Snowy days

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Winter in New England (and in picture books) usually means one thing: snow. Here are a few stories to put readers in the mood for sledding, snowmen, and hot chocolate. While the city’s “brave trucks” perform flashy tasks such as fixing power lines and fighting fires, our unassuming, bespectacled hero — star of Stephen Savage’s […]

The Right Word

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While we took a short break over the holidays, you can bet that the members of the Real Caldecott Committee did not. Neither sleet nor dark of night nor even New Year’s or Festivus celebrations can deter committee members from their responsibilities. And now it’s January. Less than one month to go until…Deliberation Weekend! followed by…Announcement Monday! So […]

More golden

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I’ve talked before about what a (surprisingly) rich year it’s been for picture books. As have others. It’s also been another strong year for graphic novels (viz. Sisters and El Deafo and This One Summer and more) — an art form that, based on the definition of the picture book in the criteria, is arguably eligible for Caldecott consideration: “1. A […]

The Farmer and the Clown

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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

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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

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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

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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

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 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 […]