Books by Annie Cannon

ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2003

An outstanding science nature title, in which the author and illustrator show unusual harmony as they vividly describe a single food web. Each May hundreds of thousands of horseshoe crabs crawl out of the Delaware Bay and lay as many as 7 billion eggs, continuing their ancient species and providing food for migrating shorebirds, minnows, eels, turtles, herons, and other wildlife. The author is a careful observer and includes the details that delight young listeners. The text, though long for the picture-book set, is suitable for reading aloud for science enthusiasts of all ages. Appealing watercolors capture the urgency and drama of hordes of brown domed crabs heading to shore, or the crowd of shorebirds coming to feast. The author's note sounds a warning that the decline of the horseshoe crabs may signal the end of thousands of shorebirds that depend on the crab eggs as food for their northern migration. (Nonfiction. 8-10)Read full book review >
MA JIANG AND THE ORANGE ANTS by Barbara Ann Porte
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2000

Porte and Cannon previously collaborated on Tale of a Tadpole (1997); this time their focus is on a different sort of tiny creature: orange ants, who play an important role in an original tale set in ancient China. Ma Jiang is a little girl from a small village who lives with her parents, older brothers, and baby brother, Bao. Her father and brothers keep busy climbing trees to capture nests of orange ants, used by orange growers to keep pests away from the fruit. Jiang's mother sells the ants in the market while Jiang cares for her baby brother. When her father and older brothers are called away to fight in a war (and work on the Great Wall), Jiang and her mother have no ants to sell, and they must struggle to survive on the small amount her mother can earn selling woven bags and baskets. Jiang and little Bao accidentally discover that all ants like honey, and Jiang devises a new way to trap the orange ants using honey and one of her mother's woven bags, thus restoring her family's finances. The family is reunited when her father and brothers return in time to celebrate the New Year's festival with a traditional feast. Porte's story is well-written and accurately researched (source notes appended), but Cannon's expressive illustrations done in watercolor, gouache, and sepia ink take center stage. Teachers of kindergarten through third grade will find this an interesting story to integrate into thematic studies of ants, insects in general, or China. A fascinating story to read for the Chinese New Year, too, perhaps with a slice of orange for each young listener. (Picture book. 5-9)Read full book review >
TALE OF A TADPOLE by Barbara Ann Porte
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 1997

A little girl and her family watch and wait while a small tadpole named Fred grows into an adult toad. The brief picture book text from Porte (Harry's Pony, p. 956, etc.) is complemented by charming watercolors of the tadpole in his tank, the little girl, her sister, parents, and grandparents. Cannon (The Bat in the Boot, 1995, etc.) offers unusual perspectives: a view of the little girl and family as seen through the tank, another from the bottom of the tank, looking up. The soft, liquid palette in pale green, gold, and gray is a soothing accompaniment to a gentle family story, but there is no fact page to answer the questions children are likely to have—where did the tadpole come from? How long did it take to grow up? What kind of fish food did it eat? Pair this one with a book that's strongly factual for an amiable nature lesson. (Picture book. 3-6) Read full book review >
THE BAT IN THE BOOT by Annie Cannon
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 1996

Cannon's first solo outing (she illustrated Jo Carson's You Hold Me and I'll Hold You, 1992) demonstrates she is as at home with text as she is with pictures. No word is wasted in this lyrical account of children who discover a baby brown bat nesting in an old boot in the mudroom. Respect for living things is evident in the soft pen and tempera drawings that show the children and their parents gently shaking the baby loose from its hiding place in an old boot, feeding it warm milk with an eyedropper, and making it a safer nest in a shoe box. Later they speculate on how the baby bat came to be lost. That night the mother bat returns, gliding though an open window; as the family watches, she rescues the baby. According to the author's note, that satisfying conclusion is based on true events, a fact children will find thrilling. From the simple narrative (full of telling, sometimes funny asides and meticulously observed details) emerges an evocative story with larger implications about caring for wildlife. Warmly recommended. (Picture book. 4-10) Read full book review >
WHISTLE HOME by Natalie Honeycutt
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

A little girl's anxieties about her mother's return when she's left for a few hours with her wise, empathetic ``Aunt Whistle'' are obliquely expressed in her concern for her dog Dooley when he disappears after a rabbit: ``What if he doesn't come back?...Suppose he gets lost? Suppose he forgets about us and never comes back at all!'' Aunt Whistle assures the young narrator that ``If need be, I can whistle up Dooley''; and after they finish picking apples, she does. So why not whistle up Mama? Because she'll ``come back all by herself.'' A nicely understated exploration of a common fear, as reassuring as the hugs this child gets, at all the right times, from both mother and aunt. Cannon's wonderfully expressive paintings, in bold swatches of richly saturated colors delineated with broad lines of subtler tones, capture the girl's mood and her essential security. Nice. (Picture book. 4-7) Read full book review >
YOU HOLD ME AND I'LL HOLD YOU by Jo Carson
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 1992

A little girl describes events following the death of an aunt. She's procrastinating about cleaning her room when she overhears Dad on the phone: ``I'm so sorry to hear it.'' Remembering just those words in connection with her mother moving away, she wonders ``how sorry I'm going to have to get.'' Now, Grandpa's sister has died; Dad, the narrator, and her sister Helen go to Tennessee for the memorial service. It's a sad time- -everybody cries—yet the pain is easier to bear because it's shared, and Dad knows that it's ``good to be held, and...good to be holding too.'' With unusual sensitivity, poet Carson (Stories I Ain't Told Nobody Yet, 1989) captures the child's point of view, linking previous experiences (she once ``preached'' at services for a hamster) to the present with lyrical ease and characterizing this wholesome family with telling details (Dad is gentle but firm: the room must be tidied even after the bad news). Using close-ups as intimate as hugs, Cannon generalizes people's faces while delineating warmly empathetic smiles and solid, dependably comforting bodies. Without preaching or false sentiment, a realistic, consoling picture of good people grieving after the death of a loved one. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >