feature thick black outlines, pleasing curves, and swiftly changing expressions that are full of nuance. The rhythmic text and delightful artwork ensure storytime success. Kids will surely applaud this cat's irrepressible spirit. Pair this tale with Frank Asch's classic Moongame (S & S, 1987) and Nancy Elizabeth Wallace's The Sun, the Moon and the Stars (Houghton, 2003) for nocturnal celebrations.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2004
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers
Book Jacket   Mordicai Gerstein
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780761317913 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. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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2003
My Friend Rabbit
Book Jacket   Eric Rohmann
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780761315353 My friend Rabbit means well, begins the mouse narrator. But whatever he does, wherever he goes, trouble follows. Once Rabbit pitches Mouse's airplane into a tree, Rohmann tells most of the story through bold, expressive relief prints, a dramatic departure for the illustrator of The Cinder-Eyed Cats and other more painterly works. Rabbit might be a little too impulsive, but he has big ideas and plenty of energy. Rohmann pictures the pint-size, long-eared fellow recruiting an elephant, a rhinoceros and other large animals, and coaching them to stand one on top of another, like living building blocks, in order to retrieve Mouse's plane. Readers must tilt the book vertically to view the climactic spread: a tall, narrow portrait of a stack of very annoyed animals sitting on each other's backs as Rabbit holds Squirrel up toward the stuck airplane. The next spread anticipates trouble, as four duckling onlookers scurry frantically; the following scene shows the living ladder upended, with lots of flying feathers and scrabbling limbs. Somehow, in the tumult, the airplane comes free, and Mouse, aloft again, forgives his friend... even as the closing spread implies more trouble to follow. This gentle lesson in patience and loyalty, balanced on the back of a hilarious set of illustrations, will leave young readers clamoring for repeat readings. Ages 4-8. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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2002
The Three Pigs
 David Wiesner
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780618007011 K-Gr 6-In Tuesday (Clarion, 1991), Wiesner demonstrated that pigs could fly. Here, he shows what happens when they take control of their story. In an L. Leslie Brooke sort of style (the illustrations are created through a combination of watercolor, gouache, colored inks, and pencils), the wolf comes a-knocking on the straw house. When he puffs, the pig gets blown "right out of the story." (The double spread contains four panels on a white background; the first two follow the familiar story line, but the pig falls out of the third frame, so in the fourth, the wolf looks quite perplexed.) So it goes until the pigs bump the story panels aside, fold one with the wolf on it into a paper airplane, and take to the air. Children will delight in the changing perspectives, the effect of the wolf's folded-paper body, and the whole notion of the interrupted narrative. Wiesner's luxurious use of white space with the textured pigs zooming in and out of view is fresh and funny. They wander through other stories-their bodies changing to take on the new style of illustration as they enter the pages-emerging with a dragon and the cat with a fiddle. The cat draws their attention to a panel with a brick house, and they all sit down to soup, while one of the pigs reconstructs the text. Witty dialogue and physical comedy abound in this inspired retelling of a familiar favorite.-Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780618007011 Ages 3^-6. This spectacular, large-format edition has double-page-spread illustrations that resonate with bold strokes and exuberant images of the moon as it prepares for its nightly activities. The moon paints the sky, gets rid of fog and mist, plants dreams, locks up nightmares until morning comes and it's time to go to sleep. Even very young children will understand this simple, almost poetic Spanish rendition of a sweet bedtime story.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780618007011 Even the book's younger readers will understand the distinctive visual code. As the pigs enter the confines of a storybook page, they conform to that book's illustrative style, appearing as nursery-rhyme friezes or comic-book line drawings. When the pigs emerge from the storybook pages into the meta-landscape, they appear photographically clear and crisp, with shadows and three dimensions. Wiesner's (Tuesday) brilliant use of white space and perspective (as the pigs fly to the upper right-hand corner of a spread on their makeshift plane, or as one pig's snout dominates a full page) evokes a feeling that the characters can navigate endless possibilitiesDand that the range of story itself is limitless. Ages 5-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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2001
So You Want to be President
 David Small
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780399234071 Gr. 3^-5, younger for reading aloud. Portraits of the presidents can be generally described as staid, stodgy, and dull. Throw these adjectives out the window when describing this book's group portrayal of American presidents. St. George leads her audience, ostensibly young presidential hopefuls, through the good points of the presidency (big house with its own bowling alley and movie theater) and bad points (lots of homework). Then she offers a spiffy presidential history with comparisions and contrasts: most popular names, log cabin origins, ages, looks, backgrounds, pets, musical abilities, favorite sports, and personalities ("William McKinley was so nice that he tried to stop a mob from attacking the man who had just shot him"). The book holds out the possibility that someday a woman, a person of color, or a person who is neither Protestant nor Roman Catholic might be elected president. The discussion ends with the oath of office and the thought that most presidents have tried to do their best to fulfill it. David Small's delightful illustrations, usually droll and sometimes hilarious, will draw children to the book and entertain them from page to page. Memorable images include the comical sight of the obese President Taft being lowered into a bathtub by a crane and a powerful scene showing two figures, Nixon (looking disgruntled) and Clinton (looking dejected), descending the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, under the shadow of impeachment. Thoughtful composition and layout both contribute to the lively visual presentation of this most original look at the presidency. The light tone of the book makes it possible for readers to absorb a great deal of information, some of it silly, but underlying the treatment is a sense of the significance and dignity of the office and the faith that children still aspire to be president. --Carolyn Phelan
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780399234071 HThis lighthearted, often humorous roundup of anecdotes and trivia is cast as a handbook of helpful hints to aspiring presidential candidates. St. George (Sacagawea; Crazy Horse) points out that it might boost your odds of being elected if your name is James (the moniker of six former presidents) or if your place of birth was a humble dwelling ("You probably weren't born in a log cabin. That's too bad. People are crazy about log-cabin Presidents. They elected eight"). She serves up diverse, occasionally tongue-in-cheek tidbits and spices the narrative with colorful quotes from her subjects. For instance, she notes that "Warren Harding was a handsome man, but he was one of our worst Presidents" due to his corrupt administration, and backs it up with one of his own quotes, "I am not fit for this office and never should have been here." Meanwhile, Small (The Gardener) shows Harding crowned king of a "Presidential Beauty Contest"; all the other presidents applaud him (except for a grimacing Nixon). The comical, caricatured artwork emphasizes some of the presidents' best known qualities and amplifies the playful tone of the text. For an illustration of family histories, Small depicts eight diminutive siblings crawling over a patient young George Washington; for another featuring pre-presidential occupations, Harry Truman stands at the cash register of his men's shop while Andrew Johnson (a former tailor) makes alterations on movie star Ronald Reagan's suit. The many clever, quirky asides may well send readers off on a presidential fact-finding missionDand spark many a discussion of additional anecdotes. A clever and engrossing approach to the men who have led America. Ages 7-up. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399234071 Gr 4-8-Curious tidbits of personal information and national history combine with humorously drawn caricatures to give this tongue-in-cheek picture book a quirky appeal. "There are good things about being President and there are bad things about being President." So begins a walk through a brief history of facts, successes, oddities, and mishaps. For example, most readers won't know that William Howard Taft weighed over 300 pounds and ordered a specially made bathtub. Small's drawing of a naked Taft being lowered into a water-filled tub by means of a crane should help them remember. Another spread depicts a men's shop where Andrew Johnson (a tailor) fits Ronald Reagan (an actor) for a suit while Harry Truman (a haberdasher) stands behind the counter. While the text exposes the human side of the individuals, the office of the presidency is ultimately treated with respect and dignity. A list of presidents with terms of office, birthplace, date of birth and death, and a one-sentence summary of their accomplishments is provided. This title will add spark to any study of this popular subject.-Alicia Eames, New York City Public Schools (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2000
Joseph Had a Little Overcoat
Book Jacket   Simms Taback
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780670878550 Pre-Gr 3-A book bursting at the seams with ingenuity and creative spirit. When Joseph's overcoat becomes "old and worn," he snips off the patches and turns it into a jacket. When his jacket is beyond repair, he makes a vest. Joseph recycles his garments until he has nothing left. But by trading in his scissors for a pen and paintbrush he creates a story, showing "you can always make something out of nothing." Clever die-cut holes provide clues as to what Joseph will make next: windowpanes in one scene become a scarf upon turning the page. Striking gouache, watercolor, and collage illustrations are chock-full of witty details-letters to read, proverbs on the walls, even a fiddler on the roof. Taback adapted this tale from a Yiddish folk song and the music and English lyrics are appended. The rhythm and repetition make it a perfect storytime read-aloud.-Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780670878550 As in his Caldecott Honor book, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, Taback's inventive use of die-cut pages shows off his signature artwork, here newly created for his 1977 adaptation of a Yiddish folk song. This diverting, sequential story unravels as swiftly as the threads of Joseph's well-loved, patch-covered plaid coat. A flip of the page allows children to peek through to subsequent spreads as Joseph's tailoring produces items of decreasing size. The author puts a droll spin on his narrative when Joseph loses the last remnant of the coatÄa buttonÄand decides to make a book about it. "Which shows... you can always make something out of nothing," writes Taback, who wryly slips himself into his story by depicting Joseph creating a dummy for the book that readers are holding. Still, it's the bustling mixed-media artwork, highlighted by the strategically placed die-cuts, that steals the show. Taback works into his folk art a menagerie of wide-eyed animals witnessing the overcoat's transformation, miniature photographs superimposed on paintings and some clever asides reproduced in small print (a wall hanging declares, "Better to have an ugly patch than a beautiful hole"; a newspaper headline announces, "Fiddler on Roof Falls off Roof"). With its effective repetition and an abundance of visual humor, this is tailor-made for reading aloud. All ages. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780670878550 Ages 4^-7. This newly illustrated version of a book Taback first published in 1977 is a true example of accomplished bookmaking--from the typography and the endpapers to the bar code, set in what appears to be a patch of fabric. Taback's mixed-media and collage illustrations are alive with warmth, humor, and humanity. Their colors are festive yet controlled, and they are filled with homey clutter, interesting characters, and a million details to bring children back again and again. The simple text, which was adapted from the Yiddish song "I Had a Little Overcoat," begins as Joseph makes a jacket from his old, worn coat. When the jacket wears out, Joseph makes a vest, and so on, until he has only enough to cover a button. Cut outs emphasize the use and reuse of the material and add to the general sense of fun. When Joseph loses, he writes a story about it all, bringing children to the moral "You can always make something out of nothing." --Tim Arnold
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