The No. 1 Car Spotter by Atinuke; illus. by Warwick Johnson Cadwell Primary, Intermediate Kane Miller 112 pp. 9/11 Paper ed. 978-1-61067-051-7 $5.99 Oluwalase Babatunde Benson, called No. 1, is the best car spotter in his African village. His unnamed country has cities and towns with skyscrapers, hotels, offices, tap water, electricity, and televisions, but […]
I was the type of kid who lingered in stairwells trying to overhear adult conversation and who sneaked downstairs to catch my babysitter making out with her boyfriend. As a six-year-old, I blew Santa’s cover after noticing that “his” handwriting on gift labels was just like my dad’s. My mother was aghast to learn I’d told […]
First Day on Earth by Cecil Castellucci Middle School, High School Scholastic 150 pp. 11/11 978-0-545-06082-0 $17.99 “Why is the hardest question in the world to answer.” And sixteen-year-old Mal (short for Malcolm) asks why a lot: Why did his father leave? Why did his mother fall apart? Why did aliens abduct him, probe him, […]
The Annotated Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster; illus. by Jules Feiffer; annotated by Leonard S. Marcus Knopf 284 pp. 10/11 978-0-375-85715-7 $29.99 Library ed. 978-0-375-95715-4 $32.99 If ever there were a twentieth-century children’s book that deserved an annotated edition, it’s Juster and Feiffer’s masterpiece, first published fifty years ago. Filled with […]
Bailey by Harry Bliss; illus. by the author Primary Scholastic 32 pp. 8/11 978-0-545-23344-6 $16.99 Bailey loves school, where he is by far the most popular student. Then again, he is the only dog at Champlain Elementary School. No one can resist a dog who hangs his head out the school bus window, willing the […]
The Princess of Borscht by Leda Schubert; illus. by Bonnie Christensen Primary Porter/Roaring Brook 32 pp. 11/11 978-1-59643-515-5 $17.99 Though the book opens with Ruthie and her father at the hospital visiting Ruthie’s grandmother, laid up with pneumonia, this isn’t a coping-with-death book. Bubbe’s not failing, she’s a finagler. Unsatisfied by hospital food (“a person […]
The vastness of the universe, explored and unexplored, presents possibilities for all of us to imagine new and different (and perhaps better) worlds, technological feats, and ourselves as active participants in the quest for knowledge beyond our own planet. A good space book captures this melding of anticipation and discovery that lies at the heart […]
Table of Contents Features Mo Willems 11 Why Books? An adaptation of the author’s 2011 Zena Sutherland Lecture. Jack Gantos 18 Mausoleum Madness Or, children’s books six feet under. Barbara Bader 41 Nonfiction: What’s Really New and Different—and What Isn’t A response to The Horn Book’s special issue on nonfiction. Ron Koertge 48 […]
In the age of preschool princesses and teenage werewolves, nonfiction, conspicuously, has class. That came across buoyantly in the March/April 2011 issue of the Horn Book, where prominent persons in the field wrote about their work and what today’s nonfiction aspires to.
Their aims are admirable, their commitment is impressive, their enthusiasm is infectious; as a cadre, they have a lot to be proud of. But not because their work, however fine, surpasses the work of their predecessors. It isn’t better researched or better illustrated, as some of the contributors suggest, and it certainly isn’t more venturesome. In kids’ nonfiction, “going where no adult book has gone before” is nothing new.