Books by Deborah Zemke

THE TREE AND ME by Deborah Zemke
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 14, 2019

"A funny and timely primer for budding activists. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 6-9)"
Problems are afoot at Emily Dickinson Elementary School, and it's up to Bea Garcia to gather the troops and fight. Read full book review >
THE ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY NO PRINCESSES BOOK by Ian Lendler
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 3, 2018

"Fun but limiting. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A young narrator insists that her book will never include princesses—right up until the moment that a princess shows up. Read full book review >
TALE OF A SCAREDY-DOG by Deborah Zemke
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 3, 2018

"An easy read for Bea's fans and any kid with a furry pet of their own. (Fiction. 6-9)"
The third installment of the Bea Garcia series features a dog-and-cat chase, a lost pet, and vocabulary expansion. Read full book review >
THE CASE OF THE POACHED EGG by Robin Newman
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2017

"A hard-boiled text for determined new readers in pursuit of wordplay. (Early reader. 7-8)"
A whodunit for newly independent readers with wordplay galore. Read full book review >
SKY-HIGH SUKKAH by Rachel Ornstein Packer
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 4, 2016

"Beyond explaining the holiday's significance, Leah's story will serve to illustrate Judaism's model of kehilla (community), in which cooperative spirit brings people together. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-7)"
Friends and neighbors help apartment dweller Leah figure out a way to build a communal sukkah for the autumn holiday. Read full book review >
MY LIFE IN PICTURES by Deborah Zemke
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 8, 2016

" Readers will find inspiration to write, draw, explore, and imagine. (Fiction. 6-8)"
Zemke introduces a creative, young protagonist whose skilled artistry captures imagination in a new series for early readers. Read full book review >
THE CASE OF THE MISSING CARROT CAKE by Robin Newman
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 20, 2015

"Here's hoping for more hard-boiled detecting from Wilcox and Griswold! (Mystery. 5-9)"
Two police mice, one missing cake, a bunch of suspects—it's a big case! Read full book review >
COCK-A-DOODLE-OOPS! by Lori Degman
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 21, 2014

"Puns and foolery pitched just right for newly independent readers. (Early reader. 5-7)"
Zemke provides more farmyard huggermugger (George Shannon's Wise Acres, 2004) to illustrate Degman's versified tale of animals trying to substitute at sunrise for an absent rooster. Read full book review >
THE DEEP, DEEP PUDDLE by Mary Jessie Parker
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 18, 2013

"Kids will be happy to dive right in, whether it's shared in a lap or as part of a group. (Picture book. 3-8)"
Looking for a counting book that makes a splash? Read full book review >
MORE POCKET POEMS by Bobbi Katz
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2009

Out in time for National Poetry Month—and specifically April 30th, which is Poem In Your Pocket Day—this follow-up to 2004's Pocket Poems (illustrated by Marilyn Hafner) offers nearly 50 more short verses and excerpts paired to bright cartoon scenes of, mostly, children at play in various settings. The underlying theme is seasonal, with topics that range from Emily Dickinson's "Dear March, come in!" and Paul B. Janeczko's "August Ice Cream Poem" ("Lick / quick") to a Halloween "Skeleton Parade" from Jack Prelutsky and Jorge Torres's bilingual "José in Winter: El Invierno." Though weighted toward more recent work (with four contributions by Katz), a clip from the Navajo Night Chant, part of the witches' incantation from Macbeth and several traditional jump-rope or other rhymes read freshly enough to fit in. Plenty of good choices here for memorizing, for reading aloud or just…reading. Afterword on the importance of poetry to language development. (Poetry. 7-10) Read full book review >
THE SECRET CHICKEN CLUB by George Shannon
ANIMALS
Released: Dec. 1, 2005

Shannon dishes up a delicious trio of original "noodle" tales, set in bucolic Wise Acres and featuring a farmyard menagerie that stars Debbie, a cow with the heart and hooves of a dancer. Hearing of the Secret Chicken Club, Debbie so yearns to join that its members relax the rules for entry from laying eggs and eating worms to laughing at a lame knock-knock joke. Later, she's distressed when her artificial "beak" (a funnel) mysteriously disappears after she lays it down in her shadow before bounding off to rehearse for an alfresco recital. Sandwiched between these two episodes is an even better one: Believing that "chicken noodle" soup is called that because it makes chickens smarter, Doug the rooster sets out to buy some—until Pearl the goat's horrifying suggestion that, since soups are named for what goes into them, its main ingredient must be chicken brains. Illustrated with sunny watercolor scenes of popeyed livestock (all of whom, by the end, are club members) dancing and being silly, this is sure to have children signing on in flocks for repeat readings. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
THIS IS THANKSGIVING by Harriet Ziefert
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 1, 2004

In a sturdy board book, Ziefert and Zemke salute the bounty of Thanksgiving. As gently rolling as a prairie swell, it begins its rhymed celebration with the foodstuffs: "This is potato, mashed and white, / and gravy made exactly right / and the mix of / carrots and peas / and the yams that / are sure to please." There's a fun, faintly corny melodiousness to the verse, heartfelt but with an eye skinned for good cheer. Each new goodie is added to the cumulative listing until there enters the last bounty: all those relatives and friends who elevate this tribute above mere stuffing (both the bird and the belly). The final pages reveal a fold out for "a thankful song / for our blessings all year long." The art is simple but as appealing to the young eye as a tray of bonbons, and is sure to make at least one reader drool. (Board book. 2-5)Read full book review >
WISE ACRES by George Shannon
ANIMALS
Released: June 1, 2004

Wise Acres is a seemingly idyllic farm with a traditional red barn and some untraditional animals who like to jog, sing, and play musical instruments in this longer work divided into three short chapters. The three stories involve the same set of animals trying to solve three problems: retrieving a missing tambourine from a pond, providing letters for the ram who waits by the mailbox, and getting the turkey to stop worrying about his wrinkles. The middle story is the funniest, but the punch line of "no news is good news" isn't one that will readily resonate with children, just like the play on words in the title. The other two stories try hard to be funny, succeeding with some humorous dialogue and situational comedy, but they both fall rather flat in their conclusions. It's also a little hard to tell the characters apart at first as they are just called by first names without any identification by species, though there is a labeled "family portrait" on the front endpaper. Zemke adds zest to the effort with her loose watercolor-and-ink illustrations, capturing the animal antics. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >