Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Boy Who Wouldn't Share

by Mike Reiss

Illustrated by David Catrow

David Catrow is a master of comic illustration. His art will make any text, no matter how funny, funnier. I think this one is my favorite of the Reiss/Catrow pairing. The best page is of Edward smiling from the depths of his toy pile that he is refusing to share. I know a little guy who will find this book wrapped for him under the tree this Christmas.

Get the book here

Friday, October 31, 2008

Nic Bishop Frogs

by Nic Bishop

A companion to his book on spiders, Frogs is full of photographs that are startling in their clarity. Can a non-fiction photographic book take home the Caldecott? Why not?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

How I Learned Geography

by Uri Shulevitz

Uri Shulevitz' name is all over the Caldecott records! Will this book add to his list?

Displaced by war from Poland to Turkestan (now Kazakhstan), Uri's family endured poverty and hunger. One day his father brought home from the market not bread, but a world map! Initially frustrated, Uri came to appreciate how the map and his imagination sustained him during those difficult times.

The art in this book is a little mutable--it contains both simple sketches with muted colors and colorful collage, small contained panels and two-page spreads. The author's note includes the only surviving photo of the author at that age, a mpa he drew as a child, and a sketch he drew as a teen.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Little Yellow Leaf

by Carin Berger

Very tender illustrations with clever use of paper as a medium. It's one of those books that you read and then re-read right away. I really love it and plan to use it in my story times (if I can get through it without choking up)!

Get the book

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Old Bear

by Kevin Henkes

Old Bear is classic Henkes (in his "Good Day" and "Kitten" style) and this gentle, simple story of a bear who dreams the winter away is expanded by the changing palette. Each season he dreams of has its own 2-page spread, with pastels for spring, greens and blues for summer, reds and oranges for fall, and blues and whites for winter.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I'm Bad!

by Kate & Jim McMullan.

Who's bad? A T-rex!

Cartoony--and I mean that in a good way: these pictures are on the move, with sound effects. (Whoosh! Boing! Stomp stomp stomp!) Plus there's a fold-up spread that gives a new perspective on the main character AND on the "size" theme of the book.

Get the book.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My Friend, the Starfinder

by George Ella Lyon
Didn't you have this one on your table at the YSIG meeting? What a nice story! I love Gammell's people--so full of life that they kind of spill out of their space.
Get the book.

A Kitten Tale

By Eric Rohmann
Again, I'm behind on my reading, but I loved Rabbit, so why wouldn't I love this one, too? Am I making this list harder to narrow down? I like Rohmann's distinct, child-like pictures and the way they depict mood.
Get the book.

Keep Your Eye on the Kid

by Catherine Brighton

I haven't seen this one, just ran across an older SLJ blurb where it was mentioned, so here's part of the Kirkus review:
"In a short first-person account illustrated with precisely detailed period scenes, Brighton traces Keaton’s childhood in vaudeville and his introduction to the then-nascent art of filmmaking. Even while depicting a speeding locomotive demolishing a house and other renowned movie moments, her art has a formal air that perfectly echoes her central figure’s distracted, expressionless demeanor. "

Get the book.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hello, Day!

by Anita Lobel
A picture book for the youngest listeners, Hello, Day shows farm animals greeting the morning: "The sun rose. Good morning. The Rooster said, "Cock-a-doodle-do!" Each of Lobel's full color pictures shows a large image of the animal, but the art is anything but simple. Lobel uses a combination of markers, pencil, colored pencil, watercolor, and gouache, and the resulting pictures are rich, vibrant, and layered.

Get the book.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Silent Music

by James Rumford

Silent Music: A Story of Baghdad is narrated by Ali, a boy who "loves soccer and loud music" but most of all he loves calligraphy. His musings on his struggles to improve at such a beautiful art during a time of threat and war are illustrated by pencil and charcoal, enhanced with digital collage work, with Arabic script on every page.

Get the book (or come see the book on my desk for the next week or so).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wonder Bear

by Tao Nyeu

I haven't read this one yet but a friend mentioned it and from what I can tell from Tao Nyeu's website it looks amazing.
Place your hold here

Monday, October 6, 2008

Frankenstein Takes the Cake

by Adam Rex

This might not be Adam's year for the Caldecott. However, he is so funny and so talented, I wanted to include this. Plus 'tis the season for a Frankenstein book! Get it here. The rest of the "title" reads : Which is Full of Funny Stuff Like Rotting Heads and Giant Gorillas and Zombies Dressed as Little Girls and Edgar Allen Poe. The Book We Mean - Not the Cake.

If this sounds good, you'll love his 2006 offering Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich and Other Stories You're Sure to Like Because They're All About Monsters and Some of Them Are Also About Food. You Like Food Don't You? Well, All Right Then. You can get that one here You might also want to check out Adam Rex's website just for fun!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

We Are the Ship

by Kadir Nelson

You gotta see this one! Kadir Nelson is the illustrator last year's Caldecott Honor and CSKing Illustrator Award for Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom. This year he presents We Are the Ship: The Story of the Negro Baseball League. It's getting serious Caldecott buzz (plus Newbery buzz as well: Nelson is the author, too).

Each chapter has several full color, two page oil paintings. Many are painted from old photographs at the National Baseball Hall of Fame or the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, but the life Nelson brings to the subjects is breathtaking. Check out the way he uses light, or the way he makes each ballplayer's face individual and unique even in the large group pictures.

We just put it on order, so get your hold in!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Twenty Heartbeats

by Dennis Hasely; illustrated by Ed Young

Ed Young has a Caldecott Medal for Lon Po Po (and two Honors for other books besides)--now he's produced more beautiful mixed-media collage artwork for Twenty Heartbeats.

Get the book!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

On The Farm

by David Elliott; Illustrations by Holly Meade

Holly Meade is a Caldecott Honor artist for Hush! A Thai Lullaby, but in On the Farm she uses woodcuts for the first time. The woodcuts are printed in black, then colored with watercolors. I love how the watercolors "spill" outside the woodcut lines. The text is short, simple poems about farm animals, and Holly Meade echoes this simplicity by making her subjects fill the whole page: one big pig, or three big rabbits.

Get the book.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


by Cathryn Falwell

Six turtles are quiet and still on a log in a pond, while all around them the other animals are engaged in great activity! Cathryn Falwell has used cut-paper collage in her other books, but here she includes not only different types of paper, but mixed media and ink as well, for complex and textured images.

Get the book.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Girl in the Castle Inside the Museum

by Kate Bernheimer

Once there was a girl who lived in a castle. The castle was inside a museum. When children visited, they’d press against the glass globe in which the castle sat, to glimpse the tiny girl. But when they went home, the girl was lonely. Then one day, she had an idea! What if you hung a picture of yourself inside the castle inside the museum, inside this book? Then you’d able to keep the girl company. Reminiscent of “The Lady of Shalot,” here is an original fairy tale that feels like a dream–haunting, beautiful, and completely unforgettable.

Get the book.

I haven't actually read this one, but it intrigued me when I saw it on a cart to be processed. It appeared intricate and detailed--one for which you would want to have time to study the pictures.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Building Manhattan

by Laura Vila

A history of Manhattan for young kids, with full-color, full-page, every-inch-covered illustrations. The busy pictures give a feel for the busy place!

Get the book.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In a Blue Room

Written by Jim Averbeck; illustrated by Tricia Tusa

Tricia Tusa has illustrated roughly 9 zillion wonderful picture books (check out the recent Fred Stays with Me) but in this good-night story she really shines! She has such a delicate touch with detail and balance. Her art is charming without being sticky-sweet or precious. I love the design of the book: illustrations on one side, the words on the other--until the end of the book when "off goes the lamp and in comes the moon" and the full-page spreads are infused with exactly the right color of blue.

Get the book and slip into some sweet dreams!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Friday My Radio Flyer Flew

by Zachary Pullen

What do you do with an old red wagon?

Well, that depends. If the wagon in question is a trusty old Radio Flyer discovered while exploring the attic with your dad, and if you have a penchant for flying machines, then you may have just found the perfect way to get your dreams off the ground.

Get the book.

I love this one!

Max's Dragon

by Kate Banks; illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Max is looking for words that rhyme and finds a dragon on an umbrella that sets off an imaginative adventure. I love the composition of each page & the European feel to the illustrations.

Check out the book.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The House in the Night

Written by Susan Marie Swanson; illustrated by Beth Krommes

The House in the Night was inspired by the Mother Goose rhyme, "This Is The Key Of The Kingdom" and the unique black scratchboard illustrations do a great job echoing that pattern: each two page spread draws you a little further into the story, then brings you step by step back home.

Krommes won an Henry Bergh Children's Book Award for illustration for her book Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow.

Check out House; check out Butterfly!

There's also a rhapsodic review over at Fuse #8.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Round Like a Ball!

Written and illlustrated by Lisa Campbell Ernst

A delightful guessing game...what IS round like a ball? The illustrations are lively with a die-cut circle that gets bigger on each page, giving more clues to the answer. Rich colors, well designed.

Read the book!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever

Written and illustrated by Marla Frazee.

Two boys go to nature camp for a week. But the best part is how the illustrations tell a story separate from the words, then at the end, tell a story that really can't be told in words.

Get the book and see what I mean!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tadpole Rex

By Kurt Cyrus

Rex is a tiny tadpole who can't wait to grow up and be big like everybody else. Unfortunately for Rex, he lives in a prehistoric swamp . . . and everybody else is a gigantic dinosaur!

Get the book.

Friday, August 8, 2008


Arapahoe Library District wants to know which books you think have a chance at the 2009 Caldecott Medal. "It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children" (from Here are some of the past winners. What are your favorites? Who do you think will win?