Books by Diane Dillon

NEVER FORGOTTEN by Patricia C. McKissack
Released: Oct. 11, 2011

"A totally absorbing poetic celebration of loss and redemption. (author's note) (Picture book/poetry. 7-12)"
A searing cycle of poems describes a father's grief after his son is taken from their home in Mali and enslaved in America. Read full book review >
THE SECRET RIVER by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Released: Jan. 4, 2011

"Magical. (Picture book. 4-10)"
There are no fish left in the rivers and streams; hard times have come to the forest, and everyone is poor and hungry. Read full book review >
THE GOBLIN AND THE EMPTY CHAIR by Mem Fox
FICTION
Released: Sept. 22, 2009

"A perfect combination of words and images. (Picture book. 6-9)"
An unspecified medieval setting, an outwardly grotesque creature who is tender and compassionate, sad humans beset by difficulties, three tasks performed by the hero and a moral about looking beyond appearances; all of these are familiar elements in the fairy-tale tradition. Read full book review >
MAMA SAYS by Rob D. Walker
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 1, 2009

"Still, cherish this for the sentiment and overall presentation. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Flawed but still impressive, this illustrated collection of brief snippets of advice will particularly appeal to progressive parents eager to foster understanding and compassion in their children. Read full book review >
MOTHER GOOSE: NUMBERS ON THE LOOSE by Leo Dillon
NUMBERS AND COUNTING
Released: Oct. 1, 2007

"Includes a brief note on the history and selection of the rhymes. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Long-limbed numbers and letters, anthropomorphic insects, stalwart vegetables, inventively dressed animals and other unusual creatures join multiethnic humans in a cheerful march to the irresistible rhythm of Mother Goose in this selection of numerical nursery rhymes. Read full book review >
JAZZ ON A SATURDAY NIGHT by Leo Dillon
Released: Sept. 1, 2007

"A CD (on which the authors introduce the instruments and a band and singer do the book's lyrics as a jazz tune) is included. (Picture book. 5-8)"
The Dillons deliver their take on one of children's publishing trends du jour. Read full book review >
EARTH MOTHER  by Ellen Jackson
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

"Beautiful and satisfying; its own teachable moment. (Picture book. 4-9)"
A wry and cosmic look at the interdependence of all things, wonderfully illustrated by the inimitable Dillons. Read full book review >
THE PEOPLE COULD FLY by Virginia Hamilton
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Nov. 9, 2004

"A dreamy, powerful picture-book tribute to both Hamilton and the generations-old story. (Picture book. 9-12)"
"They say the people could fly. Say that long ago in Africa, some of the people knew magic. Read full book review >
BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH by Howard Norman
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2004

"Though handsomely packaged, this pricey gathering won't draw or keep the interest of child readers or tellers. (Folktales. 8-11)"
From the creators of The Girl Who Dreamed Only Geese (1997), a less ambitious outing: five tales from a workshop run by Norman (15 years ago), illustrated with art that tries to look like leaded stained glass. Read full book review >
WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? by Margaret Wise Brown
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 2004

"More polished than some of the fragmentary texts recently mined from Brown's archives, this combines soothing verbal and visual rhythms with a sense of mystery that will leave young readers or listeners spellbound. (Picture book. 5-7)"
The Dillons create an eldritch world for this philosophical rhyme, which was first published 50 years ago with misguidedly twee art by Barbara Cooney. Read full book review >
ONE WINTER’S NIGHT by John Herman
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2003

"An old story, in an unusual setting. (Picture book. 6-8)"
In this poetic Christmas Eve tale, Martha, a young cow about to give birth, seeks shelter, just as Joseph leads Mary, who's in the same condition, on the same quest. Read full book review >
RAP A TAP TAP by Leo Dillon
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

"This jazzy introduction to an important contributor to American culture will entrance the youngest music and dance fans. (Picture book. 3-7)"
A tribute to Bill "Bojangles" Robinson captures the rhythm of the famous tap dancing he did all over the city: in the street, behind doors that were both open and closed to him, in crowds, in upscale neighborhoods as well as "the skids," in the park, and ultimately, on stage. Read full book review >
MANSA MUSA by Khephra Burns
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 2001

"As much about Mansa Musa's inner journey to selfhood as his outer coming of age, this is a feast for the eye and spirit both. (Illustrated fiction. 10-12)"
Illustrated by the Dillons (Two Little Trains, p. 561, etc.) at their most magisterial, this original tale of the youth of Kankan Musa, the most renowned royal descendant of the great king of Mali, Sundiata, makes a grand, compelling, sumptuously presented narrative. Read full book review >
TWO LITTLE TRAINS by Margaret Wise Brown
FICTION
Released: May 31, 2001

"Sure to delight yet another generation of children. (Picture book. 3-7)"
Brown's adorable bouncing rhyme about trains has been inventively re-imagined by two award-winning illustrators. Read full book review >
THE GIRL WHO SPUN GOLD by Virginia Hamilton
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Sept. 1, 2000

"The nasty little man is particularly effective, limned as carefully as a poisoned jewel box. (Picture book/fairy tale. 5-9)"
Hamilton (Bluish, 1999, etc.) turns her elegant style to a West Indian–based version of the Rumpelstiltskin story. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1998

"This is a gift book in the best sense, to be read often; if children don't respond immediately to its overall formality, they will surely find pages to pore over herein. (Picture book. 9+)"
The Dillons illustrate the familiar verses of Ecclesiastes in the King James version, one spread for every double-edged phrase, e.g., "a time to mourn, and a time to dance." Read full book review >
THE GIRL WHO DREAMED ONLY GEESE by Howard Norman
Released: Oct. 1, 1997

"Story notes appended. (Folklore. 9+)"
This collection is not only the handsomest gathering of Inuit folktales ever, but one that will bring readers as close to a living oral tradition as printed material can. Read full book review >
HER STORIES by Virginia Hamilton
Released: Nov. 1, 1995

"It's hard to envision the shelf—children's or adults'—on which this volume doesn't belong. (Folklore. 7+)"
A volume with as broad appeal as Hamilton's The People Could Fly (1985). Read full book review >
THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE by Nancy Willard
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

"Not a landmark, despite the creators' credentials, but fun. (Picture book. 5-10)"
In the spirit of Pish, Posh, Said Hieronymus Bosch (1991, ALA Notable), a reworking of a tale popularized, as explained here, by the poet Goethe as well as by Dukas, whose music fueled the Disney version. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 1993

"A compelling book, outstanding in every way. (Nonfiction. 9+)"
Taking as her theme the "joyous anthem of freedom," beginning with "No more auction block for me," Hamilton samples documented African-American lives from 1619 through the Civil War. Read full book review >
NORTHERN LULLABY by Nancy White Carlstrom
Released: Oct. 21, 1992

"Outstanding in every way; this stunningly handsome art already has a gold medal from the Society of Illustrators. (Picture book. 2+)"
In gently cadenced verse, Carlstrom personifies features of the natural world and animals of the Far North as family members to whom a Native American child speaks: "Goodnight Grandma River/Frozen below/With lullaby ripples/of pale gleaming light...Goodnight Sister Owl/Quiet your cry,/Fold the night sky close/under dark feathers." Read full book review >
PISH, POSH, SAID HIERONYMUS BOSCH by Nancy Willard
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

"Like Bosch's menage, this may not suit quite everyone; but, for those with minds and hearts open to its wit, artistry, and merriment, a rare delight. (Picture book. 4+)"
Bosch, the late-medieval Dutch artist, painted extraordinary surreal scenes, their whimsical details meticulously depicted. Read full book review >
THE RACE OF THE GOLDEN APPLES by Claire Martin
Released: Sept. 1, 1991

"A handsome update of a grand story. (Mythology. 5+)"
Abandoned by her father because she's not a boy, the infant princess Atalanta becomes the protege of the goddess Diana and is raised by a bear, learning to outdistance all the forest creatures. Read full book review >