Review of Hi, Koo!

muth_hi, koo

Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons by Jon J Muth; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Scholastic    32 pp. 3/14    978-0-545-16668-3    $17.99 Twenty-six haiku are presented by young panda Koo, whom fans of Muth’s Zen Ties will recognize as the haiku-spouting nephew of Stillwater, the Zen Buddhist panda from Zen Shorts and Zen Ghosts. Here, […]

Newbery 2014: The Year in Words

diCamillo_Flora

“You’ve got winner written all over you,” says the Whack-a-Duck man in Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee’s Bink & Gollie: Two For One, winner of the 2014 Andrew Carnegie Medal for excellence in children’s video. “How I love it when little ladies win large donuts.” Kate DiCamillo is having a very good year. On January […]

Review of The Great Greene Heist

johnson_great green heist

The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson Middle School    Levine/Scholastic    236 pp. 5/14    978-0-545-52552-7    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-545-52554-1    $16.99 Who knew a student council election could get so complicated? After pulling off a few legendary middle-school pranks, Jackson Greene has sworn off his scheming ways. But he gets pulled back in, in order to help […]

Review of Emily’s Blue Period

daly_emily's blue period

Emily’s Blue Period by Cathleen Daly; illus. by Lisa Brown Primary    Porter/Roaring Brook    56 pp. 6/14    978-1-59643-469-1    $17.99 Young Emily is an artist — a fact thoroughly established, visually, from title page on. She draws and she paints; she pores over art books. In school, she is learning about Pablo Picasso, and his work and […]

Caldecott 2014: The Year in Pictures

locomotive

Welcome to Las Vegas! City of lights, city of sin; of excess, exploitation, and glitter. It may be an unlikely spot for a library conference, but its unofficial slogan makes it an apt one: what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. I’m referring here not to mayhem and debauchery (although…feel free) but to the famed […]

B: A Profile of Brian Floca

locomotive

An editor’s dream — smart authors, smart artists. They save so much time. That is, they’re up to speed without undue heaving or the need for sand on the tracks (see Locomotive for more on the subject). My subject in this tribute is someone who is all three: author, artist, smart. Given a pencil, Brian […]

A Profile of Kate DiCamillo

kate with squirrel

Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes: Incandesto is a towering beam of light; Ulysses is a squirrel; and Kate DiCamillo, of course, is a writer of children’s books. “For heaven’s sake,” I can hear Tootie Tickham asking, “what kind of superhero writes?” And it’s true that Kate may not be your typical cape-wearing, crime-fighting […]

Rita Williams-Garcia’s 2014 CSK Author Award Acceptance

p.s. be eleven

Good morning, family. I am honored to stand before you all: Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee Chair Kim Patton and the committee; most distinguished fellow honorees; and all of us joined through our love of books, tolerance, and peace. A certain type of ignorance is truly bliss. I’d been writing for young people over […]

Review of The Story of Buildings

dillon_story of buildings

The Story of Buildings: From the Pyramids to the Sydney Opera House and Beyond by Patrick Dillon; 
illus. by Stephen Biesty Intermediate, Middle School    Candlewick    96 pp. 3/14    978-0-7636-6990-4    $19.99 Beginning with an ingratiatingly brief historical summary of how the human need for shelter brought us from caves to high-rises, Dillon and Biesty then circle […]

Reviews of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series

rowling_chamber of secrets

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling; illus. by Mary Grandpré Levine/Scholastic Reviewed 1/99 Orphaned Harry Potter has been living a dog’s life with his horrible relatives. He sleeps in the broom cupboard under the stairs and is treated as a slave by his aunt and uncle. On his eleventh birthday, mysterious […]