Review of Blizzard

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Blizzard by John Rocco; illus. by the author Primary    Disney-Hyperion    48 pp. 11/14    978-1-4231-7865-1    $17.99 Rocco presents a story of New England’s blizzard of 1978, based on his own childhood experience. The same warm family feeling that permeates his Caldecott Honor book Blackout is here, but this time he sticks to a boy’s-eye view of […]

Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold

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Baby, it’s cold outside. Time to look at this very wintry book. Taking it from the top… We notice the arresting cover: the leaping fox; the contrast between the fox’s red coat /dark paws and the white, snowy background; the overlay of snow in the air. Open the book to see endpapers the color of […]

Liniers on What There Is Before There Is Anything There

liniers_what there is before there is anything there

In the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine, editor Martha Parravano asked Argentinian cartoonist Liniers about the inspiration for his “deeply unsettling” but “bravely existential” new picture book, What There Is Before There Is Anything There: A Scary Story. Read the full review here. Martha V. Parravano: What made you decide to make […]

Review of What There Is Before There Is Anything There: A Scary Story

liniers_what there is before there is anything there

What There Is Before 
There Is Anything There: A Scary Story by Liniers; illus. by the author; trans. from the Spanish by Elisa Amado Primary    Groundwood    24 pp. 9/14    978-1-55498-385-8    $18.95 Argentinian cartoonist Liniers’s (The 
Big Wet Balloon, rev. 9/13) bravely existential picture book eschews cute monsters in closets to capture the true reality of […]

A Letter for Leo

letter for leo

I have been looking forward to this book since I (and my class of second graders) fell in love with Sergio Ruzzier’s Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? last year. Let’s take a look at it the way I learned to do on the Caldecott committee. I like to savor a book when I […]

Review of Flora and the Penguin

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Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Chronicle    48 pp. 9/14    978-1-4521-2891-7    $16.99 Having mastered the art of the dahhnce in Flora and the Flamingo (rev. 7/13), the same little-girl protagonist takes up figure skating. While lacing up her skates, she spies an orange beak peeking out of a […]

Review of A Perfectly Messed-Up Story

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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

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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

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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 […]