Books by Alice Priestley

TOGETHER by Hazel Hutchins
Released: Dec. 1, 2009

From buttons to zippers to hugs, young children will learn the meaning of "together" in everyday life. Each color-filled spread features a different family, each of varying ethnicities, learning basic but important lessons with their young ones. As they go through their morning routines, children will learn that shoelaces are "what [keep] my feet from dancing out of my shoes" and elastics are "what [keep] my hair crissy-cross in its braid." Although the color-pencil illustrations by Priestley come across as elementary at first glance, her graphics add warmth and a welcome simplicity. As each parent drops a child off at school, the different nationalities come together comfortably. Together the children learn and play, until the time comes when each family is reunited again. Undoubtedly, there are many valuable lessons to be learned from this story, but perhaps the most important is the idea that a hug is what keeps a family together when they're apart—"one when we leave…and one when we're all back together again." (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 2005

Gay picture books are unfortunately still rare enough that they all matter regardless of literary and artistic quality. This one happens to be stilted and static. Rosie's Mom and Mum are getting married. Rosie's only concern is whether or not she'll get to be a flower girl, ring-bearer, or something else crucial to the ceremony (which she wishes would be bigger and fancier than it is). The concept and rightness of this two-mother family (and the same-sex marriage itself) are never questioned; there is no antagonist of the type often created specifically to facilitate a tolerance message. However, Setterington's text plods along, feeling forced. Priestley's drawings, though brightly colored, lack vibrancy and feel stale. This clearly deliberate piece has a worthy agenda and will stand in until better quality versions come along. Artistically tepid but socially valuable. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 1, 1998

A prince, "handsome as most and almost as clever," sulks because he wants to fly. A giraffe with the power to grant him three wishes does so, and by the third one he gets it right, and is made happy with a flying bicycle. This straightforward version is on the endpapers, but what's in the pages is a rather different creature. Bea, with her round face, full skirts, and hair in a golden braid, greets readers as "you," tells us to turn the page, and begins the story. Like the prince's servants, Bea doesn't like the forest, although it looks pretty benign. But the seagulls, who are supposed to pick the prince up for the first round of flying, are making a terrible racket. Bea invites readers to fly along with her to solve the problem, but gets behind in the story, and the seagulls won't listen. She goes out in her boat, and a giant hand appears through a tear in the page, followed by the rest of the giant, who calms the gulls and thus permits the rest of the story to proceed. Bea promises that they do all live happily ever after, even though she didn't get to tell the story properly. Die-cuts and pop-ups appear as the illustrations run like a frieze from page to page, with the text underneath. The pale, colored-pencil illustrations have a slightly sugary appearance. The whole is a bit too wobbly—a conceit that never flies. (Picture book. 5-8) Read full book review >