Elisa Gall

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What the Hell Is Didactic Intent Anyway?

ELISA GALL: Part of the Caldecott terms and criteria reads: "The committee should keep in mind that the award is for distinguished illustrations in a picture book and for excellence of pictorial presentation for children. The award is not for didactic intent or for popularity." In recent years, I've seen...

Review of Elatsoe

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger; illus. by Rovina Cai Middle School, High School    Levine Querido    368 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-64614-005-3    $18.99 This absorbing and haunting speculative fiction debut challenges expectations at every turn. Ellie (short for Elatsoe) is seventeen years old, Lipan Apache, and an aspiring paranormal investigator. She has...

Review of See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog

See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog by David LaRochelle; illus. by Mike Wohnoutka Primary    Candlewick    64 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-53620-427-8    $8.99 In three brief stories, this beginning reader inventively supports both traditional and visual literacies. The first chapter, “The Cat,” opens with the sentence “See the cat” on...

Review of Baloney and Friends

Baloney and Friends by Greg Pizzoli; illus. by the author Primary    Disney-Hyperion    87 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-368-05454-6    $12.99 In this energetic and amusing comics-styled easy reader, Baloney — an amiable orange pig — interacts with his friends Bizz (a bumblebee), Peanut (a blue horse), and Krabbit (an often crabby and...

Review of We Will Rock Our Classmates

We Will Rock Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins; illus. by the author Primary    Disney-Hyperion    48 pp.    g 7/20    978-1-368-05959-6    $17.99 This second installment about T. rex Penelope (We Don’t Eat Our Classmates, rev. 9/18) centers on the school talent show. Penelope loves to rock and roll, and using her...

Review of Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom Graphic Memoir

Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom Graphic Memoir by Tyler Feder; illus. by the author High School    Dial    202 pp.    g 4/20    978-0-525-55302-1    $18.99 This moving and candid graphic memoir offers a refreshingly honest portrayal of grief and growing into adulthood “for anyone struggling with loss who just...

Review of This Place: 150 Years Retold

This Place: 150 Years Retold by various authors; illus. by various artists Middle School, High School    HighWater    265 pp. 5/19    Paper ed.  978-1-55379-758-6    $36.00 
e-book ed.  978-1-55379-782-1    $29.00 This comics anthology celebrates Indigenous peoples and stories of Canada past, present, and future. In a foreword, writer Alicia Elliott asserts that Indigenous people have...

Review of Stepping Stones

Stepping Stones by Lucy Knisley; illus. by the author; color by Whitney Cogar Intermediate, Middle School    RH Graphic/Random    223 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-593-12524-3    $20.99 Paper ed.  978-1-9848-9684-1    $12.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-9686-5    $9.99 This tender graphic novel by Alex Award winner (for Relish) Knisley illuminates the challenges of finding oneself in...

Review of One Little Bag: An Amazing Journey

One Little Bag: An Amazing Journey by Henry Cole; illus. by the author Primary    Scholastic    48 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-338-35997-8    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-59929-9    $11.99 This wordless story follows a family and a paper bag through the generations. A tree becomes a log that gets hauled to a paper mill,...

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