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Review of Don’t Call Me Grandma

nelson_don't call me grandma

Don’t Call Me Grandma by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson; 
illus. by Elizabeth Zunon Primary   Carolrhoda   32 pp. 2/16   978-1-4677-4208-5   $17.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-4677-9559-3   $19.99 Ninety-six-year-old great-grandmother, Nell, doesn’t answer to “Grandma.” She doesn’t do hugs and kisses. She growls her disapproval at her great-granddaughter, who narrates this book. But belying Nell’s starchy exterior is the […]

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

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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 […]