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Archives for September 2013

Picture Book or Illustrated Book?

The first thing the Caldecott committee will have to figure out is what a picture book is. I still remember staring at my feet when the chair of my committee asked, “What do you think makes a book a picture book as opposed to an illustrated book?” The silence was interrupted by mass clearing of […]

Books mentioned in the September 2013 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book

Scientist biographies Berne, Jennifer  On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein Illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky Gr. K–3     48 pp.     Chronicle     2013 Trade ISBN 978-0-8118-7235-5 Burleigh, Robert  Look Up!: Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer Gr. K–3     32 pp.     Simon/Wiseman     2013 Trade ISBN 978-1-4169-5819-2 Byrd, Robert  Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of […]

More, more, more (How do you like it?)

So I see the Man Booker Prize is opening itself up to Americans. I wonder why; my cynical side believes it has less to do with enhancing “its prestige and reputation through expansion” and more to do with trying to grab a piece of American publishing money (such as it is) through what has euphemistically […]

Math is elementary

Long, Ethan The Wing Wing Brothers Math Spectacular! Gr. K–3    32 pp.  Holiday In three acts, five performing duck brothers compete with one another and introduce basic math concepts by spinning plates, juggling pies, and disappearing in a box. The simple cartoony panels give the book a comic-book appearance, and humor abounds via sibling rivalry, slapstick […]

Folklore

Ahlberg, Allan The Goldilocks Variations Gr. K–3    32 pp.  Candlewick Illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg. With six tongue-in-cheek variants, the Ahlbergs (father and daughter) progress from simple changes in the canonical tale’s details and repartee to a version with thirty-three bears. The verbal wit, the delicately limned pen and watercolor art with its plenitude of intriguing detail, and clever […]

Scientist biographies

Berne, Jennifer  On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein Gr. K–3    48 pp.  Chronicle Illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky. Berne and Radunsky — in a gorgeous piece of bookmaking — use the “biggest, most exciting thought Albert had ever had” as the focal point for their homage to the great physicist. Berne’s simple […]

Architecture

Hale, Christy Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building Gr. K–3    40 pp.  Lee Fifteen childhood building projects are deftly rendered in concrete poems and mixed-media collages, each paired with a photo of an iconic building bearing a resemblance to the creative play. A toddler’s upside-down stack of graduated plastic doughnuts looks like Wright’s Guggenheim Museum; a […]

Social reformers and activists

Colman, Penny Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship That Changed the World Middle school, high school    256 pp.  Holt/Ottaviano “Yes, our work is one, we are one in aim and sympathy,” Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote in an 1865 letter to Susan B. Anthony. Colman’s biography, rich in quotes from the women, details their […]

Five questions for Rainbow Rowell

Everyone is swooning over Boston Globe–Horn Book Fiction Award winner Eleanor & Park (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013), which Horn Book reviewer Cindy Ritter called “an honest, heart-wrenching portrayal of imperfect but unforgettable love.” With the acclaimed adult novel Attachments already on her CV and the much-anticipated YA book Fangirl just released, author Rainbow Rowell is […]

Today’s Picture Book Biographies: Back Matter Matters

Picture book biographies broke out of their formulaic cradle-to-grave structure in the late 1990s and began telling authentic stories with new verve. Fictionalized dialogue and made-up scenes gave way to well-researched, fact-based narratives, often focusing on a particular aspect of the subject’s life. Today’s picture book biographies also include, as a matter of course, supporting […]