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On Cynthia Voigt’s “Have a Carrot” (from March/April 1997)

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“High on the list of favorite read-aloud books in the house where I was the Mommy is The Runaway Bunny.” Newbery Medalist (for Dicey’s Song) Cynthia Voigt reflects on the classic picture book by Margaret Wise Brown in her article, “Have a Carrot,” published in 1997 in the Horn Book Magazine Special Issue: “Family Reading.” […]

Review of Leave Me Alone!

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Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brosgol; illus. by the author Primary    Roaring Brook    40 pp. 9/16    978-1-62672-441-9    $17.99 Graphic novelist Brosgol (Anya’s Ghost, rev. 7/11) makes an impressive picture-book debut with this inventive story about an old woman’s quest to knit in peace. The tale begins with traditional narrative trappings: “Once there was an old […]

Transgender lives

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Last November Ellen Wittlinger — author of Parrotfish, the first young adult novel starring a transgender protagonist — took a second look at her groundbreaking book and concluded: “Parrotfish Needed an Update: The Rapidly Changing Language of Transgender Awareness.” Along with her article, we posted a roundup of available books for children and teens featuring […]

Review of The Saddest Toilet in the World

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The Saddest Toilet in the World by Sam Apple; illus. by Sam Ricks Preschool     Aladdin/Simon     32 pp. 6/16     978-1-4814-5122-2     $17.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4814-5123-9     $10.99 Potty training is serious business for all involved, but what of the unsung toilet? Does anyone consider its feelings? Apple and Ricks do just that in this laugh-out-loud respite from charts, […]

Review of Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharks

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Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharks by Skila Brown; illus. by Bob Kolar Primary    Candlewick    32 pp. 3/16    978-0-7636-6543-2    $16.99 Brown begins this playful and illuminating collection by taking a bite out of the most infamous of these ocean predators, the great white shark: “you’re no bully, / just a big attention hog. So / move […]

Folktales redux

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Three recent picture books offer fresh takes on old tales from the likes of Grimm and Aesop; a fourth paints fairy-tale baddies in a more favorable, relatable light. Holly Hobbie’s handsome edition of Hansel & Gretel strikes just the right balance between scary and not-too. The deep green forest is mysterious but inviting, its darkness […]

Review of When Spring Comes

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When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes; 
illus. by Laura Dronzek Preschool   Greenwillow   40 pp. 2/16   978-0-06-233139-7   $17.99 Library ed. 978-0-06-233140-3   $18.89 “Before Spring comes, / the trees look like / black sticks against the sky. // But if you wait, / Spring will bring / leaves and blossoms.” In a gently rhythmic text and lush, […]

Review of Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants!

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Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants! by Bob Shea; illus. by the author Primary   Disney-Hyperion   56 pp. 2/16   978-1-4847-1379-2   $9.99 Dance diva Ballet Cat returns for her second early-reader performance (Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret, rev. 7/15), and once again she’s paired with a reluctant partner/friend. Butter Bear likes dancing but draws the line at […]

Review of Dylan the Villain

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Dylan the Villain by K. G. Campbell; illus. by the author Primary   Viking   40 pp. 2/16   978-0-451-47642-5   $17.99   g “‘Congratulations,’ said the doctor. ‘It’s a healthy little super-villain!’” Sweet, unsuspecting new parents Mr. and Mrs. Snivels are surprised by this development (and by the fact that they just “happened to have a baby”), but not […]

Review of Lost. Found.

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Lost. Found. by Marsha Diane Arnold; 
illus. by Matthew Cordell Preschool   Porter/Roaring Brook   32 pp. 11/15   978-1-62672-017-6   $16.99 A bear’s red wool scarf is carried off by a strong gust of wind (“Lost”). Two quarrelsome raccoons spy the scarf lying in the snow (“Found”); they get into a tiff and run off squabbling, leaving the […]