Selfie Sweepstakes Reviews: A Cape!

ACape

[As an experiment last fall, I invited self-publishers to submit their best new titles for review. About a dozen heeded the call, and I am reviewing their books in this space.] A Cape!; written and illustrated by Marty Kelley. Marty Kelley, 2014. 32.pp. ISBN 978-0-692-22596. 16.95. Who needs pants? Not the superhero of this story, for whom briefs, […]

Quiet! Roger Is Reading a Book

roger is reading a book

     I’m sure it’s a coincidence. It has to be coincidental that in the American version (Eerdmans, March 2015) of this book, the bow-tied, bespectacled protagonist shares a name with our bow-tied, bespectacled boss, who also does not like to be disturbed when he’s reading. In Real Roger’s defense, although I’m sure the rest of us […]

Selfie Sweepstakes Reviews: The Strength of Wild Horses

WildHorses

[As an experiment last fall, I invited self-publishers to submit their best new titles for review. About a dozen heeded the call, and I am reviewing their books in this space.]   The Strength of Wild Horses; by Sandra Tayler; illus. by Angela Call. Tayler Corporation, 2014. 32.pp. ISBN 978-0-9835746-8. 12.95. Amy, who resembles Pippi […]

Mal Peet: Whimsical Alchemist

Elspeth Graham, Amanda Lewis, Mal Peet, and Tim Wynne Jones at Snapes Point, near Salcombe, Devon, March 2012. Photo credit: Janet Irwin.

Mal Peet’s first novel was published when he was fifty-six; his last this past fall, just over a decade later. A late bloomer, you might say, and what a vivid, abundant, effulgent bloom it was. Peet died of cancer on March 2, 2015. He had been diagnosed sometime around Christmas. I saw him only last […]

Five questions for Neal Shusterman

Brendan and Neal Shusterman.

Neal Shusterman’s novel Challenger Deep (HarperTeen, 14 years and up) is a swirling, surrealistic look inside the mind of one teen, Caden, who is struggling with mental illness. Chapters narrated by Caden alternate between a bizarre shipboard setting and the world we know, all viewed through the teen’s sometimes impenetrable perspective. It’s a very personal […]

I’ll show you WINTER.

minnie2,jpg

Seasonally enough, last night I attended Blizzard of Voices, an oratorio by Paul Moravec (husband to your friend and mine Wendy Lamb). While you might have thought the warm and woody Jordan Hall would have been an oasis in Boston’s horrible weather, Moravec’s commemoration of the 1888 Schoolhouse Blizzard was terrible–in the exactest sense–in its evocation of […]

Chapter books | Class #3, 2015

julian_joey_omakayas

This week we are reading three chapter books — The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos, and The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich. Each is the first book in a series and each has a strong central character, an element that I think is essential in early […]

Selfie Sweepstakes Reviews: Drawbridges Open and Close

Drawbridges

[As an experiment last fall, I invited self-publishers to submit their best new titles for review. About a dozen heeded the call, and I am reviewing their books in this space.] Drawbridges Open and Close; by Patrick T. McBriarty; illus. by Johanna H. Kim. Curly Press, 2014. 40pp. ISBN 978-1-941216-02-6. $15.95 Gr. K-3. I was glad […]

Five Gay Picture-Book Prodigies and the Difference They’ve Made

depaola cover art

Andy Manley, a Scottish theater artist, travels the world putting on shows for children. In 2014, he was in New York doing My House, a “mostly wordless solo piece co-starring a cardboard box and a wayward melon,” according to the New York Times. That one was designed for youngsters eighteen months to three years old. […]

Inside and out

having-it-all

Nina Lindsay has a terrific article up at SLJ about this year’s ALA Award winners and What It All Might Mean.  And in my latest editorial, I write about the need to value art from outsiders as well as insiders. Can we have both? Can we HAVE IT ALL?