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Giant Squid

fleming_giant squid

Do you like creepy, shiver-inducing monster stories? If so, you’ve got to see Giant Squid by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann. Sometimes when we discuss an information book — yes, it’s nonfiction — here, there are debates about whether it’s really a picture book. Is there enough play between art and text? Is there […]

Can One Balloon Make an Elephant Fly?

Can One Balloon Make an Elephant Fly?

Earlier this fall, we took a careful look at Emma and Julia Love Ballet based on Julie Danielson’s recommendation. Here’s another title that Julie has high on her radar. (I hope all of you  illustration-lovers follow her blog Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Whenever I need in-depth information about illustrators, I try Seven Imp first. […]

Maybe Something Beautiful

maybe-something

On this Election Day (thank goodness we have early voting so I could Do My Civic Duty as early as possible), I bring you something completely different from the headlines: People Getting Along With Other People. Try that ten-second mindfulness training that’s been on the internet: Look at that cover, close your eyes, clear your […]

Before Morning

before-morning

To paraphrase Kevin Henkes in Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, sometimes all you can say is “wow.” That’s how I feel about Before Morning. Look at the intricacy and beauty of the scratchboard illustrations and the strength of the compositions. Notice how carefully the book is constructed. Spreads with text are full-bleed double-spreads; spreads without text feature single pages, […]

Freedom Over Me

freedom-over-me

What a thrill to see the finished copy of Ashley Bryan’s Freedom Over Me and to get the opportunity to write about it here. The book is a finalist for the Kirkus Prize and ought to get attention for both the Newbery and the Caldecott. Robin and I have been fortunate over the last few years […]

Lucy

lucy

Were I on the Caldecott committee this year (I propose a rule change: please allow me to be on the committee every year), I would be eager to discuss Lucy by Randy Cecil. Why is this book so discussion-worthy? So many things set it apart from other modern picture books. The duotone (which here basically […]

They All Saw a Cat

they-all-saw-a-cat

It’s become old hat for an artist to have more than one really great picture book out in the same year, but usually it’s a familiar name. (Think Melissa Sweet, Jon Klassen, Philip Stead…) What’s unusual is when the artist has a rather unfamiliar name. This year, illustrator Brendan Wenzel has two books that many people […]

Are We There Yet?

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There’s nothing like the words “by Caldecott Medalist…” on a book’s cover to generate award buzz. With Are We There Yet?, Dan Santat’s first authored picture book since The Adventures of Beekle, there’s a lot to examine. The front endpapers show a car advancing — frame by frame — down a highway. Its destination is revealed […]

The Airport Book

airport

I suppose I should begin this post with the standard disclaimer about how this doesn’t look like a traditional Caldecott choice and blah blah and BLAH. But really, is there such a thing anymore? So I’ll just say, This book is brilliant and deserves Caldecott recognition. The fact that it manages to be, simultaneously, an informative report […]

Come Home, Angus

come-home-angus

I have never been on a Caldecott committee (and nor will I ever be, since I write publicly at more than one place throughout the year about picture books), and I have a deep reverence for the work these committees do annually. But I admit to a sort of hushed reverence, because it’s all rather […]