Books by Chris Raschka

DAISY GETS LOST by Chris Raschka
Released: Oct. 8, 2013

"Endearing. (Picture book. 3-5)"
The floppy-eared charmer who won the hearts of (among others) a Caldecott Award committee in her first outing suffers more doggy distress in this return. Read full book review >
WHEN LIONS ROAR by Robie H. Harris
Released: Oct. 1, 2013

"A tried-and-true strategy, though the fright fades with unrealistic speed in this iteration. (Picture book. 3-6)"
What to do when sudden or loud noises bring "the scary." Read full book review >
EVERYONE CAN LEARN TO RIDE A BICYCLE by Chris Raschka
Released: April 9, 2013

"A wry, respectful ode to a rite of passage that's both commonplace and marvelous. This is one fun ride! (Picture book. 3-6)"
A little girl in a ginormous blue-striped helmet chooses a bike, practices lots and, aided by a patient, daddy-esque (perhaps granddaddy-esque) guy in a green tie, learns to ride. Read full book review >
OTTER AND ODDER by James Howe
Released: Oct. 1, 2012

"Ever-changing watercolor washes and primordial shapes depict a wondrous, liquid world in which the star-crossed lovers learn to trust their hearts. (Picture book. 5-9)"
The love between a fish and an otter is given the thoughtful treatment such an unexpected attraction deserves. Read full book review >
LITTLE TREASURES by Jacqueline K. Ogburn
Released: Jan. 2, 2012

"Although not a comprehensive compendium for the reference shelf, what is found within is a huge treasure sure to be utilized by educators and eagerly consumed by future citizens of the world. (author's note) (Informational picture book. 4-8)"
A colorful catalogue of endearments for children spans the globe and expands awareness by showing how love is universal. Read full book review >
SERIOUSLY, NORMAN! by Chris Raschka
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Oct. 1, 2011

"Appealingly quirky and adventurous; a celebration of the power of self-directed learning and thinking outside the box. (Fiction. 10-13)"
A gently satirical and ultimately liberating look at modern education. Read full book review >
A BALL FOR DAISY by Chris Raschka
Released: May 10, 2011

"Rarely, perhaps never, has so steep an emotional arc been drawn with such utter, winning simplicity. (Picture book. 2-5)"
A little dog and her big ball map an inner life rich in heights of joy and depths of sorrow. Read full book review >
FORTUNE COOKIES by Albert Bitterman
FANTASY
Released: Jan. 4, 2011

"A buoyant celebration of pure, unalloyed joy. (Pop-up picture book. 4-7)"
Seven fortune cookies guide a young child through an eventful week in this elegantly spare collaboration between a debut author and a Caldecott Medal–winning illustrator. Read full book review >
LITTLE BLACK CROW by Chris Raschka
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 31, 2010

"This quiet book that positions the child as a curious observer of the natural world is a little picture-book gem. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Reminiscent of Christopher Myers's Black Cat (1999), but set in a rural rather than an urban setting, a lyrical text muses about the daily life of the titular little black crow. Read full book review >
HIP HOP DOG by Chris Raschka
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2010

A neglected pup raps a bravado-laced memoir that chronicles his life on the street and gradual embrace of hip-hop culture. Read full book review >
A FOOT IN THE MOUTH by Paul B. Janeczko
POETRY
Released: March 1, 2009

"Raschka's vivacious ink, watercolor and torn-paper illustrations capture the giddy spirit, sound and movement of this playful, sometimes edgy, collection. (Poetry. 8-12)"
In the spirit of this team's previous anthologies A Poke in the I (2001) and A Kick in the Head (2005), this collection rounds up 37 quirky poems "chosen because they are terrific candidates for reading aloud," according to the introduction. Read full book review >
VIOLET AND WINSTON by Sonya Sones
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2009

"The friends' locked eyes speak of memories made and a future imagined, and the picture itself has the warmth of a hug from a friend. (Picture book. 4-7)"
Add Violet the brash, big-hearted swan and Winston the bumbling, sweet duck to the venerable list of picture-book odd couples—Laura Vaccaro Seeger's Dog and Bear, James Marshall's George and Martha or even the boys in Raschka's Yo! Read full book review >
PETER AND THE WOLF by Chris Raschka
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 7, 2008

"Among the plethora of Peters, his stands out for its seamless, jazzy match of verbal and visual exuberance. (Picture book. 6-8)"
Language chosen for its sound at least as much as for its meaning lends an improvisatory air to this rendition of Prokofiev's musical tale, and theatrical illustrations definitely kick things up an additional notch. Read full book review >
SOURPUSS AND SWEETIE PIE by Norton Juster
ADVENTURE
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

"Readers will be as happy as Nanna and Poppy to welcome both of them back. (Picture book. 3-7)"
The ingenuous little girl from the Caldecott Medal–winning The Hello, Goodbye Window (2005) is back, exploring the split personality that causes her loving grandparents to give her two very different names. Read full book review >
THE GRASSHOPPER’S SONG by Nikki Giovanni
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 2008

"Before closing with an unlikely feel-good ending the jury reaches a verdict, but readers—children too, though the author more pointedly addresses parents, politicians and school administrators—may want to continue the discussion. (Folklore. 9-11, adult)"
In a stout defense of the value of art, Giovanni literally puts the ants on trial for leaving the grasshopper out in the cold. Read full book review >
GRUMP GROAN GROWL by bell hooks
FICTION
Released: April 8, 2008

"The metaphor here may immediately elude its literal-minded audience, but like its predecessor, its power goes straight to the viscera in a way that will resonate for a long, long time. (Picture book. 3-5)"
"GRUMP / GROAN / GROWL / BAD MOOD / on the prowl." Read full book review >
THE PURPLE BALLOON by Chris Raschka
FICTION
Released: May 8, 2007

"A portion of the proceeds goes to Children's Hospice International. (Picture book. 3+)"
No one explains difficult concepts to children better than Raschka, and this gentle discussion of death is no exception. Read full book review >
GOOD SPORTS by Jack Prelutsky
POETRY
Released: March 13, 2007

"Collections of sports poetry are legion in children's literature, but there's room on the shelves for this little gem. (Picture book/poetry. 8-12)"
True to the subtitle, this collection offers a variety of untitled poems that capture kids' sports thrills of victory and agonies of defeat. Read full book review >
FIVE FOR A LITTLE ONE by Chris Raschka
ANIMALS
Released: July 1, 2006

"Perfect. (Picture book. 2-5)"
The little one is a rabbit child; the five are its senses, which it explores with ebullient confidence. Read full book review >
NEW YORK IS ENGLISH, CHATTANOOGA IS CREEK by Chris Raschka
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 2005

"This offering stands as a quietly enthusiastic reminder of our collective histories. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-10)"
This poetically whimsical celebration of the origins of American place-names pulls together a veritable melting pot of cities to attend a party. Read full book review >
A KICK IN THE HEAD by Paul B. Janeczko
POETRY
Released: April 1, 2005

"A beautiful, beautifully clear celebration of the discipline of poetry—and the possibilities offered by that discipline—this offering will find use both in the hands of eager poets and on the reference shelf. (Picture book/poetry. 8+)"
"Why, you may ask, does a poem have rules?" asks Janeczko in his introduction; "The answer is: rules make the writing of a poem more challenging, more exciting." Read full book review >
THE HELLO, GOODBYE WINDOW by Norton Juster
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 1, 2005

"As the little girl unwinds at the end of the stay, she imagines the many possible visitors who might come to the Hello, Goodbye Window—but no one is more happily welcomed than her parents, who pick her up after her picture-perfect day. (Picture book. 3-7)"
On the title page, a little girl springs away from her parents; turn the page, and the reader sees only her arms on the gate, the reader taking her perspective as she looks over to the white clapboard house where her Nanna and Poppy's faces stare equally eagerly out of the Hello, Goodbye Window. Read full book review >
A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES by Dylan Thomas
HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2004

"Gorgeous. (Memoir. 5+)"
Luscious illustrations form a perfect match to the rolling language of the Christmas classic. Read full book review >
SKIN AGAIN by bell hooks
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2004

"Yes! (Picture book. 4-7)"
Snake(skin) and onion(skin) form the illustrative leitmotifs in this over-intellectualized musing on skin color. Read full book review >
GIRL MEETS BOY/BOY MEETS GIRL by Chris Raschka
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 1, 2004

"It's utterly brilliant in its simplicity and daring, but it remains to be seen whether concretely thinking preschoolers will be won over by the dovetailing of the narratives—or just plain mystified. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Boy meets girl and girl meets boy in a bidirectional experiment that busts linear narrative to smithereens. Read full book review >
GRANNY TORRELLI MAKES SOUP by Sharon Creech
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Aug. 1, 2003

"Full of good humor and aromatic seasonings, this offering nevertheless may not stick to the ribs. (Fiction. 8-12)"
Soup and pasta, that is. Read full book review >
TALK TO ME ABOUT THE ALPHABET by Chris Raschka
ABC BOOKS
Released: April 1, 2003

"Read this to your favorite emergent readers, and they may be tempted to do just that. (Picture book. 6-8)"
Phonics with a difference. Read full book review >
BE BOY BUZZ by bell hooks
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 2002

"In all, a pleasing and affirmative visual and textual interpretation of what it means to be a little boy: be boy buzz, indeed. (Picture book. 3-6)"
The creators of Happy to Be Nappy (1999) return with a fine companion paean to boy-ness. Read full book review >
I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE by Bill Martin
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 1, 2002

"Children curious about the meaning of what so many of them are compelled to promise every morning in school will get less lyrical, but more factual, commentary from June Swanson's I Pledge Allegiance (1990). (Picture book. 6-8)"
This attempt to explain the Pledge's meaning to younger children is at least as simplistic as it is enlightening. Read full book review >
JOHN COLTRANE’S GIANT STEPS by Chris Raschka
FICTION
Released: July 1, 2002

"Nevertheless: a fascinating and ambitious attempt to render the purely aural in a purely visual form. (Picture book. 5-8)"
In a picture book that is simultaneously simpler and much more abstract than his earlier celebrations of Charlie Parker (Charlie Parker Played Be Bop, 1992) and Thelonious Monk (Mysterious Thelonious, 1997), Raschka attempts to depict visually saxophone great John Coltrane's "marvelous and tricky composition," "Giant Steps." Read full book review >
TABLE MANNERS by Chris Raschka
FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 2001

"Maybe, just maybe, after reading this, kids will go to a restaurant and remember to sit in their seats "with a nice smile." (Picture book. 5-8)"
Definitely not your mother's etiquette book. Read full book review >
LITTLE TREE by E.E. Cummings
POETRY
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

"The human figures are uncomplicated and childlike, befitting this simple, winning story about how this one little tree finds "his own special place in the world, a place that was waiting for him all his life." (Picture book. 3-8)"
The little fir tree goes to town: Cummings's poem about a Christmas tree serves as the inspiration for a little story about a little fir tree who wants nothing so much as to find "a new life, his dream life, in a far, far away place." Read full book review >
WAFFLE by Chris Raschka
FICTION
Released: May 1, 2001

"For children who might find Wemberly Worried (2000) too straightforward by half, this gentle allegory could be just the ticket. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Raschka's work can be difficult to grasp (at least by adults)—sometimes his elliptical writing style and calligraphic art leaves gaps that are hard to leap across, and it takes children to show the way. Read full book review >
A POKE IN THE I by Paul B. Janeczko
POETRY
Released: April 1, 2001

"Truly a tour de force. (Picture book/poetry. 5+)"
Not only a "poke in the I" but a tickle in the ego, some giggles and ah's and ha's await readers of this collection of concrete poetry, gloriously enhanced by Raschka's colorful torn-paper, watercolor, and ink images. Read full book review >
THE FOUR CORNERS OF THE SKY by Steve Zeitlin
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Oct. 15, 2000

"The result is a thought-provoking companion to Virginia Hamilton's more story-oriented In the Beginning (1988). (bibliography) (Nonfiction. 11-14)"
"One person's religion is often another's mythology," writes the author. Read full book review >
FISHING IN THE AIR by Sharon Creech
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 30, 2000

"A rare episode, with layers of meaning for readers of several generations. (Picture book. 6-8)"
A father shows his son how to "catch" something far better than fish in Newbery-winner Creech's (The Wanderer, p. 379, etc.) first picture book. Read full book review >
MOVIN' by Dave Johnson
NONFICTION
Released: March 1, 2000

"Winning indeed. (Poetry. 12-15)"
A great idea has been turned into a great little book. Read full book review >
LIKE LIKES LIKE by Chris Raschka
Released: Feb. 1, 1999

"The divine illustrations reflect the pleasure and joy of companionship, no matter where it's found. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A vibrant and delightful picture book about a little white cat who sees all sorts of other animals in pairs, who are obviously happy to be so paired off. Read full book review >
ARLENE SARDINE by Chris Raschka
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 1998

"The book's jacket, not incidentally, is painted to look like, read as, and "open" like the tin lid of a sardine can; the entire book bristles with nonchalance, but makes its points with panache. (Picture book. 3-8)"
Raschka (Simple Gifts, p. 273, etc.) has a way of continually reinventing the picture-book form; here, in his signature splashy watercolors and brash calligraphy, he tells the story of how Arlene, a little fish who wants to be a sardine, achieves her career goal. Read full book review >
SIMPLE GIFTS by Chris Raschka
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 1998

"Every spread has a band of color in which Raschka has hand-lettered the words of the song, which is also included with musical notations in an author's note. (Picture book. 5-9)"
Raschka continues his exploration of visualized music, in this case the 150-year-old Shaker hymn of the title. Read full book review >
MYSTERIOUS THELONIOUS by Chris Raschka
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Sept. 1, 1997

"Artistically way cool. (Picture book. 5-9)"
 If part of the joy in Charlie Parker Played Be Bop (1992) was in the sheer bounce of the words, then this book makes music even for readers who don't know who jazz great Thelonious Monk was. Read full book review >
THE BLUSHFUL HIPPOPOTAMUS by Chris Raschka
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

"Bountiful comfort in very few words. (Picture book. 2-7)"
 Raschka (Can't Sleep, 1995, etc.), recognizing that siblings and friends loom large in a small child's world, shows how a big sister's teasing is diminished by the support of a friend in an exuberant read-aloud. Read full book review >
THE GENIE IN THE JAR by Nikki Giovanni
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: March 1, 1996

"In the comforting rhythm of these pages, children will absorb a message of faith in the power of art leavened by love. (Picture book. 4-10)"
 A poem by Giovanni (Knoxville, Tennessee, 1994, etc.) for the singer Nina Simone becomes a luscious illustrated work with Raschka's watercolor, ink, and oil stick figures. Read full book review >
CAN'T SLEEP by Chris Raschka
Released: Sept. 1, 1995

"Tender is the night. (Picture book. 2-6)"
A comforting lullaby from Raschka (Yo! Yes?, 1993, etc.) about a small dog with a big case of insomnia. Read full book review >
ELIZABETH IMAGINED AN ICEBERG by Chris Raschka
FICTION
Released: March 1, 1994

"Still, these characters are distilled to a symbolic essence; by touching on children's secret fears, the dreamlike representation may help open them to discussion. (Picture book. 4-8)"
 A daring but not wholly successful book from the innovative creator of Yo! Read full book review >
YO! YES? by Chris Raschka
FICTION
Released: March 1, 1993

"Whether it's caution or prejudice that's overcome, the process is reduced to elementals—two figures, roughly drawn yet vibrant with feeling, and their comical dialogue (a breeze for beginning readers), encompassing a world of meaning. (Picture book. 4-7)"
 A classic scenario from the innovative creator of Charlie Parker Played Be Bop (1992)—two boys parlaying what could be a confrontation into friendship—in a series of monosyllabic exchanges between a stylishly informal, self-confident boy (black) who appears on the left-hand pages and the anxious, overdressed (white) newcomer on the right. ``Yo!'' ``Yes?''/``Hey!'' ``Who?''/``You!'' ``Me?'' they parry, their feet precisely planted at page bottom, their stances as expressive as the varied styles of Raschka's hand-lettered text. Read full book review >
CHARLIE PARKER PLAYED BE BOP by Chris Raschka
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Aug. 1, 1992

"A curiosity, witty and offbeat. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 3+)"
 A brief, rhythmic text printed in different styles and varied with playful onomatopoeia recalls the humor and cadences of a great jazz musician: ``...Charlie Parker played saxophone./The music sounded like be bop./Never leave your cat alone./Be bop./Fisk, fisk./Lollipop./Boomba, boomba./Bus stop./Zznnzznn./Boppity, bibbitty, bop. Read full book review >