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Review of Big Cat, Little Cat

Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Roaring Brook    40 pp. 3/17    978-1-62672-371-9    $16.99 Spare in both text and illustration, this is an affecting, unsentimental picture book about the cycle of life. Cooper (Train, rev. 1/14; Farm, rev. 5/10) often takes detailed looks at broad […]

Science books and the Caldecott

It’s rare enough for a nonfiction picture book to get Caldecott recognition — but a science book? Never. True, a biography of a scientist, Snowflake Bentley, won the medal in 1999, and a hybrid poetry/science book, Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems, was an honor book in 2006. There have definitely been more science-book contenders in […]

And the seasons, they go round and round

Every January, a new cycle begins: as the 2017 Caldecott committee makes their choices and ends their service (thank you, 2017 Caldecott Committee!), the 2018 Caldecott committee begins their work. We are pleased to say that this year we will attempt to echo that work as the year unfolds. Members of the 2018 committee are already on the […]

ALA Youth Media Announcement Report

As promised, here’s my view of Monday morning’s YMAs in Atlanta. As a member of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Jury, my morning started at 6:30 AM, when I arrived at the convention center. Like many of the award committees, my committee was meeting before the 8 AM announcement ceremony in order to call our winners and […]

Review of Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille

Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille by Jen Bryant; illus. by Boris Kulikov Primary    Knopf    40 pp. 9/16    978-0-449-81337-9    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-449-81338-6    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-449-81339-3    $10.99 Bryant and Kulikov present the childhood of Louis Braille, from his 1809 birth to his invention, at fifteen, of his ingenious six-cell raised-dot system of […]

Review of Almost Autumn

Almost Autumn by Marianne Kaurin; trans. from the Norwegian by Rosie Hedger High School    Levine/Scholastic    281 pp. 1/17    978-0-545-88965-0    $17.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-545-88966-7    $10.99 Ilse Stern, a typical rebellious, lovelorn adolescent, lives with her Jewish family in 1942 Nazi-occupied Oslo, where her father, Isak, runs a tailor shop. A present-tense narration creates immediacy, while […]

Real Cowboys

Most of us associate illustrator Jonathan Bean with a more representative style and a less saturated medium. (Think Building Our House and This Is My Home, This Is My School.) But of course the Real Committee can’t be thinking about that, and anyway Bean made the right artistic choice for this book’s impressionistic text. The art is composed of […]

Review of Egg

 Egg by Kevin Henkes; illus. by the author Preschool    Greenwillow    40 pp. 1/17    978-0-06-240872-3    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-06-240873-0    $18.89    g In the latest offering from modern picture-book master Henkes (Waiting, rev. 9/15), we are introduced to four different eggs, each a different pastel color and each occupying its own separate quadrant of the page: “egg / […]

A list of great 2016 picture books

Blogger (and Horn Book reviewer and Calling Caldecott poster) Minh Lê has just released his annual list of best picture books, sorted into his own unique categories. His lists are always terrific; this year especially! Check it out here.    

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles

This is not my kind of picture book. The story is too wispy for me, the language occasionally too twee, and the premise . . . well, I just don’t buy it. But one of the things committee members must do for an award like the Caldecott (or even a mock Caldecott!) is put aside their own personal likes […]