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Martha V. Parravano

About Martha V. Parravano

Martha V. Parravano is book review editor of The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.

Review of Olive & Pekoe: In Four Short Walks

Olive & Pekoe: In Four Short Walks by Jacky Davis; illus. by Giselle Potter Preschool, Primary    Greenwillow    40 pp. 3/19    978-0-06-257310-0    $17.99 Pekoe is a large yellow puppy with energy and enthusiasm to spare; Olive is a small older dog with a much more subdued (one might even say jaded) outlook on life. Despite their […]

Review of Chicken Talk

Chicken Talk by Patricia MacLachlan; illus. by Jarrett J. Krosoczka Preschool, Primary    Tegen/HarperCollins     32 pp. 1/19     978-0-06-239864-2     $17.99 In this slight but charming tale, a farm family’s chickens discover the power of the written word. (It’s not an original conceit, of course; see earlier exemplars of farm-animal empowerment […]

A Parade of Elephants

This year on Calling Caldecott we’ve had an impassioned plea for Caldecott recognition for board books. The title under discussion today isn’t a board book (well, not yet). But it’s for the same audience, and I’m about to make an impassioned plea for its recognition. Kevin Henkes’s A Parade of Elephants is both simplicity itself (a group […]

Review of Kitten and the Night Watchman

Kitten and the Night Watchman by John Sullivan; illus. by Taeeun Yoo Preschool     Wiseman/Simon     32 pp. 9/18     978-1-4814-6191-7     $17.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4814-6192-4     $10.99 A night watchman spies a stray kitten one night, and they befriend each other. As the man makes his rounds of the construction site, the kitten accompanies him […]

Review of Rebound audiobook

Rebound by Kwame Alexander; read by Ron Butler Intermediate, Middle School    Recorded Books    Rev. 7/18 3 CDs    3.5 hrs.    978-1-5019-4909-8    $30.75 In this prequel to Alexander’s The Crossover (rev. 5/14), twelve-year-old Charlie Bell (future father of the first book’s twin protagonists) is sent to stay with his grandparents for the summer after his own father’s […]

The Wall in the Middle of the Book

Jon Agee is a brilliant picture book creator — who has never won a Caldecott. In this year of breathtaking contenders, it might seem a stretch to suggest that his The Wall in the Middle of the Book could put him over the top (that’s a little joke for those of you who already know this clever and surprise-twisty title). But hear me out. For ingenious […]

Pie Is for Sharing

Stephanie Parsley Ledyard and Jason Chin’s Pie Is for Sharing does that thing picture books are supposed to do — text and art work interdependently. Ledyard’s rather philosophical text (an extended musing on the nature of sharing) is given a specific setting (a lakeside, summertime, community picnic) in Chin’s detailed watercolor and gouache illustrations; the pictures support the text […]

Review of We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices

We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson; illus. by various artists Intermediate, Middle School    Crown    88 pp. 9/18    978-0-525-58042-3    $18.99 Library ed.  978-0-525-58043-0    $21.99 e-book ed.  978-0-525-58044-7    $10.99 The Hudsons (founders of Just Us Books) created this timely and powerful anthology to help young people face […]

They Say Blue

Have you noticed? This is a powerhouse year for the Caldecott. We are seeing so many spectacular books worthy of Caldecott recognition — and many are illustrated by women. Jillian Tamaki’s They Say Blue is one of those extraordinary picture books. Although we know Tamaki’s work from of the Caldecott Honor-winning graphic novel This One Summer, They Say Blue is her first picture book […]

Finding home

Four novels for middle-grade readers feature memorable and likable protagonists who face economic hardship, homelessness, and prejudice in addition to the usual challenges of growing up. For an author’s perspective on narratives of children finding — or making — home, read E. Lockhart’s Horn Book Magazine Writer’s Page article “On Home, Empathy, and Voice.” In […]