Books by Ann Whitford Paul

Released: May 14, 2019

"Lacking the perfect pairings of animal and behavior, this one just doesn't stand out. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Paul and Walker continue their If Animals series with this look at animals attending school. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 11, 2018

"A sweet, cozy book to share with young children as Christmas approaches. (Picture book. 2-6)"
Over a dozen types of animal families show how they would celebrate this holiday season. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 17, 2017

"Surely adult and child pairs reading this together will find ways to mimic the animals' ways of expressing their love: blowing bubbles and splashing in the tub, a boa-like 'squish-hugging squeeze,' and playful wrestling. (Picture book. 2-6)"
Paul and Walker team up again to present the youngest listeners with an "I love you" book. Read full book review >
WORD BUILDER by Ann Whitford Paul
Released: Feb. 24, 2009

While the idea behind this visually dazzling effort has great potential, the execution may leave some feeling disappointed. In the world Paul and Cyrus have created, an androgynous construction worker hammers enormous letters into words, then piles the words into sentence towers that are held together with punctuation mortar. Framing organizes sentences into paragraphs, while stacked paragraphs create chapter cities. "Keep on building…until you have created…a whole world of book." The pencil-and-digital artwork varies in perspective from extreme wide-angle to super-close-up views, maximizing the impact of the illustrations and the construction theme. However, for the purposes of teaching children about writing, a preponderance of wide-angle views might have been in order. While the text describes sentence towers and their punctuation mortar, readers never get to see a completed one. And beyond the sentence level, the buildings simply look like tall houses with a letter at the roofline. The final illustration is masterful—the view over the construction worker's shoulder at the completed book, peopled with characters and full of action. For abstract thinkers, this could be a powerful tool. (Picture book. 7-10)Read full book review >
Released: April 9, 2008

Paul's latest bedtime book proves satisfyingly soporific. In gentle rhymes, she imagines how the real versions of a bedroom menagerie might kiss goodnight: "Peacock and chick / would spin a fan dance / and kiss with a kickity / high-stepping prance." Python kisses involve twisting around, while seal kisses are underwater affairs with much bubble accompaniment. Sloth and her cub make several appearances, as their slow goodnight kiss lasts longer than anyone else's. While a family triad appears only once, both moms and dads dole out the smooches. Throughout, readers are introduced to the terms for animal babies and to the distinctive physical features that are the hallmark of each creature. Walker's adorable, soft-hued animals populate simply drawn habitats with the bare minimum of detail—perfect for capturing the attention of the littlest listeners. The imaginative possibilities alone make this one stand out from the glut of sickly sweet bedtime books. Sure to send readers off to a gentle goodnight . . . after a kiss, of course. (Picture book. 2-6)Read full book review >
COUNT ON CULEBRA by Ann Whitford Paul
Released: March 15, 2008

Count on Paul and Long to dish up another silly, entertaining tale in Spanish and English, this one featuring the cunning snake, Doctor Culebra, who manages to trick Iguana out of feeling the pain in her stubbed toe, while at the same time teaching readers to count to 10 in Spanish, and convincing the other animals to help make candy (dulces). By the time the animals have tied numerous kitchen utensils to Iguana's tail, and readers have counted them all, and joined in the resulting raucous sound effects of "Clink, Clank, Clang," and "Blatter, Blitter, Bling," as Iguana walks, they will agree that Doctor Culebra, even if he had not gone to medical school, "is the best doctor we know." The bright cartoon illustrations are well suited to this hilarious tale that provides a practical lesson about life, as well as bilingual counting and vocabulary skills. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
SNAIL’S GOOD NIGHT by Ann Whitford Paul
Released: March 1, 2008

Seeing that his friends Bunny, Mouse and Sparrow have disappeared, Snail rightly assumes that they're settling down for the evening and sets out to wish them a good night. Being a snail, this takes him a while—so long, in fact, that by the time he gets to Sparrow, the sun has come up. Litzinger illustrates this Level 1 reader with close-up, ground-level scenes that are all soft, rounded forms. The pictures feature a snail with a human face, arms and clothing sliding "slowly, slowly, slowly" from stop to stop beneath flowers, foliage and a Moon watching benignly. Exhausted at the end of his errand, Snail retreats gradually (over several pages) into his shell and falls asleep. Emergent readers will likely feel a bit drowsy, too, by the close. (Easy reader. 5-6)Read full book review >
FIESTA FIASCO by Ann Whitford Paul
Released: April 15, 2007

In this español-laced trickster tale featuring the cast from Mañana, Iguana (2004), Conejo the rabbit "helps" Iguana and Tortuga select singularly unsuitable gifts, like a shirt, for Culebra the snake's cumpleaños (birthday). The tortoise and lizard have their doubts, but go along—and like the snake are so outraged at Conejo's disingenuous offer to wear the clothes himself that they chase him away from the fiesta until he exchanges the duds for better presents. Long places his pop-eyed, blunt-nosed cartoon figures in a sere desert setting, and closes with a look ahead to Conejo's birthday fiesta—at which (unsurprisingly, considering that he'd already tipped his hand) he gets exactly what he wanted. Like its predecessor, this sunny tale offers a pronunciation glossary, plus artful translations in context and in the pictures, that will help to acquaint younger children with both the sound of Spanish, and a few words of the language. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
MAÑANA, IGUANA by Ann Whitford Paul
Released: Sept. 1, 2004

Paul offers a clever dual-language update of The Little Red Hen. Iguana is planning a fiesta on Saturday; her friends are excited about attending, but not about helping with the preparations. Each has an excuse: Conejo the rabbit does things too fast and would ruin them, while Tortuga the tortoise is too slow; Culebra the snake is willing to help mañana—when he grows arms. All work and no play makes for a grouchy Iguana, who disinvites her friends. As the lazy trio watches the party from the sidelines, they recognize that they should have helped, so as Iguana sleeps that night, they pitch in and clean up, and all is forgiven in the morning. Long's illustrations incorporate the bright colors and geometric designs of Mexico. Careful observers will see through the animals' excuses as they play in the background while Iguana works. An excellent chance for young readers to practice using context clues and to learn some Spanish vocabulary. (glossary) (Picture book. 3-8)Read full book review >
Released: April 7, 2003

Called to bed, Little Monkey won't go until he says good night. "He scampers to the Big Top tent. ‘Come back,' calls Papa. / But Little Monkey jumps / BOING! / into the Ringmaster's spotlight. ‘Good night, Ringmaster.' Ringmaster tips his tall top hat and sweeps Little Monkey / SWISH! / through the Poodle's hoop. / ‘Good night, Poodle.' " One onomatopoetic leap follows another as Little Monkey bids good night to each performer. His rounds end in a swish with Mama on the trapeze followed by the excited clapping and cheering of the crowd. Finally, Papa tucks Little Monkey in with a good night of his very own. Paul (Silly Sadie, Silly Samuel, 2000, etc.) inspired by her own son's need to wish everyone in the house good night, has written one of the noisiest bedtime stories ever. Debut children's book illustrator Walker's pudgy, smiling, energetic characters are rendered in soft yet bright pastel colors. Together they have created a perfect good-night read. The only drawback is that when listeners reach the end, they'll ask to start again. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 2000

A giggly salute to the absurd, this entry in the Ready-to-Read series immediately engages the newly literate. If ever there was a match made in heaven, Sadie and Samuel are it. They celebrate each other's oddities: when Samuel paints their picket fence a variety of colors, Sadie sees it as a glorious rainbow. In his turn, Samuel treasures the patchwork quilt Sadie sews from his Sunday suit, ostensibly because the quilt can be enjoyed every day rather than once a week. Paul (All By Herself, p. 1747, etc.) offers a beginning-to-read tale that stands out from others in the genre; her wonderfully well-crafted story works on many levels and the language is appropriately challenging without being overwhelming. The love shared by the elderly lovebirds is reflected both in the text and Wickstorm's bright pastel illustrations. An all-around great addition to any new reader's library. (Picture book. 5-9) Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1999

Prose poems celebrate the feats of young heroines, some of them famous, and some not as well-known. Paul (Hello Toes! Hello Feet!, 1998, etc.) recounts moments in the lives of women such as Rachel Carson, Amelia Earhart, and Wilma Rudolph; these moments don't necessarily reflect what made them famous as much as they are pivotal events in their youth that influenced the direction of their lives. For Earhart, it was sliding down the roof of the tool shed in a home-made roller coaster: "It's like flying!" For Rudolph, it was the struggle to learn to walk without her foot brace. Other women, such as Violet Sheehy, who rescued her family from a fire in Hinckley, Minnesota, or Harriet Hanson, a union supporter in the fabric mills of Massachusetts, are celebrated for their brave decisions made under extreme duress. Steirnagle's sweeping paintings powerfully exude the strength of character exhibited by these young women. A commemorative book, that honors both quiet and noisy acts of heroism. (Picture book/poetry. 6-9) Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1999

An alphabetic chronicle of all the necessities for a sleepover is the foundation for this energetic tale about a young girl's visit with her grandfather. In sprightly rhyming verse, the child proudly displays her indispensable treasures, excavated from an overnight bag that is larger than she is. Items such as Apples, stuffed sleeping pals Bunny and Bear, and Chalk to decorate the sidewalk share space with more mundane articles: Slippers, Toothbrush, and Underwear. Paul incorporates the alphabet into the text, with the featured letters highlighted in bold colors, while Smith's cheerful watercolors capture the child's boundless enthusiasm; they also adroitly convey the affectionate bond between grandfather and girl. Demonstrating keen understanding of a child's universe, this rollicking recitation is a delight. (Picture book. 3-7) Read full book review >
HELLO TOES! HELLO FEET! by Ann Whitford Paul
Released: March 1, 1998

A jolly rhyming text follows a preschooler through her day, as she, in turn, follows her feet. With the exuberance of a charmingly extended jump-rope chant, Paul (The Seasons Sewn, 1996, etc.) and Westcott chronicle the happy child's day. After she tells her toes good morning (``Be the first to touch the floor, hop me to the closet door''), she chooses from a technicolor array of fantasy footwear: slingbacks, fruit-adorned sandals, cowboy boots, ice skates, flippers, and bunny slippers. Her little dog helps her, carrying a spare pair in his mouth. Simple and carefree activities are described from a foot's-eye view; her toes lead the way down the slide, her feet crunch a juice box at lunchtime. The text is compelling, the drawings a total confection. It's a sweet, completely realized concept, modest in ambition but in perfect accord with readers' interests and perspectives. (Picture book. 3-6) Read full book review >
THE SEASONS SEWN by Ann Whitford Paul
Released: April 1, 1996

Artfully constructed images of the early 19th century reflect daily life through the names of patchwork quilt patterns. In her introduction, Paul (Eight Hands Round: A Patchwork Alphabet, 1991) imagines the life of a rural child in the century following the Declaration of Independence. Then, in sections named for the seasons, she recounts events and activities that may have inspired the names of quilt patterns. ``Bear's Paw'' describes an encounter with a grizzly, while ``Cake Stand'' mentions a harvest gathering where the platters, food baskets, and dessert stands decorate an outdoor table. Each page holds one of McCurdy's plainspoken scratchboard illustrations, a paragraph of text, and two quilt blocks: One is the pattern itself, the other is of four blocks together to give a sense of the finished quilt. McCurdy has a following, and quilting is again in vogue, but the elegant architecture of this conceit may have difficulty finding an audience; it's a nice book that somehow fails to sing. (bibliography) (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-9) Read full book review >