Stuff and nonsense


These new picture books put silly spins on their topics, with playful pigs, wily walruses, mischievous mice, hat-stealing creatures (not, this time, a fish) — and antic adventures for all.  In Anita Lobel’s Playful Pigs from A to Z, twenty-six pigs who are exploring the countryside find a field of “magical surprises”: brightly colored, freestanding […]

Sergio Ruzzier on Two Mice

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In our September/October issue, HB Mag editor Martha Parravano asked Sergio Ruzzier about choosing the perfect trim size for Two Mice. Read the full starred review of Two Mice here. Martha Parravano: Two Mice has an unusually small trim size. (Of course, it doesn’t have many words, either.) What was your thinking behind that decision? […]

Review of Two Mice

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Two Mice by Sergio Ruzzier; 
illus. by the author Preschool, Primary   Clarion   32 pp. 9/15   978-0-544-30209-9   $12.99 Using only two-word phrases (“One house / Two mice / Three cookies”) and a simple repeating number pattern (one, two, three; three, two, one; one, two, three), this clever book (with an extra-small, preschooler-perfect trim size) creates a […]

James E. Ransome on Granddaddy’s Turn

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In our July/August issue, reviewer Robin Smith asked James Ransome about the challenge of illustrating difficult subject matter — specifically, voting disenfranchisement — for picture-book readers in Granddaddy’s Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box. Read the full review of Granddaddy’s Turn here. Robin Smith: How do you convey the seriousness and emotion of your […]

Review of Granddaddy’s Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box

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Granddaddy’s Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box by Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein; illus. by James E. Ransome Primary   Candlewick   32 pp. 7/15   978-0-7636-6593-7   $16.99 “Patience, son, patience.” That’s what the young narrator’s grandfather tells him as they wait for the fish to bite. That’s also what Granddaddy says when he puts on […]

Recommended Narrative Nonfiction: Picture Books


Applegate, Katherine Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla 40 pp. Clarion 2014. ISBN 978-0-544-25230-1 Illustrated by G. Brian Karas. Applegate introduces picture-book readers to the true story that inspired her Newbery-winning The One and Only Ivan. In poetic prose she describes gorilla Ivan’s early life in Africa; his dramatic capture; his […]

Review of Boom Snot Twitty: This Way That Way

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Boom Snot Twitty: This Way That Way by Doreen Cronin; 
illus. by Renata Liwska Preschool   Viking   40 pp. 6/15   978-0-670-78577-3   $16.99   g On the opening endpapers of this gentle story, the unfortunately named Snot (a snail) is happily gathering blueberries and putting them in a basket. The title page shows Boom (a bear) and Twitty […]

Review of First Grade Dropout

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First Grade Dropout by Audrey Vernick; 
illus. by Matthew Cordell Primary   Clarion   32 pp. 7/15   978-0-544-12985-6   $16.99 “I can’t stop thinking about it. How everyone laughed and slapped their desks and stomped their feet. And pointed. At me.” The narrator’s social infraction? “I. Called. My. Teacher. MOMMY!!!” It’s a typical-enough blunder among kids new to […]

Poetry and pictures

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Poetry appears in many forms in these four illustrated books: one collection of old favorites, two books that present original poetry in both Spanish and English, and one biography of an enslaved man who became a poet. JooHee Yoon’s sixteen selections of poems about animals in Beastly Verse include the usual suspects from Nash, Blake, […]

Review of My Cousin Momo

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My Cousin Momo by Zachariah OHora; illus. by the author Primary     Dial     32 pp. 6/15     978-0-8037-4011-2     $16.99 Two squirrel siblings excitedly await a visit from their cousin Momo. Unlike them, he’s a flying squirrel — and once he arrives, they learn that the differences don’t stop there. Everything about Momo is foreign to the squirrel […]