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Now

Last year’s Wait by Antoinette Portis was a wonderfully simple but profound paean to children’s ability to observe and take notice while adults rush rush rush everywhere and miss everything, from tiny ladybugs to glorious rainbows. This year’s Now is not all that different: it focuses on a young girl living fully in the moment as […]

Review of The Three Billy Goats Gruff

Pinkney, Jerry The Three Billy Goats Gruff 40 pp. Little 2017. ISBN 978-0-316-34157-8 (3) K–3 Pinkney’s retelling of the classic folktale allows a happier ending for the troll — he is still defeated by the biggest billy goat Gruff but lives to watch the goats reveling in the good life (and possibly, as revealed on […]

Wolf in the Snow

I’ve had my eye on Matthew Cordell’s Wolf in the Snow for months. Well, me and everyone else in the picture-book universe (including Betsy Bird, in this extremely articulate review. Please read it). Everything about the book says, This is something special — and that’s not a word I throw around lightly. It was published way back […]

Review of Home in the Rain

Home in the Rain by Bob Graham; illus. by the author Primary    Candlewick    32 pp. 6/17    978-0-7636-9269-8    $16.99 Francie and her pregnant mom are driving home from Grandma’s in a bucketing rain — perilously, it feels. When their little red car is forced off the highway by a huge truck, they (safely) pull off into […]

Another September; another welcome

As we have done for the past six years, Calling Caldecott is gearing up for another season of intense discussion about picture books, especially Caldecott-eligible titles. This year is not like the others, however, because it will be the first time that we will be operating without Robin Smith. As most of you know, Robin (along with Lolly […]

Editorial: The Incomparable Robin Smith

Robin Smith (1959–2017) was, famously, a talker. When I first met Robin some twenty years ago, we were sitting in a Children’s Literature New England lecture hall waiting for the day to begin. It was immediately apparent that she was something out of the ordinary: not only was she talking a mile a minute in […]

Just the two of us

Four funny, episodic books for emerging readers feature dynamic duos — human, invertebrate, and everything in between. Laurel Snyder’s beginning chapter book Charlie & Mouse is filled to the brim with sincere, slice-of-life sibling moments. In four chapters, the two eponymous brothers have a party on the playground, attempt to sell rocks to the neighbors, […]

Review of Little Pig Saves the Ship

Little Pig Saves the Ship by David Hyde Costello; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Charlesbridge    32 pp. 5/17    978-1-58089-715-0    $14.99 e-book ed.  978-1-60734 929-7    $9.99 Little Pig from Little Pig Joins the Band (rev. 9/11) is back, once again left behind by his older siblings. This time they are going to sailing camp without […]

Silver medals

Hello, everyone. I’m back from ALA’s annual conference, which began (for me) with the devastatingly sad news that Robin Smith, co-author of this blog, had died, and ended (for me) with the Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder banquet. I will be using this space to remember our beloved Robin in the near future — oh, let’s face it, I’ll probably be […]

Review of Binny Bewitched

Binny Bewitched by Hilary McKay; illus. by Tony Ross Intermediate, Middle School    McElderry    233 pp.    g 6/17    978-1-4814-9102-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-9104-4    $10.99 McKay continues to display her extraordinary gifts (for language, nuance, humor; for capturing human nature and family dynamics) in this third book about the endearingly imperfect […]