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Recommended Picture Books: Picture Books for Older Readers

coy_game changer

Coy, John  Game Changer: John McLendon and the Secret Game Gr. K–3     32 pp.     Carolrhoda Illustrated by Randy DuBurke. Coy tells the dramatic story of an illegal, secret basketball game in Jim Crow–era North Carolina between the white Duke University Medical School team and the black North Carolina College of Negroes team. The succinct narrative […]

Recommended Picture Books: Picture Book Biographies

barton_whoosh

Barton, Chris  Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions Gr. K–3     40 pp.     Charlesbridge Illustrated by Don Tate. Barton follows African American inventor Johnson, from his childhood tinkering through winning first place at a 1968 science fair, attending Tuskegee Institute, engineering for NASA, and developing a super-blast water gun. Barton describes Johnson’s ups and downs […]

Recommended Picture Books: Metafictive Picture Books

barnett_how this book was made

Barnett, Mac  How This Book Was Made: Based on a True Story Gr. K–3     48 pp.     Disney/Hyperion Illustrated by Adam Rex. Barnett and Rex tongue-in-cheekily describe the process of creating a book. “Ideas can come at funny times,” muses Barnett, shown as a cartoon character arm-wrestling a tiger. It only gets wackier from there, as […]

Books mentioned in the December 2016 issue of What Makes a Good…?

What Makes a Good Picture Book? Wordless Picture Books Becker, Aaron  Return Gr. K–3     40 pp.     Candlewick     2016 ISBN 978-0-7636-7730-5 Boyd, Lizi  Flashlight Preschool     40 pp.     Chronicle     2014 ISBN 978-1-4521-1894-9 Cole, Henry  Spot, the Cat Gr. K–3     32 pp.     Little Simon     2016 ISBN 978-1-4814-4225-1 Ebook ISBN 978-1-4814-4226-8 Idle, Molly  Flora and […]

Recommended Picture Books: Wordless Picture Books

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Becker, Aaron  Return Gr. K–3    40 pp.     Candlewick This third wordless installment (Journey; Quest) brings the story full circle. The father of the lonely girl with a red crayon follows her into the steampunk-meets-fantasy kingdom to share in the adventure. Becker is at his best creating lush, mysterious landscapes. Return‘s plot is, happily, […]

Five questions for Robin Smith of Calling Caldecott

Robin Smith

Since its debut in 2011, The Horn Book’s Calling Caldecott blog has been a destination for picture-book lovers eager to discuss favorite books in the months leading up to ALA annual — and to make their best guesses about what will win Caldecott gold. The Calling Caldecott team is Martha Parravano, executive editor of The Horn […]

Review of Nanette’s Baguette

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Nanette’s Baguette by Mo Willems; illus. by the author Primary    Hyperion    40 pp. 10/16    978-1-4847-2286-2    $17.99    g Willems’s latest picture book takes place in France, where the mother of a young anthropomorphic frog entrusts her daughter, the eponymous Nanette, with the responsibility of purchasing a baguette. The village Nanette traverses on her way to the […]

Review of Sleep Tight Farm: A Farm Prepares for Winter

doyle_sleep-tight-farm

Sleep Tight Farm: A Farm Prepares for Winter by Eugenie Doyle; illus. by Becca Stadtlander Primary    Chronicle    32 pp. 8/16    978-1-4521-2901-3    $16.99 Here’s a unique look at the (considerable) work involved in putting a small farm to bed for the winter — covering strawberry plants with straw, cutting back and burning raspberry canes, chopping and […]

Review of Wonderfall

hall_wonderfall

Wonderfall by Michael Hall; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Greenwillow    40 pp. 9/16    978-0-06-238298-6    $17.99 After his earlier inventive picture books introducing shapes (Perfect Square, rev. 3/11) and colors (Red: A Crayon’s Story, rev. 1/15), Hall turns now to a season: autumn. Replacing the suffix -ful with his own created suffix -fall, he invents […]

Tom Sullivan on I Used to Be a Fish

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In our November/December 2016 issue, reviewer Danielle J. Ford asked author/illustrator Tom Sullivan about the origins of his new picture book I Used to Be a Fish. Read the full starred review (and don’t miss this silliness). Danielle J. Ford: This is your first picture book. Of all the topics out there — why evolution? […]