Face Out: Picture Book Covers

Puss in Boots

A recent conversation about the current state of the picture book soon came around to the subject of book jackets. A senior art director in the group noted mournfully that as jacket designs have increasingly become the province of sales and marketing teams, covers have grown less representative of the books they trumpet. The disconnect […]

Ed Young on Nighttime Ninja

Ed Young

From the November/December 2012 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Reviewer Ashley Waring asks Ed Young, illustrator of Nighttime Ninja, about the inspiration for his mixed-media artwork. Read the full review of Nighttime Ninja here. Ashley Waring: When preparing your collages, do you start with an idea for a scene and find the right materials […]

Review of Nighttime Ninja

nighttime ninja

Nighttime Ninja by Barbara DaCosta; 
illus. by Ed Young Preschool    Little, Brown    32 pp. 9/12    978-0-316-20384-5    $16.99 Silently, in the dark of night, a ninja creeps through a house. While the family sleeps, he stealthily embarks on his mission. “Hand over hand, the ninja climbed and clambered. Step by step, he balanced and leapt.” It’s […]

Review of Dodger

Dodger by Terry Pratchett

Dodger by Terry Pratchett Middle School    Harper/HarperCollins    360 pp. 10/12    978-0-06-200949-4    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-06-200950-0    $18.89 e-book ed.  978-0-06-219015-4    $9.99 Who would have the skill, the sensibility, and the sass to put Charles Dickens into a novel and then proceed to write that novel in full-octane Dickensian style? Terry Pratchett, of course. Like his namesake […]

From the Guide: Artists and Masterpieces

Chuck Close Facebook

This September, contemporary portrait artist Chuck Close’s unconventional autobiography, Chuck Close: Face Book (rev. 5/12), was awarded the 2012 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for nonfiction. The following are Horn Book Guide–recommended books (including BGHB Nonfiction Honor Award–winner Georgia in Hawaii) for elementary-age readers — some biographical, others historical and artistic overviews, still others instigators for […]

Review of Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin

Electric Ben

Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin by Robert Byrd; illus. by the author Intermediate    Dial    40 pp. 9/12    978-0-8037-3749-5    $17.99 With a jacket showing Benjamin Franklin as a cross between a mad scientist and a superhero standing amid wild lightning bolts and surrounded by all manner of electrical devices, this book […]

Review of The Skull in the Rock

Skull in the Rock

The Skull in the Rock: How a Scientist, a Boy, and Google Earth Opened a New Window on Human Origins by Lee R. Berger and Marc Aronson Intermediate     National Geographic     64 pp. 9/12     978-1-4263-1010-2     $18.95 Library ed. 978-1-4263-1053-9     $27.90 Paleontologist Berger, working in the fossil-rich hills near Johannesburg, South […]

Editorial: Please Repeat the Question

Roger_EdBriant_191x300

Neil Gaiman has his own, very good, reasons for asking, “What the [Very Bad Swearword] Is a Children’s Book Anyway?” and you can read all about them, starting on page 10. The question is great, but he doesn’t really have an answer. Don’t feel bad, Neil: here at the Horn Book, we’ve been asking that […]

Books in the Home: Reading Up

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Like many writers, I had a reading childhood, but I’ve only recently understood how countercultural my mother was about my reading. My brother and sister and I are close in age, so when I was a child there were no big-kid books and little-kid books; no girl books and boy books. All the books belonged […]

Review of Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad

Unspoken by Henry Cole

Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole; illus. by the author Primary    Scholastic    40 pp. 11/12    978-0-545-39997-5    $16.99 This wordless picture book opens with a calm scene: a quilt hangs over a rural split-rail fence. A young girl enters the scene on the next double-page spread, leading a cow and watching a […]