Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Saturday, November 01, 2014

The Baby Tree

A little boy is about to become a brother and he's asking that tricky question 'Where do babies come from?' to all the people around him. Their assorted answers confuse him even more, so he finally asks Mum and Dad, who give him all the information he needs. Written and illustrated by Sophie Blackall, 'The Baby Tree', is a delight to read and look at, approaching the subject with wit and charm...

…published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Thanks for the lovely book signing!

Thank you to Alazar Press and Flyleaf Books. And thank you to the parents and kids who attended. You can read about the event and a bookstore tradition that you can start with your children here: Princesses & Art: A Signing with Julie Fortenberry

Help the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression

Dear ABFFE Supporters,
 We have received some beautiful artwork and are now ready to start promoting our holiday children's book art auction. Would you please help us spread the word?  We have some promotional cards: one is a business card (front/back) and the other is a postcard (front/back).   The postcard size works well as a counter display with the business cards beside it for customers to take. Non-booksellers might enjoy the business card size since it fits well into wallets.  Please email me at and let me know how many of each you would like as well as your shipping address.
If you are an artist and would still like to donate, there is still time! Click here for the donation form. 
Thanks so much for your help,

American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression 19 Fulton Street, Suite 407New York, NY 10038 (212) 587-4025

The Bed Book

Sylvia Plath's children’s book, illustrated by Quentin Blake:

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The hour the animals talk

Illustration by Helen Cann from MANGER, jpeg found at


Lee Bennett Hopkins has compiled fifteen poems by thirteen poets about the magical hour on Christmas Eve when all animals can talk. 

After an introductory poem written by Hopkins, thirteen species—including fish and a spider—tell their story about seeing the Baby Jesus for the first time. The horse is so moved he can’t speak, the cow moos a lullaby, the spider weaves a gift of a cobweb crown. The last poem is the second stanza of The Friendly Beasts, a folk song. 

Helen Cann’s lovingly detailed artwork (watercolor and mixed media) add to the warm traditional feel of the collection, and create, with the sound of the poems, a book to carefully relish. Endpapers depicting characters from the text—like so many Eerdmans titles—add something extra to pore over after reading the book. 

MANGER is a picture book that looks, sounds and feels like a Christmas classic.

Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
HARDCOVER; Published: 9/1/2014
ISBN: 978-0-8028-5419-3
34 Pages
Ages 4 to 8
Trim Size, in inches: 8.54 X 10.43

See more of Helen Cann's work here:

Celebrating the Harvest Season

An equinox occurs when the center of the sun appears directly over the equator and shines equally on both the northern and southern parts of the earth.

We Gather Together: Celebrating the Harvest Season

I am a fan of Linda Bleck's warm and colorful illustration. In We Gather Together: Celebrating the Harvest Season, Bleck depicts a cozy world reminiscent of that in Little Golden Books and books by Lois Lenski. The book opens with adorable fox pups and a cute black bear. The illustrations of farm workers have a childlike simplicity.

Very young children will be drawn to the pictures. But the amount of information makes this introduction to the fall equinox a picture book for first grade and above. 

We Gather Together is a nice blend of science and culture, with an "Equinox" corn muffin recipe, simple cultural and science activities, and a list of harvest festivals from around the world included.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


I love the easy way Maira Kalman moves from goofy to profound. Her paintings are both childlike and realistic. And she never hedges her bets with color. Some of the landscapes in her picture book biography of Thomas Jefferson remind me of a Candy Land board game—in a good way. Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Everything channels the curiosity and intelligence of Jefferson himself. 

Her newest books, Ah-ha to Zig Zag  and My Favorite Things are timed to coincide with the December 12th opening of the renovated Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and the exhibit Maira Kalman Selects

"Kalman was free to choose any random pieces from the museum’s rich and varied collection, and then paint, draw, and riff on each one from a personal perspective," writes Steven Heller about the upcoming exhibit. See Mr. Heller's article here:

Hardcover40 pages
Published January 7th 2014, Nancy Paulsen Books
  • ISBN-10: 0399240403
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399240409

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Ruth Paul's soft pencil and water-color pictures tell the story of a lovable troublemaker, Flash—a character kids will identify with. Throughout, illustrations show the pointing fingers of unsympathetic adults. It's only in the last few pages that you see a human face—the friendly face of a little girl. 

With simple rhyme and rhythm, BAD DOG FLASH works beautifully as both a beginning reader and a storytime book. And kudos to the designer who came up with the fun endpapers and dust jacket.

To see more of Ruth Paul's charming artwork visit

  • ISBN-13: 9781492601531
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/7/2014
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 - 8 Years

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Claudia Marie Lenart

I'm a huge fan of dioramas. I love those 3-D illustrations in the Hans Christian Andersen Golden Books with the lenticular covers.

Recently I received a letter from artist Claudia Marie Lenart about her latest book written by Jewel Kats and released to coincide with Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

Claudia's felt sculpture just blew me away.

Below are a couple of her illustrations. Claudia also has an Etsy page full of enchanting felt animals.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Once In A Lifetime

A generous witch is repaid for her kindness

Get on! There's plenty of room!

Recently I received a copy of ROOM ON THE BROOM by Julia Donaldson, pictures by Axel Scheffler. (First published in 2001.) Donaldson is an expert storyteller. Her website states that she really enjoys writing in verse, and her enjoyment shows.

ROOM ON THE BROOM is a musical romp, perfect for story time or quiet inspection. Scheffler's illustrations are simple and rich at the same time. I loved the details in the landscapes, and the bug-eyed characters, especially the not-too-scary red dragon. Great fun.

  • ISBN-13: 9780803726574
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years

Visit to see a nice collection of illustration (by David Roberts, Lydia Monks, Emily GravettAnna Currey and Axel Sheffler) from some of Julia Donaldson's books.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Smallest Girl

Hardly anyone noticed young Sally McCabe.
She was the smallest girl in the smallest grade.

Shelley and I are big fans of Christian Robinson, so I was delighted to receive a copy of THE SMALLEST GIRL IN THE SMALLEST GRADE illustrated by Mr. Robinson and written by Justin Roberts.

THE SMALLEST GIRL will resonate with anyone who has felt ignored. Day after day tiny Sally McCabe surveys the schoolyard without a single person seeing her. Little do they know that Sally possess special powers—not the standard type of super powers, but the powers of observation and compassion. She goes unnoticed until the day she raises her voice in the lunchroom: "I'm tired of seeing this terrible stuff. Stop hurting each other! This is enough!"

The message of the book is front and center. Roberts's rhyme adds some bounce, and Robinson's simple colorful shapes and faces add humor and a sophisticated sense of style.

Hardcover40 pages
Published September 2014 by Putnam Juvenile 
0399257438 (ISBN13: 9780399257438)

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Noisy Paint Box

(I just sat next Mary GrandPré at a SCBWI book signing. Why didn't I get someone to take our picture? I am the dumbest blogger ever.)

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Shift of Perspective for Madame Martine

Madame Martine
Sarah S. Brannen 
Published 2014
Age Levels: 4-7

Madame Martine lives a solitary life of safe routine. And that’s how she likes it, until the day she adopts a bit of chaos in the form of a “very small, very wet, very dirty dog.” When the adorable mutt gets away from her, the chase leads to the top of the Eiffel Tower—a place Martine has avoided (believing it was a tourist-trap and “a waste of time”). A luminous panorama of Paris at dusk changes Martine's thinking.

Straightaway, the cover of Madam Martine conveys Sarah Brannen’s finesse with watercolors. The city at twilight, the intricate metal work of the Eiffel Tower, and even a simple yellow bedspread have a translucent, delicate quality. Brannen’s light touch is perfect for telling this sweet story of an old woman’s new appreciation for life in Paris.

To see more of Sarah S. Brannen's work visit

Ivy and Bean the Musical

Dot Day-- September 15

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Meet the Author/Illustrator column

I wrote a short column for the September/October issue of Knowledge Quest. Visit the Children’s Book Council ( to read my column and previous Meet the Author/Illustrator columns.  

Friday, September 05, 2014

Jim Henson's Journals

'Imagination Illustrated', the delightful journals of Jim Henson, published by Chronicle Books...
Imagination Illustrated