“Different Drums” roundup

March/April 2013 Horn Book Magazine cover

In our March/April “Different Drummers” issue, we asked authors, publishers, and critics to name the strangest children’s books they’ve ever enjoyed. Here’s what they had to say: Elizabeth Bird – “Seven Little Ones Instead” Luann Toth – “Word Girl” Deborah Stevenson – “Horrible and Beautiful” Kristin Cashore – “Embracing the Strange” Susan Marston – “New […]

Different Drums: How Can a Fire Be Naughty?

martin and judy

The Horn Book Magazine asked Elizabeth Law, “What’s the strangest children’s book you’ve ever enjoyed?” When I was in nursery school, my favorite bedtime books were two my mother stole from the Unitarian Sunday School library, Martin and Judy, volumes II and III, by Verna Hills Bayley. I loved these books, about two friends who […]

Different Drums: Something Wicked

Bradbury_SomethingWicked

The Horn Book Magazine asked Christine Taylor-Butler, “What’s the strangest children’s book you’ve ever enjoyed?” A freak tent, a dust witch, a quote from Macbeth, and a villain named Mr. Dark. Such was the stuff of Something Wicked This Way Comes. I’d always been fascinated by carnivals. They seemed to spring out of vacant parking […]

Different Drums: New and Strange, Once

dd_marston_garland_magritte

The Horn Book Magazine asked Susan Marston, “What’s the strangest children’s book you’ve ever enjoyed?” In a field that celebrates the works of Maurice Sendak, William Steig, and Jon Scieszka, and in which anthropomorphic animals are regularly clothed only from the waist up, “weird” is difficult to define. In 1994, I had worked at Junior […]

Different Drums: Horrible and Beautiful

sleeping dogs

The Horn Book Magazine asked Deborah Stevenson, “What’s the strangest children’s book you’ve ever enjoyed?” This ended up being a challenging assignment, because much literature for youth is pretty weird when coldly explained (kids travel through space and time to duel a giant brain!), and we don’t think twice about it. Saying that I adore […]

Different Drums: Word Girl

arrival

The Horn Book Magazine asked Luann Toth, “What’s the strangest children’s book you’ve ever enjoyed?” I have to confess upfront to being a word girl. Don’t get me wrong: I love art, especially when the interplay of a book’s words and images click to form the perfect vehicle for the storytelling, but it is usually […]

Different Drums: Wiggiling

uncle wiggily

The Horn Book Magazine asked Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, “What’s the strangest children’s book you’ve ever enjoyed?” My mother introduced me and my siblings to the wonderful weirdness in Howard R. Garis’s Uncle Wiggily tales. Garis gave us old Uncle Wiggily Longears and his adventures with Sammie and Susie Littletail, Johnnie and Billie Bushytail, the Wibblewobbles, […]

Different Drums: Border Crossing

dodge_hansbrinker

The Horn Book Magazine asked Mitali Perkins, “What’s the strangest children’s book you’ve ever enjoyed?” At first glance, there’s absolutely no compelling reason why a young immigrant from India would choose Hans Brinker, or, The Silver Skates: A Story of Life in Holland by Mary Mapes Dodge as a favorite read. And yet I did. […]

Different Drums: Seven Little Ones Instead

seven little daddies

The Horn Book Magazine asked Elizabeth Bird, “What’s the strangest children’s book you’ve ever enjoyed?” “No answers are provided, no hints are given. This lack of resolution makes for an ultimately unsatisfying story.” So said SLJ of the early 1990s Swedish import Else-Marie and Her Seven Little Daddies by Pija Lindenbaum (and adapted by Gabrielle […]

Different Drums: Embracing the Strange

moominsummer madness

The Horn Book Magazine asked Kristin Cashore, “What’s the strangest children’s book you’ve ever enjoyed?” “So very annoying, this volcano,” says Moominmamma with a sigh, flicking soot from her (substantial) nose and thinking of the nice new washing she’s hung out. And it is annoying, as are the associated earthquakes and the flood wave that […]