“I’ll clean up my act when I’m good and ripe!”

Karl Beckstrand’s bizarrely funny picture book Bad Bananas (Premio, June) shows how good bananas go wrong. Fresh from the grocery store, they’re sweet and “conform nicely to the bunch,” but before you know it they’re “borrowing” the fruit bowl for joyrides and loitering in “dimly lit lunchboxes.” The fair trade and organic labels of their […]

Cover girls

I smiled when I saw Mitali Perkins’s Facebook status update the other day. Apparently it was World Read Aloud Day—one of those things, like Mitali, that I can usually feel pretty good about (unlike Turn Off Your TV Week or Stop Eating So Much Takeout Month). On World Read Aloud Day I read a chapter […]

Celeb BFF wisdom?

Like many children who grew up in the nineties, I know who Elizabeth Berkley is—she played Jessie Spano on the popular, heavily syndicated Saved by the Bell. So when Ask Elizabeth (Putnam, March) came into the office, I snatched it up out of curiosity (and perhaps fear). As it turns out, it’s getting a lot […]

A story worth hearing

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA will host an event (free with admission) with Jerry Pinkney on Saturday, February 12, at 1 p.m. In “A Story Worth Telling,” the Caldecott-winning author/illustrator will look back on his fifty years of picture book–making—and, of course, sign his many beautiful books. Anybody wanna […]

Rip out and read

Amulet/Abrams’ Laura Mihalick gave me a neat book at Midwinter: Poem in Your Pocket for Young Poets: 100 Poems to Rip Out & Read, compiled by Bruno Navasky, and due out this March. While the book has a sturdy hardcover, its apparent aim is to gradually self-destruct, as the poems within are printed on a […]

I can’t wait for The Story of Mankind in 90 seconds.

Author Jamie James Kennedy (The Order of Odd-Fish) and the New York Public Library are hosting a 90-Second Newbery Film Festival. Kids up to 18 can choose any Newbery Medal or Newbery Honor book, adapt it into a 90-second (or shorter) video, and submit it to Mr. Kennedy by September 15 for a chance to […]

Ruminations on Room

A while back Little, Brown sent us a copy of Emma Donoghue‘s grown-up novel Room, with a note saying they’re hoping to increase the novel’s readership. An international bestseller since its publication in August, Room‘s readers are already millions strong — what LB is looking for with a Horn Book review is not a larger […]

Bells and whistles and steam, oh my!

Donald Crews’s Caldecott Honor book Freight Train, beloved by train-crazed toddlers for decades, will win even more fans with the new app available from HarperCollins/Curious Puppy. With the app’s interactive elements, even kids who can recite the book backwards and forwards will find surprises. As each component of the train, from red caboose to black […]

Dispatches from Transylvania

“To my son, my husband, and my cell phone.” — iDrakula‘s dedication Bekka Black’s new novel iDrakula (Sourcebooks Fire) retells Bram Stoker’s classic epistolary story entirely through digital communication, including text messages, email, and websites. This “e-pistolary” format itself is still unusual, but it’s quickly gaining ground, particularly for teen readers (see Elizabeth Rudnick’s Tweet […]

Extra points for participation

You may have heard this summer’s buzz surrounding Jodi Lynn Anderson’s (bestselling author of Peaches) Loser/Queen (Simon & Schuster), an “interactive” novel for which cyber fans voted weekly on turns in the plot. With the paperback edition’s release date of December 21 approaching, and the ARC landing in the Horn Book offices, I came to […]