Boys to remember

reynolds_all american boys

Four novels featuring teenage boys — in both contemporary and historical settings — take on big issues, with memorable results. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely is a ripped-from-the-headlines story written with nuance, sharp humor, and devastating honesty. When a quick stop at the corner store suddenly escalates into a terrifying scene […]

The Skunk

skunk

I admit to being a leeetle unsure of what to make of this one. In an SLJ interview, author Mac Barnett was less than definitive: “What is The Skunk about? Is it a comedy? A romance? A ghost story? A tale of paranoia? An allegory of trauma?” And the Kirkus review called it “peculiar, perplexing, and […]

Vera B. Williams (1927–2015)

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We were saddened to hear about the death last week of legendary children’s book author and illustrator Vera B. Williams. It’s a loss to our field; she was, truly, unique. Her groundbreaking picture books celebrated children and family and communities — all kinds of children, all kinds of families, and all kinds of communities. Both A Chair […]

Wolfie the Bunny

wolfie the bunny

With Wolfie the Bunny we welcome another new-sibling picture book into the world — this one with tons of humor and age-appropriate drama, and with plenty of child appeal in both text and art. (And carrots. Lots of carrots.) What will the Real Committee be looking at? I imagine they will ooh and aah over the actual cover (under the jacket) […]

My Bike

my bike

Ah, one of my favorite subjects: picture books for the very young. This year some of my most-loved books fall into that category, including several we’re talking about on Calling Caldecott this fall. We all know that these books face an uphill battle when it comes to Caldecott recognition. But that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve […]

Review of When Sophie’s Feelings Are Really, Really Hurt

bang_when sophie's feelings are really hurt

When Sophie’s Feelings Are Really, Really Hurt by Molly Bang; illus. by the author Primary   Blue Sky/Scholastic   40 pp. 10/15   978-0-545-78831-1   $17.99   g In Bang’s now-classic When Sophie Gets Angry…Really, Really Angry, Sophie coped with a volcanic episode of rage by communing with a favorite beech tree; both Sophie and the tree are back in […]

Rumpeta-ing through Reading: Picture Books for the Very Young

My daughter Emily has always been a reading omnivore: we have photos of her poring over books from the time she could first sit up. Everything was of interest: catalogs featuring photographs of children; books verging on toys, with flaps or holes or even wheels; concept books; story books. Gradually, certain authors and books became […]

Boats for Papa

boats for papa

This is one gorgeous picture book. It’s perhaps even more remarkable, given that it’s by a debut artist. Since its publication last June, it has gotten lots of love. And even more love. Most reviews refer to the way the story tugs at the heartstrings: “A weeper.” “Heart-breaking.” I have to say that the message I took away […]

Supertruck

supertruck

Supertruck. So simple, so clever, so appealing both visually and thematically. And such a book for the very, very young. It will need all its superpowers to compete on the Caldecott table, against books with more elaborate and sophisticated art. But some of my favorite picture books of 2015 are for the youngest readers, including this […]

Review of Buddy and Earl

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Buddy and Earl by Maureen Fergus; illus. by Carey Sookocheff Primary   Groundwood   32 pp. 8/15   978-1-55498-712-2   $16.95 e-book ed. 978-1-55498-713-9   $14.95 Sweet, clueless mutt Buddy meets a “strange-looking thing” inside a box in the living room, who introduces himself as Earl. Earl claims to be first a racecar, then a giraffe, then a sea urchin, […]