Subscribe to The Horn Book

Books behaving badly

byrne_this-book-is-out-of-control

Some books sit quietly and do what they’re told. Others seem to have minds of their own. The following picture books feature picture books themselves as the stars of the show. Ben, Bella, and Bella’s dog star in a new book — This Book Is Out of Control! — which is no better behaved than […]

Five questions for Vera Brosgol

vera-brosgol-credit-jeremy-spake

Vera Brosgol’s 2011 YA debut was Anya’s Ghost (Roaring Brook/First Second, 12–16 years), a graphic novel about a quirky friendship — between a girl and a ghost. Her first picture book, Leave Me Alone! (Roaring Brook, 5–8 years), has a similarly wry and witty tone and highlights a point of view not always seen in […]

Review of Leave Me Alone!

brosgol_leave me alone

Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brosgol; illus. by the author Primary    Roaring Brook    40 pp. 9/16    978-1-62672-441-9    $17.99 Graphic novelist Brosgol (Anya’s Ghost, rev. 7/11) makes an impressive picture-book debut with this inventive story about an old woman’s quest to knit in peace. The tale begins with traditional narrative trappings: “Once there was an old […]

Goodnight unicorn lovers everywhere

horne_goodnight-unicorn

Goodnight Unicorn by Pearl E. Horne, illustrated by Kendra Spanjer (Bailiwick Press, February 2016) bills itself as “a magical parody” of – you guessed it! – Goodnight Moon. Given the descriptor parody right there on the cover, I expected the book to be silly: filled with farting rainbows and all that. Parodies are supposed to […]

Review of We Found a Hat

klassen_we-found-a-hat

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    56 pp. 10/16    978-0-7636-5600-3    $17.99    g This third picture book by Klassen about a hat (I Want My Hat Back, rev. 11/11; This Is Not My Hat, rev. 9/12), itself written in three parts, is a bit longer than its predecessors, […]

Review of How This Book Was Made: Based on a True Story

barnett_how this book was made

How This Book Was Made: Based on a True Story by Mac Barnett; illus. by Adam Rex Primary    Disney-Hyperion    48 pp. 9/16    978-1-4231-5220-0    $17.99    g Barnett and Rex, no strangers to metafiction (Chloe and the Lion), have outdone themselves in terms of tongue-in-cheekiness as they describe the process of creating a book. “Ideas can come […]

Five Questions for Adam Rex and Christian Robinson

rex and robinson

School’s First Day of School (Roaring Brook/Porter, 2016) by Adam Rex, illustrated by Christian Robinson, provides a new perspective on the first day of school — that of the building itself. From worry and anticipation to excitement, jealousy, and, finally, contentment and eagerness for the next day, the school’s childlike reactions will be understood by […]

Recommended School Stories: Picture Books

pb_bean_thisismyhome215x300

Bean, Jonathan This Is My Home, This Is My School 48 pp. Farrar 2015. ISBN 978-0-374-38020-5 The boy from Building Our House welcomes readers back into his home — and school. Our narrator — the author/illustrator’s stand-in — gives a whirlwind tour of homeschooling life, and the warmhearted, cheerfully cluttered illustrations show how home and […]

Review of 88 Instruments

barton_88 instruments

88 Instruments by Chris Barton; 
illus. by Louis Thomas Primary    Knopf    32 pp. 8/16    978-0-553-53814-4    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-553-53815-1    $20.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-553-53823-6    $10.99 Move over, kid in the candy shop: a child has been unleashed in a music store, and the sight of its many — eighty-eight — instruments has the effect of […]

What Do You Do with a Problem?

yamada_what do you do with a problem

What Do You Do with a Problem? (Compendium, June 2016) Well, author Kobi Yamada and illustrator Mae Besom have some advice on how to deal. A companion to the pair’s 2014 collaboration What Do You Do with an Idea?, this picture book is about a young boy with (you guessed it) a problem. What’s unusual […]