Getting to the top shelf

For Robin

Here is the truth of the matter: in less than three months, each individual Caldecott committee member will nominate seven books out of the hundreds he or she has seen this year. It’s kind of a sickening task: either you appreciate SO MANY that you have trouble cutting any out, or you really only have […]

Calling Caldecott is open for business

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Lolly, Martha, and Robin are back (and for the friend to whom I defended the Oxford comma this weekend, THERE’S WHY) with this year’s edition of Calling Caldecott, in which we look without fear or favor at contenders for this picture book prize. They are looking for likely suspects–go help them out.

Dusting off the blog

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School has started, and you know what that means…yup, we’re baaaack! For me, it means my second graders are getting in the groove, and now it’s time for me to relearn WordPress and try to twist Lolly’s arm for amusing graphics to brighten up the blog. Lolly Robinson, Martha Parravano, and I are going through our […]

Pete the Cat in the Big Easy

litwin_pete the cat i love my white shoes

I just spent a week in New Orleans, a place I’ve wanted to visit since first reading Interview with the Vampire as a teen. The week held plenty of sights and experiences I’d been highly anticipating (a ghost tour, the Garden District, blues and jazz clubs, and — of course — beignets) and some I […]

Review of I’m My Own Dog

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I’m My Own Dog by David Ezra Stein; 
illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    32 pp. 8/14    978-0-7636-6139-7    $15.99 “I’m my own dog. Nobody owns me. I own myself.” This independent, self-starter narrator looks down on ordinary pups, the ones owned by people. This dog will not sit for anyone, even if a bone […]

Review of Quest

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Quest by Aaron Becker; illus. by the author Primary    Candlewick    40 pp. 8/14    978-0-7636-6595-1    $15.99 Journey (rev. 9/13) introduced a girl with a magic red crayon who could draw her way into an adventure and back home. At the end of the book she met a boy with his own purple crayon. Quest — the […]

Read about female pilots on National Aviation Day

Flying Solo

Today, August 19th, the U.S. is celebrating National Aviation Day. This day was first established by a presidential proclamation of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1939 to celebrate advances in aviation. The date was chosen to coincide with Orville Wright’s birthday to recognize his contribution, together with his brother Wilbur, to the field of aviation — […]

Review of My Teacher Is a Monster! 
(No, I Am Not.)

brown_my teacher is a monster

My Teacher Is a Monster! 
(No, I Am Not.) by Peter Brown; illus. by the author Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp. 7/14    978-0-316-07029-4    $18.00 From the cover, it is clear that Bobby and his teacher do not agree: “My Teacher Is a MONSTER!” says Bobby in a giant word balloon; Ms. Kirby replies, “No, I […]

Review of Brave Chicken Little

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Brave Chicken Little retold by Robert Byrd; 
illus. by the reteller Preschool, Primary    Viking    40 pp. 8/14    978-0-670-78616-9    $17.99    g The chick is not just a witless wonder in this expansion of the familiar folktale. Bopped on the head by an acorn, this Chicken Little does rush off to tell the king that “the sky […]

Back-to-school basics

shea_dinosaur vs school

Kids going back to school — or just starting out there? Here are a variety of picture books, from imaginative and funny to historical and serious, to help ease the transition from the lazy days of summer. “Roar! Roar! Roar!” The diminutive red dinosaur from Bob Shea’s Dinosaur vs. Bedtime faces its newest foe in […]