Books by Alice Schertle

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK by Alice Schertle
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 22, 2019

"A sweet reminder that it's easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both! Read full book review >
LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S SPRINGTIME by Alice Schertle
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 2, 2018

"Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)"
Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country. Read full book review >
LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN by Alice Schertle
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 5, 2016

"Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)"
A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes. Read full book review >
SUCH A LITTLE MOUSE by Alice Schertle
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 31, 2015

" Perfectly charming. (Picture book. 3-5)"
Four seasons, as seen through the eyes of a country mouse. Read full book review >
LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS by Alice Schertle
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 23, 2014

"Little Blue's fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it's the sparkling lights on the truck's own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler's eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)"
The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals. Read full book review >
LITTLE BLUE TRUCK LEADS THE WAY by Alice Schertle
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

Little Blue is back, here the innocent instigator of a tremendous traffic jam (Little Blue Truck, 2008). While Little Blue is in awe over the size and speed of the city, the sight of such a country bumpkin is too much to bear for many of the self-absorbed city vehicles, who angrily tell Little Blue to "Shove on, Shorty." But in their rush to get somewhere, they forget an important detail that the little truck points out: "You might be fast / and I might be slow, / but one at a time / is the way to go." In the end, Little Blue saves the day for the mayor, untangles the traffic snafu and earns the city vehicles' respect. McElmurry's wonderfully retro gouache illustrations lend personality to each of the vehicles. Readers truly get a sense of movement—the back ends of the vehicles are a streaky blur, while their exhaust pipes spew smoke and the street sweeper fills the page with dust clouds. Still, the let's-all-get-in-line message may well pall with youngsters, if not their teachers. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
LOOK OUT, JEREMY BEAN!  by Alice Schertle
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 2009

A school assignment to share collections prompts Jeremy Bean to become a collector of stories about himself, which he hopes he can share with his grandchildren as his Gramps has shared stories with him. This engaging transitional work is organized into three "books" that explore Jeremy's efforts to become a collector, his search for dust bunnies and his solution to the problem of a St. Patrick's Day costume (a slightly revised version of Jeremy Bean's St. Patrick's Day, illustrated by Linda Shute, 1987). Each section is further divided into chapters, providing good breaks in the reading, but the narrative contains enough tension to keep readers going. Jeremy cleverly solves his own problems, but he gets help from two supportive older males, his grandfather and a not-so-scary-after-all principal. Librarians will welcome the return of this popular character. Simple straightforward sentences and regular repetition of words help chapter-book readers, who will find Jeremy's world familiar and his stories appealing; Slonim's cheerful grey-scale illustrations appear on every page, ranging in size and scale and adding extra humor. Here's hoping Jeremy will soon collect some more. (Fiction. 5-8)Read full book review >
BUTTON UP! by Alice Schertle
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2009

Shoelaces, hats, undies, jammies, jackets—all have a story to tell. Each poem's title pairs a character's name with an article of clothing ("Bertie's Shoelaces") while the body tells of shared activities and adventures. Some live hard, like the hand-me-down sweatshirt that's "been lost and recovered, been torn and been sewn." The bicycle helmet has Bob covered, galoshes have a lovely time in the rain with Harvey and Emily's undies like showing their laces and bows. Personification can be tricky, but Schertle pulls it off admirably, in a simple, straightforward manner. She employs a variety of rhyme schemes and meters in the verses, giving each one a sprightly, humorous tone. Mathers's whimsy-filled watercolors place each article of clothing on an animal, and not just cats and dogs. There are otters and pigs, alligators and rabbits, emus and moles. And these creatures have personality, exuberance and high style that perfectly match the verses. Loads of fun. (Picture book/poetry. 3-8)Read full book review >
LITTLE BLUE TRUCK by Alice Schertle
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 2008

Plucky animals rescue stuck truck. As the bright blue truck with headlights like eyes rattles down the country road, all the animals greet it. A big yellow dump truck comes zooming by; after passing Blue, Dump gets stuck in a patch of mud. Blue tries to help, but he gets stuck as well. Lickety split, the cow, the horse, the sheep, the chicken—all the farm animals—pitch in to free the two vehicles. They can't quite budge the trucks until the big green toad (pictured knee-deep in mud in a muscleman pose) joins the team. Out pop the trucks. Dump learns a valuable lesson—"a lot depends on a helping hand from a few good friends"—and Blue gives the animals a lift back to the farm. Schertle's rhythmic text—accented on the page by judiciously applied colored inks—fairly chants itself. McElmurry's vibrant illustrations, in gouache on watercolor paper, recall Cooney and Burton in palette, line and design. This crisp rendition of a familiar scenario is sure to become a storytime favorite. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
VERY HAIRY BEAR by Alice Schertle
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2007

Outlined in a thick, curly halo of split ends, a "boulder-big bear with shaggy, raggy, brownbear hair everywhere . . . except on his no-hair nose" bounds happily through a seasonal round in this outdoorsy gambol. Schertle's patterned language sets up a playful cadence that Phelan captures perfectly in his soft-lined, buttery-yellow pastels. Whether splashing after salmon in spring, fearlessly sticking that no-hair nose into a bee tree in summer, lounging at purple-stained ease amid a patch of blueberry bushes or chowing down on a hoard of acorns as squirrels chatter angrily above, the portly protagonist positively radiates doggy good cheer. Until, that is, winter sets in—then it's time for a good scratch on a rough tree trunk and a sleepy retreat to a cave where "shaggy, raggy, very hairy bearpaws" can protect that sensitive nose from the cold wind. He's a bear of rare appeal, and it's hard to resist the urge to snuggle down next to him. (Picture book. 5-7)Read full book review >
WE by Alice Schertle
by Alice Schertle, illustrated by Kenneth Addison
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 2007

Schertle gives her panoramic, free-verse view of the human story an ominous tone by placing it all in the past tense. Spreading out from an African river valley, "We walked upright / out of the valley across the savanna / up over mountains...then over time's long passage, went on to build boats and roads, make prayers and war, explore the ocean's bottom and our own biology." Addison (who died in 2005, while working on these illustrations) incorporated paint and clipped photos into kaleidoscopic impressions of pre-human and human figures from various world cultures engaged in the business of daily life; the visual sequences aren't always chronological, but do express a vibrant general optimism. In the end, though "some of us / returned to the water-carved canyon / to find our bones," our contact with the natural world, "the river running slow and cool / and the African wind in our hair," has been forgotten. The cautionary thread running through this may be too subtle for most children to catch, but it could spark discussions about where we've been and where we're going. (Picture book/poetry. 7-9)Read full book review >
THE ADVENTURES OF OLD BO BEAR by Alice Schertle
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2006

Mama insists that Old Bo Bear is "World Class Dirty" and so tosses him into the washer. The poor teddy bear comes out short an ear! But the little boy and his teddy bear, matched in red-and-yellow striped shirts, aren't daunted. The lost ear simply inspires imaginative adventures. In one episode Bo is "Scar" and the boy is "Guts" as they take on pirates. That's how salty Old Bear loses his ear. There's also the romp in the Wild West where "Deputy" Bear and his "sheriff" take down some nasty varmints. In this instance, "Deputy" loses an ear as he's bucked off a bronco. The two get dirtier and dirtier with each adventure, but one thing's for sure—Bo's never going back in the washing machine. The vibrant artwork is bold, detailed and mirthful. Particularly fine is the sparkling spread of the pirate battle with festooned sails, scowling pirates and turquoise sea with Bo and the boy swinging from ropes. With prankish charm, Schertle and Parkins cleverly herald the delights of imaginative play. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
THE SKELETON IN THE CLOSET by Alice Schertle
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 1, 2003

A skeleton, not feeling content in his bare bones, sets out to find some clothes. Bones enters the house of a young boy, climbs the stairs to his room, rifles through his closet, and puts together an outfit from head to toe complete with bear-shaped bedroom slippers. Satisfied and with a thumbs-up farewell, Bones moves on to the next abode. Told in a humorous upbeat rhyme, the boy's nighttime fears are tempered by the clothing needs of his bizarre nightmare character. Mixed-media cartoon-style art gives the boy a Dennis-the-Menace look and the skeleton an alien quality, his large, bulging, green eyes offset by the beige tones of his skeletal form. Background colors of midnight blues and contrasting greens round out the nocturnal bedroom scenes. Offbeat bedtime comforter. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
WHEN THE MOON IS HIGH by Alice Schertle
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2003

Teary eyes and a pouting lip encourage Daddy to scoop up a restless baby and take him on a soothing walk through the night. Snuggled warm in slippers, father and son embark on a nature walk full of exploration and discovery. "Who's that pocket peeking, / hide-and-seeking when the moon is high?" The following page offers a better look at the hidden night creature, a mouse. The journey continues as the pair identifies an owl riding high in the sky; a raccoon munching berries in a thicket; and a cat floating through the shadows. A skunk, a dog, and a 'possum round out the night visitors, leaving the duo with many exciting things to see and a list of tongue-tying poems to repeat. "Dog out prowling, / snooping, howling? / Cat all flowing, / two eyes glowing? / Skunk out nightly, / black and whitely? / Possum munching, / midnight lunching?" This guess-who poem has served to tire the sleepy baby and Daddy returns his son to bed to sleep under his moon mobile in the light of the actual full moon shining through his window. Softly smudged and shaded illustrations focus on the snuggly child and the wonderful creatures enjoying the moonlit night. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
TEDDY BEAR, TEDDY BEAR by Alice Schertle
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2003

Illustrated by a teddy bear specialist, these 14 new rhymes are just the ticket for a spell of quality lap time. Schertle (When the Moon Is High, p. 397) writes of bears in chairs, and bears on stairs—"Bears on the staircase / all in a row, / bears on the banister— / LOOK OUT BELOW!"—bears messy and neat; bears loud, quiet, or both in turn; good little bears and those having a "Bad Bear Day." Griffith (Blessings and Prayers for Little Bears, 2002, etc.) places fuzzy, animated teddies in cozy domestic scenes chockablock with brightly colored, exactly rendered toys, children's clothing, patterned fabrics, household pets and the occasional doting child. A cockle-warming successor, all in all, to Michael and Kathleen Hague's Alphabears (1984) and Numbears (1986), or, of course, Ruth Krauss's classic rhyme. (Picture book/poetry. 5-9)Read full book review >
¡PÍO PEEP! by Alma Flor Ada
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2003

Hoping to introduce the rich heritage of Spanish nursery rhymes to children of all backgrounds, the editors have selected many of the best-known traditional rhymes, most originally from Spain, but now spread throughout Latin America. In this bilingual presentation, Schertle avoids a word-for-word translation and presents instead what the introduction calls a "poetic re-creation." While small details may differ, the English versions flow easily off the tongue. A few of the rhymes are associated with children's games, such as "El patio de mi casa" and children can get the sense of the game from the words, but there are few notes accompanying the individual rhymes. A preface acknowledges some sources and provides limited background information for adults. Escrivá's pastoral paintings of sweet-faced children and adults dressed in a mix of traditional and contemporary clothing are pleasant accompaniments. (Poetry. 4-8)Read full book review >
ALL YOU NEED FOR A SNOWMAN by Alice Schertle
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2002

A rollicking combination of poet (Good Night, Hattie, My Dearie, My Dove, p. 345, etc.) and illustrator (The Gift, not reviewed, etc.) will have exuberant toddlers and their families following along as colorfully clad youngsters build a huge feathery snowman. Watercolor and gouache paintings use white space to the fullest advantage, as the snowman becomes larger and larger. So large that it takes a vertical doublespread for the artist to show off the finished product. Light blue, watercolor snowflakes are a background to the lively activities of the many youngsters. Perspective changes from close-ups to full scenes that work with the pace of the poetry. The placement of the text is a seamless part of the design and oftentimes is as rollicking as the picture. "Three hand-packed, / triple-stacked / balls of snow. / Hat on top, / where a hat should go— / that's all you need / for a snowman. / EXCEPT for . . ." The last two words are at the bottom of the right-hand page and beg for it to be turned. The hatted, scarved, and booted toddlers are dwarfed beside their creation and are an integral part of the design. With the snowman finished, there is another snowstorm and the fun begins to make a snowman's friend. One snowman sports a fanny pack and sneakers, the other wears skis and suspenders. A treat in text and pictures to be read again and again. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
GOOD NIGHT, HATTIE, MY DEARIE, MY DOVE by Alice Schertle
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2002

A reassuring and recognizable bedtime (and counting) story—first published in 1985—is given new pictures full of vibrant texture and sweet energy. Hattie is leading a parade of her stuffies, counting them by name, and describing their personalities. Number four is Parker, who had lost a bunny ear in the washer; Seven is the teddy bear, named Clam Chowder "ever since he fell into Hattie's soup." It is bedtime, and Mama and Daddy help Hattie carry everyone upstairs. But each time one of her parents says, "Good night, Hattie, my dearie, my dove," she finds a reason to add another buddy. Dinah the doll has "inside chicken pox"; she promised Hairy that he could sleep in her bed; Boomer is afraid of chickens in the closet; and so on, until all of the toys are tucked in so one can scarcely see Hattie. Finally, Mama says good night to each in turn, and the last frame finds Hattie sound asleep, surrounded by her loved ones. Rand portrays the grubby surface, furry or bristly arms, and bright-eyed demeanor of Hattie's toys with great tenderness and clarity. The numbers appear along with the toys and again within the text and are painted in rich colors that pick up those of the animals. Very nice to have a new version of this one. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
I AM THE CAT by Alice Schertle
Released: March 1, 1999

PLB 0-688-13154-9 All aspects of the personality of a cat, no matter how maligned, are seen through a set of witty poems and pictures full of visual puns. Egyptian hieroglyphs on the endpapers hint at the cat's timelessness, followed by the collection itself, introduced with a close-up of a cat's face and one paw swiping through a mousehole at the resident, hilariously backed into a corner. For every lyrical haiku setting forth a single attribute of cats, a longer poem appears to contradict—even demolish—it. After a lovely scene of a cat lapping at the reflection of a moon in a puddle comes a Genesis-like telling of the cat's fall from grace because it sipped from the moon. A haiku on the one feather found on a cat's whiskers gives way to a poem on stalking mice, right to the crushing last line, "Mine!" In "Sophie, Who Taunted the Dogs," the sublime Sophie meets with a very grisly end after teasing neighborhood dogs. If cats are cuddly, queenly, sneaky, devilish, and aloof, they are captured here, attribute by attribute. Children will rush to find cats, rabbits, mice, and T-rexes Buehner shows hiding in the rain puddles of a city street or the cracks of a broken headlight, posing as clouds or doubling as leaves in a field. (Picture book/poetry. 5-10) Read full book review >
KEEPERS by Alice Schertle
by Alice Schertle, illustrated by Ted Rand
POETRY
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

This uneven collection of poems from Schertle (Maisie, 1995, etc.), while including a few humorous moments, often suffers from preciousness or collapses under the strain of overwrought imagery. A boastful beetle stars in one of the finest pieces, a crude little taunter who gets smoked by a woodpecker; charming, also, is the lizard who busily cranks out thirty push-ups while on the vertical. When haiku is attempted—``The thin shadow of/a fox slides across the wall/of the chicken coop''—the result is wooden instead of oblique. Other poems seem to reach too hard, with self-conscious results: ``Shy and hidden/shadow things/of pipe and ring/and strange remembered power./Shadow voices/ high and thin/quiver in the wind/this witching hour.'' Pipe and ring? Remembered power? Rand's illustrations have a certain atmospheric power, but sometimes accentuate the mawkish aspects of the poems. (Picture book/poetry. 5+) Read full book review >
MAISIE by Alice Schertle
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: March 1, 1995

A novel in 32 pages. A girl ``born in a little red house in the shadow of a big red barn'' grows up, talks to owls, goes to school, marries, has children, grandchildren, and great- grandchildren. The sprawling form is held together by recurring motifs (Daisy's appreciation of animals and their freedom) and by the sense of spiritual calm in the midst of her life's commotion. If the text is serene, the illustrations have a pace all their own, sometimes competing with the words rather than enhancing them. Four and five busy pictures cluster on a page; readers will see the hubbub of Maisie's environment but may miss the simple heart at its core. Despite this, Maisie is a moving, familiar portrait of a splendid woman and four generations of the lives she touched. See also Anne Shelby's Homeplace (below). (Picture book. 5+) Read full book review >
LITTLE FROG'S SONG by Alice Schertle
ANIMALS
Released: March 30, 1992

A familiar storyline in an especially felicitous setting. In concrete, evocative language, Schertle describes Little Frog's happiness in ``the wonderful wet world that was home,'' then his bewilderment when a sudden rain washes him away; her use of repetition as he seeks his lost home, sojourning with first a sheep and next a dog, is classic in form but fresh in expression (``The sheep, who spoke a different language, didn't understand. But...Little Frog settled down beside her. He tried to sing, but the meadow had no music for a frog. Still, he saw the same wind that whispered through the water reeds...''). The third to befriend Little Frog is a boy, who may not speak the frog's language but understands his needs enough to take him back to his home. Fisher's quietly luminous paintings are a perfect match for the text's mood of joyful tranquillity. In spare, lucid compositions and subdued yet intense colors, he sets the simple scene and provides refreshingly unconventional portraits (a doleful, angular dog; a sturdy, heavy-haired boy) and unusual pictorial effects (the frog glimpsed in the dark of the boy's pocket). Unusually pleasing—and a book that will have several uses (Patricia MacLachlan's Minna Pratt would enjoy sharing it with her friend Lucas). (Picture book. 4-10) Read full book review >
WITCH HAZEL by Alice Schertle
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 1991

Johnny lives with two man-sized brothers who are fond of him despite their careless condescension—he is young, and little; busy Bill and Bart don't want Johnny's help as they chop and plow on their wilderness farm, leaving him to observe and dream and make his own arrangements. Still, when they plant the corn, they give Johnny a few pumpkin seeds to plant, and they put up a witch-hazel branch with which he makes a special scarecrow (``Hazel'') with a long skirt to hide his one big pumpkin. In the fall, when Bart and Bill leave Johnny alone while they take their fine crop to market, he witnesses (or perhaps dreams) a magical event: Hazel tosses the pumpkin into the air, where even Johnny's brothers can see that it makes an unsurpassed harvest moon. At the conclusion of this tender, understated story, the motherly figure that this motherless boy has made for himself tucks him into his bed before disappearing forever, while the pumpkin leaves enough seeds for another year. Tomes's gentle earth tones and old-fashioned setting nicely extend the portrait of a lonely, sweetly persistent child whose imagination helps him make accommodations with overbusy caregivers. A thoughtful change of pace for Halloween—or anytime. (Picture book. 4-9) Read full book review >