Review of Picture This

bang_picture this first ed

Picture This: Perception and Composition by Molly Bang; illus. by the author Intermediate     Bulfinch/Little     141 pp. 9/91     Paper ed. 0-8212-1855-7     $12.95 With a forward by Rudolf Arnheim. If I could buy only one book this year, this would be the one. If I could take only one book on a long cavation, this would be […]

An Interview with Frances Foster

In the September/October 2003 Horn Book Magazine, Leonard S. Marcus interviewed longtime editor Frances Foster, head of Frances Foster Books, an imprint of Farrar, Straus & Giroux.  Leonard S. Marcus: How did you come to be a children’s book editor? Frances Foster: I came to New York on the rebound, following a wonderful but unreal […]

A Tale of Washington’s Irvin

By Peggy Sullivan A three-story red brick house in midtown Washington serves as way-station to a collection of first editions of children’s books, manuscripts, illustrations, and many other related items. All these materials are forwarded in time to the University of Minnesota. Here they become a part of the Kerlan Collection, housed in its own […]

On Spies and Applesauce and Such

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

The arrival of Harriet the Spy with fanfare and announcements of approval for its “realism” makes me wonder again why that word is invariably applied to stories about disagreeable people and situations. Are there really no amiable children? No loyal friends? No parents who are fundamentally loving and understanding? I challenge the implication that New […]

A Second Look: Harriet the Spy

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Harriet the Spy was published in 1964. That was the year I read it twelve times. That was the year our school bookstore kept running out of green composition notebooks, and the cafeteria was plagued with requests for tomato sandwiches. A memorable year for many of us. Now, sixteen years later, I take a closer […]

Caldecott at 75 extras

Caldecott cookie.

The Caldecott Medal marks its seventy-fifth anniversary this year. In a year-long series of articles, librarian and children’s literature historian K. T. Horning looked at one seminal but unheralded Caldecott book of each decade — identifying trends, noting the changing nature of the picture book, wrestling with issues and definitions. We’ve collected original Horn Book […]

Writing for the Very Young: An Emotional Déjà Vu

charlotte zolotow

by Charlotte Zolotow The more I try to analyze children’s books — or the fusion of feelings and events that goes into writing for children — the more I realize what a mystery children’s thoughts are and what a mystery the whole process of writing for children is. Part of it is the imagery and […]

Review of If Snow Falls

if snow falls

If Snow Falls: A Story for December by Jon Agee; illus. by the author Primary     Pantheon     36 pp. 1982     0-394-85520-5     $5.95 Library ed. ISBN 0-394-95520-X     $6.99 Calling to mind the individual frames of a film, small richly colored paintings progress sequentially in concert with the lulling rhythm of a brief text. The first page shows […]

Review of Finger Rhymes

finger rhymes

Finger Rhymes compiled by Marc Brown; illus. by the compiler Preschool, Primary     Dutton/Unicorn     32 pp. 1980     0-525-29732-4     $8.95 Fourteen familiar finger rhymes, one to a page, are accompanied by black-and-white line drawings shaded with gray, old-fashioned in detail but contemporary in style. At the head of each appropriate line of text, directions for finger […]

Horn Book reviews of Caldecott Medal winners, 1980-1989

ox-cart man

1980 DONALD HALL Ox-Cart Man (Viking) Illustrated by Barbara Cooney Like a pastoral symphony translated into picture book format, the stunning combination of text and illustrations re-creates the mood of nineteenth-century rural New England. Economical and straightforward, the narrative achieves a poetic tone through the use of alliteration and  repetition, as in the description of […]