The Dark

The Dark by Lemony Snicket

Come on, people, hasn’t the man won enough? Wasn’t his acceptance speech so wonderful that he could never ever be improved upon? Haven’t I already reviewed just about every book Klassen has written? Do I really have to talk about this one? Okay, I will. Laszlo is afraid of the dark. (So afraid that he has […]

Daniel Beaty on Knock Knock

Photo: Nathan Yungerberg

In the November/December 2013 Horn Book Magazine, reviewer Robin Smith asked author Daniel Beaty about making his own childhood experience relatable to many readers in his picture book Knock Knock. Read the review here. Robin L. Smith: Your own story is so specific — your dad was in jail — but we never find out […]

Review of Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me

knock knock

Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me by Daniel Beaty; illus. by Bryan Collier Preschool, Primary     Little, Brown     40 pp. 12/13     978-0-316-20917-5     $18.00 Each morning, a little boy looks forward to playing the knock-knock game with his father. The boy pretends to be asleep until his dad approaches. “Then I get up and jump into […]

Mr. Wuffles!

Mr Wuffles

First off, let me say that I am not a dyed-in-the-wool Wiesner fan. Sometimes I don’t understand his storytelling, and sometimes I find his art a little too perfect, maybe even a little cold. So it will surprise some of my children’s book friends (who might or might not have heard me rant about Wiesner […]

Journey

journey

Way back in September, we started the blog with a few possible titles and asked for suggestions. The exclamation points started flyin’ when Aaron Becker’s Journey was not on the list. Outrage! Horror! Well, sometimes books don’t make it to the hinterlands of not-New York and not-Boston, and I had some scrambling to do. I’m so […]

The Multi-talented Brian Pinkney

busy-busy little chick

Brian Pinkney’s art was some of the first I saw this year. Busy-Busy Little Chick chirped at me from the booth at ALA last summer, and I was smitten. While Little Chick might not be as sparkly and complicated as some of the other books we have talked about this year, it still is worthy of discussion. […]

Who’s on the Committee, or, “The Barry Moser Question”

color_wheel

I have heard about Barry Moser’s thoughts on the Caldecott, but had never actually read them before. Mrs. Google found me this 1999 interview between Moser and Anna Olswanger, part of which appeared in Book Links. Olswanger: Are you disappointed that you’ve never won the Caldecott Award? Moser: The only thing the Caldecott would do is […]

Bluebird and Bully

bluebird

Covers make the book, and both of these titles, related by theme, have stunning covers. Once you see them, you are unlikely to forget them. That lone bluebird flying over the city portends the poignant story within, and that bull, bathed in bold red, defiantly glaring, dares the reader to even open the book. The reason […]

Picture books and books with graphic elements

adventures_in_cartooning

I hate to follow such a serious discussion with one that is not exactly fraught with such wide societal concerns. I am still thinking about all the ideas Martha and Thom brought up. At this moment (10/3/2013), the U.S. government is shut down, Obamacare is on everyone’s mind, and I am thinking about comic books. […]

On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein

berne_on a beam of light

There he is, Einstein, floating on the cover. No horizon line holds him to the ground, and his eyes are fastened on the sun. Loose lines, gestural paintings, and gorgeous watery gouache come together to make me appreciate the childhood of Einstein…and serve to make children want to learn more about him, too. And now […]