Hooray for Grandma!

wells_use your words sophie2

Four new picture books celebrate the special place grandmothers have in their grandchildren’s lives. Being a new big sister’s much-needed ally, introducing a young child to the pleasures of gardening, getting serious about pretend play as a custodial grandparent, or nurturing a budding artist’s creative spark, grandmothers’ roles are vibrant and varied. Just like the […]

Five questions for Christian Robinson

Christian Robinson

With Last Stop on Market Street (Putnam, 5–8 years), author Matt de la Peña and illustrator Christian Robinson take readers on a bus journey through the city — along the way exploring a young boy’s warm relationship with his nana, her sunny outlook on life, and their interactions with the diverse people they encounter. We […]

Review of My Bike

barton_my bike

 My Bike by Byron Barton; illus. by the author Preschool   Greenwillow   40 pp. 4/15   978-0-06-233699-6   $16.99 This latest installment in Barton’s transportation series (My Car, rev. 11/01; My Bus, rev. 3/14) may be the best one yet. Which is saying a lot. With bright primary colors, simple bold shapes, and the briefest of texts, Barton […]

Review of It’s Only Stanley

agee_it's only stanley

It’s Only Stanley by Jon Agee; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary   Dial   32 pp. 3/15   978-0-8037-3907-9   $17.99 The Wimbledon family can’t sleep due to one noise (“HOWOOO!”) after another (“CLANK CLANK CLANK”). In each case, it’s the fault of their dog Stanley, whose onomatopoeic disturbances interrupt — hilariously — not just the sleep but […]

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

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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.] 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 […]