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, […]

Review of Miss Moore Thought Otherwise

Miss Moore Thought Otherwise

Miss Moore Thought Otherwise: How Anne Carroll Moore Created Libraries for Children by Jan Pinborough; 
illus. by Debby Atwell Primary    Houghton    40 pp. 3/13    978-0-547-47105-1    $16.99 Nowadays, Anne Carroll Moore is remembered as the fiercest of the library ladies whose influence on children’s library service and publishing was both inspirational and — sometimes — intractable. […]

What Makes a Good YA Coming-Out Novel?

i'll get there

Since John Donovan’s groundbreaking 1969 I’ll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip, young adult novels featuring gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning teens have come a long way. Once few and far between, they have enjoyed a steady rise in numbers and prominence, particularly over the last decade, as prolific and acclaimed queer* […]

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. […]

Reading: It’s More Than Meets the Eye

talking book machine

I work at a library that provides reading materials for the “print 
disabled” — those people who cannot read a traditional print book for a physical reason. It’s a network library of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), a division of the Library of Congress, and the program has been […]

Review of Poison

Poison by Bridget Zinn

Poison by Bridget Zinn Middle School    Hyperion    280 pp. 3/13    978-1-4231-3993-5    $16.99    g Sixteen-year-old Kyra is a girl with more than her share of secrets. Living in the world of witches, dwarves, potion masters, shape shifters, and the like, she is reluctant to trust anyone, even her best friend and the future queen, Ariana. Readers […]

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 […]

Z Is for Elastic: The Amazing Stretch of Paul Zelinsky

Paul O. Zelinsky

What would Margaret Wise Brown have been without Clement Hurd? There’d have been no Goodnight Moon. What would Ruth Krauss have been without Maurice Sendak or Crockett Johnson or Marc Simont? There’d have been no Hole Is to Dig or Carrot Seed or Happy Day. Some of the most original, imaginative picture book scripts have […]

Review of Never Say Die

hobbs_never say die_200x300

Never Say Die by Will Hobbs Intermediate, Middle School    Harper/HarperCollins    212 pp. 2/13    978-0-06-170878-7    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-06-170879-4    $17.89 e-book ed.  978-0-06-222384-5    $9.99 Set in the Yukon Territory hard by the Beaufort Sea, Hobbs’s latest turbocharged wilderness survival story has heavy weather, savage river waters, treacherous trails, and, as chief antagonist, a “grolar bear.” Just […]