Megan Dowd Lambert

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Review of Bottle Tops: The Art of El Anatsui

Bottle Tops: The Art of El Anatsui by Alison Goldberg; illus. by Elizabeth ZunonPrimary, Intermediate    Lee & Low    40 pp.    g5/22    978-1-62014-966-9    $20.95This picture-book biography is a fascinating introduction to Ghanaian artist El Anatsui and his innovative artistic process. Early pages present Anatsui’s childhood love of artmaking in the British...

Review of Have You Ever Seen a Flower?

Have You Ever Seen a Flower? by Shawn Harris; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Chronicle    48 pp.    g 5/21    978-1-4521-8270-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4521-8292-6    $11.99 The child in Harris’s pencil illustrations first appears as a bright patch of color within a grayscale cityscape and then emerges into a rainbow...

Review of Over the Shop

Over the Shop by JonArno Lawson; illus. by Qin Leng Primary    Candlewick    48 pp.    g 1/21    978-1-5362-0147-5    $16.99 As in Sidewalk Flowers (rev. 5/15), author Lawson conceptualized the story for this wordless picture book. Here, words appear only as text within the illustrations (a sign displays the name of the...

Treasuring when "nothing happens"

I admit I was immediately skeptical when I received a copy of the picture book Peanut Goes for the Gold by Jonathan Van Ness of Queer Eye fame, with illustrations by Gillian Reid. Though I’ve watched and enjoyed the show with my teenage daughters, I have a healthy suspicion of celebrity-penned children’s books. My leeriness was coupled with an...

Review of Hello, Jimmy!

Hello, Jimmy! by Anna Walker; illus. by the author Primary    Clarion    40 pp.    g 2/21    978-0-358-19358-6    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-36090-2    $12.99 Jack doesn’t live with his dad full time, and lately when he stays with him, the house seems especially quiet. Although the text never uses the word depressed, this...

Review of The Great Whipplethorp Bug Collection

The Great Whipplethorp Bug Collection by Ben Brashares; illus. by Elizabeth Bergeland Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp.    g 4/21    978-0-316-53825-1    $18.99 When Chuck decides he’s “bored enough” to accept his dad’s suggestion to start unpacking boxes in their new home, he discovers he’s descended from a long line of explorers...

The Blue House

Caldecott terms and criteria stipulate that the Medal goes to a picture book published “during the preceding year.” Although the 2020 publication of Phoebe Wahl’s The Blue House satisfies this term, it feels like it’s been around for a long, long time — while also being utterly groundbreaking. Picture books...

A Girl Like Me

I’ve always loved how Nina Crews’s photocollages juxtapose photographic realism with compositional flights of fancy in ways that indulge children’s frequent interest in seeing other real kids in books, as well as their propensity for imaginative play. Crews’s art for Angela Johnson’s poetic text in A Girl Like Me capitalizes on...

Drawing Comfort from Shared Reading

I last saw my eldest son Rory (aged twenty-three) in person at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. It was February, and he was performing in the opening event for the exhibit “Boston’s Apollo: Thomas McKeller and John Singer Sargent.” Rory’s role was to read McKeller’s letters as part of a...
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