Note to My Book Review Readers…

I am out of town for some days this week visiting a close friend in the hospital.  Please check back for more book talk soon…ABZ

Book #248: Sparky!

Here’s that same monochromatic illustrative style we are seeing in so many books these days, but I happen to like this style and don’t mind seeing a similar color palette from book to book. And this one is such a great book, too. It’s one of those picture books that makes a great present for anybody, […]

Book #247: Stay Tuned

    Coming soon… Previous  Click here to read Book #248

Book #246: Rechenka’s Eggs

You can’t get through a list of books for Easter without getting into Rechenka’s Eggs, by Patricia Polacco. I’ve written about her before, but I’m especially excited to tell you about this book, my favorite of all Polacco’s work. Babushka is known for painting the most exquisite eggs around. Every year she brings her eggs […]

Book #245: Minerva Louise and the Colorful Eggs

Janet Stoeke has written a whole bunch of these inviting books about a silly chicken, and I love them all. The illustrations are bright and appealing, the writing is excellent, and Minerva Louise is sort of unforgettable. She’s naive and sweet, maybe a little on the dense side, which to me feels about right for […]

Book #244: The Golden Egg Book

Margaret Wise Brown wrote over a hundred books in her lifetime and was most famous for Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny, but here’s a little Easter story that would seem ordinary if you didn’t know who wrote it. If you look at the book closely, you can see the same control of language and mastery […]

Book #243: The Tale of Peter Rabbit

This book discussion is still a rough draft, since it’s taking me longer than usual to complete.  I thought I’d put it up here while I work on it, since it’s a good enough introduction for now… Since this is Easter week and I’m writing a lot about bunnies, it seems only logical to include a […]

Book #242: The Story of the Easter Bunny

From 2005.  Stand by for the full discussion. Previous      Click here to read Book #243

Book #241: The Carp in the Bathtub

I found this book under a pile of papers in my closet about ten months ago and set it aside to talk about this Passover. Though I’d forgotten about it for many years, The Carp in the Bathtub was a story I loved as child. It’s hard to find books about a particular holiday that […]

Book #240: The Passover Lamb

I had been meaning to write about this book in anticipation of Passover, but hadn’t been able to grab it from the library in time. Just this morning I found that someone else had beaten me to the punch. Until I can actually get the book into my own hands, here’s a discussion of The […]

Book #239: Miriam’s Cup…

A Passover Story. By Fran Manushkin, illustrated by Bob Dacey. Published in 1998. So much of Passover has to do with Moses. Moses this and Moses that. Moses was a hero, Moses saved the Jews. Enough!  Fran Manushkin wrote about the story of Passover with some discussion of Moses, certainly, but with our beloved Miriam […]

Book #238: The Moses Basket

Happy Passover! I’ve been feeling especially biblical lately in light of our upcoming trip to Philadelphia to celebrate the holiday with friends. Nothing wrong with a little Old Testament review, right? (Please check back for a discussion of this book, and some more about Passover here) Previous Click here to read Book #239

Book #237: Louis The Fish

Does 1980 count as a vintage book? Probably not. But here’s an old one by two children’s book giants: Arthur Yorinks and Richard Egielski. Poor Louis, a child born of butchers who were born of butchers, detests meat. When he turns seven, his parents give him a giant salami. When he turns thirteen he gets […]

Book #236: The Invisible Boy

This is the story of the little kid — we all know him — who is ignored in the class. He’s quiet.  He sits at his desk and draws. Nobody picks him to be on their team for kickball. When a new boy, Justin, joins the classroom, the children make fun of him for his […]

Book #235: Outfoxed

Here’s a nutty piece of tomfoolery by New Yorker cartoonist Mike Twohy, published last year. Someday I’m going to collect picture books that focus on the relationship between foxes and chickens; I’ve seen a number of them just this year. This one is pretty funny and made Ray laugh out loud, the twist of the […]

Book #234: Lucky Ducklings

My spouse, Lynn, picked today’s book, and both she and Ray loved it, so here we are. Based on a real event, Lucky Ducklings tells the story of the day a mother duck accidentally lead her babies, Pippin, Bippin, Tippin, Dippin, and Little Joe, over the storm drain, where they successively fell in. How can […]

Book #233: Jacob’s New Dress

The book feels a little bit like bibliotherapy, and sure it’s a single-message kind of book, but it’s well-written, too, with engaging illustrations. This isn’t some carelessly self-published piece that someone slapped together in their spare time. Nor is it sugar-coated for the masses. Jacob wants to wear a dress to school. His parents are […]

Book #232: Brimsby’s Hats

Here’s a very lovely and strange new book by a guy named Andrew Prahin, who lives in London. It’s about a hat maker who has a very good friend. The hat maker makes very nice hats and the friend makes very nice tea. They visit every day for years, until one day the tea maker […]

Book #229: Aviary Wonders Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual

Here’s a new book that comes at our environmental situation with a real twinkle in its eye. It’s a futuristic catalog of bird parts that a customer living in 2031 and beyond can use to assemble a bird of their own. Nutty, right?  Pretend customers can assemble birds that have been extinct for years, — […]

Book 228: Scraps, Notes from a Colorful Life

Seems I’m not going to be able to rest until I tell you about this new one from Lois Ehlert, which I just love. Lois Ehlert has illustrated thirty-five picture books and won just about all the awards. Her topics of choice seem to mostly involve nature, and her colors are big and bold and […]

Book #227: Frogs in Clogs

This one is by Sheila White Samton and was published in 1995. School Library Journal wrote, “The sometimes chortling expressions and occasionally lilting text provide humor, but not enough to save this picture book from mediocrity.” Well ain’t we fancy, School Library Journal. I think this book is hilarious and bizarre and will probably be […]

Book #222: Sleep Like a Tiger

I just wrote about another book by this same illustrator this week, but this one was too good to pass up. How did I miss Sleep Like a Tiger?  This lovely piece joins my Top Twenty Best Children’s Books Ever list.  That is, if I ever get a chance to break down these hundreds of […]

Book #221: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

I was going to write about Louis Ehlert’s new book, entitled *Scraps, when I realized I hadn’t addressed her modern classic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Everybody who knows little kids likely knows this famous book, but in case you don’t, it’s worth mentioning. Louis Ehlert is so well-known I figure I may as well start […]

Book #220: Red Sings from Treetops a year in colors

Someone wrote this nice thing about Red Sings from Treetops at this website: Observation, discovery, connection . . . Red Sings From the Treetops embodies everything poetry is meant to be. The vivid words of poet Joyce Sidman — which are fresh even when writing about the oldest of concepts, color — and the gloriously hue-soaked pictures of illustrator […]