Books by David McPhail

David McPhail has illustrated more than 100 books for children, and has received numerous state awards and honors. Some of his best-selling titles are I Love You Because You’re You and If You Were My Bunny. He lives in Rye, New Hampshire.


BEATRIX POTTER AND HER PAINTBOX by David McPhail
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Oct. 6, 2015

"Humble and lovely. (Picture book/biography. 3-6)"
A small girl named Beatrix Potter spends her childhood painting. Read full book review >
I PLAY by David McPhail
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: July 28, 2015

"Despite the brevity of the text, the humor embedded in the illustrations will engage even adults, who will doubtless be asked to 'read it again.' (Board book. 1-3)"
Find a baby and play together with this board book geared to the attention spans of very young children. Read full book review >
BUNNY'S FIRST SPRING by Sally Lloyd-Jones
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Jan. 15, 2015

"The concluding quotation and the subtext of rebirth make this an oh-so-subtle Easter title that readers may well miss. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)"
A charming baby bunny experiences seasonal changes in his environment throughout his first year of life in this emotion-filled story from the author of The Jesus Storybook Bible (2007). Read full book review >
PETER LOVES PENGUIN by David McPhail
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Oct. 7, 2014

"A sweet addition to a winning series. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)"
A little boy and his stuffed penguin enjoy an early-morning romp in the snow. Read full book review >
THE ORPHAN AND THE MOUSE by Martha Freeman
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Oct. 1, 2014

"An original, rousing mouse adventure in the tradition of Stuart Little. (Fantasy. 8-12)"
A kindhearted orphan girl and a clever mouse join forces to expose an illegal baby-selling operation in a Philadelphia orphanage. Read full book review >
ANDREW DRAWS by David McPhail
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Sept. 1, 2014

"Inspiring. (Picture book. 5-8)"
A young boy discovers he can work magic with his drawings. Read full book review >
BABY PIG PIG WALKS by David McPhail
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Aug. 5, 2014

"Clarity and humor carry the day. (Board book. 1-2)
"
A piglet toddler learns to walk. Read full book review >
BAD DOG by David McPhail
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: March 15, 2014

"Tom is full of curiosity, like a lot of young'uns. Not bad at all. (Early reader. 2-7)"
A preschool-age boy narrates this short early reader, a straightforward story about a mischievous dog and the boy who loves him. Read full book review >
BELLA LOVES BUNNY by David McPhail
Released: March 12, 2013

"A lovely depiction of a first friendship. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)"
A young girl enjoys the company of her stuffed rabbit from sunup to sundown. Read full book review >
BEN LOVES BEAR by David McPhail
Released: Jan. 1, 2013

"Already a gifted artist, McPhail proves here that he intrinsically understands what the youngest readers want and need. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)"
A lovely, toddler-friendly tale of a little boy's relationship with his teddy bear. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 9, 2012

"A sweet depiction of sleepy animals that will especially please McPhail fans. (Picture book. 2-4)"
Alliteration and animals add up to a child asleep in this latest offering from picture-book veterans Dragonwagon and McPhail. Read full book review >
SICK DAY by David McPhail
Released: Sept. 1, 2012

"Just doesn't compare to Shelley Moore Thomas and Jennifer Plecas' similarly themed Get Well, Good Knight (2002) or even to the trio's prior adventure. (Early reader. 4-7)"
A sick boy's devoted friends try to help him feel better. Read full book review >
THE FAMILY TREE by David McPhail
Released: March 27, 2012

"Good intentions; confusing execution. (Picture book. 5-8)"
The love of an ancient tree leads a boy to unlikely activism. Read full book review >
PIG PIG MEETS THE LION by David McPhail
Released: Feb. 1, 2012

"Kids will giggle at the striped-pajama-clad Pig Pig's silly antics in this latest escapade. (Picture book. 2-5)"
MacPhail's penchant for pigs hasn't ebbed, as he proves in adding another Pig Pig tale to his series; this one incorporates a grammar device. Read full book review >
BOY, BIRD, AND DOG by David McPhail
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 15, 2011

"This one could work as a read-aloud, child to adult, with lots of pictorial details to notice and talk about. A sweet, gentle charmer. (Early reader. 4-7)"
Boy has a small adventure in a tree house with Bird and Dog. Read full book review >
PIG PIG RETURNS by David McPhail
ANIMALS
Released: July 1, 2011

"Many kids, like Pig Pig, thrive on routine; reading this over and over is likely to become part of many young readers' routines. (Picture book. 3-7)"
The clever title reveals two meanings: First, that a classic character stars in a new book for the first time in decades; second, that this story is likely to end in a satisfying return home. Read full book review >
THE ABANDONED LIGHTHOUSE by Albert Lamb
ANIMALS
Released: June 7, 2011

"An unsatisfying read. (Picture book. 4-6)"
Poorly paced text delivers a choppy story unlikely to engage readers despite McPhail's familiar, endearing art. Read full book review >
TELL ME THE DAY BACKWARDS by Albert Lamb
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2011

"An exceptional idea and a truly fine follow through. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Gentle storytelling and a clever concept set this bedtime book apart from the pack. Read full book review >
WADDLES by David McPhail
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2011

"The charming, expressive paintings that capture the friends' cozy relationship are the real draw in this friendship story. (Picture book. 3- 6)"
McPhail's latest follows a year in the life of Waddles, a rotund raccoon, and his best friend, Emily, a duck who lives in the pond near Waddles' tree home. Read full book review >
EMILY STEW by Thomas Rockwell
POETRY
Released: March 1, 2010

"Final art not seen. (Poetry. 9-11)"
From the deliciously twisted mind that first advised a former generation of elementary readers How to Eat Fried Worms comes a wildly inventive poetic portrait of a riveting character who's made up—rather literally—of a stew of contradictions. Read full book review >
WHO LOVES THE LITTLE LAMB? by Lezlie Evans
ANIMALS
Released: Jan. 5, 2010

"Sweet and dreamy. (Picture book. 2-6)"
Little ones who are messy, fussy, noisy and not particularly perfect in every way seek assurances that Mama will love them in spite of their faults. Read full book review >
WEEZER CHANGES THE WORLD by David McPhail
Released: Dec. 1, 2009

"His customary watercolor washes are set against a series of white backdrops, resulting in a light and airy concoction that enjoys only the daintiest suggestion of a moral. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Man's best friend makes a bid to become mankind's best friend in this tale of wagging tails and world peace. Read full book review >
WHEN PAPA COMES HOME TONIGHT by Eileen Spinelli
BEDTIME BOOK
Released: April 28, 2009

"While Spinelli's verse scans as gracefully as in its companion, this makes for an odd alternative-family portrait. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Spinelli's When Mama Comes Home Tonight, illustrated by Jane Dyer (1998), celebrated the nightly reunion of working mother with child. Read full book review >
BUDGIE & BOO by David McPhail
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2009

"Sweet fare. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Jewel-toned watercolors and three simple tales of friendship distinguish McPhail's latest outing. Read full book review >
NO! by David McPhail
by David McPhail, illustrated by David McPhail
FICTION
Released: March 1, 2009

"Certainly some adults will find this pseudo-Sendakian tale moving, but the message is wrapped in a self-righteous format that doesn't work effectively for its intended audience. (Picture book. 4-8)"
An oddly didactic fable from a benign source. Read full book review >
WHEN I WAS KING by Linda Ashman
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Oct. 1, 2008

"A good addition to the new-sibling shelf. (Picture book. 3-7)"
An older brother bemoans the fact that everything is different with a baby in the house. Read full book review >
THE SEARCHER AND OLD TREE by David McPhail
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 1, 2008

"Careful readers will discover Old Tree's anthropomorphic face protectively watching over the Searcher in this allegorical tribute to the importance of having a safe place. (Picture book. 3-6)"
A little raccoon sleeps through a fierce storm in his favorite tree. Read full book review >
SYLVIE & TRUE by David McPhail
ANIMALS
Released: Nov. 20, 2007

"Full of gentle warmth and humor and accompanied by McPhail's always appealing watercolors, this is a selection perfect for reading aloud and for young readers comfortable with reading on their own. (Picture book. 4-7)"
In the tradition of Frog and Toad come Sylvie, a rabbit, and True, a snake, best friends who share a city apartment. Read full book review >
BIG BROWN BEAR’S BIRTHDAY SURPRISE by David McPhail
ANIMALS
Released: June 1, 2007

"The artwork is dreamily soft at the edges, with colors so fruity you could spread them on toast. (Picture book. 3-7)"
McPhail's two good souls, Big Brown Bear and Rat, are down by the riverside, picnicking on cucumber sandwiches. Read full book review >
WATER BOY by David McPhail
FANTASY
Released: April 1, 2007

"The environmental theme does not rest heavily on this atmospheric outing, and the boy's fear is presented in ways that allow it to stand in for almost any fear. (Picture book. 6-8)"
In a dreamlike tale that drifts gently into magical realism, a young boy acquires unusual powers over water as he loses his fear of it. Read full book review >
WHEN SHEEP SLEEP by Laura Numeroff
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2006

"A pleasant, satisfying bedtime story, just right for sending little ones off to sleep. (Picture book. 3-5)"
Numeroff, master of cause-and-effect, knows what happens if you give a sheep a naptime: You have to count something else! Read full book review >
SAM’S WINTER HAT by Albert Lamb
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2006

"Too bad everyone's not as lucky as Sam. (Picture book. 3-7)"
A young bear cub who can't keep track of his belongings is determined not to lose his new hat. Read full book review >
BOY ON THE BRINK by David McPhail
ADVENTURE
Released: May 1, 2006

"These are the dreams that a young boy dreams of dreaming. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A young boy is having a great day fishing, going to the beach and to a carnival, but the elders of the family are quick to issue warnings: "Not too close," "Stay out of the caves," "Hold on tight." Read full book review >
BIG BROWN BEAR GOES TO TOWN by David McPhail
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 2006

"Gift-giving and sharing the bounty—they keep the world dry and sweeten the oatmeal, as it were. (Picture book. 3-6)"
McPhail can take the slenderest storyline and turn it into a wonderfully rich experience, and this is a fine example. Read full book review >
EMMA IN CHARGE by David McPhail
FICTION
Released: June 1, 2005

"That's why readers keep coming back to McPhail's books, and ever will. (Picture book. 3-5)"
Emma, McPhail's delightful little bear, assumes teaching responsibilities for her three dolls, taking them through their day: breakfast, school, a doctor's appointment. Read full book review >
ANIMAL STACKERS by Jennifer Belle
ABC BOOKS
Released: April 1, 2005

"Nostrils,' the tone is generally tongue in cheek, making this an urbane counterpart for the corduroys and velvet dress set, to Steven Schnur's collections of seasonal acrostics. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)"
Belle essays a crossover from her adult novels with 26 haiku-like verses in which the first letter of each line spells out an animal's name: "Can't wait to be / Alone in the house. / The sofa looks comfortable." Read full book review >
LITTLE HORSE ON HIS OWN by Betsy Byars
ADVENTURE
Released: Sept. 1, 2004

"An easy-read chapter book of modest depth with a plucky equine hero and lots of action. (Fiction. 5-9)"
In this fast-paced sequel to Little Horse (2002), perilous events transport the diminutive Little Horse back to his beloved Valley of Little Horses. Read full book review >
RICK IS SICK by David McPhail
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2004

"This format seems intended for classroom use and includes guided reading and Reading Recovery levels for teachers. (Easy reader. 5-7)"
Rick the bear and his pal, Jack the rabbit, star in their second emergent reader, featuring just one or two short and simple sentences per page. Read full book review >
WYNKEN, BLYNKEN, AND NOD by Eugene W. Field
POETRY
Released: March 1, 2004

"Absolutely lovely. (Picture book. 3-6)"
In a fresh visual interpretation of this classic, McPhail infuses the text with a vitality extending and enriching the familiar lullaby. Read full book review >
A POT O’ GOLD by Kathleen Krull
FICTION
Released: Feb. 1, 2004

"A real treasure. (Anthology. 5+)"
This handsome edition includes over a dozen Irish stories; poetry by the likes of Allingham, Tynan, and Yeats; riddles, oaths, and curses; battle cries and blessings; ancient folk cures and recipes for Irish soda bread, stew, and marshmallow crackers. Read full book review >
HENRY BEAR’S CHRISTMAS by David McPhail
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2003

"The subtle message of the futility of chasing after a perfect Christmas tree has wider implications, contrasting well with the pair's firm friendship and their quiet, meaningful holiday. (Picture book. 5-8)"
The characters from Henry Bear's Park (1976) return for a Christmas adventure that centers on a raffle to win a perfectly shaped Christmas tree. Read full book review >
BIG BROWN BEAR’S UP AND DOWN DAY by David McPhail
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 1, 2003

"Caring, sharing, a little cross-species harmony—McPhail wears them all so lightly, caught with unsubtle gestures and the muted use of Old World color. (Picture book. 3-7)"
McPhail's worlds are so heartening and nourishing they might have just popped out of the kitchen stove. Read full book review >
THIRSTY BABY by Catherine Ann Cullen
FICTION
Released: April 1, 2003

"A call to row your boat upon Cullen's poem and, with a great inclusive hug, into McPhail's world. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Burnished watercolors transform a so-so story. Read full book review >
I LOVE YOU BECAUSE YOU’RE YOU by Liza Baker
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2001

"Baker's repetition of reassurances is bound to make any child feel cherished. (Picture book. 2-5)"
A mother pledges her unwavering love for her child in a simple, yet wonderfully affirming poem that covers the gamut of emotions expressed by young children. Read full book review >
PIGGY’S PANCAKE PARLOR by David McPhail
ANIMALS
Released: June 1, 2001

Even when McPhail (The Teddy Bear, p. 496, etc.) is somewhat predictable, he can't seem to help but turn out a winning story; his never-failing artwork doesn't hurt either, with its fine lines, robust color, and deep narrative content. Read full book review >
THE TEDDY BEAR by David McPhail
FICTION
Released: May 1, 2001

"Although this is a story about kindness, love, and compassion, it is also a worthy reminder that the down-and-out have feelings and needs just as keen as the reader's. (Picture book. 3-7)"
Lost and found and lost and returned—this teddy brings a lot of happiness and leaves sadness in its wake, but McPhail's (Mud Is Cake, p. 425, etc.) tale turns on the perceptiveness and sensitivity of a young boy. Read full book review >
EDWARD IN THE JUNGLE by David McPhail
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2001

"Children with a taste for danger will be happy to follow Edward wherever his reading takes him, or to take the hint and get lost in their own favorite stories. (Picture book. 7-9)"
Using underlighting and close shadows to give the art an air of fire-lit mystery, McPhail strands the bookish protagonist of, most recently, Edward and the Pirates (1997) in Tarzan territory, where he's rescued from a crocodile by the Lord of the Jungle himself. Read full book review >
LITTLE HORSE by Betsy Byars
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2001

"Though the word choice, fast pace, and predictable adventures are perfect for the child who is ready to move beyond easy reading books, the story line provides fantastical and philosophical questions often lacking in books for children of this age. (Fiction. 6-10)"
A satisfying horse story with a new twist. Read full book review >
MUD IS CAKE by Pam Muñoz Ryan
FICTION
Released: April 1, 2001

"340, etc.) enthralling illustrations gives this work the makings of a future classic. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Richly colored, fanciful illustrations imbue Ryan's (Mice and Beans, 2001, etc.) simple yet imaginative verse with all of the humor, wonder, and faith necessary for a phenomenal daydream in which anything is possible. Read full book review >
JACK AND RICK by David McPhail
FICTION
Released: March 1, 2001

"Children who are just learning to sound out basic vocabulary will enjoy this amusing tale, one of several that McPhail has created for the Green Light easy reader series. (Easy reader. 5-7)"
No one can beat McPhail (I Love You Because You're You, 2001, etc.) at illustrations of bears, and Rick the bear joins a long list of the artist's ursine charmers who can't fail to win over young readers. Read full book review >
TWILIGHT by Holly Huth
by Holly Huth, illustrated by David McPhail
BEDTIME BOOK
Released: Oct. 1, 2000

"The language is expressive but never mushy, and sure to delight. (Picture book. 5-8)"
In a charming fantasy that burnishes the New York cityscape with an affectionate glow, a little girl and her mom walk along the avenue. Read full book review >
DRAWING LESSONS FROM A BEAR by David McPhail
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2000

"The low-key but powerful message of personal affirmation that runs throughout is one all parents will welcome and all children appreciate. (Don't miss the drawing lessons on the endpapers, either.) (Picture book. 4-8)"
McPhail, master of bear stories, tells what could be his own in this gentle urging to be true to one's calling. Read full book review >
BIG BROWN BEAR by David McPhail
Released: March 1, 1999

"Beginning readers will be amused by the gentle humor in the book, and feel accomplished to have tackled it themselves. (Picture book. 5-7)"
Big Brown Bear, with a natty bowler hat, is all set to paint the house in this cheerful Level 1 reader. Read full book review >
MOLE MUSIC by David McPhail
Released: March 1, 1999

"With endearing characterizations stylistically akin to Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad, the beloved Mole will easily win the affections of readers and inspire young hopes for a better world. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Music has the capacity to make friends of enemies, in this quiet study of one introverted fellow: Mole. Read full book review >
TINKER AND TOM AND THE STAR BABY by David McPhail
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 1998

Whimsical, fantastical—and even a little silly—this nighttime story from McPhail (The Puddle, p. 58, etc.) has plenty of child appeal. Read full book review >
THE PUDDLE by David McPhail
ANIMALS
Released: March 20, 1998

"In watercolor illustrations that make plain how real the boy's imaginings are to him, McPhail nimbly weds the simple pleasure of being out in the rain with a light adventure. (Picture book. 2-5)"
From McPhail (Edward and the Pirates, 1997, etc.), a tale that demonstrates that rainy days provide lots of interesting possibilities, at least for the boy who lives in a world where alligators visit puddles, and elephants drain them dry. ``It was a rainy day. Read full book review >
EDWARD AND THE PIRATES by David McPhail
ADVENTURE
Released: April 1, 1997

Edward, who learned to read under emergency circumstances in Santa's Book of Names (1993), reads everything now: cereal boxes, mail-order catalogs, and every book he can get his hands on, especially adventure stories. Read full book review >
THOSE CAN-DO PIGS by David McPhail
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

"The frolics depicted in McPhail's watercolors, combined with the bucolic ramblings of verse, make the book a very entertaining read. (Picture book. 5-9)"
There's not much Can-Do Pigs can't do. Read full book review >
IF YOU WERE MY BUNNY by Kate McMullan
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 1, 1996

Familiar lullabies are given a twist by McMullan (Hey, Pipsqueak!, 1995, etc.) in a work that serves as a missing link between board books and more lavish picture books. Read full book review >
PIGS AHOY! by David McPhail
ADVENTURE
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

"A well-balanced production of humorous high jinks on the high seas. (Picture book. 3-7)"
Compact couplets about pigs who wreak havoc, Ö la the Marx Brothers, aboard a ship. Read full book review >
NIGHT SOUNDS, MORNING COLORS by Rosemary Wells
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1994

"It is a mystery why the schlock was allowed to mingle with all the good stuff this book has to offer. (Fiction/Picture book. 2-6)"
Wells (Lucy Comes to Stay, p. 853, etc.) and McPhail combine on four evocations—waking, night, in the kitchen, a winter walk- -each of which is sometimes startlingly bang-on and, at other times, reaches way too far. Read full book review >
SANTA'S BOOK OF NAMES by David McPhail
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

"The novel twist on the popular scenario makes a sweet story that's sure to be a hit, especially with McPhail's cozy illustrations of Edward's home and a traditional Santa. (Picture book. 4-8)"
When Edward has trouble learning to read, his teacher urges tests but his mother counsels ``Patience.'' Then, in Edward's house on Christmas Eve, Santa accidentally drops the all- important book listing the gifts children will receive—and when Edward catches up with him to give it back, Santa invites him to come along to help. Read full book review >
PIGS APLENTY, PIGS GALORE by David McPhail
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 1993

The narrator—rendered in McPhail's trademark style as an appealing, vulnerable man—is peacefully reading when his home is invaded by pigs: ``Pigs in tutus,/Pigs in kilts,/Pigs on skateboards,/Pigs on stilts./Pigs from England,/Pigs from France,/Pigs in just/Their underpants.'' Coming by a fantastical variety of transport (e.g., a parachute, and the mammoth ship ``S. S. Swine''), the motley crowd gets right down to the business of gorging on a giant stack of pizzas, which they chomp, play with, and fling about but don't share with the narrator (``I get nothing,/Just the bill''). Read full book review >
THE ICE CREAM STORE by Dennis Lee
POETRY
Released: Sept. 1, 1992

"An excellent contribution. (Poetry. 3-9)"
A gifted Canadian presents a charming collection of accessible, lighthearted verse, heralding its multicultural spirit in his cheerful title poem (``Oh, the kids around the block are like an/Ice cream store,/'Cause there's chocolate, and vanilla,/And there's maple and there's more...''). Read full book review >
FARM BOY'S YEAR by David McPhail
HISTORY
Released: March 31, 1992

"Popular though McPhail may be, how could a responsible editor pass along this thoughtless nostalgia? (Picture book. 4-8)"
A diary-style text plus a drawing and a luminous painting for each month a century ago in coastal Newburyport, Massachusetts. Read full book review >
ANNIE & CO. by David McPhail
FICTION
Released: April 30, 1991

"Whimsical but sweet; the quiet mood is nicely supported by the illustrations' aura of tender concern. (Fiction/Young reader. 6-9)"
Annie (6) is so good at fixing things that her father gives her a tool chest; with her pony cart as a fix-it shop, she goes out into the world, where she finds plenty to do: removing a mouse from a cello so that it plays sweetly again; bandaging a goose's broken wing; even, as ``captain'' of her cart, marrying a couple. Read full book review >