Review of Here Comes Valentine Cat

underwood_here comes valentine cat

Here Comes Valentine Cat by Deborah Underwood; 
illus. by Claudia Rueda Preschool   Dial   88 pp. 12/16   978-0-525-42915-9   $16.99   g Valentine’s Day has its haters, and Cat (Here Comes the Easter Cat, rev. 3/14, and sequels) is one of them. Cat can’t think of anyone to grace with a Valentine, and new neighbor Dog doesn’t seem […]

Review of Dylan the Villain

campbell_dylan the villain

Dylan the Villain by K. G. Campbell; illus. by the author Primary   Viking   40 pp. 2/16   978-0-451-47642-5   $17.99   g “‘Congratulations,’ said the doctor. ‘It’s a healthy little super-villain!’” Sweet, unsuspecting new parents Mr. and Mrs. Snivels are surprised by this development (and by the fact that they just “happened to have a baby”), but not […]

Review of The Red Hat

teague_red hat

The Red Hat by David Teague; 
illus. by Antoinette Portis Primary   Disney-Hyperion   40 pp. 12/15   978-1-4231-3411-4   $16.99 With a nod to Albert Lamorisse’s film The Red Balloon, and with much of its tenderness, this fable-like story tells of Billy Hightower, whose isolated life atop “the world’s tallest building” changes when another skyscraper is built alongside […]

Antoinette Portis on The Red Hat

AntoinettePortis

In our January/February 2016 issue, reviewer Sarah Ellis asked illustrator Antoinette Portis about that playful (pesky?) wind in The Red Hat. Read the full review of The Red Hat here. Sarah Ellis: The “bad guy” here is the wind, but in your swirly, spiral line the wind comes across as more playful than malevolent. Was […]

A bumpy ride

bus

I had been content to let Calling Caldecott’s enlightening discussion about A Fine Dessert speak for itself, and the subsequent publication of A Birthday Cake for George Washington a year later was more than anything a spectacular example of bad timing–by the time A Fine Dessert was gathering outrage, A Birthday Cake was well on its […]

Review of Murphy in the City

provensen_murphy in the city

Murphy in the City by Alice Provensen; 
illus. by the author Preschool, Primary   Simon   32 pp. 11/15   978-1-4424-1971-1   $17.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4814-1832-4   $10.99 The small, busy, curious, noisy farm terrier from A Day in the Life of Murphy (rev. 7/03) is on his way to the big city with his family for a day of […]

Five questions for Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock

Each of author/illustrator Barbara McClintock’s picture books provides a glimpse into a jewel-box of a world, from bustling early-twentieth-century Paris (Adèle & Simon; Farrar, 4–7 years) to a cozy 1970s mouse-house (Where’s Mommy?, written by Beverly Donofrio; Schwartz & Wade, 4–7 years). Her latest, Emma and Julia Love Ballet (Scholastic, 4–7 years), does the same […]

The world around us

sayre_woodpecker wham

Preschoolers’ curiosity makes them an ideal audience for books about animals and the natural world. These nonfiction picture books communicate information at a preschool-perfect pace — and with plenty of wonder. In Woodpecker Wham!, author April Pulley Sayre uses a rhyming, sound word–filled text to introduce the distinctively noisy woodpecker and the rhythmic cadences that […]

Get a move on

pinkney_on the ball

Whether kicking a soccer ball, dancing ballet, tiptoeing through the…jungle, or belly-sliding on the ice, these feisty protagonists know how to keep things moving. Get on up! Brian Pinkney’s On the Ball begins on a soccer field, then takes flight as a young boy’s imagination soars. The opening text reads, “Owen loved playing ball,” and […]

Review of Emma and Julia Love Ballet

mcclintock_emma and julia love ballet2

Emma and Julia Love Ballet by Barbara McClintock; 
illus. by the author Preschool, Primary   Scholastic   32 pp. 3/16   978-00-439-89401-2   $16.99   g “Emma wakes up early. Julia wakes up early, too…They both have ballet lessons this morning.” McClintock follows young Emma as she goes to her ballet lesson and professional dancer Julia as she attends company […]