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Review of The Beatles Were Fab 
(and They Were Funny)

The Beatles Were Fab 
(and They Were Funny) by Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer; illus. by Stacy Innerst Primary     Harcourt     40 pp. 3/13     978-0-547-50991-4      $16.99 Since the early sixties, the Beatles have defined the musical landscape of the world, influencing generations of listeners and musicians. Beatlemania, from its beginning in Liverpool to the band’s final […]

Peter Rabbit and the Tale of a Fierce Bad Publisher

Originality is everything in literature, as in art. “Originals never lose their value,” Ralph Waldo Emerson said. He may have been referring to Shakespeare and Wordsworth, but the statement is just as true of children’s literature. Of course, even originals owe something to the past — “we all quote,” Emerson acknowledged — but he did […]

Review of Water in the Park

Water in the Park: A Book About Water & 
the Times of the Day by Emily Jenkins; 
illus. by Stephanie Graegin Primary    Schwartz & Wade/Random    40 pp. 5/13    978-0-375-87002-6    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-375-97002-3    $19.99 On a warm day, just before six a.m., a city park starts to stir: turtles laze on rocks by the pond, […]

Middle Grade Saved My Life

Bad things were done to me when I was small. Lacking adequate physical defenses, I escaped into my imagination, where I could be all-powerful and the scariest monster was the witch in my closet. Imagination expands when exercised; mine grew strong and wily, 
and a pleasure to me, too, when the bad things were in […]

Madeline’s Rescue and the Question of Audience

This is the third of a continuing series of articles celebrating the history of the Caldecott Medal, which marks its seventy-fifth anniversary this year. Librarian and children’s literature historian Kathleen T. Horning will look at one seminal but unheralded Caldecott  book of each decade — identifying trends and misconceptions, noting the changing nature of the […]

The Amorphous Genre

The Common Core State Standards mandate that, by fourth grade, students will read a balanced ratio of fifty percent fiction and fifty percent nonfiction for school reading assignments. As students age, this ratio gradually begins to favor nonfiction until, by twelfth grade, they will be expected to read seventy percent nonfiction and thirty percent fiction. […]

The Horn Book Magazine — May/June 2013

Table of Contents   Features Caroline Fraser 10 Peter Rabbit and the Tale 
of a Fierce Bad Publisher The bunnysploitation of a 
children’s literature icon. Jeanne Birdsall 27 Middle Grade Saved My Life In praise of middle grade novels—and 
why not to confuse them with YA. Jonathan Hunt 31 The Amorphous Genre Needed: a gateway […]

Editorial: Everybody Wants 
to Be a Teenager

I had to chuckle when I first read Jeanne Birdsall’s article (“Middle Grade Saved My Life”) about the attempted land grab by YA of middle-grade books. Not just in recognition, but at how I see this work in sort-of reverse, too: I’ll get calls from writers and publishers of books for adults, asking if their […]

Danger! Dialogue Ahead

When writing nonfiction, including dialogue can be a dangerous proposition. Several years ago, I asked an author about the snappy dialogue in his nonfiction picture book about a poet. He said the words were a combination of excerpts from the poet’s autobiography and some things the author “rather assumed.” The book, he continued, got “whacked […]

Review of Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell High School    St. Martin’s Griffin    328 pp. 2/13    978-1-250-01257-9    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-250-03121-1    $9.99 It’s the start of a new school year in 1986 Omaha when sophomores Eleanor and Park meet for the first time on the bus. They are an unusual pair: she’s the new girl in town, […]