The Horn Book » Out of the Box http://www.hbook.com Publications about books for children and young adults Wed, 02 Sep 2015 14:54:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 Crossover authors, pt. 2 http://www.hbook.com/2015/09/blogs/out-of-the-box/crossover-authors-pt-2/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/09/blogs/out-of-the-box/crossover-authors-pt-2/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 16:30:39 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=51797 Yesterday we started a rundown of authors who write for both young readers and adult audiences. Here we’re continuing the loooong list — but despite its length, it’s far from exhaustive, so let us know about any favorites we missed in the comments! Gregory Maguire’s adult books don’t stray far from the world of children’s […]

The post Crossover authors, pt. 2 appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
Yesterday we started a rundown of authors who write for both young readers and adult audiences. Here we’re continuing the loooong list — but despite its length, it’s far from exhaustive, so let us know about any favorites we missed in the comments!

Gregory Maguire’s adult books don’t stray far from the maguire_wickedmaguire_egg and spoonworld of children’s literature. Wicked and its sequels retell L. Frank Baum’s Oz books with a focus on The Wicked Witch of the West, her descendants, and other characters who weren’t the stars of the story when Baum told it. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and Mirror Mirror retell the stories of Cinderella and Snow White, respectively. Many of his books specifically written for intermediate and YA readers also draw on existing characters; see Baba Yaga in his 2015 Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book Egg & Spoon.

You’ve probably heard of George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, or at least its HBO adaptation, Game of Thrones (not his only adult work, but kind of a big deal). Believe it or not—and you may not if you’re familiar with the series’ gore — there is an intermediate novella set in the same universe. Originally published as part of an anthology in the 1980s and republished as a stand-alone in 2006, The Ice Dragon is meant to be a tale that ASOIAF character Jon Snow remembers from his childhood.

Ben Mezrich’s adult books (The Accidental Billionaires, Bringing Down the House) are often ripped from the headlines. His intermediate debut, Bringing Down the Mouse (get it?) is a story with somewhat lower stakes, but still features a conspiracy, along with a theme park and a middle school math genius.

nesbo_doctor proctor nesbo_snowmanJo Nesbø, the Norwegian author of the Harry Hole crime series and several stand-alone murder mysteries, also writes…potty-humor comedies for kids? Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder kicks off a series of wacky illustrated intermediate adventures that will appeal to Captain Underpants fans (while taking them to Oslo, Norway!).

Joyce Carol Oates has written a huge number of adult novels, novellas, poetry collections, plays, and nonfiction works (whew!). Some of her popular books for adults are A Garden of Earthly Delights and We Were the Mulvaneys. She’s also written several young adult novels, mostly with fairly serious themes (Freaky Green Eyes, Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You), as well as some more cheerful picture books (Naughty Chérie, Come Meet Muffin!).

Suspense-novel juggernaut James Patterson — author of adult series like Alex Cross and The Women’s Murder Club — writes similarly fast-paced series for middle-grade and young adult readers, such as Maximum Ride and Daniel X. The super-prolific author also has several comedic intermediate series running at the same time: I Funny, Middle School, Treasure Hunters, and House of Robots.

Jodi Picoult’s adult fiction (Sing You Home, My Sister’s Keeper) often covers sensitive real-world topics. With her daughter, Samantha van Leer, she’s written two lighter fantasies for YA readers: Between the Lines and its companion, Off the Page.

Terry Pratchett! Terry Pratchett! Terry Pratchett!

Matthew Quick’s debut was The Silver Linings Playbook, an adult novel that has since been famously adapted for the screen. His writing for a YA audience is similarly character-based fiction, including Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock and Sorta like a Rock Star.

Kathy Reichs, famed for her super-popular Temperance Brennan forensic science crime thrillers for adults and the TV series Bones, also cowrites (with her son Brendan) the Virals YA series. The series is an entertaining sci-fi/forensic science/adventure mash-up: science-geek protagonist Tory Brennan (Tempe’s niece) and her friends have developed superhuman senses after having been infected with a genetically manipulated canine virus. They use their abilities in tandem with their science know-how to track down bad guys…and occasionally treasure.

rowell_landlineRainbow Rrowell_eleanor & parkowell made her debut with the adult novel Attachments, and has since written another adult book, Landline. But her YA novel Eleanor & Park was a breakout in terms of popularity, and was also a 2013 Boston Globe–Horn Book Fiction Award winner and a Printz Honor Book. Her other YA novels include the realistic Fangirl and its forthcoming fantasy companion, Carry On, which takes place in the universe of Fangirl’s fictional Simon Snow series.

Salman Rushdie mostly writes adult novels, often involving magical realism. His Haroun and the Sea of Stories and its twenty-years-later sequel, Luka and the Fire of Life, inhabit a similar magic-is-possible world, one featuring talking animals and a sea with storytelling powers.

Like Gail Carriger and George R. R. Martin, Alexander McCall Smith revisits the world of his adult books to create a tale for younger readers. He has several series for adults, including the Isabel Dalhousie and No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. A much younger Precious Ramotswe, star of the latter series, appears in Smith’s early chapter book The Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe’s Very First Case. He has several other series for kids, including the Max & Maddy books (also a detective series) and the Akimbo books.

Most of Meg Wolitzer’s novels, like The Interestings and The Uncoupling, can be found in the adult fiction section of the library. But she’s also made her way into other sections: The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman is for an intermediate audience, and Belzhar is YA.

Rick Yancey started out in adult books (A Burning in Homeland, The Highly Effective Detective and its sequels), but he’s made a name for himself in YA. His Monstrumologist was a 2010 Printz Honor Book, and he’s also the author of the popular postapocalyptic YA novel The Fifth Wave and its sequels.

And then there’s Neil Gaiman, who does everything.

Whew! That’s a lot of reading to catch up on, but we’re sure we missed some crossover authors. Let us know your favorites in the comments! See all of our crossover week posts here.

The post Crossover authors, pt. 2 appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
http://www.hbook.com/2015/09/blogs/out-of-the-box/crossover-authors-pt-2/feed/ 1
Crossover authors, pt. 1 http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/blogs/out-of-the-box/crossover-authors-pt-1/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/blogs/out-of-the-box/crossover-authors-pt-1/#respond Mon, 31 Aug 2015 16:35:27 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=51789 Is there a better feeling than discovering a new book by a favorite author? How about discovering a whole bunch of books you haven’t read yet by that author? Maybe you’re familiar with their work for adults, but didn’t realize they wrote for younger readers as well, or vice versa. For example (in alphabetical order […]

The post Crossover authors, pt. 1 appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
Is there a better feeling than discovering a new book by a favorite author? How about discovering a whole bunch of books you haven’t read yet by that author? Maybe you’re familiar with their work for adults, but didn’t realize they wrote for younger readers as well, or vice versa. For example (in alphabetical order and with many omissions, so tell us your favorites in the comments)…

alexie_lone ranger and tonto fistfight in heavenThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time IndianSherman Alexie mostly writes novels (Flight) and short story collections (The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven) for adults, usually focusing on the experiences of Native Americans. His young adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which covers similar ground, won a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award in 2009.

The majority of Isabel Allende’s books are tales for adults that incorporate magical realism (House of the Spirits, Eva Luna). She brought her magical realism into the YA realm with a trilogy that begins in the Amazonian rainforest with City of the Beasts and eventually encompasses Kenya and the Himalayas.

Julia Alvarez is perhaps best-known for her adult novels How the García Girls Lost Their Accents and In the Time of the Butterflies, both about with roots in the Dominican Republic. Her middle-grade Tía Lola series (How Tía Lola Came to Stay and sequels) stays close to her Dominican American heritage. Her middle-grade novel Return to Sender won the Pura Belpré Award and the Américas Award.

Clive Barker writes horror and dark fantasy for adults (Books of Blood series, Wereworld), and the films he directs (Hellraiser, Nightbreed) are similarly creepy. With the Abarat series, he moved into YA fantasy, and his The Thief of Always: A Fable is aimed primarily at intermediate readers.

When it became clear around age ten or eleven that I was growing up to be a smart aleck, I was told I was “old enough for Dave Barry.” At the time, that meant his humor columns syndicated from the Miami Herald and his nonfiction humor books. Since then, he’s written several humorous adult novels (Big Trouble, Insane City). For children, he’s collaborated with Ridley Pearson on Peter Pan prequel Peter and the Starcatchers and its ensuing series, and written a few humorous solo novels for kids (Science Fair, The Worst Class Trip Ever). And he’s still a smart aleck.

carriger_etiquette and espionage_198x300SoullessGail Carriger’s first series was The Parasol Protectorate, a steampunk series for adults. She stayed in the same world for the Finishing School series, a prequel series aimed at YA readers. Naturally, there’s lots of readership crossover between the two.

Tim Federle started his career not as any kind of author, but rather as a dancer on Broadway. A few years ago, he started writing kids’ books and adult books at pretty much the same time. Tequila  Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist hit shelves in 2013, as did his debut middle-grade novel, Better Nate Than Ever, about a young boy with Broadway dreams. His first picture book, Tommy Can’t Stop, is out now, and he has a YA novel, The Great American Whatever, out in March. His board book-shaped Hickory Daquiri Dock may be for adults, but it’s well aware of the influence of children’s literature: the subtitle is Cocktails with a Nursery Rhyme Twist.

Jasper Fforde writes several humorous series for adults, all set in worlds slightly different from our own. The Thursday Next and Nursery Crime series both involve investigations of crimes among fictional characters, and the Shades of Grey series is a social satire set in the distant future. His Last Dragonslayer series for YA readers is a similarly tongue-in-cheek fantasy, set in a world where magic exists but isn’t very dependable.

When you think of John Grisham, you probably think of legal thrillers like A Time to Kill and The Firm. His novels for intermediate readers, Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer and its sequels, stay close to Grisham’s roots, starring a young aspiring attorney who keeps finding himself involved in investigations.

Shannon Hale wrote Austenland after falling in love — “real love… painful, aching bliss” — with Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy. And also after having won a Newbery Honor for Princess Academy. She has also created a fierce Rapunzel in the graphic novel Rapunzel’s Revenge (written with Dean Hale, illustrated by Nathan Hale), among other fairy-tale and fantasy retellings.

Like Dave Barry, Carl Hiaasen started out with a column in the Miami Herald, though his, which is still running, is more overtly political than Barry’s. Soon he, too, began writing madcap adult novels (Tourist Season, Bad Monkey). Hiaasen’s intermediate books, beginning with Newbery Honor book Hoot, combine humor with environmental themes. Most recently, he’s brought a popular character from his adult books to his YA debut, Skink: No Surrender.

hoffman_practical magichoffman_nightbirdAlice Hoffman is well known for her adult fantasy novel Practical Magic (who saw the Nicole Kidman/Sandra Bullock movie? Everyone, right?), but she’s written in a variety of genres, including historical fiction (The Dovekeepers) and nonfiction (Survival Lessons). She’s also written several YA novels, often with fantasy elements (such as in Green Angel and sequels, Indigo), and most recently, the intermediate fantasy Nightbird. Recently, she discussed Edward Eager’s influence on her writing in the pages of The Horn Book Magazine.

Sophie Kinsella is mostly associated with light realistic fiction for adults, particularly Confessions of a Shopaholic and its sequels. Lately, she’s stepped into the world of YA with Finding Audrey, which is also lightish realistic fiction but with a healthy dose of weightier issues, including debilitating anxiety and bullying.

And that’s just the beginning! Stay tuned for more crossover authors tomorrow, and find all of our crossover week posts here.

The post Crossover authors, pt. 1 appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/blogs/out-of-the-box/crossover-authors-pt-1/feed/ 0
Crossover Week @ The Horn Book http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/blogs/out-of-the-box/crossover-week-the-horn-book/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/blogs/out-of-the-box/crossover-week-the-horn-book/#respond Mon, 31 Aug 2015 16:30:40 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=51838 “I’m reading Austenland,” said boss-man Roger Sutton one day. “It’s a grownup book by that fantasy author who won a Newbery Honor. She did those fairy-tale graphic novels too. You know? Shannon Hale.” And from there sprang Crossover Week @ The Horn Book. Because it’s not just Shannon Hale. Lots of children’s authors have written […]

The post Crossover Week @ The Horn Book appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
austenland“I’m reading Austenland,” said boss-man Roger Sutton one day. “It’s a grownup book by that fantasy author who won a Newbery Honor. She did those fairy-tale graphic novels too. You know? Shannon Hale.”

And from there sprang Crossover Week @ The Horn Book. Because it’s not just Shannon Hale. Lots of children’s authors have written adult books and vice versa. We started brainstorming, and the list goes on and on and on

We’ve talked to some authors about why they do what they do, and for whom. Let us know who we missed. See all of our crossover week posts here.

The post Crossover Week @ The Horn Book appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/blogs/out-of-the-box/crossover-week-the-horn-book/feed/ 0
James E. Ransome on Granddaddy’s Turn http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/authors-illustrators/james-e-ransome-on-granddaddys-turn/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/authors-illustrators/james-e-ransome-on-granddaddys-turn/#respond Mon, 31 Aug 2015 15:00:38 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=51658 In our July/August issue, reviewer Robin Smith asked James Ransome about the challenge of illustrating difficult subject matter — specifically, voting disenfranchisement — for picture-book readers in Granddaddy’s Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box. Read the full review of Granddaddy’s Turn here. Robin Smith: How do you convey the seriousness and emotion of your […]

The post James E. Ransome on Granddaddy’s Turn appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
bandy_granddaddy's turnIn our July/August issue, reviewer Robin Smith asked James Ransome about the challenge of illustrating difficult subject matter — specifically, voting disenfranchisement — for picture-book readers in Granddaddy’s Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box. Read the full review of Granddaddy’s Turn here.

Robin Smith: How do you convey the seriousness and emotion of your subject matter without burdening the child reader? It must be hard.

James E. Ransome: It is a delicate balancing act. One way I attempted to do this for Granddaddy’s Turn was by using warm tones and intimate spot art to convey the strong sense of family and tenderness among the characters. Utilizing the white space of the pages as a design element keeps the feeling of the book light. With the television program The Andy Griffith Show as one of my resources, I incorporated details from period clothing, checks and plaids, set against a bucolic country backdrop, to authentically reflect the time period and immerse the reader in that part of history.

From the July/August 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

The post James E. Ransome on Granddaddy’s Turn appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/authors-illustrators/james-e-ransome-on-granddaddys-turn/feed/ 0
Jeremy Fisher, rock star http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/blogs/out-of-the-box/jeremy-fisher-rock-star/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/blogs/out-of-the-box/jeremy-fisher-rock-star/#respond Wed, 26 Aug 2015 18:59:41 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=50282 We recently received Peter Rabbit: Jeremy Fisher Rocks Out (Penguin/Warne, May 2015), part of a series of paperback picture books adapted from the Peter Rabbit TV show. Jeremy might be rockin’ out, but I’d bet Beatrix is rolling over. (Not that she’s likely ever stopped rolling over.) For more on Beatrix Potter, including her ties […]

The post Jeremy Fisher, rock star appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
We recently received Peter Rabbit: Jeremy Fisher Rocks Out (Penguin/Warne, May 2015), part of a series of paperback picture books adapted from the Peter Rabbit TV show.

jeremy fisher rocks out

Jeremy might be rockin’ out, but I’d bet Beatrix is rolling over. (Not that she’s likely ever stopped rolling over.)

For more on Beatrix Potter, including her ties to The Horn Book, click here.

The post Jeremy Fisher, rock star appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/blogs/out-of-the-box/jeremy-fisher-rock-star/feed/ 0
Seeing yourself in literature http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/blogs/out-of-the-box/seeing-yourself-in-literature/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/blogs/out-of-the-box/seeing-yourself-in-literature/#respond Tue, 25 Aug 2015 16:50:58 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=51632 I can’t really remember if I looked for literature with kids like me as a child. Did I read books about quiet, geeky girls because I could relate? Or did I read books about quiet, geeky girls because that’s what was available? Did I search for a character with whom I could identify? Or could […]

The post Seeing yourself in literature appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
mirror book

The Mirror Book by Ronald King & John Christie (Bookwork Guildford)

I can’t really remember if I looked for literature with kids like me as a child. Did I read books about quiet, geeky girls because I could relate? Or did I read books about quiet, geeky girls because that’s what was available? Did I search for a character with whom I could identify? Or could I identify with most characters because I am white? It doesn’t really matter — when you boil it down, I didn’t have to look for literature that represented me because literature already did. I was (and am) privileged.

Working in the field of children’s literature, it is very clear to me that we need diverse books — we need diverse books, authors, publishers, retailers, and readers. Everyone should be able to pick up a book and find a character with whom they can relate. But a problem I personally encounter is that my privilege (as privilege is wont to do) can keep me from truly understanding how important it is to see oneself in literature. I want more diverse books and greater diversity in the industry, but I can only say that from my white, cisgendered point of view. I can speak. But I don’t really understand.

Recently, though, I actually had the powerful experience of finding myself in media. I’m part of a seemingly very small community: as a thirty-one-year-old, sober female, I have never met another person just like myself. My recovery group is primarily white men over the age of 50, with a small number of women all over the age of 40. I am almost always the youngest in the room. And, more often than not, I am one of two or three women in a room packed with twenty-plus people. Now, I adore my SMART Recovery group and have made some wonderful friends. But they don’t know, really, what it’s like for me. I ask any 20- or 30-something, single female to try explaining the difficulties of contemporary dating without alcohol to a room full of older, married, white men. You do it. Tell me how it goes.

john mulaneyAnd then I discovered John Mulaney’s stand-up. Mulaney is thirty-two years old, successful, and sober. He’s sober! And young! And funny! I watched two of his shows, glorying in his few bits about sobriety, and immediately sought more (thank you, YouTube). I didn’t know I was looking for someone with whom I could identify — didn’t realize it was missing from my life at all — but once I found him I had this remarkable feeling. I felt seen. Noticed. I was reminded that I’m not alone. That there are others like me. Okay, okay, he’s not a woman. But let’s not get over-excited here. Knowing there was one person like me pushed me to look for others, to seek more connections.

And this is what finding oneself in literature can do for a child. It gives worth. It allows companionship. It creates hope. And it sparks a desire to find more — more books with characters like this, more forms of media that apply to the child, and other children like them to share this experience with.

I will never truly be able to understand how important it is for a young, Hispanic woman or a straight boy with two mothers to see themselves in literature. Not really. But I was given a brief glimpse of that experience. And it was wonderful.

The post Seeing yourself in literature appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/blogs/out-of-the-box/seeing-yourself-in-literature/feed/ 0
2014-2015 yearbook superlatives http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/blogs/out-of-the-box/2014-2015-yearbook-superlatives/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/blogs/out-of-the-box/2014-2015-yearbook-superlatives/#respond Fri, 21 Aug 2015 11:40:40 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=51634 Summer is winding down (say it ain’t so!) and the new school year is approaching. Get into the back-to-school mood with our senior superlatives for characters in the class of 2014-2015. What superlative would you award your favorite character? Best friends: Sam and Dave (Sam & Dave Dig a Hole); Pom and Pim (Where Is […]

The post 2014-2015 yearbook superlatives appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
grad cupcakeSummer is winding down (say it ain’t so!) and the new school year is approaching. Get into the back-to-school mood with our senior superlatives for characters in the class of 2014-2015. What superlative would you award your favorite character?

Best friends: Sam and Dave (Sam & Dave Dig a Hole); Pom and Pim (Where Is Pim?); Bear and Hare (Bear & Hare Go Fishing); Boom, Snot, and Twitty (Boom Snot Twitty: This Way That Way); Bridge, Tab, and Em (Goodbye Stranger); You and Me and Him (You and Me and Him)

Best unimaginary friends: Beekle (The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend); Crenshaw (Crenshaw)

Best frenemies: Adam and Koala (I Don’t Like Koala); Love and Death (The Game of Love and Death); Violet and Orianna (The Walls Around Us); Won Ton and Chopstick (Won Ton and Chopstick)

Best sibling-frenemies: Rodeo Red and Sideswiping Slim (Rodeo Red); Dot and Wolfie (Wolfie the Bunny); Raina and Amara (Sisters)

Cutest couple: Mr. Happy & Miss Grimm (Mr. Happy & Miss Grimm); Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula (Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula); Carolina and Trevor (Forever for a Year: “A touching, relatable, and highly appealing coming-of-age romance à la Eleanor & Park but with lots of sex”); Greta and Da-Xia (The Scorpion Rules); Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter (The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage)

 

Most likely to aim high: Carl Sagan (Star Stuff)

Most intelligent: Octopus (The Octopus Scientists: Exploring the Mind of a Mollusk)

Out-of-the-box thinker: Red (Red: A Crayon’s Story)

 

Most likely to finish third grade: Clementine (Completely Clementine)

Least likely to finish first grade: Mommy-boy (First Grade Dropout)

Least likely to finish high school: Denton (Denton Little’s Deathdate)

 

Class activists: Glory O’Brien (Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future); Knud Pedersen (The Boys Who Challenged Hitler)

Class clown (tie): The Clown, The Farmer (The Farmer and the Clown)

Most likely to win a Tony: Tiny Cooper (Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story)

 

Best legs: Baba Yaga’s house (Egg & Spoon and Baba Yaga’s Assistant)

Best arm: Lizzie Murphy (Queen of the Diamond); Pedro Martinez (Growing Up Pedro)

Best wings: James (Nightbird)

Best eye: Gordon Parks (Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America)

Best nose for news: Normandy (The Truth Commission)

Best bowtie: Roger (Roger Is Reading a Book)

Best shades: Audrey (Finding Audrey)

Best retro style: Momo (My Cousin Momo), Jessica (Friends for Life)

 

Best sweet-talker: Victor Lustig (Tricky Vic); Will Shea and Andrea Dufresne (Con Academy)

Biggest potty mouth: Little Bird (Little Bird’s Bad Word); Maria from Sesame Street (who knew?! Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx)

Most likely to flip the bird: Nate (Read Between the Lines)

Most verbose: Noah Webster (Noah Webster: Man of Many Words)

 

World travelers: Gudrid (The Saga of Gudrid the Far-Traveler); Jane Goodall (Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall)

Home-bodies: Ollie and Moritz (Because You’ll Never Meet Me)

Worst sense of direction: Pablo (Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure); A chicken (A Chicken Followed Me Home)

Best sense of direction: Osprey (The Call of the Osprey)

 

Varsity MVPs:

Football team: Arlo (Hit Count)

Swim team: goggles-wearing kids (Pool)

Baseball team: See “Best arm” above

Band: John, Paul, George, Ringo (Fab Four Friends: The Boys Who Became the Beatles)

Dance squad: Chicken Little and company (The Sky Is Falling!); Anna Pavlova (Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova)

Bunny martial arts: Bunjitsu Bunny (Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny); Ninja Bunny (Ninja Bunny)

 

For more Horn Book silliness about books we love, see the 2015 Mind the Gap Awards and our yearbook superlatives for 2012-2013 and 2013-2014.

The post 2014-2015 yearbook superlatives appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/blogs/out-of-the-box/2014-2015-yearbook-superlatives/feed/ 0
Billy’s Booger app review http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/billys-booger-app-review/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/billys-booger-app-review/#respond Thu, 20 Aug 2015 16:00:53 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=51518 The Billy’s Booger storybook app (Moonbot Studios, June 2015) begins with an introduction, straight from the front flap of Billy’s Booger: A Memoir (Sorta) (Atheneum, also released in June): “This is Billy…one day Billy entered a contest. He made a book. About Me!” The “me” in question? A little green guy in a superhero cape […]

The post Billy’s Booger app review appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
billy's booger title screenThe Billy’s Booger storybook app (Moonbot Studios, June 2015) begins with an introduction, straight from the front flap of Billy’s Booger: A Memoir (Sorta) (Atheneum, also released in June): “This is Billy…one day Billy entered a contest. He made a book. About Me!” The “me” in question? A little green guy in a superhero cape who identifies himself as “Billy’s Booger.” (On the next screen, after bellowingBILLY’S BOOGER!” he further identifies himself as author William Joyce.)

The book itself is somewhat complicated in format, featuring a book-within-a-book purportedly written by young Billy (Joyce, of course) and narrated by — you guessed it — his booger. (The booger happens to have superhero-level math powers, which it kindly shares with Billy.) The rest of the book tells the story of how irrepressible Billy enters his booger-based tale into a writing contest.

billy's booger book

The app is mainly a reading of the book — all its parts, including every inch of the cover — with some creative enhancements. Joyce’s booming voice is just silly enough; if anything, it’s toned down a little during the booger-narrated book-within-the-book, perhaps because boogers are smaller than humans. Throughout, there are various animations, including a nearly-toppling mountain of books, the flashing lights of Billy’s mad-genius collander-and-wires hat, and of course, the booger’s trajectory during a fateful sneeze.

billy's booger invention

Joyce gives some commentary about the copyright page, then expressively reads the parts he finds interesting and super-speed-reads the Library of Congress CIP information. There’s also a round of applause after the author bio. The cheery, unobtrusive music is optional, as is the narration. Oh, and the booger looks nothing like an actual booger, so it’s possible to forget to be grossed out.

This isn’t an app you’d, um, pick for its interactivity. There’s an option to do one math problem (all the examples I saw were one-digit-by-one-digit multiplication), but once you get it right, you’re just led to a page with other apps from Moonbot (including The Numberlys and The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore). Still, it’s a solidly entertaining reading experience, read slowly enough that it’s easy to follow along with the text. This might be a useful app to have handy on long car trips — but it might be wise to also bring along a box of tissues.

Available for iPad (requires iOS 7.0 or later); $2.99. Recommended for primary users and up.

The post Billy’s Booger app review appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/billys-booger-app-review/feed/ 0
“What do you think of my labyrinth?” part 2 http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/blogs/out-of-the-box/what-do-you-think-of-my-labyrinth-part-2/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/blogs/out-of-the-box/what-do-you-think-of-my-labyrinth-part-2/#respond Mon, 17 Aug 2015 16:46:08 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=51552 I don’t know anything about this book, but it came across my desk the other day and I had to point it out. Look: You, dear cover, are not a labyrinth. You are a puzzle. Or a maze. You look neat. Really neat. But you’re still not a labyrinth. The title page, however, has totally […]

The post “What do you think of my labyrinth?” part 2 appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
I don’t know anything about this book, but it came across my desk the other day and I had to point it out.

Look:

moulton_keepers of the labyrinth

You, dear cover, are not a labyrinth. You are a puzzle. Or a maze. You look neat. Really neat. But you’re still not a labyrinth.

The title page, however, has totally got this labyrinth thing down:

moulton_keepers of the labyrinth title page

The messages are a bit mixed, but that’s okay with me. Because The Universe is obviously trying to make contact with me via labyrinths.

It’s probably telling me to slow down, meditate, enjoy the world.

Or to eat more greens.

Who knows?

The post “What do you think of my labyrinth?” part 2 appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/blogs/out-of-the-box/what-do-you-think-of-my-labyrinth-part-2/feed/ 0
Toca Band app review http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/toca-band-app-review/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/toca-band-app-review/#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2015 16:00:44 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=51509 Having just experienced the sheer bizarre joy that is Toca Band (Toca Boca, 2012), I fear it may be impossible to express exactly why this app is so much fun. But I will try. Oh, I will try. The setting is simple: we are in a park. A large, boldly-hued stage with three tiers is […]

The post Toca Band app review appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
toca band title screenHaving just experienced the sheer bizarre joy that is Toca Band (Toca Boca, 2012), I fear it may be impossible to express exactly why this app is so much fun. But I will try. Oh, I will try.

The setting is simple: we are in a park. A large, boldly-hued stage with three tiers is in the foreground and a muted city in the background. Each tier of the stage has differently colored circles where characters (all shown waiting patiently in the pit) can be placed to show off their skill.

toca band stage

These characters act as instruments (of sorts) that know only one song. While each character’s role is individualized — the triangular sheriff only whistles while the jogging clock can only make clock sounds — the tempo and pitch of the character can be changed based on where the user places the character on the stage. On the bottom, the character will perform at its slowest tempo and lowest pitch. As the character climbs the tiers, it will begin playing/performing faster and at a higher pitch. If the character is placed on the topmost tier in the star circle, it will then perform a solo controlled by the user.

This solo region is remarkably instructional. I think that, simply by playing with the crying harp-mime, I developed a basic idea of how string instruments work. When I placed the cat with the universe in its mouth on the star-spot, I discovered that larger planets made lower pitched noises while the smaller planets made higher pitched noises.

toca band universe cat

Focusing on this same concept — big means low, small means high — produced similar results in the triangular sheriff whistler. Did I know before using Toca Band how an accordion works? Possibly. Was I positive? Nope. How does one work? You hold the little buttons on top and, when the accordion is stretched out, it makes sounds. The sleepy, blue accordion taught me so.

With seven spaces for characters, the user can create many entertaining and surprisingly melodic combinations (this is because everything is in the key of C major). My absolute favorite character is the beatboxing blue balloon. With big hipster glasses and an orange hat, it beatboxes like one of Gru’s minions might with occasional English phrases thrown in for good measure: “To the ladies, to the fellas…Toca Band, yo! We rockin’ it — we in the house now.” The blue balloon’s counterpart, pink ballet-dancing balloon, plays a gentle melody while dancing on tiptoe. The cat with the universe in its mouth wails the song as one would cry in the cold expanse of space while hippie boy plays the guitar, rainbow girl sings in lalalas, and opera Grandma aria-s to the heavens.

The user can take these same characters and change the mood and tone of the song by moving them to different tiers. For example, opera lady and rainbow girl on the second level with hippie boy on the bottom is kind of chill and campfire-y while the same combination with hippie boy on top takes on a rockin’ beat. Beatboxing balloon on the bottom gives a little rock to the combo, but when placed on top turns this band into preschool dubstep.

See how much fun this is? And I didn’t even tell you about the frog family, blue bass man, or chef drum.

If this seems a bit much (or maybe not enough), the “for parents” information is incredibly helpful, listing ways in which a caregiver can focus the child’s play or increase understanding of the concepts.

I would tell you more, but I have a date with a beatboxing blue balloon.

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (requires iOS 5.0 or later); free. Recommended for preschool users and up.

The post Toca Band app review appeared first on The Horn Book.

]]>
http://www.hbook.com/2015/08/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/toca-band-app-review/feed/ 1