Review of Meet the Dullards

pennypacker_meet the dullards

Meet the Dullards by Sara Pennypacker; illus. by Daniel Salmieri Primary   Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins   32 pp. 3/15   978-0-06-219856-3   $17.99 The tradition of Bottner’s The Scaredy Cats (rev. 3/03) and Allard’s Stupids books (The Stupids Die, rev. 8/81) lives on with the Dullards, a family of five engulfed in ennui. The Dullard parents are horrified when […]

Review of Touch the Brightest Star

matheson_touch the brightest star

Touch the Brightest Star by Christie Matheson; 
illus. by the author Preschool   Greenwillow   40 pp. 5/15   978-0-06-227447-2   $15.99   g The little bluebird from Tap the Magic Tree (rev. 1/14) flies across the first double-page spread as sunset falls: “Magic happens every night. / First wave good-bye to the sun’s bright light.” In the spacious collage […]

Selfie Sweepstakes Reviews: Between the Osprey & the Gar

osprey

[As an experiment last fall, I invited self-publishers to submit their best new titles for review. About a dozen heeded the call, and I am reviewing their books in this space.] Between the Osprey & the Gar; written and illustrated by Trahern Cook. Studio Campfire Books, 2014. 32pp. Paper ed. ISBN 978-1500876265. $11.99 As Grandfather tells it, there’s […]

Review of I Don’t Like Koala

ferrell_i don't like koala

I Don’t Like Koala by Sean Ferrell; illus. by Charles Santoso Preschool, Primary   Atheneum   40 pp. 4/15   978-1-4814-0068-8   17.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-4814-0069-5   $12.99 Picture this front-matter illustration: a boxed gift neatly tied up with red ribbon. An eager little boy with arms outstretched. It’s a perfect Kodak (ahem, make that smart-phone) moment. But when […]

Review of Yard Sale

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Yard Sale by Eve Bunting; illus. by Lauren Castillo Primary   Candlewick   32 pp. 4/15   978-0-7636-6542-5   15.99   g In this straightforward, heartfelt story, hard economic times mean that Callie and her parents must move from their house into a small apartment. “Small but nice,” Callie’s mother tells her. The family must sell many of its things […]

The early bird

konnecke_you can do it, bert

After a long, hard winter, spring has finally returned. With it come our little feathered friends — and picture books about them. In Ole Könnecke’s humorous, cheering picture book You Can Do It, Bert!, a small red bird walks out to the end of a slender tree branch, trepidation written all over his face. “This […]

Review of Dinosaur vs. Mommy

shea_dinosaur vs. mommy

Dinosaur vs. Mommy by Bob Shea; illus. by the author Preschool   Disney-Hyperion   32 pp. 3/15   978-1-4231-6086-1   $16.99 In his sixth showdown, Shea’s feisty red dino challenges Mommy all day long. From “Mommy taking a quick shower!” to a trip to the store (“roar! cookies! roar! cereal! roar! chips!”) — poor Mommy doesn’t really stand a […]

You may be a boy but HEY

Barbarians

On my post the other day about gender representation in books, I mentioned as an afterthought the problem wordless picture books present in identifying gender. I thought the topic deserved a post of its own. It’s not some kind of queer-theory intellectual problem, either, as books that don’t identify the gender of its characters play hell with a […]

Selfie Sweepstakes Reviews: Mary-Ellen O’Keefe’s Word-Speaking Diet

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[As an experiment last fall, I invited self-publishers to submit their best new titles for review. About a dozen heeded the call, and I am reviewing their books in this space.] Mary-Ellen O’Keefe’s Word-Speaking Diet; written by Tom Neely; illustrated by Sharad Kumar. Tom Neely, 2014. 36pp. ISBN 978-1502-44425-7. Paper ed. $9.97. Mary-Ellen has always been a […]

Review of Use Your Words, Sophie!

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Use Your Words, Sophie! by Rosemary Wells; illus. by the author Preschool   Viking   24 pp. 3/15   978-0-670-01663-1   $16.99   g Mouse-child Sophie uses lots of words. She welcomes her new baby sister home from the hospital in Jellyfish language (“Jubbabubba”); she growls that she’s “too big for naps” in Hyena language (“Grabvjkloz!”). But her distracted parents […]