What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(tagged with 'Chris Raschka')

Recent Comments

Recently Viewed

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Tag

In the past 7 days

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Chris Raschka, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 26
1. #712 -If You Were a Dog by Jamie A. Swenson & Chris Raschka

cover lg.
If You Were a Dog
Written by Jamie A. Swenson
Illustrated by Chris Raschka
Farrar Straus Giroux BYR        9/30/2014
40 pages              Age 3—6

“If you could be any kind of animal, what would you be? Would you be a sod that goes ARRRROOOOOOO? Or maybe you would be a sharp-toothed dinosaur that can CHOMP, STOMP, ROAR! Perhaps you might want to be a hopping frog that goes BOING, BOING, RIBBET! But maybe you would want to be the best kind of animal of all. Can you guess what that is?” [inside jacket]

Using sparse text, including exuberant onomatopœia, and characteristics specific to the animal on the spread, Swenson asks young children how they would act if they were a dog, a cat, a bird, a bug, a frog, and a dinosaur. Each two-spread animal begins its question with a recognizable formula:

“If you were a . . . would you be a . . . ?”

For example, the first animal is the dog.

dog am combo “If you were a dog, would you be a speedy-quick, lickety-sloppy,
best-friend-ever sort of dog?”

The following spread always asks one final question:

dog 2  combo“Would you howl at the moon?  Some dogs do.”

Youngsters will love the questions, especially each of the activity-type characteristics in If You Were a Dog. While not written in rhyme, the text flows nicely. The individual characteristics are ordered such that the similar suffixes following each other. Raschka’s illustrations are child-like in form, yet lively, and capture the text and the reader’s (listener’s), imagination. Young children will not only contemplate how they would act based on the given charactersitics, but are bound to come up with their own. I like anything that activates and stretches a child’s imagination and If You Were a Dog fits that bill nicely.

The final three spreads in If You Were a Dog acknowledge that we cannot become any animal we want, but we can imitate those around us. Besides, kids are told, the best animal to be is yourself.

IF YOU WERE A DOG. Text copyright (C) 2014 by Jamie A. Swenson. Illustrations copyright (C) 2014 by Chris Raschka. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers—an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, New York, NY.

Purchase If You Were a Dog at AmazonBook DepositoryiTunesMacmillian Children’s Publishing Group.

Learn more about If You Were a Dog HERE.
You can find the CCSS-Aligned Discussion and Activity Guide HERE.

Junior Library Guild selection

Meet the author, Jamie A. Swenson, at her website:  http://www.jamieaswenson.com/
Meet the illustrator, Chris Raschka, at his twitter page:  @ChrisRaschka
Find more children’s books at the Farrar Strauss Giroux BYR website:  http://us.macmillan.com/mackids
Farrar Strauss Giroux BYR is an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Review section word count = 225

Full Disclosure: If You Were a Dog, by Jamie A. Swenson & Chris Raschka, and received from Farrar Strauss Giroux BYR, (an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group), is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book Tagged: animal traits, animals, being oneself, Chris Raschka, creativity, Farrar Straus Giroux, If You Were a Dog, imagination, Jamie A. Swenson, self esteem

Add a Comment
2. Discovering Chris Raschka’s brilliant picture book, THE COSMO-BIOGRAPHY OF SUN RA


I was wandering around my local library, picking my way through the biographies in the children’s section, when I came upon a surprising picture book about the great jazz musician, Sun Ra.

You could have knocked me down with a feather. I love Sun Ra, but I never expected to find a picture book about him.

Though Sun Ra’s music has a small but loyal following, he’s always been on the fringe. A little “out there,” so to speak. Not of the mainstream. In fact, Sun Ra himself contended that he was not from this planet. He claimed that he was from Saturn.

Clearly, this was a work of love for Chris Raschka.

Here’s the book trailer — check it out — and I’ll continue below.



One nice thing about Chris Raschka is that he’s already won two Caldecott Medals. And the terrific thing is that after you win awards like the Caldecott Medal — the highest award for illustration in children’s literature — then people kind of let you do what you want.

So the smart people at Caldlewick Press didn’t tell Chris Raschka that doing a picture book about Sun Ra was crazy. They didn’t say that 99.8% of picture book readers had never even heard of Sun Ra. And that the parents probably hadn’t either. No, they said, “Great, let’s do it.”


The artwork is vibrant, colorful, free, spontaneous, wildly alive. In other words, it magnifiently matches its subject matter.


But the truly brilliant stroke to this biography comes in the first few sentences, as follows:


Sun Ra always said that he came from Saturn.

Now, you know and I know that this is silly. No one comes from Saturn.

And yet.

If he did come from Saturn, it would explain so much.

Let’s say he did come from Saturn.


Well, on My 22, 1914, Sun Ra landed on Earth.


And so the story goes.

I love a book when it clearly comes from a personal space, not from a cold, SunRa71calculated look at the marketplace. Raschka created the book that was in his heart; I know this is true without ever having met the man. It is a celebration of the true artist, brave enough to go his own way. Two men, in fact, Sun Ra and Chris Raschka, who followed the beat of a different drummer. Because that’s what real artists do. They create the work and let the rest of us sort it our for ourselves.

I’m here to say, thank you, Chris Raschka, for this incredible gift.

Your brilliant book.

Here’s a quote from Chris Raschka taken from an interview with Smithsonian magazine:

“I wanted to write about Sun Ra because he steps outside the boundaries of traditional jazz more than anyone. I was aware of him in high school because he was so far out there, even rock ‘n’ roll teens like myself knew about him. When his selection of singles came out I was even more struck by the breadth of his interest in all kinds of music. It was my experience with Sun Ra’s own openness to things that made me more open to him. Openness is something any teacher strives to instill in his or her students. I think all of my jazz books about the four musicians I’ve written about so far, are about people that most ten year olds have never heard of. My hope is to let kids hear these names early, so that when they are teens or adults the door is already just a little bit open.”


I’ll close with a clip from Sun Ra himself, created during his time here on Earth. Open your ears, your heart, your spirit.


Add a Comment
3. Happy Birthday

to Jacqueline K. Ogburn

0 Comments on Happy Birthday as of 5/14/2014 11:30:00 AM
Add a Comment
4. Chris Raschka's new children's book about Sun Ra

Read more about The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra: The Sound of Joy Is Enlightening here: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/there-once-was-jazz-musician-saturn-180952112/?utm_source=facebook.com&no-ist

0 Comments on Chris Raschka's new children's book about Sun Ra as of 8/4/2014 1:14:00 PM
Add a Comment
5. #646 – Alphabetabum: An Album of Rare Photographs and Medium Verses by Chris Raschka & Vladimir Radunsky


Alphabetabum: An Album of Rare Photographs and Medium Verses

written by Chris Raschka
Photography collection by Vladimir Radunsky
New York Review Children’s Collection        10/01/2014
Age 4 to 7        80 pages
“An ALPHABET book?
“An ALBUM of old photos?
“We named it ALPHABETABUM.

“Here celebrated artist and author Vladimir Radunsky and Chris Raschka put a delightful new old-fashioned spin on the alphabet book. Radunsky has selected portraits off children from is spectacular collection of antique black-and-white photographs. Raschka has given the children names and written deliciously teasing rhymes about them. The result is ALPHABETABUM, a book of letters and pictures to which readers will happily return to again and again both to look and to learn.”


[A picture of a young girl in a short dress with a sash.]

Awkward Agnes Alexandra
Shows her ample ankles
Although her knees are grander.”


Vladimir Radunsky writes, “If these photos were taken in the late-nineteenth or early-twentieth centuries, then the children in them could have been our great-great-great grandparents! So we have an extraordinary chance to see what our great-great-great grandparents looked when they were children.”

There are 26 photographs of children of varying ages in Alphabetabum; the first original book from New York Review Children’s Collection (all others are reprinted classics). I looked closely at the eyes after reading Radunsky’s thoughts that one of these could be a great-great-great-grandparent, aunt, or uncle. I have never seen any pictures of my parents as children, so seeing what they might have worn captivated my attention as well.


Some of the portraits are comical, like young Baby Beulah Bridget who wears a huge white bow upon her tiny head. The bow is too big for her small head and looks to topple at any moment. From the clothing, it is obvious these children are from all over the world. One young boy, named Quiet Quentin Quint, wears long white pants under a black pair of knickers with an ornate jacket and cummerbund. Atop his head is a stocking cap (today, we call these skullcaps) and leans on a cricket bat. Quentin is a serious child.

The photographs in Alphabetabum range from the casual to the formal, though it would not have been a casual friend taking the casual picture. In all cases, the person behind, or next to, the lens would have been a professional photographer. Photographs back then took quite a while to develop and many people had to hold that smile for several minutes. In today’s instant world, I wonder if such portraits are possible.alphabetabumworkaround.indd

Alphabetabum is an interesting and quite curious ABC book. It is really more for older kids and adults, not the young child trying to learn their ABC’s, though it could be done. These ABC’s are for those who love poetry, old photographs, and funny verses that try to define the child based on their clothing, they way they pose, and maybe a smile or lack thereof. The names are all alliterated and interesting. I like Alphabetabum because of it’s quirkiness and because I love old photos and photography. I don’t think you need to have those interests to find Alphabetabum worth your time. Alphabetabum will become endearing, leading you to want to share this unusual ABC picture book.

ALPHABETABUM: AN ALBUM OF RARE PHOTOGRAPHS AND MEDIUM VERSES. Text copyright © 2014 by Chris Raschka. Photographs copyright © 2014 by Vladimir Radunsky. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, New York Review Children’s Collection, New York, NY.
Buy Alphabetabum at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryNew York Review of Booksyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Alphabetabum HERE

Meet the author, Chris Raschka, at his twitter:   https://twitter.com/ChrisRaschka

Meet the photography collector, Vladimir Radunsky, at his website:    http://www.vladimirradunsky.com/

Find classic children’s books at the New York Review Children’s Collection website:  http://www.nybooks.com/books/imprints/childrens/

The New York Review Children’s Collection is an imprint of New York Review of Books.   http://www.nybooks.com/

Also by Chris Raschka

If You Were a Dog

If You Were a Dog

Whaley Whale (Thingy Things)

Whaley Whale (Thingy Things)

Give and Take

Give and Take







Also by Vladimir Radunsky

Advice to Little Girls

Advice to Little Girls

Hip Hop Dog

Hip Hop Dog

On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein

On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein




Review HERE



Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Historical Fiction, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book, Poetry Tagged: ABC Book, alliteration, children's book reviews, Chris Raschka, classic photographs from early 20th century, formal portraits of children from long ago, New York Review Children’s Collection, New York Review of Books, poetry, Vladimir Radunsky

Add a Comment
6. What’s Your Favorite Animal?, by Eric Carle | Book Review

In Eric Carle’s What’s Your Favorite Animal, he collaborates with fourteen renowned children’s book artists to create mini storybooks about a favorite animal.

Add a Comment
7. Fusenews: The Jack Gantos / Alfred E. Newman Connection

And then it’s February.  How the heckedy heck did that happen?  Looks like 2012 is already establishing itself as the Blink and You’ll Miss It year.  Well, let’s get to it then.

First and foremost was the announcement of Battle of the Books 2012.  Or, as I like to think of it, the place where Amelia Lost gets its bloody due (if there’s any justice in this world).  We’re now in the earliest of the early days of the battle, but stuff’s on the horizon.  I can smell it.

  • In other news there was an SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) meeting here in New York this past weekend.  I didn’t attend because, apparently, if it’s way too convenient I’m absent.  After checking out the recap on this blog, however, I clearly need to change my priorities.  Though I had to miss the cocktail party on Friday I did attend Kidlit Drink Night which was PACKED, dudes.  Packed to the gills!
  • In her post Ms. Turner mentions the Mythopoeic Society.  By complete coincidence I stumbled over yet another link involving that society in question.  Neil Gaiman reprints an old speech he gave to the society in 2004 on C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, and Chesterton.  A great look at how good fantasy can influence kids.  Also a good look at how bad television programs lead kids to books.  I believe it.
  • Well The Today Show may have passed up the chance to talk to the Newbery and Caldecott winners but leave it to NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me to speak to Jack Gantos for their Not My Job game.  Someone must have tipped them off to the fact that the man is the world’s greatest interview.  Love the Judy Blume reference.  And though I thought I knew his Hole in My Life story, clearly I missed some details.  Thanks to Susan Miles for the link.
  • Of course Jack and Chris Raschka were interviewed by SLJ about their respective wins.  That’s good news about a Dead End in Norvelt companion novel.  Ditto the idea of Raschka working on a Robie H. Harris title.
Display Comments Add a Comment
8. Re-Seussification Project: The Results

It was kind of a kooky idea, I admit it.  I’ve seen plenty of sites where artists will reinterpret someone like Maurice Sendak in their own styles.  What I wanted was something a little different.  I wanted to see what would happen if great children’s book illustrators illustrated one another.  If a Lobel illustrated a Bemelmans.  If a Carle illustrated a Silverstein.  Trouble is, famous folk have a way of not bothering to illustrate one another (to say nothing of the fact that a bunch of them are dead as doornails).  The solution?  To offer a silly fun challenge.  And so the Re-Seussification Project was offered: To re-illustrate any Dr. Seuss book in the style of another illustrator.

Now there was some question at first about revealing the identities of the people making the mash-ups.  Some folks thought this fun contest was unfortunate because I wasn’t celebrating the great talents of up-and-coming artists.  So as a compromise, I’ll present the art first and then the names of the artists at the bottom of the page.  Makes it a little more streamlined anyway.

And now . . . the moment you’ve all been waiting for . . . in the order of the faux artists, here’s the lot!

So, we’re all friends here, right?  Right off the bat I’m going to make a confession.  In offering this contest all I really wanted was for someone somewhere to do an Eric Carle.  It was a lot to ask since we’re talking about an artist dealing in the medium of cut paper.  It looked like it wasn’t going to happen.  Then, last night, the final submission was sent in and it was . . .


A brilliant way to start us off!

Next up, I’ve fond memories of this book.  As a child of Kalamazoo I was slightly obsessed with any and every mention of my hometown, no matter where it might be.  Dr. Seuss was one of the few authors to understand the true glory of my hometown’s name and for that I shall forever be grateful.  It lifts my heart a little then to see him memorialized in the form of . . .


I particularly like how worried Babar appears.  One thing’s for certain.  That elephant bird is gonna be one snappy dresser.

This next image didn’t go the easy route, no sir.  Some illustrators have styles that are easier to imitate than others.  For this next one I was incredibly impressed by the sheer details at work.  From the border to the font to the colors to the fact that this looks like an honest-to-gosh watercolor.  Hold onto your hats folks, for you are now in the presence of . . .


The best part is that his name is signed with dePaola’s customary little heart.  THAT is the attention to detail I crave.

10 Comments on Re-Seussification Project: The Results, last added: 3/1/2012
Display Comments Add a Comment
9. Librarian Preview: Candlewick Press (Fall 2012)

You’ve got your big-time fancy pants New York publishers on the one hand, and then you have your big-time fancy pants Boston publishers on the other.  A perusal of Minders of Make-Believe by Leonard Marcus provides a pretty good explanation for why Boston is, in its way, a small children’s book enclave of its own.  Within its borders you have publishers like Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Candlewick holding court.  The only time I have ever been to Boston was when ALA last had a convention there.  It was nice, though cold and there are duckling statues.

So it was that the good people of Candlewick came to New York to show off some of their finest Fall 2012 wares.  Now the last time they came here they were hosted by SLJ.  This time they secured space in the Bank Street College of Education.  Better location, less good food (no cookies, but then I have the nutritional demands of a five-year-old child).  We were given little signs on which to write our names.  I took an extra long time on mine for what I can only assume was an attempt to “win” the write-your-name part of the day.  After that, we were off!

First up, it’s our old friend and Caldecott Honor winner (I bet that never gets old for him) David Ezra Stein.  The fellow’s been toiling away with his paints n’ such for years, so it’s little wonder he wanted to ratchet up his style a notch with something different.  And “something different” is a pretty good explanation of what you’ll find with Because Amelia Smiled.  This is sort of a take on the old nursery rhyme that talks about “For Want of a Nail”, except with a happy pay-it-forward kind of spin.  Because a little girl smiles a woman remembers to send a care package.  Because the care package is received someone else does something good.  You get the picture.  Stein actually wrote this book as a Senior in art school but has only gotten to writing it officially now.  It’s sort of the literary opposite of Russell Hoban’s A Sorely Trying Day or Barbara Bottner’s An Annoying ABC.  As for the art itself, the author/illustrator has created a whole new form which he’s named Stein-lining.  To create it you must apply crayons to wax paper and then turn it over.  I don’t quite get the logistics but I’ll be interested in seeing the results.  Finally, the book continues the massive trend of naming girls in works of children’s fiction “Amelia”.  Between Amelia Bedelia, Amelia’s Notebook, and Amelia Rules I think the children’s literary populace is well-stocked in Amelias ah-plenty.

Next up, a title that may well earn the moniker of Most Anticipated Picture Book of the Fall 2012 Season.  This Is Not My Hat isn’t a sequel to 4 Comments on Librarian Preview: Candlewick Press (Fall 2012), last added: 4/25/2012

Display Comments Add a Comment
10. Splash into Summer with These Titles from Random House Children’s Books!

By Mary Van Akin of Random House Children’s Books
Published: June 29, 2012

Two long-awaited conclusions to bestselling series!


By Lauren Kate

The long-awaited, astonishing conclusion to the FALLEN series is here! To stop Lucifer from erasing the past Luce and Daniel must find the place where the angels fell to earth. Dark forces are after them, and Daniel doesn’t know if he can do this–live only to lose Luce again and again. Yet together they will face an epic battle that will end with lifeless bodies and angel dust. Great sacrifices are made. Hearts are destroyed. And suddenly Luce knows what must happen. For she was meant to be with someone other than Daniel. The curse they’ve borne has always and only been about her–and the love she cast aside. The choice she makes now will be the only one that truly matters. In the fight for Luce, who will win?

Random House Children’s Books | 978-0-385-73918-4 | June 12, 2012 | $17.99 | Ages 12-17 | 464 pages

Check out Fallen Books on Facebook!


By Michael Scott

The sixth and final book in the New York Times bestselling Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Series.  This internationally known series introduces readers to legendary historical and mythological figures—weaving history, myth, folklore, and magic together seamlessly. The twins of prophecy have been split. Nicholas Flamel is near death. John Dee has the swords of power. And Danu Talis has yet to fall. The future of the human race lies in the balance–how will the legend end?

Delacortes Press | 978-0-385-73535-3 | May 22, 2012 | $18.99 | Ages 12 and up | 528 pages

Check out The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Series on Facebook!

Read the book that everyone is buzzing about!


By R.J. Palacio

An emotional and beautiful novel about being the new kid.  August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school–until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances? R.J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is ac

Add a Comment

0 Comments on as of 8/6/2012 5:26:00 AM
Add a Comment
12. Decatur Book Festival: The Importance of the Picture Book

In August, I attended the Decatur Book Festival. My favorite session by far celebrated the picture book and included author and children's book historian Leonard Marcus, author Laurel Snyder, author Mac Barnett, and author/illustrator Chris Raschka.

Here are some notes I took while listening in:

Last year, a front-page New York Times article talked about the picture book being on the way out, due to the digital revolution and ambitious parents interested in bypassing them all together.

Yet picture books still have an important place. They are a "gateway to a life-long appreciation of art and literature" and are "an authentic meeting place for parent and child." Author Laurel Snyder believes picture books are the "most innovative form of writing [she's] ever encountered." Mac Barnett spoke of the "sweet spot" blend of literary and commercial literature that isn't available in any other genre.

The simplicity of the picture book is deceiving. There is a tension between the text and image that is something bigger than the work the author and illustrator create. It is as if the two together equal more than the whole. Both adults and children make up the audience for these books, and the most effective satisfy both. There's the "rhythm of the page turn" to consider, as illustrator Chris Raschka says.

"Your language becomes clear and true when you take words away." - Laurel Snyder

"If I've written a picture book that works without pictures, I've failed." - Mac Barnett

5 Comments on Decatur Book Festival: The Importance of the Picture Book, last added: 10/26/2012
Display Comments Add a Comment
13. Chris Raschka Lands Multi-Book Deal with Abrams Appleseed

421257_173341516108844_2020126780_nChris Raschka , a two-time Caldecott Medal winner, has inked a multi-book deal with the Abrams Appleseed imprint.

The publisher will release four new Thingy Things titles throughout the year 2014: Crabby Crab, Cowy Cow, Buggy Bug, and Clammy Clam. In addition, four previous-published books from this series will be revised and re-released.

Sanford J. Greenburger Associates agent Brenda Bowen negotiated the deal with publishing director Cecily Kaiser.


New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Add a Comment
14. Book Trailer Premiere: The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra by Chris Raschka

Cosmobiography 272x300 Book Trailer Premiere: The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra by Chris RaschkaWell, I am pleased to announce today’s Book Trailer Premiere, particularly since it is unlike every other book trailer I’ve ever put up.  Credit that to the subject matter, really.  Chris Raschka is one of those rare author/illustrators that can get away with presenting the hard subjects, particularly when it comes to jazz legends.  Didn’t think anyone could do something with Thelonious Monk?  Wrong.  Felt like John Coltrane was bit out of a 5-year-old’s reach?  Think again.  But the subject of today’s video is more ambitious by far.  If, like myself, you were not aware of Sun Ra, prepare to be schooled thoroughly.  It’s The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra: The Sound of Joy is Enlightening and it’s hitting shelves May 13th.  Get just a sliver of a taste here:

As Kirkus called it, “Unequivocally stellar.”  Thanks to the folks at Candlewick for the premiere.

share save 171 16 Book Trailer Premiere: The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra by Chris Raschka

2 Comments on Book Trailer Premiere: The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra by Chris Raschka, last added: 4/8/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
15. Soccer Books That Heal World Cup Fever!

No matter which team you go for, here is a team of books to whet the appetite of any young soccer enthusiast.

Add a Comment
16. Booksignings of Wonder!

Bob Shea is leading the kids through some truly stellar dinosaur "roars" during a read-aloud of his new book "Dinosaur vs. Potty," a hilarious play-by-play of one little dinosaur's battle to resist going you-know-what, in the you-know-where.  The story bounces along with Bob Shea using his best boxing ring announcer's voice to repeat the refrain, "Dinosaur wins!" at the end of each spread.  Kids roar, and giggle, then roar some more - and the book concludes.

That's when Chris Raschka, Caldecott medalist and all around cool dude, leans over to me and whispers, "So, who wins?  I couldn't see the pictures, is it the dinosaur or the potty?"
"I think the Dinosaur went  in the potty... so I guess they both win," I say.
"I should save my questions till the end," says Chris with a wry grin.
"Yeah, we should probably stop all this potty talk," I say.

 Left to right: Chris Denise; Anika Denise; Chris Raschka
This is why I love doing group signings.  Picture book authors tend to be down to earth, funny, frequently irreverent folks, content with the good fortune of being able to do what they love for a living.  This past weekend Chris and I signed at Books of Wonder in NY, alongside Jane Dyer (A Train To Dreamland) Tad Hills (How Rocket Learned To Read), Maira Kalman (The Pursuit of Happiness), Laurie Keller (Birdy's Smile Book), Chris Raschka (Little Black Crow), and Bob Shea (Dinosaur vs. Potty).

What struck me (besides the fact that all these authors are amazing, talented folks and I was honored to be counted among them) was the palpable appreciation for one another's work.  The authors were clearly having just as much fun as the audience during the read-alouds.

Equally cool was hearing all the behind-the-scenes chatter about everyone's book projects, how they developed, where they are doing signings, what other artists they admire, how they promote their titles, etc.  For me, an author relatively new to the industry, it was a fascinating and fabulous experience.

Next signing stop: Tomorrow! Saturday Dec. 11th: Where The Sidewalks Ends in Chatham, MA (on Cape Cod)  10a - 12p.  Big Stella will be joining us (and rumor has it the mouse from "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" will be in the house too); they'll be a holiday stroll going on, hot chocolate, a cozy fireplace, and of course: books, books, books.  Come see us!

0 Comments on Booksignings of Wonder! as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
17. 35. Where Do You Go?

Little Black Crow, written and illustrated by Chris Raschka, Atheneum, $16.99, ages 4-7, 40 pages. A boy in a trapper hat looks up into the winter sky and wonders where the wind will take a little crow, as soft strokes of watercolor paint sweep the story from one page to the next. Caldecott Medalist Raschka's spare, yet exuberant, style is beguiling: it fills us with the same feelings of awe that we hear in the boy's words, as he watches the crow from off of the page. "Little black crow, where will you go?" he asks from the seat we see only at the end, atop a wood rail fence. The black bird sits in a leaf-bare tree, his beak bigger than his head and his ink-drawn body as expressive as a character in calligraphy.
On the next two pages, the bird hops down to the snowy ground, where now only a few brown weeds poke through. "Where do you go in the cold white snow?" the boy continues on, adding with growing curiosity. "Where do you go?" As the crow takes off in a glide, up into brown puffs of clouds, the boy further inquires, "Where do you fly in a stormy sky?" Like a crescendo, our voices rise as the boy's anticipation for the answers grow. Next, the crow touches down in the rain by a rabbit and the boy asks the crow whom he will meet in a long wet street. The boy now wonders if the crow feels as he would in the cold. "Do you ever complain / in the wind / and the rain?" he wistfully asks. "Is it enough / to have feathers / in all kinds of weathers? …Are you a boy like me?" The boy seems almost breathless, as he continues on and asks the crow if he ever worries and if he's ever afraid of the mistakes he's made? Whom does he love?, the boys adds. Does the crow wonder about the same things he does? About lighting or thunder? Other creatures he meets? About stars? Maybe even, the boy's words conclude, "someone…like me?" Only at the end do we see the boy, perhaps because only then are we looking toward him rather than through his eyes. It's extraordinary how breathtaking something so simple can be: with spare words and brush strokes, Raschka captures the intangible: the swelling sense of wonder that occurs in a child's mind when he gets fascinated by something -- when his head fills with so many questions at once that they spill out before any can be answered.

0 Comments on 35. Where Do You Go? as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
18. Fusenews: Laika Chow!

Marketing yourself.  Yeah, forget the hokey-pokey.  We know what it’s really all about in this game.  You poor authors and illustrators.  Isn’t it enough that you sweat and strain to create the highest quality literature for the generation that will inherit the earth after we are dead and gone . . . and now you’ve gotta go and publicize your own book yourself?!?  Who’s the yahoo who made THAT rule up?  I feel your pain, and so in an effort to help you I shall direct you, today anyway, to someone who shows that the best way to bring attention to yourself is to be creative, low-key, and involve a lot of other folks.  The author of Will Work for Prom Dress, Aimee Ferris (she of many names) has for the past few weeks been “posting daily photos of ‘mystery YA authors’ in their angsty teen best (showcasing a range of tragic teen fashion choices), as well as a few truly surly anti-prom shots on http://willworkforpromdress.com/ in anticipation of my upcoming book release on Feb 8.”  She’s calling it the “Promapalooza” and promises that in the future weeks there will be serious cases of “Man Perm” an “Agent Week” and much much more.  What she has up already is pretty impressive though.  I’m not giving away who the cute gal in this photo I lifted from her site is, but I will say that she has a picture book out this year (and she’s definitely not me).

  • Speaking of Blue Rose Girls, we’ve all heard of authors and illustrators talking about getting “the call” that told them they’d won a Caldecott or a Newbery.  But an agent talking about getting “the call”?  I’ve never heard of that one before.
  • Well, geez.  I was all set to tell you about Ward Jenkins and his crazy contest to convince enough people to “Like” his Facebook profile page for the upcoming picture book Chicks Run Wild.  He said that if 300 people “liked” it he’d wear a chicken suit.  The happy ending?  It hit 333 as of this post.  Didn’t need my help.  Chicken suit-up, Ward my man.
Display Comments Add a Comment
19. Review of the Day: Fortune Cookies by A. Bitterman

Fortune Cookies
By A. Bitterman
Illustrated by Chris Raschka
Beach Lane Books (a division of Simon & Schuster)
ISBN: 978- 1416968146
Ages 3-8
On shelves now

In the old days, children’s librarians were viewed as the gatekeepers of quality books for youth. That meant that they had to divide the wheat from the chaff. The good from the bad. The sterling from the meh. We still do that to a degree, though standards, like the times we are in, change. You see, there was a moment in history when one of the worst things you could call a children’s book was “novelty”. “Novelty” meant that a book was half a sneeze away from being a mere toy. “Novelty” meant that a book was going to appeal to a kid with fancy doodads and whizbangs, rather than with a good and coherent story. So Pat the Bunny was labeled a novelty and pop-up books were deemed novelties. You rarely saw them on library shelves. Time passed and the good side of novelty books, of those titles you can feel or beep or play with in some manner, has won out in the end. Though you’ll still find some of the weakest picture books soaked in glitter in an effort to appeal to the sparkle-eyed child consumer, when it comes to interactive books a lot of publishers have found a way to combine strong stories with great art. Fortune Cookies might be a good example of this. It has a pull-tab premise, but if you printed it as a regular picture book without a tab in sight it will still stand as a strong title on its own. If it is a novelty then that is only because it is novel in its own right.

One day a small girl received a box full of seven fortune cookies. Dutifully she opens one each day for a week. At first the fortunes are fairly straightforward. Readers can pull the little tabs containing the fortunes out of the cookies, like the first one “You will lose something you don’t need”. The next day the girl loses a tooth. When the next fortune reads “Money is like the wind” she uses her tooth fairy money to buy a kite. Fortunes and real life continue to weave back and forth with the girl losing her kite, finding a cat, losing the cat, making a wish, and ending up at the end with seven little kittens. She names each one after a day of the week, making this not only a book about fortunes and the ups and downs of an average child’s week, but also a handy tool for teaching the concept of Monday through Sunday.

A. (or Albert) Bitterman is the nom de plume of one Pete Cowdin, proprietor of the much lauded, much imitated, never excelled (or so I hear) Reading Reptile bookstore of Kansas City, Missouri. Now I’m a weird reviewer of children’s books. I like to read way more into them than was the author’s intent. And yes, I admit it, when I picked up this book one of my first thoughts aside from “I could really go for a cookie right now” (do you know they make flavored fortune cookies these days?) was “Oh good! A book about free will!” So let’s see how the text stands up to this gleeful reinterpretation. Here we have a girl sent a mysterious box of fortune cookies from “Uncle Albert” (a sly reference to Albert Bitterman himself). When she reads the fortunes they have a tendency to either come true or allude to a true situation that will occur. Rather than try to

3 Comments on Review of the Day: Fortune Cookies by A. Bitterman, last added: 1/31/2011
Display Comments Add a Comment
20. Storytime Corner: DOGS

Having done a Storytime Corner on cats, it only makes sense that we’d have to do one on dogs, right?  I’m a cat person myself, but these dog stories are completely irresistible.  And to keep all your parents and kids happy, you could even consider mixing up the dog and cat stories to make an integrated “Pets” program!


IF YOU GIVE A DOG A DONUT by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond (On-sale 10.4.11)

THAT PUP! by Lindsay Barrett George

NO DOGS ALLOWED! by Anne Davis

TEN LITTLE PUPPIES/Diez perritos by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy, illustrated by Ulises Wensell

Usually when I do storytimes, I like to make some books available for checkout that follow the theme.  Here are a few ideas of books you can display for checkout post-program:

CHARLIE THE RANCH DOG by Ree Drummond, illustrated by Diane deGroat
DOGS by Seymour Simon
HARRY THE DIRTY DOG by Gene Zion, illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham
HIP HOP DOG by Chris Raschka, illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky
I AM THE DOG by Daniel Pinkwater, illustrated by Jack E. Davis
MAGGIE’S BALL by Lindsay Barrett George
ZOOMER by Ned Young

I started compiling song, rhyme, and craft ideas…and then I realized that Storytime Katie had most likely already put together something fabulous for a dog-themed storytime.  And she had.  Check out her

Add a Comment
21. 2012 ALA Youth Media Awards Winners Announced!

Earlier this morning the American Library Association (ALA) announced the 2012 youth media awards winners. A full list of the winners can be found here.

Highlights from the list include:

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature: Dead End in Norvelt, written by Jack Gantos.

Two Newbery Honor Books also were named: Inside Out and Back Again, written by Thanhha Lai; and Breaking Stalin’s Nose, written and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin.

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children: A Ball for Daisy, illustrated and written by Chris Raschka.

Three Caldecott Honor Books also were named: Blackout, illustrated and written by John Rocco; Grandpa Green, illustrated and written by Lane Smith; and Me … Jane, illustrated and written by Patrick McDonnell.

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults: Kadir Nelson, author and illustrator of  Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans.

Two King Author Honor Book recipients were selected: Eloise Greenfield, author of The Great Migration: Journey to the North,  illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist; and Patricia C. McKissack, author of Never Forgotten,  illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon.

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award: Shane W. Evans, illustrator and author of Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom.

One King Illustrator Honor Book recipient was selected: Kadir Nelson, illustrator and author of Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans.

Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement: Ashley Bryan.

Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award honoring a Latino writer and illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience: Diego Rivera: His World and Ours, written and  illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh.

Two Belpré Illustrator Honor Books were selected: The Cazuela that the Farm Maiden Stirred illustrated by Rafael López, written by Samantha R. Vamos; and Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match /Marisol McDonald no combina, illustrated by Sara Palacios, written by Monica Brown.

Pura Belpré (Author) Award: Under the Mesquite written by Guadalupe Garcia McCall.

Two Belpré Author Honor Books were named: Hurricane Dancers: The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck written by Margarita Engle; and Maximilian and the Mystery of the Guardian Angel: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller, written by Xavier Garza.


0 Comments on 2012 ALA Youth Media Awards Winners Announced! as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
22. Jack Gantos Wins the Newbery Medal

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos has won the prestigious John Newbery Medal at the American Library Association’s annual youth media awards.

A Ball for Daisy illustrated and written by Chris Raschka won the Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children. In addition, the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults went to Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley.

Finally the Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults: went to  Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans, written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson. The rest of the ALA winners follow below…


New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Add a Comment
23. Tale by Jack Gantos Wins Newbery Medal

The Newbery Medal is considered the most prestigious in children's literature. The Caldecott Medal goes to the most distinguished picture book.

Add a Comment
24. Jack Gantos Wins the Newbery Medal

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos has won the prestigious John Newbery Medal at the American Library Association’s annual youth media awards.

A Ball for Daisy illustrated and written by Chris Raschka won the Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children. In addition, the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults went to Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley.

Finally the Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults: went to  Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans, written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson. The rest of the ALA winners follow below…


New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Add a Comment
25. Caldecott Medal, 2012

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: January 23, 2012

Medal Winner

Honor Book

Honor Book

Honor Book

“The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. 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.” ~ALSC

©2012 The Childrens Book Review. All Rights Reserved.


Add a Comment