Review of Big Bad Wolf and Itsy Bitsy Spider

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Big Bad Wolf [Urgency Emergency!] by Dosh Archer; illus. by the author Primary    Whitman    48 pp. 9/13    978-0-8075-8352-4    $12.99 Itsy Bitsy Spider [Urgency Emergency!] by Dosh Archer; illus. by the author Primary    Whitman    48 pp. 9/13    978-0-8075-8358-6    $12.99 New readers are in for a treat with these British imports. Both are set in an emergency […]

Our Crystal Ball

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As soon as the calendar turns to the new year, I start hearing voices. No, they aren’t the voices of my 2013 resolutions reminding me of their long-ignored status; they are the queries from children’s book people wondering, “What will win the Caldecott and Newbery awards?” This is a dreadful question because the only correct […]

Mock Caldecott Results, Please

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That’s a mockingbird, in case you were wondering. Now you know. And now I know that this particular bird, the state bird of my fair state of Tennessee, is called a Mimus polyglottos. I know lots of you will spend the next few weeks running discussion groups about the upcoming children’s book awards. (Caldecott, Newbery, Coretta Scott […]

Frog Song

Frog SOng

At the beginning of the year, way back when I was wandering the booths at ALA’s Midwinter convention, a few books grabbed my attention. Some of them have dropped off my list of favorites of the year, but Frog Song continues to find a spot there. Maybe it’s that oversized strawberry poison dart frog on the cover. […]

Little Santa

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You know Dasher and Dancer and the Claus children, Larry, Mary, Willy, Millie, Joey, Zoe, and Santa, right? Okay, maybe you haven’t heard of those other Claus kids, but you definitely have heard of Santa. Roger is a big fan of this one and here is what he had to say. It’s a tricky business, […]

Books Teachers Love

Matchbox Diary

One thing we know is that teachers love picture books. They use them to explain difficult ideas, introduce information, add depth to nonfiction studies, and simply entertain students. Teachers especially love when a book can be used as a model for writing or when it suggests writing assignments that fit in with curriculum. I know […]

Ineligible Internationals

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The Caldecott and Newbery awards were founded partly as a way to support the publishing of American books for children, and the rules are quite clear about who can win and who cannot. I have pasted part of the Caldecott eligibility criteria below: The award is restricted to artists who are citizens or residents of […]

Odd Duck

Odd Duck

First, let me remind you that my expertise is not comic books or graphic novels. I DID grow up reading lots and lots of comic books of the Archie & Veronica and Baby Huey variety and have read many graphic novels for young adults. The TOON books have their own special place in my classroom. I am […]

That Is NOT a Good Idea!

That is not a good idea

Those of you with children under the age of five are experts on Mo Willems — Knuffle Bunny, Elephant and Piggie, the Pigeon. This year’s must-have book for the Willems fan is That Is NOT a Good Idea! It’s a hilarious hybrid: part silent movie, part picture book; part cautionary tale, part inside joke. But […]

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

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Mr. Tiger, you rascal. The first time I saw art from this book, I wondered if I might be suffering from leaf motif overload. Between Jon Klassen and Lane Smith and a heap of others, I was beginning to tire of stylized leaves and trees, especially the ones that are computer manipulated and repeated. But […]