About Martha V. Parravano

Martha V. Parravano is executive editor of The Horn Book Magazine and coauthor, with Roger Sutton, of A Family of Readers (Candlewick). She is coauthor of the Horn Book’s Calling Caldecott blog and has served on the 2008 Newbery committee and chaired the 2013 Laura Ingalls Wilder committee.

The Farmer and the Clown

9781442497443_f3568

Things are beginning to heat up. Mock Caldecotts are being decided; best-of-year lists continue to be released; over at Fuse #8, Betsy Bird has made her final predictions. It’s time to talk about a book that’s been one of my favorites all fall: Marla Frazee’s The Farmer and the Clown. I find it difficult not […]

Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold

sidman_winter bees

Baby, it’s cold outside. Time to look at this very wintry book. Taking it from the top… We notice the arresting cover: the leaping fox; the contrast between the fox’s red coat /dark paws and the white, snowy background; the overlay of snow in the air. Open the book to see endpapers the color of […]

Liniers on What There Is Before There Is Anything There

liniers_what there is before there is anything there

In the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine, editor Martha Parravano asked Argentinian cartoonist Liniers about the inspiration for his “deeply unsettling” but “bravely existential” new picture book, What There Is Before There Is Anything There: A Scary Story. Read the full review here. Martha V. Parravano: What made you decide to make […]

Review of What There Is Before There Is Anything There: A Scary Story

liniers_what there is before there is anything there

What There Is Before 
There Is Anything There: A Scary Story by Liniers; illus. by the author; trans. from the Spanish by Elisa Amado Primary    Groundwood    24 pp. 9/14    978-1-55498-385-8    $18.95 Argentinian cartoonist Liniers’s (The 
Big Wet Balloon, rev. 9/13) bravely existential picture book eschews cute monsters in closets to capture the true reality of […]

We’re golden

2014 Calling Caldecott books

I think we’d all agree that last year was a remarkable year for picture books. And that last year was SO spectacular, SO impressive, that this year might have felt a little…flat. I’ve even caught myself feeling kind of bad for the current Caldecott committee — 2013 would be a tough act to follow. But this week, here at The Horn Book, we finalized […]

Review of Brown Girl Dreaming

woodson_brown girl dreaming

 Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson Intermediate, Middle School    Paulsen/Penguin 328 pp.    8/14    978-0-399-25251-8    $16.99    g Here is a memoir-in-verse so immediate that readers will feel they are experiencing the author’s childhood right along with her. It starts out somewhat slowly, with Woodson relying on others’ memories to relate her (1963) birth and infancy in […]

The Baby Tree

The Baby Tree

Sophie Blackall’s The Baby Tree was named to the NYT Best Illustrated List this year. Last year Blackall wowed us with her innovative, almost-3D pictures for The Mighty Lalouche — which fact is of course irrelevant to this discussion, since books from previous years are absolutely not allowed on the Caldecott table, literally or figuratively. But one […]

Where’s Mommy?

wheres mommy

Travis Jonker recently documented the overlap between the New York Times Best Illustrated List and books that have won Caldecott recognition — well done, Travis! — and since there’s no arguing with cold, hard facts, we here at Calling Caldecott are paying attention. By my reckoning, half the books on the 2014 NYT List are […]

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

sam and dave dig hole

What will the Caldecott committee be talking about when it turns its scrutiny to Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen’s Sam & Dave Dig a Hole? Maybe the question should be, What WON’T the committee be talking about? Like Yuyi Morales’s Viva Frida, this is one discussable book. Though, perhaps, for different reasons. The art is certainly […]

Josephine

josephine

The subtitle of Patricia Hruby Powell (author) and Christian Robinson (illustrator)’s fabulous picture-book biography of the early-twentieth-century African American dancer and iconoclast is “The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker” — and the book is truly as dazzling as its subject. So we can get that major, crucial criterion “appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept” […]