Books by Barry Moser

CAT TALK by Patricia MacLachlan
Released: March 1, 2013

"Though published for the preschool audience, this will no doubt find enthusiastic fans of all ages. (Picture book. 4 & up)"
As they did previously for dogs (Once I Ate a Pie, illustrated by Katy Schneider, 2006), MacLachlan and Charest give voice to a collection of charming pets beautifully rendered by veteran illustrator Moser. Read full book review >
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2011

"Readers with great expectations will find them fully satisfied by this tongue-in-cheek romp through a historic public House that is the very opposite of Bleak. (Animal fantasy. 10-12)"
"He was the best of toms. He was the worst of toms." And for all his harsh early life and unnatural dietary preferences, ragged London alley cat Skilley gets to look at a queen, too. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Sept. 1, 2011

"Those older readers who buck the format, though, will find themselves in for a treat. (afterword, author's note, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 7-10)"
An engaging chronicle of the month that Roosevelt and Churchill spent together at the White House, forging an affectionate friendship as well as a world-changing alliance. Read full book review >
OH, HARRY! by Maxine Kumin
ANIMALS
Released: June 21, 2011

"Good fun for the preschool set and slightly beyond. (Picture book. 3-7)"
Combine a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet with a National Book Award-winning artist and, honestly, it's hard to go wrong. Read full book review >
CHRISTMAS IN THE TIME OF BILLY LEE by Jerdine Nolen
FANTASY
Released: Sept. 14, 2010

"The text and illustrations combine to make this unusual story work, and though an unseen friend seems unlikely, there's just enough of a mysterious, magical flavor to engage readers and make the story plausible. (Picture book. 5-8)"
A girl named Ellie narrates this sentimental but satisfying story about wishes coming true. Read full book review >
ONCE UPON A TWICE by Denise Doyen
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 25, 2009

"This slight cautionary tale is undeniably arrayed in a gorgeous brocade, woven of fresh, inventive wordplay and masterful illustrations. (Picture book. 4-7)"
A foolish mouse is prone to jamming up the line of fellow night-foragers to smell a rose and wandering off to watch a beetle. Read full book review >
LOUSY ROTTEN STINKIN’ GRAPES by Margie Palatini
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Aug. 11, 2009

"The moral is not explicitly stated but then, except for readers of Fox's ilk, it shouldn't need to be. (Picture book/fable. 6-9)"
"I am the fox," proclaims Fox repeatedly. Read full book review >
JACK LONDON’S DOG by Dirk Wales
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

"Moser's lovely engravings and a generally high production value give this volume visual interest, but that's not enough to rescue the whole. (Historical fiction. 10-14)"
Based on an episode from writer Jack London's life, this is a tale of a Yukon dog named Jack, which London may have known during his brief participation in the Alaskan gold rush. Read full book review >
HOGWOOD STEPS OUT by Howard Mansfield
ANIMALS
Released: April 29, 2008

"Some pig indeed! (Picture book. 4-8)"
What happens when spring strikes the fancy of a 600-pound pig with personality and panache? Read full book review >
BARRY MOSER’S PSALM 23 by Barry  Moser
RELIGION
Released: March 1, 2008

"An introductory artist's note explains Moser's connection to the Antiguan setting and his interpretation of the psalm's text. (publisher's note) (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-8)"
The main character in this fine interpretation of the beloved psalm is a modern-day shepherd boy from the Caribbean island of Antigua. Read full book review >
COWBOY STORIES by Barry  Moser
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2007

"Moser's wood engravings are perfectly rendered, their lines and shadows heroic and compelling just like the cowboys. (Short stories. YA)"
These stories—masterfully culled from classics of the genre—pack a punch, both individually and collectively. Read full book review >
MOSES by Margaret Hodges
by Margaret Hodges, illustrated by Barry Moser
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Nov. 1, 2006

"Moser's full-page watercolor illustrations on every other page create a strong visual personality for Moses as he ages from confident prince to elderly prophet. (Nonfiction. 6-10)"
Hodges retells some of the key events from the life of Moses in a well-written, fluid style that makes the ancient stories come alive for young readers or listeners. Read full book review >
A HORSE NAMED FUNNY CIDE by The Funny Cide Team
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2006

"Will appeal to horse fans of all ages. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-9)"
Sally Jenkins's adult book, Funny Cide, is well adapted for young readers with Moser's art, but a rather long text for a picture book. Read full book review >
THE THREE SILLY BILLIES by Margie Palatini
FICTION
Released: June 1, 2005

"Comic flourishes galore in this breezy retelling, though no match for the richness of language and feeling in Patricia Rae Wolff's Toll-Bridge Troll (1995), illustrated by Kimberly Bulcken Root. (Picture book/folktale. 6-8)"
Though Moser veers off course on one page, this tale of a temporary traffic jam at the local troll bridge will draw fresh bursts of hilarity from fans of Earthquack! (2002) and similar riffs on familiar folktales. Read full book review >
FANTASY
Released: Aug. 1, 2004

"Your listeners will be wide-eyed, too. (Picture book. 7-9)"
Readers who don't rest easy after being spooked should be warned away from this posthumous chiller. Read full book review >
HUMMINGBIRD NEST by Kristine O'Connell George
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2004

"A smooth, easy-reading glimpse into the natural world, with a metaphorical human level that George doesn't acknowledge, but thoughtful readers will spot. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)"
Paired to pale, delicately brushed close-ups done with Moser's trademark realism, George's simple poetic observations follow a mother hummingbird as she builds her nest—"Even after days of work / she's still fussing, tucking— / feathers, cobwebs, a tuft / of silky grass"—lays two tiny eggs, then rears her nestlings until they take their own tentative flights. Read full book review >
EARTHQUACK! by Margie Palatini
ANIMALS
Released: June 1, 2002

"No harm done here, except perhaps to lots of funnybones. (Picture book/folktale. 7-9)"
The Archon of Alliteration, Palatini (Tub Boo Boo, 2001, etc.) scores again with this belly-quaking, thigh-slapping, earth-shaking take on "Henny Penny," starring Chucky Ducky, Lucy Goosey, Vickie, Nickie, and Rickie Chickie, Sue Ewe, and other farmyard residents. Read full book review >
ONE SMALL GARDEN by Barbara Nichol
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

"A lovely, personal look at nature. (Nonfiction. 8-12)"
Nichol (Trunks All Aboard, not reviewed, etc.) wields a glorious simplicity of language to tell a few true stories and impart a lot of natural history about a garden in the city of Toronto. Read full book review >
SIT, TRUMAN! by Dan Harper
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

"Make room for Truman. (Picture book. 3-6)"
The Moser father-and-daughter illustration team collaborates again with author Harper (Cara's husband) on their second family effort inspired by a beloved family pet (Telling Time with Big Mama Cat, 1998). Read full book review >
THAT SUMMER by Tony Johnston
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: May 1, 2001

"A loving, poignant story that will join the ranks of a handful of others, which, like Joey's quilt with its last missing piece, help fill the gap for dealing realistically with its difficult subject. (Picture book. 5-9)"
"What do you do when you know you are leaving the world?" Read full book review >
THE THREE LITTLE PIGS by Barry  Moser
adapted by Barry Moser, illustrated by Barry Moser
FICTION
Released: April 1, 2001

"Never has that big bad wolf been better served. (Picture book/folktale. 6-8)"
The chubby piglets are very small, the wolf big, bony, and very bad, in this sly retelling of the familiar tale. Read full book review >
THOSE BUILDING MEN by Angela Johnson
FICTION
Released: Feb. 1, 2001

"Let readers spend time more profitably with the likes of John Henry or Mike Mulligan. (Picture book. 6-8)"
Vague text and anemic pictures make this at best a half-hearted tribute to the construction workers of the last century or so. Read full book review >
GRANDPA'S GAMBLE by Richard Michelson
Released: March 1, 1999

"Moser's skilled sepia illustrations add an intimate touch to this poignant tale. (Picture book. 7-10)"
A young brother and sister can't understand why their grandfather prays all the time, instead of telling them exciting stories about his past. Read full book review >
THE BIRD HOUSE by Cynthia Rylant
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 1998

"Nevertheless, the illustration that show the girl crouching in the shadow of a stone bridge poignantly conveys her isolation and fear. (Picture book. 6-9)"
Rylant and Moser (The Dreamer, 1993, etc.) have teamed up again with this fable about a homeless girl and a kind old woman who lives in a bright blue house surrounded by birds. Read full book review >
TELLING TIME WITH BIG MAMA CAT by Dan Harper
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 1998

"Moments of coyness (the book titles in the house: Kitty In the Rye, The Milkman Cometh, etc.) can't mar this project, which includes a fold-out page of a clock with movable hands so readers can keep time with Big Mama's day. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Harper's picture book features a day in the life of burly old Big Mama Cat as she eats, naps, shreds furniture, while an astonishing number of household clocks mark the time. Read full book review >
A BRILLIANT STREAK by Kathryn Lasky
BIOGRAPHY
Released: April 1, 1998

"His successes are the source of one colorful anecdote after another, which Lasky taps and twirls into an engaging narrative that glimmers with its own brand of brilliance. (Biography. 6-12)"
With an apparently infinite fascination with her subject (Samuel Clemens appears in her novel, Alice Rose and Sam, p. 341), Lasky says that "it would only be stretching the truth a little to say that Samuel Clemens had one of the longest childhoods in history." Read full book review >
A RING OF TRICKSTERS by Virginia Hamilton
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Nov. 1, 1997

"Informative notes on each tale are given in the back of the book, interesting to general readers as well as to specialists. (Folklore. 5-11)"
A consummate collection from the team behind When Birds Could Talk and Bats Could Sing (1996), combining witty prose with breathtaking watercolors. Read full book review >
GOOD AND PERFECT GIFTS by Barry  Moser
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1997

"The timeless plot, painstakingly particularized in both text and pictures, will resonate with young readers. (Fiction. 8-12)"
An illustrated reworking of O. Henry's ``The Gift of the Magi,'' set in present-day Appalachia. Read full book review >
SAVING SHILOH by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 1, 1997

"Subplots and extraneous incidents loosen the story's weave, but Naylor's use of present tense adds immediacy to events, and Marty's path to reconciliation with Judd, and to a parallel truce with his pesky little sister Dara Lynn, will go straight to readers' hearts. (Fiction. 10-12)"
In this story of a boy and his dog, and the brutal, angry man who finds the road to redemption at last, Naylor rounds off a trilogy that began with Shiloh (1991). Read full book review >
ON CALL BACK MOUNTAIN by Eve Bunting
Released: March 1, 1997

"Bunting (The Blue and the Gray, 1996, etc.) presents complex issues in a way that even very young readers will grasp. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Joe and Ben anxiously await the annual summer return of their friend Bosco Burak, the elderly lookout in the fire tower that stands on the peak above their family's cabin. Read full book review >
EVER HEARD OF AN AARDWOLF? by Madeline Moser
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

"Scientific names are not given, and size, range, and habitat information is sketchy, but adventuresome readers, armed with this book, will not be shy about gathering more facts on these unlovely oddities. (Picture book/nonfiction. 8+)"
This striking collaboration between a book-making veteran and a picture-book newcomer (and father-and-daughter team) introduces 20 unusual animals, among them the zorilla, naked mole rat, viscacha, uakari, vicu§a, pangolin, and okapi. Read full book review >
WHEN WILLARD MET BABE RUTH by Donald Hall
FICTION
Released: March 1, 1996

"A heartfelt piece of Americana from two old pros. (Fiction. 7+)"
The national pastime gets a bit of much-needed luster from the poet's touch. Read full book review >
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 1996

"First published in local newspapers and not available in book form since the 1970s, these wry, comic, tender tales should at last find the wide audience they deserve. (Folklore. 7-10)"
Joel Chandler Harris wasn't the only collector of African-American trickster tales; here are eight fables gathered (and some, perhaps, written) by Martha Young, his contemporary. Read full book review >
EAGLE BOY by Gerald Hausman
adapted by Gerald Hausman, illustrated by Barry Moser
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Feb. 29, 1996

"Most of the pages, filled with big cloudy expanses, serve as background for the text. (Picture book/folklore. 5-9)"
A wonderful and unique Navajo legend from the trio behind Turtle Island ABC (1994, not reviewed) about the first boy to learn the ways of the eagles. Read full book review >
BINGLEMAN'S MIDWAY by Karen Ackerman
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

"If Ackerman positions herself inside the story, Moser is outside; jointly they effect the lure of the midway, perhaps appreciated most by those who can never be part of it. (Picture book. 7-10)"
The narrator goes with his father to Bingleman's Midway, a carnival set up not far from their Ohio farmhouse. Read full book review >
WHAT YOU KNOW FIRST by Patricia MacLachlan
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 30, 1995

"With very little book-talking, younger readers will take away from this as much as older ones; no one will fail to appreciate the gentle flow of words and understated sentiments. (Picture book. 7+)"
A superb writer presents the themes of leave-taking and memory that recur frequently in her novels, beautifully distilled into a picture book. Read full book review >
THE IRON WOMAN by Ted Hughes
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 1995

A gigantic Iron Woman rises out of a swamp in order to destroy a factory that is poisoning rivers and killing fish. Read full book review >
WHISTLING DIXIE by Marcia Vaughan
ANIMALS
Released: March 30, 1995

"An uptempo regional tale; you may not want a snake protecting your gompers, but it's better than the bogeyman wearing them around."
Dixie Lee can't hep' herse'f. Read full book review >
CLOUD EYES by Kathryn Lasky
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 1994

"Basically a real yawn. (Fiction/Picture book. 5-10)"
This woolly-headed fable, trying to re-create the qualities of Native-American myth, tells of a visionary young Indian who restores honey to his tribe. Read full book review >
I AM THE DOG, I AM THE CAT by Donald Hall
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 1994

"Don't forget to enlist a second voice for sharing aloud. (Picture book. 4+)"
In the manner of the insects in Paul Fleischman's Joyful Noise (1988, Newbery Medal), a dog and cat express their views on themselves, their world, and each other. Read full book review >
THE FARM SUMMER 1942 by Donald Hall
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: May 1, 1994

"Nostalgia at its best. (Picture book. 5-10)"
The noted poet and author of Ox-Cart Man describes a nine- year-old's summer on his grandparents' New Hampshire farm while his dad's in the South Pacific and his mother works ``on a secret project...for the war effort.'' Peter flies across the country but ends his journey in a buggy; Hall rounds out an evocatively detailed description of traditional farm life with Peter's reunion with Dad back home in San Francisco. Read full book review >
TUCKER PFEFFERCORN by Barry  Moser
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: April 1, 1994

"Worth pondering. (Picture book. 5-10)"
As he did with The Tinderbox (1990), Moser sets a story based on ``Rumpelstiltskin'' in Appalachia and updates its themes. Read full book review >
ARIADNE, AWAKE! by Doris Orgel
FICTION
Released: April 1, 1994

"Still, a dramatic introduction to a fascinating myth. (Fiction. 9+)"
A novella-length adaptation of the myth in a large, handsome format that's much enhanced by the arresting perspectives and pellucid Grecian light in Moser's elegantly crafted watercolor portraits. Read full book review >
A GAME OF CATCH by Richard Wilbur
POETRY
Released: March 1, 1994

"Like Julie Brinckloe's Playing Marbles (1988), an exploration of play-as-metaphor whose symbolic levels will be more perceptible to adults than to children. (Picture book. 8+)"
Seemingly amiable play becomes anything but in a distinguished poet's brief, disturbing story, first published 40 years ago in the New Yorker. Read full book review >
THE DREAMER by Cynthia Rylant
BEDTIME BOOK
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

"An attractively developed concept, nondoctrinal yet reverent, that would be interesting to compare to Eric Carle's Draw Me a Star (1992). (Picture book. 4-8)"
An all-star rendition of the creation makes an appropriate entry for the Blue Sky imprint's inaugural list. Read full book review >
FLY! by Barry  Moser
by Barry Moser, illustrated by Barry Moser
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Sept. 30, 1993

"Bibliography. (Nonfiction. 8+)"
Subtitle: A Brief History of Flight Illustrated. Read full book review >
THE MAGIC HARE by Lynne Reid Banks
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 1, 1993

"A refreshing alternative to standard fairy tales. (Fiction. 6+)"
Ten fanciful tales about a hare with magical powers who rescues maidens from vampires, dragons, or their own fears; christens a tiny flower that had been overlooked (the harebell, of course); makes an end of one horrible giant and reforms another; cures assorted royalty of their hiccups, greed, and bad temper; and meets his match in a black witch who works white magic to turn Hare into a human for one brief, uncomfortable moment. Read full book review >
GRASS SONGS by Ann Turner
POETRY
Released: March 1, 1993

"Unforgettable. (Poetry. 12+)"
Turner's historical fiction (Katie's Trunk, 1992, etc.) is notable for putting a human face on great events; these 17 poems, all in the first person and inspired by the letters and diaries of pioneer women on the westward journey, are even more vivid and personalized. Read full book review >
MESSIAH by George Friedrich Handel
MUSIC AND THE ARTS
Released: Oct. 30, 1992

"An outstandingly handsome book, focusing on the splendid words Handel set to music. (Nonfiction. 6+)"
Young people will not be the primary audience for this elegant volume, but it'll greatly appeal to a limited number of all ages. Read full book review >
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST by Nancy Willard
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

In a briefer recasting of Leprince Beaumont's beloved tale than McKinley's fine novelization (1978), Willard grounds the story in the opulent materialism of the late 19th century, with Beauty's father as a wealthy New York merchant; their country retreat is in the Hudson Valley, where the Beast's magical Victorian mansion fits right in with a region renowned for supernatural happenings. Read full book review >
THE MAGIC WOOD by Henry Treece
POETRY
Released: Sept. 30, 1992

"Skillfully manipulating his medium and his readers, Moser provides a dramatic visual exposition of Treece's intriguing verse. (Poetry/Picture book. 5+)"
``The wood is full of shining eyes,/The wood is full of creeping feet,/The wood is full of tiny cries:/You must not go to the wood at night,'' runs the refrain of this poem (c. 1945) about a mysterious man whose eyes turn to fire and whose nails grow to inordinate length before the narrator says his prayers and finds himself safe ``on my father's land.'' Moser sets the nine quatrains in gold against solid black and slightly modeled, deep turquoise illustrations sparked with stars and glittering eyes. Read full book review >
THROUGH THE MICKLE WOODS by Valiska Gregory
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 1992

"A worthy, serious effort in a growing genre: picture books for older readers. (Fiction/Picture book. 6-11)"
A stately, elegantly cadenced tale about a king who reluctantly obeys his queen's last request: to go with young Michael, taking her ring to the bear in the ``mickle'' (great) woods. Read full book review >
POLLY VAUGHN by Barry  Moser
MUSIC AND THE ARTS
Released: April 1, 1992

"A mostly successful attempt to clothe a classic tale in new attire. (Fiction. 8-14)"
As he did with Andersen's The Tinderbox (1990), Moser transplants a traditional British ballad with interesting parallels to Romeo and Juliet to Appalachia, a likely enough setting for the tragedy of a young man who, mistaking his beloved for a deer, shoots her and then is hanged for murder. Read full book review >
NOAH'S CATS AND THE DEVIL'S FIRE by Arielle North--Adapt. Olson
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: March 1, 1992

"An outstandingly handsome setting for a winner of a story. (Folklore/Picture book. 5-11)"
In a Romanian version of the biblical story, the devil disguises himself as a mouse and sneaks aboard the Ark after Noah orders him away. Read full book review >
KASHTANKA by Anton Chekhov
ANIMALS
Released: Nov. 7, 1991

"Not essential, but good bookmaking. (Fiction/Picture book. 6-10)"
After the little dog Kashtanka is separated from her master, who spends the day wandering from customer to tavern to relative, she is taken in by a man who feeds her better than her master ever did and begins to train her: he's a clown whose act already includes a boar, a cat, and a goose. Read full book review >
THE ALL JAHDU STORYBOOK by Virginia Hamilton
ADVENTURE
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

"Moser contributes the attractive design and 20 beautifully painted glimpses of the scenes and characters in Jahdu's world. (Fiction. 8-12)"
In 1969, Hamilton published The Time-Ago Tales of Jahdu, four tales about a trickster boy-hero who expressed his sense of freedom by "running along" and whose favorite exclamation was "Woogily!" Read full book review >
AND STILL THE TURTLE WATCHED by Sheila MacGill-Callahan
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 1991

"Moser's beautifully balanced book design and powerful paintings ably contribute to the story's dignity and purpose. (Picture book. 6-10)"
An old man carves a turtle in a rock as a symbol of the All- Father who watches over the Delawares. Read full book review >
JOURNEY by Patricia MacLachlan
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 1, 1991

Acting on the yearning expressed in the name she gave her son 11 years ago, Journey's mother has gone, leaving him with his grandparents and his older sister Cat. Read full book review >
ST. JEROME AND THE LION by Margaret Hodges
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Aug. 1, 1991

"Luminous and altogether splendid. (Folklore/Picture book. 4+)"
This medieval legend of the early monk who lived in Bethlehem and translated the Bible into Latin is such a wonderful story that it's surprising it hasn't been retold more often. Read full book review >
APPALACHIA by Cynthia Rylant
NONFICTION
Released: April 1, 1991

``All my people are larger bodies than mine, quiet, with voices gentle and meaningless like the voices of sleeping birds...'' concludes Rylant's introductory quote here: James Agee describing his family companionably sharing quilts beneath the summer stars. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1990

"Kesey's frequent italics aren't essential, but they're expertly placed and remind the reader that this is the sort of lively, comical tale that demands reading aloud—a perfect picture book to share with older children."
This rollicking tall tale, based on a story told to Kesey by his grandmother, was published twice, "in different form," in books for adults; this is its first appearance in a format that will also appeal to children. Read full book review >
RELIGION
Released: Sept. 10, 1988

"List of sources."
A leading author and illustrator collaborate in a fine compilation of creation myths—a basic component of any folklore collection. Read full book review >
I REMEMBER GRANDPA by Truman Capote
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 1, 1987

"Providing at best a minor if affectionate footnote to the author's work, the story first appeared in Redbook magazine for December of 1986."
Written by the late Capote at age 22 as a gift for an aunt, this is an innocuous, very faintly charming short story about a boy and his parents leaving the boy's childhood West Virginia farm home ("a trip. . .further than I'd ever taken before") and leaving the boy's grandparents behind. Read full book review >