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Stories behind the stories

bird_wild thingsBird, Betsy, Danielson, Julie and Sieruta, Peter D. Wild Things!: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature
Middle school, high school    277 pp.     Candlewick     2014

Sieruta, a Horn Book mainstay before his unexpected death in 2012, is joined by Bird and Danielson for a lively historical survey of scandals and secrets from the children’s-book biz. Sandwiched among the scrupulously documented gossip are thoughtful passages about censorship, celebrity books, and the perpetual struggle between the reading tastes of children and what their elders prefer for them. Bib., ind.
Subjects: General Literature; Children’s literature; Authors; Illustrators

stories_landmann_in-search-of-the-little-princeLandmann, Bimba In Search of the Little Prince: The Story of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Gr. K–3    40 pp.     Eerdmans     2014

Little Tonio dreamed of wings that would carry him to adventure. He grew up to become a pilot, flying over Europe and North Africa during wartime and later delivering intercontinental mail. He captured his dreams in poems and novels, completing Le Petit Prince months before his plane disappeared. Atmospheric text draws on Saint-Exupéry’s own writings; rich illustrations depict his hopeful imaginings filling open skies.
Subjects: Individual Biographies; de Saint-Exupéry, Antoine; Authors; Pilots

stories_wilder_little-author-in-the-big-woodsMcDonough, Yona Zeldis Little Author in the Big Woods: A Biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder
Gr. 4–6    157 pp.     Holt/Ottaviano     2014

Illustrated by Jennifer Thermes. This biography will be of interest to young fans eager to know more about Wilder and how closely her own life was mirrored in the Little House books. The accessible text is well paired with genial illustrations that call to mind Lois Lenski’s art. Devoted fans will appreciate the appended recipes (gingerbread, Johnnycakes, and homemade butter), games, and corn-husk doll instructions. Bib., glos.
Subjects: Individual Biographies; Authors; Women—Biographies; Wilder, Laura Ingalls; Women—Authors; Women—Pioneers; History, American—Frontier and pioneer life

stories_shuter_shakespeare-a-man-for-all-timeShuter, Paul William Shakespeare: A Man for All Times
Middle school, high school    80 pp.     Heinemann     2014

Shakespeare Alive series. Shuter’s biography of Shakespeare does an unusually clear job of distinguishing facts from inferences and myths. His concise and specific picture of Shakespeare’s world and theatrical accomplishments is built on a foundation of primary documents. Illustrations, maps, boxed insets, and lists help break up the text. This book is notable for its dedication to presenting nuanced information without sacrificing accuracy. Reading list, timeline, websites. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Individual Biographies; Shakespeare, William; Playwrights; Plays; Theater

walker_winnieWalker, Sally M. Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh
Gr. K–3    32 pp.     Holt     2015

Illustrated by Jonathan D. Voss. A real bear plays a part in Winnie-the-Pooh’s origin story. Military veterinarian Harry Coleburn bought a bear cub on a whim; Winnie became Harry’s constant companion. When Harry was deployed, he gave Winnie to the London Zoo, where she made an impression on young Christopher Milne. Descriptive text provides the story’s essentials; watercolors portray the unusual story with a mix of realism and humor. Websites. Bib.
Subjects: Mammals; Teddy bears; Soldiers; Milne, A. A.; Animals–Bears; Zoos; Canada; Children’s literature

From the September 2015 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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