Review of A Perfectly Messed-Up Story

mcdonnell_perfectly messed-up story

A Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnell; 
illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp. 10/14    978-0-316-22258-7    $17.00 “No pages were harmed in the making of this book.” This cheeky copyright page disclaimer is undoubtedly true, but the very realistic-looking messes inside — and on the cover—make it hard to believe. For Louie, […]

Pictures (adolescent lit class #5)

Pictures week

This week’s class (Nov. 24, 2014) focuses on visual literacy: pictures in young adult literature, in works of both fiction and nonfiction. I offer some questions in the individual posts about the role of these books in the classroom; as always, feel free to respond in other ways with your thoughts on any of this […]

Review of The Book with No Pictures

novak_bookwithnopix

The Book with No Pictures by B. J. Novak Preschool    Dial    48 pp. 9/14    978-0-8037-4171-3    $17.99    g Novak (from television’s The Office) goes meta in this very funny text-only picture book. On crisp white pages, in a large black font, readers and listeners get clued in: “Here is how books work: Everything the words say, […]

You’ve got to have friends

barnett_samanddave

Picture books about friendship can be a dime a dozen. However, these four new gems — about companions in adventure, in-sync skating partners, a tender odd-couple bond, and a freewheeling affection-giver — freshen things up. In Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, two boys set out to do just that — but unearth nothing. Eventually […]

Review of The Way to the Zoo

burningham_this way to the zoo

The Way to the Zoo by John Burningham; 
illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    40 pp. 8/14    978-0-7636-7317-8    $15.99 “All I have to do is leave you at home when I go out for a while and it looks as if you had the whole zoo in here!” cries Sylvie’s mother. Actually, there had […]

Grandfather Gandhi

grandfather gandhi

Let’s get the hard stuff out of the way at the beginning: I am not 100% sure this book is eligible for Caldecott. Yes, it’s published by an American press in the United States, and the illustrator is American. One of the authors (Bethany Hegedus) is American, and the other (Arun Gandhi) lives in Rochester, NY, according […]

Review of The Farmer and the Clown

frazee_farmer and the clown

The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Beach Lane/Simon    32 pp. 10/14    978-1-4424-9744-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4424-9745-0    $10.99 Appearances can be deceiving in this superb wordless book from two-time Caldecott Honor recipient Frazee. At sunset, a grim-faced, pitchfork-wielding farmer comes to the rescue when a circus train hits […]

Science and stereotypes

Me...Jane

I’d like to start this post with a little thought exercise. Close your eyes and picture a scientist. What is your scientist doing? What does your scientist look like? If you are anything like my second graders, you’ve conjured up the stereotypical scientist: a man in a white lab coat with crazy hair who is […]

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

sam and dave dig hole

What will the Caldecott committee be talking about when it turns its scrutiny to Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen’s Sam & Dave Dig a Hole? Maybe the question should be, What WON’T the committee be talking about? Like Yuyi Morales’s Viva Frida, this is one discussable book. Though, perhaps, for different reasons. The art is certainly […]

Review of Bow-Wow’s Nightmare 
Neighbors

newgarden_bow-wow's nightmare neighbors

Bow-Wow’s Nightmare 
Neighbors by Mark Newgarden and Megan Montague Cash; illus. by the authors Preschool    Porter/Roaring Brook    64 pp. 9/14    978-1-59643-640-4    $17.99    g Bow-Wow is back in this fanciful wordless follow-up to Bow-Wow Bugs a Bug (rev. 7/07). This time, the stalwart canine sets out to retrieve his stolen doggy bed from the ornery ghost […]