Superior supernaturals


While much in the YA paranormal genre is formulaic, here are three novels that think outside the box. In Blood, the first installment in K. J. Wignall’s Mercian Trilogy, the eternally sixteen-year-old William, Earl of Mercia, has just awakened from one of his decades-long hibernations (he is of course undead), and he needs lifeblood; Eloise, […]

Boo to you!

The Haunted Hamburger and Other Ghostly Stories

Halloween’s not just for little boys and ghouls. Here are some funny, eerie, and downright creepy titles to scare up readers of all ages. The goofiest of the group is David LaRochelle’s picture book The Haunted Hamburger and Other Ghostly Stories. Ghost siblings Franny and Frankie demand a story before bed. Of course, one is […]

Finding home

If You Lived Here: Houses of the World

Three new picture books consider the meaning of home: an around-the-world house tour, a fantastic underwater exploration of coral reefs, and an intergalactic search for a safe haven. Kids will love choosing a favorite new home from Giles Laroche’s If You Lived Here: Houses of the World. Do you want to live in a log […]

Artist memoirs

I Will Come Back For You

Three notable children’s-book illustrators bring their own histories to life. Marisabina Russo tells a story based on her mother’s experience in wartime Italy in I Will Come Back for You: A Family in Hiding During World War II. A young Jewish girl lives in Rome with her family until Italy joins forces with Nazi Germany […]

Five questions for Claire A. Nivola

Claire Nivola

An earlier picture book by Claire A. Nivola, Elisabeth, told about the true experience of her mother, Ruth, a Jewish child whose family fled Nazi Germany. In Orani: My Father’s Village, author-illustrator Nivola takes readers along on a remembrance of her childhood visits to the small Sardinian town where her father was born. 1. Tomie […]

Potty time

Once upon a Potty app

Oceanhouse Media’s Once upon a Potty app is true to the original. The focus is on the text and illustrations; digital enhancements are used sparingly and effectively. There are some polite potty sound effects and humor, and though I’m sure the urge was strong (get it?!) to make more of a splash (it’s too easy!), the producers wisely kept the intended audience in mind. The narrative’s reassuring tone, nonthreatening pictures, and unobtrusive music help distractible toddlers focus on the important information.

Notes From the Horn Book – August 2011

V O L U M E  4 ,   N U M B E R  8   •   A U G U S T   2 0 1 1 In this issue Five questions for Marc Aronson • More new nonfiction • Dot-dot-dash — concept books with a twist • YA novels you’ve been waiting for • Of interest to adults • From the Editor For a list of books mentioned in this issue, see link below. Masthead art © by William Steig, used […]

Dave the Potter and Stevie the Reader

Dave the Potter

One of the things I love best about my work in children’s literature is how seamlessly it melds with my life as a mother. When I was elected to serve on the 2011 Caldecott committee, I wrote to family and friends, saying, “Thousands of picture books will come my way and I have just the […]

Notes from the Horn Book – December 2011

Reading on the Spectrum

by Ashely Waring Life with my two young sons is a study in contrasts. Alden (almost five) is high-strung; Griffin (my  two-year-old) is mellow. Alden couldn’t care less about food; Griffin lives to eat. Alden keeps to himself;  Griffin never stops talking. Alden has autism; Griffin does not. That last contrast is a biggie, and […]