The Horn Book » Out of the Box http://www.hbook.com Publications about books for children and young adults Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:50:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Look! Up in the sky! It’s…Super Roger! http://www.hbook.com/2014/12/blogs/out-of-the-box/look-sky-super-roger/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/12/blogs/out-of-the-box/look-sky-super-roger/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 19:31:34 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=44235 This week Roger talked with living-comics-legend Stan Lee about his new book Zodiac. That made us think of Roger as a superhero: his bow tie doubles as a boomerang! to chase down bad-guys! and retrieve books off high library shelves! It also made us think of Roger in tights and Spandex, which just made us […]

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bow tie Look! Up in the sky! Its...Super Roger!This week Roger talked with living-comics-legend Stan Lee about his new book Zodiac. That made us think of Roger as a superhero: his bow tie doubles as a boomerang! to chase down bad-guys! and retrieve books off high library shelves! It also made us think of Roger in tights and Spandex, which just made us giggle. [Ed. note: You laugh NOW…]

We ask: do you know any superhero librarians? Either librarians who could be existing superheroes (So. Many. Catwoman. Jokes.) or those who could helm their very own, all-new Marvel franchises. Admittedly, Bow-Tie Man isn’t the most scintillating. What are some other ideas?

I’ve always thought K. T. Horning must be able to fly, for example. And Julie Roach is always smiling. But I’m not saying she’s The Joker (though, like Heath Ledger, may he rest in peace, she is cute as a button).

You can also share your thoughts here, by letting us know how you library.

Also, is Stephen Savage’s Supertruck the cutest superhero around or what?

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The Dance Happy Project http://www.hbook.com/2014/12/blogs/out-of-the-box/dance-happy-project/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/12/blogs/out-of-the-box/dance-happy-project/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:20:35 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=44481 Over on Twitter, @mecaplan directed us to a cause dear to my dance-lovin’ heart: The Dance Happy Project. The project was initiated by eleven-year-old Georgia Bernbaum, who writes on the Dance Happy site that her goal is to “bring dance classes to more children, children who would not normally have access to dance lessons.” Proceeds […]

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dance happy flier The Dance Happy ProjectOver on Twitter, @mecaplan directed us to a cause dear to my dance-lovin’ heart: The Dance Happy Project. The project was initiated by eleven-year-old Georgia Bernbaum, who writes on the Dance Happy site that her goal is to “bring dance classes to more children, children who would not normally have access to dance lessons.” Proceeds raised during a performance/auction event held in Orlando, FL, on February 9th will fund dance classes for kids living at the Center for Women and Families, part of the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida.

paschkis nutcracker The Dance Happy ProjectThere’s a range of items to bid on, including fine art and set and costume design sketches. Most relevant to us kidlit aficionados, though, is the illustration section featuring work by Caldecott medalist Brian Floca (a watercolor painted for A Ballet for Martha)Pamela Zagarenski (a painting from her Caldecott Honor book Sleep Like a Tiger), Eugene Yelchin (a vignette depicting Little Red Riding Hood meeting a debonair wolf), and many more. Several of the pieces — such Brian Floca’s,  Julie Paschkis’s gorgeous painting of Clara for The Nutcracker, and a print of one of Martin French’s Stompin at the Savoy: The Story of Norma Miller illustrations — are dance-related, but if that’s not your thing, there are plenty of other options to choose from! @mecaplan tells us web auctions are in the works for those of us who can’t attend the event in person. Other ways to help include donation of auction items and monetary donations.

And speaking of dance and happiness, have you seen this fantastic short by 2014 BGHB honoree Christian Robinson?

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Five questions for Lizzie Skurnick http://www.hbook.com/2014/12/creating-books/publishing/five-questions-lizzie-skurnick/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/12/creating-books/publishing/five-questions-lizzie-skurnick/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 17:31:26 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=44298 Since 2013, Lizzie Skurnick Books (LSB; an imprint of Ig Publishing) has been handpicking and reissuing “the very best in young adult literature, from the classics of the 1930s and 1940s to the social novels of the 1970s and 1980s.” The list gained a passel of built-in followers with the release of Sydney Taylor’s All-of-a-Kind-Family series, […]

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skurnick Five questions for Lizzie SkurnickSince 2013, Lizzie Skurnick Books (LSB; an imprint of Ig Publishing) has been handpicking and reissuing “the very best in young adult literature, from the classics of the 1930s and 1940s to the social novels of the 1970s and 1980s.” The list gained a passel of built-in followers with the release of Sydney Taylor’s All-of-a-Kind-Family series, beloved by little Jewish girls (and, really, by anyone who’s ever read the books) for decades.

1. Who is your favorite All-of-a-Kind Family sibling?

LS: I loved Ella, because she’s such a combination of a romantic and a drill sergeant and a psychologist, which is exactly what you’d like in an older sister. She was the girl who got to experience the most of New York, both good and bad, whether singing on a streetcar or going with Guido to a sweatshop. I always sang the solos in shul growing up, and I wished I’d had a chance to have a vaudeville career like Ella’s, although I doubt I would have given it up for Jules.

2. Which of the girls is most — or least — like you?

LS: Sigh — Sarah. I have to admit it — I am a grind, and I really care about school prizes, and I hate losing. I would love to be Henny, but you would never catch me stealing my sister’s dress — to say nothing of figuring out how to hide the stain.

3. What are some upcoming books on your publishing list that you’re most excited about?

LS: We’re very excited about our first LSB originals, Isabel’s War and Lilli’s Quest, both by LSB author Lila Perl. They’re about a young girl growing up in 1940s New York and a surprise houseguest, Lilli, a girl about her age who has survived the Holocaust. They’re both mysteries, the first from the comedic Isabel’s point of view, and the second from Lilli’s, as we learn the story of how she got to America. (We’re so very sad Perl died last year.)

4. Have you encountered books on your list that, re-reading as an adult, seem radically different from childhood?

LS: What I’ve noticed most on re-reading is not how the books seem different, but the layers I missed as a child and now see as an adult. For instance, reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Long Winter as a little girl, I only noticed details like being forced to twist hay endlessly to burn for warmth when the wood has run out. But now I see how the government left the settlers all alone, and since they’d started to depend on things the railways could bring them, like kerosene, they had a much harder time than the family did in, say, Little House in the Big Woods.

You also see things about families you never noticed before you were an adult, like how difficult it is to know how to do the right thing with your children when you’re a mother, or how scary it would be to lose your job or spouse. Suddenly, you see things from that perspective.

5. Is Hanukkah Harry coming to your house this year? (If so, what’s he bringing?)

LS: My one-year-old has suddenly discovered he loves it when mom dances the hora with him, so probably some Israeli dance CDs!

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Chanukah at the Chorn Book http://www.hbook.com/2014/12/blogs/out-of-the-box/chanukah-chorn-book/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/12/blogs/out-of-the-box/chanukah-chorn-book/#respond Mon, 15 Dec 2014 17:30:34 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=44175 “Oh Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah / Come eat the menorah…” The Festival of Lights begins at sundown tomorrow, Tuesday, December 16. Here are some recent Hanukkah-themed picture books to enjoy (by candlelight?). Reviews are from The Horn Book Magazine‘s Holiday High Notes and from The Horn Book Guide Online. For more Horn Book Hanukkah recommendations click […]

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“Oh Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah / Come eat the menorah…”

The Festival of Lights begins at sundown tomorrow, Tuesday, December 16. Here are some recent Hanukkah-themed picture books to enjoy (by candlelight?). Reviews are from The Horn Book Magazine‘s Holiday High Notes and from The Horn Book Guide Online. For more Horn Book Hanukkah recommendations click on the tag hanukkah-books.

My fellow Sydney Taylor Book Award committee members and I will be spending our eight crazy nights reading, reading, reading, and deliberating, deliberating, deliberating. Stay tuned for the awards announcement in early January. Not that I can be swayed (though feel free to try by sending chocolate gelt!), but any favorite Jewish-themed books this year?

balsley ABC Hanukkah Hunt Chanukah at the Chorn BookABC Hanukkah Hunt
by Tilda Balsley; illus. by Helen Poole
Preschool    Kar-Ben    32 pp.
9/13    978-1-4677-0420-5    Paper ed. 978-1-4677-0421-2

“It’s Hanukkah from A to Z / An alphabet of things to see.” Rhyming couplets very loosely describe Hanukkah’s story and traditions, from King Antiochus to bedtime “Zzzzzzzzz.” The format is too constrained to impart significant information about the holiday, but kids will get a cursory introduction. Bright illustrations featuring pink-cheeked, Rugrats-looking children playing with dreidels and making latkes accompany the text.

fischer latke the lucky dog Chanukah at the Chorn BookLatke, the Lucky Dog
by Ellen Fischer; 
illus. by Tiphanie Beeke
Preschool, Primary    Kar-Ben    24 pp.
9/14    978-0-7613-9038-1   Paper ed. 978-0-7613-9039-8
e-book ed.  978-1-4677-4669-4

On the first night of Hanukkah, a family adopts a little golden-brown dog and names it Latke. As the family celebrates the Festival of Lights, Latke joins in, thinking, “I am one lucky dog!” But he has a lot to learn about how to behave. This engaging romp follows Latke as he chews his way through the eight nights of Hanukkah. Told in Latke’s voice, the story highlights the holiday’s traditions as well as the love between the dog and his new family. Cheerful textured illustrations capture all of Latke’s mischief.

guthrie honeyky hanukah Chanukah at the Chorn BookHoneyky Hanukah
by Woody Guthrie; 
illus. by Dave Horowitz
Preschool, Primary    Doubleday    24 pp.
9/14    978-0-385-37926-7    $17.99

Guthrie’s lively Hanukkah ditty exudes folksiness and warmth, and this jaunty picture-book treatment captures the homespun energy of the lyrics. Horowitz’s animated construction paper, charcoal, and colored-pencil art features a curly-haired, barefoot, guitar-playing boy who tells listeners about his loving family’s holiday traditions. “Latkes and goody things” in Bubbie’s kitchen, menorah candles, music- and merry-making, hugs and kisses, gifts — they’re all part of the celebration. An illustrator’s note offers insight into the genesis of Guthrie’s Jewish songs. The Klezmatics perform a rousing rendition of the song on the accompanying CD. Read the book, listen to the CD, and get into the Hanukkah mood.

kimmel hershel Chanukah at the Chorn BookHershel and the Hanukkah Goblins: 25th Anniversary Edition
by Eric Kimmel; illus. by Trina Schart Hyman
Primary    Holiday    32 pp. (New ed.)
7/14    978-0-8234-3164-9   Paper ed. 978-0-8234-3194-6

This original story in the tradition of Yiddish tales about Hershel Ostropolier is welcome as a Hanukkah story and as a trickster tale. Hershel rids a village of goblins that are haunting a synagogue, preventing the villagers from celebrating Hanukkah. Hyman’s illustrations capture Hershel’s humor and earthy, peasant quality. This anniversary edition of the Caldecott Honor book includes afterwords by the author and the publisher.

kimmel simon and the bear Chanukah at the Chorn BookSimon and the Bear: A Hanukkah Tale
by Eric A. Kimmel; 
illus. by Matthew Trueman
Primary    Disney-Hyperion    40 pp.
9/14    978-1-4231-4355-0

Young immigrant Simon travels to America on a ship whose fate mirrors that of the Titanic, but this ship sinks on Hanukkah, a holiday that encourages faith in miracles. Simon gives another passenger his spot on a lifeboat and camps out on an iceberg. Sharing his latkes with a polar bear pays off in body heat and fish, and soon his Hanukkah candles bring about his rescue by catching the attention of a passing ship. Illustrations with frequent images of light in darkness combine with the recurring theme of miracles to evoke the Hanukkah spirit.

kimmelman Samandcharlie Chanukah at the Chorn BookSam and Charlie (and Sam Too) Return!
by Leslie Kimmelman; illus. by William Owl
Younger    Whitman    40 pp.
3/14    978-0-8075-7215-3

In their second early chapter book, neighbor best friends Sam (boy) and Charlie (girl), along with Charlie’s little sister (also named Sam), go through a year together, celebrating changing seasons, new friendships, and several Jewish holidays. The characters’ quirky and offbeat personalities shine in their interactions and also through Owl’s sunny, colorful illustrations. Subtle lessons about the holidays are apparent but not overpowering.

pinkwater beautiful yettas hanukkah kitten Chanukah at the Chorn BookBeautiful Yetta’s Hanukkah Kitten
by Daniel Pinkwater; 
illus. by Jill Pinkwater
Preschool, Primary    Feiwel    32 pp.
10/14    978-0-312-62134-6

In this sequel to Beautiful Yetta: The Yiddish Chicken (rev. 7/10), the Brooklyn-based Jewish-mama hen and her Spanish-speaking parrot pals find a cold, lost kitten during Hanukkah. The parrots are trepidatious (“Can it fly up to our nest?”), but Yetta knows just what to do: “We will take her to the old grandmother!” Kitten and Bubbie find companionship — and the birds all benefit from some homemade potato latkes. The breezy speech-bubble text is in English and, depending on who’s talking, Spanish or Yiddish (including, for both foreign languages, phonetic pronunciation). Energetic marker, brush pen, and pen-and-ink illustrations in a limited palette — parrot green, hen white-and-red, kitten orange, and Hanukkah blue — fly off the pages.

yacowitz i know an old lady who swallowed a dreidel Chanukah at the Chorn BookI Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Dreidel
by Caryn Yacowitz; 
illus. by David Slonim
Primary    Levine/Scholastic    32 pp.
9/14    978-0-439-91530-4

The American Gothic parody on the 
first wordless spread — showing Ma 
and Pa, a boy, a cat…and a menorah — previews this freewheeling volume, part warm family holiday story, part art appreciation book, and part cumulative rhyme. Yacowitz’s clever Hanukkah-themed text lists the items swallowed by the bubbie: latkes, gelt, candles, dreidel (“Perhaps it’s fatal” is the refrain). Slonim’s humorous cartoony illustrations — a well-designed mix of spreads and panels — tell their own story, courtesy of the old masters. Bubbie stands in for the Mona Lisa, the figure in The Scream, and Rodin’s Thinker; homages to Warhol, Rockwell, van Gogh, Wyeth, Hopper (“Mel’s All-Night Latkes” diner), and others make cameo appearances. An artist’s note is appended.

wohl eighthmenorah Chanukah at the Chorn BookThe Eighth Menorah
by Lauren L. Wohl; illus. by Laura Hughes
Primary    Whitman    32 pp.
10/13    978-0-8075-1892-2

“Sam’s family already had lots of menorahs. They didn’t need another one.” This is Sam’s predicament as he makes a Hanukkah menorah with his Hebrew school class. Sam’s distress about this problem seems excessive, but it’s resolved in a touching, if expected, way. The delicately rendered illustrations feature a loving family. Instructions for playing dreidel are (somewhat incongruously) appended.

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BA-BA-DOOK. http://www.hbook.com/2014/12/blogs/out-of-the-box/ba-ba-dook/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/12/blogs/out-of-the-box/ba-ba-dook/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 16:00:32 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=44153 A horror movie about an evil children’s book is, understandably, not everyone’s thing. But given that I’m both a horror fan and a big kidlit nerd, I’ve been waiting for Australian indie film The Babadook to hit US theaters since I first saw the trailer online several months ago. Despite its cleaning up at Sundance, […]

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babadook poster BA BA DOOK.A horror movie about an evil children’s book is, understandably, not everyone’s thing. But given that I’m both a horror fan and a big kidlit nerd, I’ve been waiting for Australian indie film The Babadook to hit US theaters since I first saw the trailer online several months ago. Despite its cleaning up at Sundance, the movie’s US release is so limited — only two local cinemas are showing it, one in a theater the size of a living room — that the screening my boyfriend and I attempted to see over the weekend was sold out. We wound up watching it at home on demand…which was probably for the best, since it minimized the number of people I bothered with my shrieking.

The Babadook was partially based upon director Jennifer Kent’s short film Monster, about a child who’s afraid of his plush monster toy and his mother who’s exasperated by his fear — only to come face-to-face with the real monster. The Babadook expands upon and complicates this plot. Its protagonists are young widowed mother Amelia (Essie Davis) and her son Sam (Noah Wiseman). Sam has both an active imagination and serious behavioral problems: he builds weapons, in preparation for “when the monster comes,” and takes them everywhere; has nightmares that prevent him from sleeping through the night; and is ostracized by other children for both his monster obsession and his dead father. With Sam’s seventh birthday (also the anniversary of his father’s accidental death) approaching, money tight, and Sam out of school due to his weapons-smuggling, Amelia is nearing her breaking point.

Then Sam chooses Mister Babadook, a book that mysteriously appears on his book shelf, for a bedtime story.

The book is a bit crudely written and illustrated, but creepy nonetheless. Direct-address text accompanied by black-and-white pop-up illustrations inform the reader that supernatural creature Mister Babdook will come out of the darkness of your closet, ceiling corner, etc., to watch you, and “you can’t get rid” of him once you’ve seen him. (It’s actually not unlike the story line of Liniers’s What There Is Before There Is Anything There.) Reading Mister Babadook exacerbates Sam’s intense fears about monsters and disturbs Amelia, who responds by first hiding, then tearing apart and trashing the book. When it reappears on their doorstep — pieced back together and with even darker content, this time depicting a Babadook-possessed Amelia harming Sam and their pet dog in pop-ups that seem to move on their own — Amelia suspects she and Sam are being stalked. Of course, the truth is much worse.

The movie’s supernatural element is legitimately frightening. The Babadook’s inhuman sounds and movement give me the serious heebie-jeebies, and the idea that underneath his already-scary-as-hell gaping-maw-and-claws exterior lies something that will make you “wish you were dead” doesn’t help. As promised by the book, Amelia and Sam can’t get away from the creature — or each other — and are trapped in their own home, cut off from any real help. The limited setting (mostly the house’s interior plus a bit of their small town) and cast contribute to the film’s claustrophobic feel.

But what’s especially effective is the way the supernatural horror works with the more insidious horror of a parent fast approaching a psychological break. Sam is a very difficult child; Amelia is grief-stricken, sleep deprived, financially strapped, isolated, and emotionally unsupported — in a word, desperate. It’s not hard to imagine Amelia harming Sam, herself, or someone else in a rage or in a fugue state, with or without any malevolent supernatural influence.

Other horror films (perhaps most famously The Shining) also depict a stressed parent manipulated by otherworldly forces towards hurting his or her family, but I can’t think of one whose parent-off-the-deep-end is as convincing or sympathetic as Davis’s Amelia. Her vulnerability makes her moments of Babadook-fueled (or just unhinged?) violence that much more disturbing. As Sam, Wiseman is both frustrating and genuinely endearing, an impressive feat given his very young age.

Is the Babadook real, and has monster-fighter Sam been right all along? Or is it a delusion shared by mother and child? You’ll have to watch the movie and decide for yourself. And if it reaches its crowdfunding goals, Mister Babadook may soon be available as an actual pop-up book — eek!

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Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer app review http://www.hbook.com/2014/12/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/sago-mini-ocean-swimmer-app-review/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/12/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/sago-mini-ocean-swimmer-app-review/#respond Thu, 11 Dec 2014 19:16:48 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=44183 Developer Sago Sago‘s Sago Mini series offers exploration-based game apps (including Forest Flyer, Space Explorer, and Road Trip) for toddlers and early primary users. Explore an ocean full of funny, often fantastical surprises as a cute little fish in Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer (2013). The app opens with a view of the ocean floor, where […]

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Developer Sago Sago‘s Sago Mini series offers exploration-based game apps (including Forest Flyer, Space Explorer, and Road Trip) for toddlers and early primary users. Explore an ocean full of funny, often fantastical surprises as a cute little fish in Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer (2013).

The app opens with a view of the ocean floor, where the fishie (identified as “Fins” on Sago Sago’s website, although the app itself is wordless) lives in a sandcastle. Tap to sound the castle’s shell-horn doorbell and Fins comes out to play. Friendly illustrations — with a bright palette and a cut-paper look full of simplified, rounded shapes — portray the under-the-sea setting and its wacky inhabitants.

Guide Fins through depths from the floor up to the surface and discover a wide variety of animated interactive moments. Many of these are incongruous to the ocean setting (for instance, a helium balloon clues Fins into a surprise birthday party), adding to the high silliness.

ocean swimmer dance party Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer app review

ocean swimmer pizza Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer app review

Characterization and emotion are sometimes communicated just through the animals’ Klassen-esque eye movements; other vignettes (an opera-singing sea monster) call for over-the-top expression.

ocean swimmer sea monster Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer app review

Throughout, the humor is perfectly pitched to the preschool through early elementary audience (poop and burp jokes!).

Pulsing yellow starbust-shaped dots hint where to place Fins to initiate some of the more complex animations (e.g., a whole starfish song-and-dance routine); others (such as a row of ducks quacking in sequence) are more subtle, triggered by his swimming by. Sound effects, including upbeat music, giggles, gasps, burps, farts, etc., enhance the animations. Navigation is straightforward (just taps and swipes) and there are no in-app purchases or parent-locked sections.

There are enough surprises to discover to keep kids entertained for a long time — and they’re still funny many times though.

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (free) and Android devices ($2.99). Recommended for preschool and primary users.

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Fanfare 2014 Notes http://www.hbook.com/2014/12/blogs/out-of-the-box/fanfare-notes/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/12/blogs/out-of-the-box/fanfare-notes/#respond Wed, 10 Dec 2014 20:12:30 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=44134 Da-da-da-daaaaaa! It’s here: the Fanfare special edition of Notes is arriving in subscribers’ inboxes right now. We began with a long longlist, then fought it ou— er, cordially discussed the options until we whittled it down to twenty-nine favorites of 2014. With picture books, fiction, folklore, poetry, and nonfiction, there’s something — probably several things […]

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Da-da-da-daaaaaa! It’s here: the Fanfare special edition of Notes is arriving in subscribers’ inboxes right now.

We began with a long longlist, then fought it ou— er, cordially discussed the options until we whittled it down to twenty-nine favorites of 2014. With picture books, fiction, folklore, poetry, and nonfiction, there’s something — probably several things — for everyone.

Notes (and its occasional supplements Nonfiction Notes and Talks With Roger) will be back to regularly scheduled programming in January.

fanfare notes 14 Fanfare 2014 Notes

Read the issue online or subscribe to receive the monthly Notes from the Horn Book newsletter. For more recommended books plus author and illustrator interviews, check out the newsletter archives.

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Liniers on What There Is Before There Is Anything There http://www.hbook.com/2014/12/authors-illustrators/liniers-on-what-there-is-before-there-is-anything-there/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/12/authors-illustrators/liniers-on-what-there-is-before-there-is-anything-there/#respond Mon, 08 Dec 2014 16:39:00 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=44033 In the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine, editor Martha Parravano asked Argentinian cartoonist Liniers about the inspiration for his “deeply unsettling” but “bravely existential” new picture book, What There Is Before There Is Anything There: A Scary Story. Read the full review here. Martha V. Parravano: What made you decide to make […]

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liniers what there is before there is anything there Liniers on What There Is Before There Is Anything ThereIn the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine, editor Martha Parravano asked Argentinian cartoonist Liniers about the inspiration for his “deeply unsettling” but “bravely existential” new picture book, What There Is Before There Is Anything There: A Scary Story. Read the full review here.

Martha V. Parravano: What made you decide to make such a realistic — and thus dark — picture book on this topic for children?

Liniers: I don’t like children’s books that treat them as tiny ignorant human beings. 
They are smart, and as Mr. Sendak used to say, you can “tell them anything you want.” 
I remember enjoying being scared by movies and books when I was a child. Witches and vampires! Also, the story I decided to tell actually used to happen to me. I must have been three or four because I have a very vague memory of this. When my parents would turn out the lights I thought the ceiling disappeared, and I recall imagining — almost seeing — a tiger coming down in a spiral downfall. A very weird kid I was. Or not.

From the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

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Special delivery http://www.hbook.com/2014/12/blogs/out-of-the-box/special-delivery/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/12/blogs/out-of-the-box/special-delivery/#respond Fri, 05 Dec 2014 18:33:10 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=43944 We just received this lovely advent calendar — “Christmas in the Square” by Eve Tharlet — in the mail from publisher NorthSouth. What a nice surprise (and a good way to combat my case of the bah-humbugs). Thank you, NorthSouth!

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We just received this lovely advent calendar — “Christmas in the Square” by Eve Tharlet — in the mail from publisher NorthSouth. What a nice surprise (and a good way to combat my case of the bah-humbugs). Thank you, NorthSouth!

northsouth advent calendar Special delivery

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The Human Body app review http://www.hbook.com/2014/12/choosing-books/human-body-app-review/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/12/choosing-books/human-body-app-review/#respond Thu, 04 Dec 2014 20:57:39 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=43620 Last week’s edition of Nonfiction Notes offered several recommended books about medicine and the human body (plus books on social change, how things work, indigenous cultures, and geography/cartography). Another resource, TinyBop’s The Human Body app, introduces the human body and its systems through exploratory play. Begin by selecting from four child avatars. The app’s main […]

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Last week’s edition of Nonfiction Notes offered several recommended books about medicine and the human body (plus books on social change, how things work, indigenous cultures, and geography/cartography). Another resource, TinyBop’s The Human Body app, introduces the human body and its systems through exploratory play.

Begin by selecting from four child avatars. The app’s main page then shows your avatar in silhouette; a pull-out toolbar along the left side offers icon representing the body’s systems: nervous, skeletal, respiratory, circulatory, digestive, and muscular. Tap on a single icon to see an individual system in place in the child’s body, or select multiple icons to see systems working in tandem. Clear diagrams and sound-effect-enhanced animations present the systems in an approachable (often humorous) way.

 The Human Body app review

the nervous, skeletal, respiratory, circulatory, and digestive systems

Tapping a system icon brings up several sub-icons (e.g., the nervous system menu offers brain, eye, nose, and ear options), allowing you to zoom in on its specific features. Select the brain icon to see its structure in more detail, then tap on the labeled lobes to see representations of their functions (for example, tapping on the cerebral cortex prompts a math equation to pop up). Move a slider bar to view the surfaces of systems’ organs, their cross-sections, or a combination of the two.

 The Human Body app review

the brain’s surface (left) and cross-section (right), with the cerebral cortex highlighted

The app also models cause and effect in relation to body systems. Tap an icon of legs at the bottom right and the child avatar goes from standing to a run, illustrating various organs’ response to exertion. “Tickle” the child with a feather to see neurological pathways in action, “feed” him or her a variety of foods to witness digestion (including burps and farts), play sounds and watch how the ear drum vibrates, or use the device’s camera function to simulate vision — and those are just a few of the many interactive opportunities to try.

 The Human Body app review

the digestive system — and a selection of foods to “digest”

Since the app is available in a huge range of languages, body part labels are the only text — download the free accompanying Human Body Handbook PDF for information about the systems of the body as well as tips for using the app. A settings icon in the sidebar allows you to turn labels and sound effects on/off and to change the language.

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (requires iOS 7.0 or later); $2.99. Through December 7th, partial proceeds from the sale of this app will be donated to the Global Fund to help fight AIDS. Immune system and urogenital system add-ons must be purchased individually ($0.99 each).

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