The children’s novel The Windy Hill by Cornelia Meigs (published 1921) provides a unique early twentieth century portrayal of a particular summer of two city teenagers spending a summer with a dull but wealthy uncle, the intrigue of the story is predictable and lacks true excitement. Children today will not be impressed with the outdated
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse (1998 Newbery Medal Winner) is a young adult novel in poetry about the difficulties of dust bowl living in the 1930s. A changing industry, magnified by severe drought and the Great Depression, meant that farming in rural Oklahoma was more difficult than ever. But Billie’s difficulties are compounded.
I love Jane Yolen’s talent for writing extends from children’s picture books and poetry to middle grade and older books! Her books almost always seem to delight or intrigue me, and her recent contribution to the middle grade bookshelf is no exception. Centaur Rising by Jane Yolen (Macmilian Children’s Publishing Group, October 2014) is a fantasy novel
In Stop, Thief! by Heather Tekavec and illustrated by Pierre Pratt (Kids Can Press, August 2014), the farmer entrusts Max the dog with a special mission: find the thief that is stealing all the carrots, berries, beans, and cherries. Full of confidence, Max chases a bug, believing it to be the thief. Of course, when he
A 1959 Newbery Honor book, Along Came a Dog by Meindert DeJong is a simple story of an unlikely friendship. Most of the action is between animals; therefore, there is little dialog. But despite the slower pace of the story, the author creates a moving tale of friendship and support that I really enjoyed reading.
All Kinds of Kisses by Nancy Tafuri (Little, Brown and Company 2011) is a sweet and simple farm animal bedtime book emphasizing the fact that “Little ones love kisses.” Each two-page spread tells the kinds of kisses the little animal loves, and it ends, of course, with the little child being kissed goodnight as well.
An un-pictured artist has been working on a simple painting of a barn and animals in Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman (Viking, 2011). The almost-finished painting, however, has a creative chicken that decides to help finish the painting once the artist is away. Climbing out of the picture, she only succeeds in making a big
Animals, whether they are talking animals or pets, are a popular subject in picture books. Below, I mention a few of the many Cybils Fiction Picture Book Nominees on the subject, from zoo animals and farm animals to wild animals, including some animals who don’t quite behave like animals “normally” do. Most animals in picture
In a simple rhythm and using bright and realistic paintings of animals, Nadia Krilanovich introduces animal and their sounds to the young reader in Chicken Chicken Duck (Tricycle Press, 2011). The animals are all stacked on top of each other in silly ways, and they are also painted on a plain white background, which is
The animals of the stable are often the focus of children’s Nativity picture books, possibly because children tend to love animals and because they are so lovely in illustrations. The image of the babe in the manger, humbly surrounded by gentle animals, is a memorable part of the season. One such book that I love
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