Books by Drazen Kozjan

REVOLUTIONARY FRIENDS by Selene Castrovilla
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2013

"Of potential interest as curriculum support, this treatment requires advanced reading skills (or a grown-up) and a basic understanding of the historical context. (Informational picture book. 9-12)"
This effort to illuminate and explicate the affectionate relationship between George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette, as well as its impact on United States history, is enthusiastic but perhaps ambitious for the format. Read full book review >
WORKING MUMMIES by Joan Horton
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 17, 2012

"Sure to be a hit at Halloween, Mother's Day, during a discussion about puns and when the popular question arises, 'So what do you want to be when you grow up?' (Picture book. 4-7)"
In this ode to hardworking mummy mothers, an impressive collection of careers is introduced with deliciously icky details sure to elicit appreciative "eww's." Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 8, 2011

Manners in meter. Kozjan uses bright and cheerful figures with exaggerated expressions and gestures to illustrate Kinerk's verse. The poems range from longer advisories in multiple panels to brief expositions with many spot images to full-panel spreads that reflect the waggish humor of the words. The poet never loses his light touch: Verses about cleaning one's room, coping with getting the giggles and talking (not) at the movies get their points across. Some children are presented in narrative, like Chuck who takes a bath before he polishes his shoes, with inevitable results, or Eleanor Ickity, whose dislike of almost any foodstuff ends with her grossing out her parents with a plate of corn and chocolate sauce. Then there's Egbert, who tends to drop his clothes everywhere, leaving him with not a stitch, er, behind. Kinerk slips the idea that good manners are really about being nice to each other in general. He doesn't overtly quote the Golden Rule (Do unto others, etc.), but it underlies all the fun. Readers would do well to learn from the example of Claymore B. Tate, who is so refined that he cannot help but correct everyone else at table: "Manners aren't lists of the things you should do. / Manners help folks become easy with you." (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)Read full book review >
DON'T CALL ME PRUNEFACE! by Janet Reed Ahearn
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 3, 2010

Right from the start, Paul has reservations about his eccentric new neighbor, Prudence. Following his grandma's advice, Paul tries to befriend the freckled redhead but is rebuffed with innovative insults. Highly annoyed by this excessive name-calling by week's end, "cootie cockroach four-eyes frogface peahead" Paul resorts to his own bullying behavior. Humorous details add richness to the punchy dialogue as the two eventually resolve their differences. In Kozjan's illustrations, the children's opposing pets often mimic their owners' emotions, Prudence's feisty leash-wearing cat Scratch antagonizing Paul's friendly canine. The protagonist's dry first-person voice carries the droll narration, child-centered conversations providing counterpoint to his internal interrogations of his conscience. Half-understood adultisms ("Flies eat honey!") provide extra humor even as they shine the light on Paul's essential sweetness. Vibrant colors vary to express the children's growing conflict, building to the engaging climax, and clean, bright backdrops maintain focus on the children's tensions. Though the subject is frequently covered, bullying's impact receives a fresh examination in this lively offering. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
JULIA GILLIAN (AND THE DREAM OF THE DOG) by Alison McGhee
ANIMALS
Released: July 1, 2010

Now in sixth grade, Julia Gillian copes with her fear of eighth graders, a stubborn third-grade reading buddy as reading-averse as she is and her dog Bigfoot's last illness. Readers who began the series with Julia Gillian (and the Art of Knowing) (2008) and who sympathized with the nine-year-old who feared finishing a book in which she knew the dog would die will now find themselves in a similar situation. Perhaps, like Julia Gillian (who always uses both her first and last names), her readers will now be older and more able to cope. Although it refers to events of the first two books, this moving story stands on its own. Supporting characters are smoothly introduced. The climax at the veterinarian's office is gentle but realistic, and Julia Gillian's realization that everyone has problems is appropriate. Any reader who has lost a pet will recognize the family's grief and appreciate the support friends, strangers and her surprisingly sympathetic reading buddy provide. Kozjan's frequent drawings (final art not seen) add a cheerful touch. (Fiction. 9-12)Read full book review >
JULIA GILLIAN (AND THE QUEST FOR JOY)  by Alison McGhee
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 2009

In this stand-alone sequel to Julia Gillian (and the Art of Knowing) (2008), the eponymous heroine pretends all is well while her fifth-grade world totters. Optimistic Julia Gillian's convinced "there was much to be happy about at Lake Harriet Elementary [School]," especially her first trumpet lesson. But when her best pal Bonwit starts avoiding her, a quirky new lunch monitor tyrannizes the school cafeteria and she can't "get even the tiniest sound" out of her trumpet, she wonders, where's the joy? Determined to handle her own problems, Julia Gillian turns into "a rule breaker and a secret keeper" until this uncharacteristic behavior attracts adult attention. Temporarily off-balance, Julia Gillian realizes she's old enough to be responsible for her actions and eventually recoups with a little help from the cast of eccentric supporting characters. Kids will relate to the sympathetic, humorous narrative as it tracks Julia Gillian's very convincing foray into self-imposed misery. Kozjan's energetic pencil-and-ink drawings reveal details of Julia Gillian's troubled but ultimately victorious quest for joy. (Fiction. 9-12)Read full book review >
JULIA GILLIAN by Alison McGhee
ANIMALS
Released: June 1, 2008

Nine-year-old Julia Gillian goes out of her way to avoid unhappy endings. Fortunately there's a lot for Julia Gillian to be happy about, including her growing list of such personal accomplishments as making papier-mâché masks, spreading her gum evenly across her top row of teeth and her skill at the "art of knowing." Julia Gillian lives in a south Minneapolis apartment with her good-natured schoolteacher parents and her beloved St. Bernard, Bigfoot. Normally they spend summer vacations doing special things like visiting the water park and picnicking at Lake Harriet Rose Garden, but this summer her parents are busy studying, leaving Julia Gillian on her own. Even though she loves walking Bigfoot and visiting her neighbors, the resourceful Julia Gillian can't help thinking about the book with the unhappy ending she's afraid to finish. Decorated with Kozjan's swiftly drawn vignettes, the straightforward text, packed with daily details, seems directly descended from Beverly Cleary's works. A fresh, winsome heroine learns a lesson about facing her fears in this first of an anticipated series. (Fiction. 7-10) Read full book review >