Books by Barbara Reid

PICTURE THE SKY by Barbara Reid
Released: March 1, 2019

"In this aesthetically pleasing homage, Reid obliges young readers to contemplate the sky in all its not-always-blue expansive magnificence. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Adults and children alike perform their daily activities under vast and varied skies. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2014

"The lively mischief will carry children past the narrative inconsistencies in this fun-filled romp. (Picture book. 3-5)"
Reid turns her Plasticine talents to an interpretation of the classic poem. Read full book review >
PICTURE A TREE by Barbara Reid
Released: March 1, 2013

"For Arbor Day and every day. (Picture book. 3-8)"
Master of Plasticine Reid returns with a celebration of trees and the people who love them. Read full book review >
PERFECT SNOW by Barbara Reid
Released: Sept. 1, 2011

"Cooperation, teamwork and creative problem solving taken to new levels make this a great choice, no matter what the season. (Picture book. 5-9)"
Most snow-themed books celebrate a day off from school, but Reid's latest just may have kids hoping for their own snow-filled recess. Read full book review >
FOX WALKED ALONE by Barbara Reid
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

The appealing cover of this Noah's Ark story shows the dapper Fox strutting along, turning his head toward the reader to smile invitingly. Reid's distinctive illustrations are done with her specialized style of modeling clay molded into flattened collages, resulting in a three-dimensional quality that is unusual in children's-book illustration. Children who like intricate illustrations will be fascinated by the tiny details of fur and feathers in the pairs of animals, as well as by Fox's rusty coat, bristling whiskers and expressive face. The short, amusing text is told in pleasingly smooth rhyming couplets as Fox follows the animals on their hurried journey while storm clouds gather overhead. As the animal procession reaches the ark, Fox is joined by a female fox who has been waiting for him to complete their own pair, and they are welcomed into the ark by Noah and his wife. The quality of the wry, understated text and the fascinating, unusual illustrations make this version stand out in a crowded sea of Noah's Ark interpretations. (Picture book/religion. 3-6) Read full book review >
THE SUBWAY MOUSE by Barbara Reid
Released: May 1, 2005

Bits of real litter and found bric-a-brac in Reid's plasticine subterranean scenes add an air of authenticity to this grand tale of a mouse who leaves his cozy subway station nest to find the fabled "Tunnel's End." Sparked by elders' stories of beauty and danger in a roofless land, young Nib sets off into the dark, encountering both hazards and companionship along the way, and ultimately emerging beneath the stars to find his goal exactly as terrifying and splendid as he has imagined it. Between lines of silvery track and beneath rows of commuters' shoes, cuffs and ankles, big-eared mice with combed, furry bodies forage on two legs for scraps while trains hurtle by. Seen from mouse-eye level, the grimy, wonderfully detailed setting adds a tongue-in-cheek air, as well as making a properly vivid backdrop for this intrepid venture into the unknown. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
THE PARTY by Barbara Reid
Released: April 1, 1999

A girl and her sister start off rather glumly in the back seat of the car, leaving all their friends behind, because they are off to a family party. When they arrive, they are kissed by Aunt Joan—the worst—and then there is more kissing and a bunch of cousins just hanging around. But the kids start sharing war stories (hair cuts, lost teeth, split lips) and playing shark on the lawn; there are hideouts under Uncle John's chair and potato-chip thievery; and then there is all that food beloved of family gatherings, for it is Gran's birthday. At the end, of course, no one wants to go home. In sprightly rhyme, Reid captures the range of experience, from initial wariness to high hilarity, present at parties full of relatives. Her illustrations, done in painted Plasticine on board, have a wonderful texture, making a Hawaiian shirt, three-bean salad, and Mary Jane shoes pop out of the page. A treat. (Picture book. 4-9) Read full book review >
GIFTS by Jo Ellen Bogart
Released: April 1, 1996

Lively plasticine bas-reliefs depict scenes of another traveling grandmother (see Blackstone review, above) and the gifts she brings to her granddaughter from around the world. Bogart offers rhyming questions and answers: ``My grandma went to Switzerland,/said: `What would you have me bring?' `Just a chunk of cheese/and a mountain, please,/and a bell that goes ding-a-ling-ling.' '' As the grandmother proceeds through her journeys, she grows older while her granddaughter grows up; the exotic settings include India, Africa, Australia, Mexico, and the Arctic. Reid's now-familiar technique has grown steadily more inventive and these illustrations are astonishing. Whether in large, detailed landscapes or dramatic close-ups, the book contains a wealth of plastic effects, from the soft folds and textures of the grandmother's clothes to the sparkling bubbles of a foamy sea. The lyrical and lighthearted rhymes never convey the exuberance of the art but advance the story nicely by providing a sequence of cues for the pictures. (Picture book. 3-7) Read full book review >
TWO BY TWO by Barbara Reid
Released: April 1, 1993

Adopting the verse scheme of the traditional song, Reid recounts the building of Noah's Ark and writes a new couplet for each number up to ten (``And in came the animals six by six,/Pandas and penguins, all in a mix''). The animals aren't all named, but they're all countable in Reid's illustrations, formed in Plasticene on board for a vibrant, three-dimensional effect remarkable for its textures, lively expressions (Noah is saintly and benevolent, his wife a smiling babushka), and the subtlety, imagination, and wit of the art—the six pairs of animals are a study in black and white (Holsteins, skunks, zebras); tiny creatures (mice, spiders) challenge sharp eyes; the Ark a- building is an airy frame against the sky. The neatly scanning verse has nice touches of humor (``Even the boas felt constricted'') and takes the story on to the rainbow. A delightful presentation of this old favorite. Music included. (Picture book. 3-8) Read full book review >
ZOE'S WINDY DAY by Barbara Reid
Released: Dec. 1, 1991

One of four simultaneously published wordless board books concerning an appealingly sturdy child's outings in different kinds of weather (in the others, Zoe enjoys sunny, snowy, and rainy days). As a new illustrator, Reid received the Ezra Jack Keats award for her vibrant art, fashioned in Plasticine and then photographed. The subtlety of her work here is astonishing—she deftly captures the effect of blowing leaves, clouds, and even dandelion seeds, as well as the nuances of her characters' expressions, molding and marking her material to create the textures of a knit sweater or a three-dimensional shape seen in perspective. The medium ensures crisp, clean images, easily ``read'' by the youngest; the five-inch-square size is perfect for tiny hands. By meeting the challenge of portraying the wind's effect in this uncompromising material, the windy day may be the most virtuoso performance, but young ``readers'' will enjoy all four books. (Picture book. 0-4) Read full book review >
Released: April 18, 1989

Step-by-step instruction for turning plasticine and other modeling clay into colorful, cheerful, and whimsical works of art; by the winner of the Ezra Jack Keats Award—who won the award for her picture-book illustrations in this medium, but who uses drawings as well as black-and-white photos here. Three-dimensional zoo animals, food, space monsters, buildings, pictures, plaques, and games are created—with tips on techniques, tools, and possible further explorations. The text is lively and insightful; for those who can't yet read, the black-and-white drawings are abundant and explicit. An unusual book that should provide both the young artist and the art or craft teacher with useful inspiration for work in a popular, accessible medium. Read full book review >