Review of Once Upon an Alphabet

jeffers_once-upon-an-alphabet

Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate   Philomel   112 pp. 10/14   978-0-399-16791-1   $26.99 Each letter of the alphabet gets its own little story in this picture book that is much more than a simple set of ABCs. Whimsical, funny, occasionally tragic, and highly entertaining, this collection of (sometimes) interlocking […]

Review of Star Stuff

sisson_star stuff

Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson; illus. by the author Primary   Roaring Brook   32 pp. 10/14   978-1-59643-960-3   $17.99 Beginning with the first page, Sisson showcases the magnitude of the universe, visually presenting the Milky Way and our sun’s place in it. Turn the page, and readers move […]

Thinking about school as a privilege

Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys

As our year in second grade began last fall, my students and I spent some time thinking about why we go to school. In our first few weeks together, I tried to help my students understand that going to school is a privilege that has not always been (and is still not) available to everyone. […]

The Right Word

right word

While we took a short break over the holidays, you can bet that the members of the Real Caldecott Committee did not. Neither sleet nor dark of night nor even New Year’s or Festivus celebrations can deter committee members from their responsibilities. And now it’s January. Less than one month to go until…Deliberation Weekend! followed by…Announcement Monday! So […]

Review of First Snow

mccarty_first snow

First Snow by Peter McCarty; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary   Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins   40 pp. 1/15   978-0-06-218996-7   $16.99 Genial siblings Sancho, Bella, Lola, Ava, and Maria welcome their cousin Pedro, visiting from warmer climes, and introduce him to the joys of snow. The siblings are thrilled with an overnight snowfall and excitedly proclaim their […]

Review of Firebird

copeland_firebird

Firebird: Ballerina Misty Copeland 
Shows a Young Girl How to 
Dance like the Firebird by Misty Copeland; 
illus. by Christopher Myers Primary   Putnam   40 pp. 9/14   978-0-399-16615-0   $17.99   g Think you can simply write off celebrity books? Think again. American Ballet Theatre soloist Copeland is just as graceful with words as she is with her […]

Review of I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Dreidel

yacowitz_i know an old lady who swallowed a dreidel

I Know an Old Lady Who 
Swallowed a Dreidel by Caryn Yacowitz; 
illus. by David Slonim Primary   Levine/Scholastic   32 pp. 9/14   978-0-439-91530-4   $17.99 The American Gothic parody on the 
first wordless spread — showing Ma 
and Pa, a boy, a cat…and a menorah — previews this freewheeling volume, part warm family holiday story, part art […]

Review of Blizzard

rocco_blizzard

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

sidman_winter bees

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 […]