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Wit’s End: The Art of Tomi Ungerer

Tomi Ungerer was born between worlds, and his picture books show it. Ungerer was raised amid the Sturm und Drang of the Second World War in Alsace, a multilingual border region to which Germany and France have repeatedly laid claim over the centuries. Although the worst aspects of the war largely passed him and his […]

The Price of Truth

My novel Breaking Stalin’s Nose is a book about a young boy’s 
discovery of truth, his loss of idealism, and his subsequent decision 
to walk away from the system he trusted. The boy’s transformation mirrors my own. I also discovered truth about the system I trusted, and I also walked away from it. But unlike […]

Review of The Dark

The Dark by Lemony Snicket; 
illus. by Jon Klassen Preschool, Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp. 4/13    978-0-316-18748-0    $16.99 Leave it to Lemony Snicket to craft a story personifying “the dark” — an idea all too real and frightening for children afraid of what lurks in the shadows. But they will find a kindred spirit in […]

“Different Drums” roundup

In our March/April “Different Drummers” issue, we asked authors, publishers, and critics to name the strangest children’s books they’ve ever enjoyed. Here’s what they had to say: Elizabeth Bird – “Seven Little Ones Instead” Luann Toth – “Word Girl” Deborah Stevenson – “Horrible and Beautiful” Kristin Cashore – “Embracing the Strange” Susan Marston – “New […]

From The Guide: Novels in Verse

To honor National Poetry Month in April, we’re spotlighting notable novels in verse from the past year. From illustrated lighthearted verse to historical fiction to contemporary realism, this eclectic potpourri of Horn Book Guide–recommended novels showcases the form and gives readers — from primary-age kids to older teens — good reasons to celebrate poetry. —Katrina […]

Different Drums: How Can a Fire Be Naughty?

The Horn Book Magazine asked Elizabeth Law, “What’s the strangest children’s book you’ve ever enjoyed?” When I was in nursery school, my favorite bedtime books were two my mother stole from the Unitarian Sunday School library, Martin and Judy, volumes II and III, by Verna Hills Bayley. I loved these books, about two friends who […]

Different Drums: Something Wicked

The Horn Book Magazine asked Christine Taylor-Butler, “What’s the strangest children’s book you’ve ever enjoyed?” A freak tent, a dust witch, a quote from Macbeth, and a villain named Mr. Dark. Such was the stuff of Something Wicked This Way Comes. I’d always been fascinated by carnivals. They seemed to spring out of vacant parking […]

Different Drums: New and Strange, Once

The Horn Book Magazine asked Susan Marston, “What’s the strangest children’s book you’ve ever enjoyed?” In a field that celebrates the works of Maurice Sendak, William Steig, and Jon Scieszka, and in which anthropomorphic animals are regularly clothed only from the waist up, “weird” is difficult to define. In 1994, I had worked at Junior […]

Different Drums: Horrible and Beautiful

The Horn Book Magazine asked Deborah Stevenson, “What’s the strangest children’s book you’ve ever enjoyed?” This ended up being a challenging assignment, because much literature for youth is pretty weird when coldly explained (kids travel through space and time to duel a giant brain!), and we don’t think twice about it. Saying that I adore […]

Two Writers Look at Weird

Are they weird? What is weird, anyway? And will Jack ever reply to Polly? From the March/April 2013 special “Different Drummers” issue of The Horn Book Magazine.