Starred reviews, January/February 2015 Horn Book Magazine

from ONCE UPON AN ALPHABET by Oliver Jeffers, from oliverjeffers.com

The following books will receive starred reviews in the January/February 2015 issue of the Horn Book Magazine. Coming this Wednesday: Fanfare, our choices for the best books of 2014. Once Upon an Alphabet; written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (Philomel) The Bear Ate Your Sandwich; written and illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach (Knopf) Supertruck; written and illustrated by […]

Crankypants Monday

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Interesting discussion about holiday library programming over at SLJ. I have two questions. First, as is so often true when we are talking “on behalf” of children, I want to know if Santa-in-the-library is genuinely offensive to non-Santa people, or is this a case of one party being offended in advance on behalf of another? […]

Some people smarter than I

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While putting my thoughts back in to fully bake–just kidding, I’ve ditched that recipe–I wanted to share some of the valuable links people provided in the comments to my last post and on Facebook. And let me say again how grateful I am for your bearing with me. I think a lot about what it […]

Being a White Guy in Children’s Books

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Don’t get me wrong. White guys working in children’s books have it good. In fact, it would be fair to say we have it pretty much made. But in the wake of host Daniel Handler’s remarks at Wednesday’s National Book Awards, I find myself thinking about the privileged but peculiar position white guys have in […]

Reviewing race

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Over on Facebook, illustrator Shadra Strickland asks a good question: “Why is it necessary for a reviewer to identify the ethnicity of a character in their review when the plot has zero to do with race…especially in picture books? A friend just told me that in her latest pb, her family was identified as Caucasian. […]

Default in our stars

50 Books Every Child Should Read

This week’s Entertainment Weekly has a list of “50 Books Every Kid Should Read” (view PDF here). Given that it strives to contain both classics (Where the Wild Things Are) as well as modern favorites (The Fault in Our Stars); and pop hits (The Hunger Games) along with critics’ darlings (Roll of Thunder, Hear My […]

Reviewing from under a rock

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I loved Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White (try the audiobook if you want something immersive and long) and am looking forward to his Book of Strange New Things. But there was a passage in Marcel Theroux’s extremely laudatory NYT review last week  that’s driving me crazy: “Since the critical and commercial triumph […]

What’s Going On

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Some things going on at hbook.com: John Green loved The Babysitters Club. Who knew? New books for Halloween. And my favorite. On Calling Caldecott, Lolly is discussing how/whether to review your friends/more-than-friends/enemies. This is why I like to be able to count the number of writers I am actually personal friends with on the fingers of […]

I don’t THINK anyone is trying to hunt me down

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Last weekend my friend Lori was in town and we took the dogs for a walk in the schoolyard across the street. Three tween girls were hanging out on the jungle gym and as we passed they started whispering ostentatiously in our direction and laughing meanly. ‘Girls that age” said Lori, a middle-school math teacher […]

It’s not on any chart / You must find it with your heart

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Please join me on Saturday the 25th at the Boston Book Festival for “Masters of Fantasy,” a panel discussion with Soman Chainani (A World Without Princes), Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (The Iron Trial), and Gregory Maguire (Egg & Spoon). We’ll be talking about–well, I guess I should get on that right quick, as I’m […]