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Review of Big Machines: The Story of Virginia Lee Burton

Big Machines: The Story of Virginia Lee Burton by Sherri Duskey Rinker; illus. by John Rocco Primary    Houghton    48 pp. 9/17    978-0-544-71557-8    $17.99 Beloved author-illustrator Virginia Lee Burton receives a picture-book biography treatment, but not the standard childhood-to-adulthood story. We meet Virginia, known as Jinnee, when she is already the mother of two boys who […]

The Secret Project

Here’s a book with lots of starred reviews — and lots of controversy. What will the Caldecott committee make of that? Some will be reading every review and blog post they can find about each of their nominated books, while others will stay away from social media and review journals all year. While it might […]

Poetry and folklore | class #5, fall 2017

For our class on November 1, we will read four books and one article. Since this class only meets six times, we have to double up on some genres. These two go together better than some because they both need to be read aloud. Successful folklore books must have a strong voice. Folktales and fairy […]

Review of Masterpiece Mix

Masterpiece Mix by Roxie Munro; illus. by the author Primary    Holiday    32 pp.    g 8/17    978-0-8234-3699-6    $16.95 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-3912-6    $16.95 Munro is known as both a picture-book illustrator and a painter of large, detailed cityscapes. Here, the two disciplines converge. We watch as an artist walks to her studio, stretches a new canvas, and […]

Class #4 | Information books, Oct. 18, 2017

I’m posting a little late this time, after a busy week preparing for the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards Friday night and Horn Book at Simmons colloquium Saturday, focused on the theme of Resistance. Both events were well attended and the speakers were amazing. I love it when the judges award older book creators (like Ashley […]

Chapter books | Class #3, fall 2017

For our next class on October 4, we are reading three chapter books — Juana & Lucas by Juana Medina, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos, and The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich. Each is the first book in a series (the sequel to Juana & Lucas has not yet been published) and […]

Big Cat, Little Cat

Julie’s post this week about Egg by Kevin Henkes took me back to my own Caldecott experience when Henkes won for Kitten’s First Full Moon. Here is another book that, like Kitten’s First Full Moon, is mostly black-and-white and has minimal text. Like Henkes, Cooper’s no-frills drawing style uses deceptively simple thick black outlines. And […]

Picture books & easy readers | class #2, fall 2017

During our first class, we started to look at picture books. For our second class on September 20, we are adding easy readers into the mix. Here’s what we are reading and discussing: Three more picture books That New Animal by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Pierre Pratt School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex, […]

Picture books | class #1, fall 2017

For our first class on September 6, we will be reading two picture books and three articles. Where the Wild Things Are is a classic in the US now, but when it was first published in 1963, it was controversial. If you knew this book as a child, what did you notice this time that […]

Time to go back to school

Labor Day weekend is about to start and so is school. Here in Boston, today is moving-in-day for most of the colleges — and the Horn Book office sits right in the middle of five: Simmons, MassArt, Wentworth, Emmanuel, and Wheelock. The Horn Book editors once again put together a great list of Back to […]