Books by Emily Bolam

THE LION BIBLE FOR ME by Christina Goodings
Released: July 1, 2012

"There aren't many collections of Bible stories for young children with such a concise text and attractive illustrations, and this could be used in creative ways with a wide age-range of children. (Picture book/religion. 3-7)"
A concise introduction to most of the best-known stories from the Christian Bible, with bright, cheery illustrations and a small trim designed for younger children. Read full book review >
I CAN SAY A PRAYER by Sophie Piper
Released: Nov. 1, 2011

"A pleasant but not essential introduction to the concept of integrating prayer into daily life. (Picture book/religion. 2-5)"
Preschoolers incorporate prayer into their daily activities in this collection of 12 short prayers. Read full book review >
COUNTING by Emily  Bolam
by Emily Bolam, illustrated by Emily Bolam
Released: March 1, 2009

One giraffe, two tigers, three Dalmatians, four sea turtles and five tropical fish array themselves with splendid, striking clarity over the pages of this brief gem. Bolam depicts smiling animals against bright, high-contrast backgrounds on the recto with a large numeral colored with the animal's coat pattern facing on the verso. An added fillip introduces a tactile element, with both animal and numeral's coloration pattern embossed to create bumps and ridges. Similarly, its companion, Colors (ISBN: 978-1-58925-845-1) introduces a red strawberry, blue ocean, yellow cheese, a green tree and a black-and-white zebra with equal simplicity and fun. Both beautiful and baby-centric—a lovely package. (3-12 mos.)Read full book review >
LOTS AND LOTS by Harriet Ziefert
Released: April 1, 2008

The tricky concept of relative number receives a cheery elucidation in this oversized board book. Buzzy the donkey has "one balloon"; his rabbit friend has "some balloons"; together with their hot-air balloon-flying alligator pal, they have "many balloons." Bolam's bright, sharply outlined characters brim with energy; each spread makes its concept manifest, with gentle humor. A winner. Read full book review >
DOES A SEAL SMILE? by Fred Ehrlich
Released: Sept. 1, 2006

Does a seal smile? How about a mandrill, a coyote and a chimpanzee? In a question-and-answer format, Ehrlich asks readers whether these animals smile (they don't) and shows how they recognize and greet each other through body language, facial expressions and sound. He then moves on to people; beginning with babies, he introduces the basics of human communication. Last, he provides examples of how people from different cultures greet one another. Bolam's appealing and wry illustrations will charm; however, there is a lot of information here. While the text is straightforward, the human-animal parallels and some of the vocabulary may not be entirely clear to the youngest children and will likely require explanation. With some help, though, children will come to appreciate the differences and similarities between human and animal behavior and understand the basics of how members of different cultures greet one another as well. (Picture book. 4-6)Read full book review >
BUZZY HAD A LITTLE LAMB by Harriet Ziefert
Released: June 1, 2005

How do you cope when the thing you depend on for your security can't come with you to school? Ziefert suggests one way in this simple offering decked out in Bolam's color-as-thick-as-frosting art. Technically, call it compensation: Buzzy can't bring his lamb doll ("Wherever Buzzy went, Little Lamb was sure to go."), so Buzzy turns one of his new friends into a lamb while they're playing and they sing—yeah, you guessed it. However, Ziefert isn't as bald as all that. Before that happens, Buzzy has to learn to adjust and take his lumps, to overcome his sense of estrangement, to engage and make friends and then deploy some creative thought to everyone's enjoyment (not to mention his own great gratification). That's what school is all about, Ziefert suggests in her subdued way: learning to use the old bean in new and constructive ways. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
YOU’RE TOO BIG! by Simon Puttock
Released: Aug. 15, 2004

A proverbial bull in the china shop, Elephant charges enthusiastically into Playschool—only to create a series of mishaps, from knocking over Lion's carefully stacked blocks and squashing Hyena's book to breaking the swing. "You're too big!" his classmates repeatedly chorus, which makes him feel "very small inside and sad inside." In Bolam's simple pictures, light blue Elephant looms past the edges of the page, and though his multi-hued playmates sometimes giggle at his clumsiness, they never show anger or scorn. Nor is the day a total wash for Elephant: not only does he turn out to have a good (if very large) singing voice, but when his Mummy arrives to take him away, everyone agrees that, seeing her, Elephant is "just the right size after all." Baby Hueys everywhere will appreciate the comfort and recognition. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
BUZZY’S BOO-BOO by Harriet Ziefert
Released: July 1, 2004

Ziefert and Bolam team up again in this short but sweet foray into the bumpy landscape of childhood tumbles. The jaunty cadence propels the reader through the minor trauma of Buzzy's boo-boo. This young donkey has a big bump on his head, so each member of the family does their part to make it better. Daddy washes it and uses magic words to cure it. Mommy dries it, and then sister offers a selection of Band-Aids from which Buzzy can choose. True to toddler form, Buzzy then administers the same loving treatment to his teddy and wants to see his own boo-boo in the mirror. Later his sister distracts him from his injury by prompting him to play. The charming illustrations are boldly outlined and illuminated in creamy, rich colors on silky, heavy paper. Erring on the side of brevity, this is more of an incident than a story, leaving the reader wanting more. Then again, this little read may be just what the doctor ordered. (Picture book. 2-4)Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2004

It's difficult to say much against these related titles, but it's also difficult to praise them. Each begins with the fact that all animals have both a mother and a father, then describes animal parenthood in increasing order of parental care, starting with insects and reptiles, which lay their eggs and never return. (Is a lizard an animal? Is a spider?) Next fish, birds, short-lived mammals such as mice, then camels, elephants, primates, and, finally, humans. Everything's sweet and the cartoon illustrations are reasonably engaging, but the overall impression is didactic and bland and the format inappropriately cutesy and young for the information included. The endpaper declares, "There is no better way to get basic ideas across to young children than with humor and far-out comparisons." Perhaps that's true; if so, a little humor and some far-out comparisons should have been included—and a single offering, decently done, would have been plenty. Choose Marion Dane Bauer's If You Were Born a Kitten (1997) instead. (Picture book/nonfiction. 2-5)Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 15, 2003

With a rhyme constructed along the lines of "Over in the Meadow" and big, very simple paintings, Coats takes toddlers and post-toddlers on a tour of animal families in various climes. From a mother seal and her one pup, " ‘Dive!' Says the mother / so they both dive together" to a "croaking mother frog" and her ten "squirmy wormy tadpoles" each group's activity takes place in "stormy stormy weather" or "rainy rainy weather," etc. There are a few glitches in this import's language, including references to a "cold and draughty house" and a clan of kittens "all along the strawstacks"—but children will enjoy the text's pleasing sonority, and crowd around at the author's invitation to "Count the mums and babies up / In every kind of weather!" (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
GOTCHA, LOUIE! by H.M. Ehrlich
Released: March 25, 2002

Louie and his favorite stuffed goose return for a seaside adventure. It's summertime once again and Louie and his family are at their vacation house on the shore. The tow-headed tot whiles away languid summer days playing "Gotcha" with his mom; petitioning her over and again to catch him. When a visit from his grandparents becomes long on talk and short on play, Louie decides to take matters into his own hands. Unbeknownst to the adults, Louie, with Rosie in tow, scampers away to hide. After a thorough search fails to reveal the elusive pair, Mom devises a wily plan to draw out the duo. Ehrlich's (Dancing Class, 2001, etc.) simple tale neatly captures a child's glee in playing this much favored pastime. Even when he's missing, there's no cause for alarm as wayward giggles and other clues reassure the adults of Louie's nearby presence. Bolam's (Murphy Meets the Treadmill, 2001, etc.) sunny illustrations sparkle with the bonhomie of carefree summer days. Large, visible brush strokes in the gaily-colored paintings give the semblance of windswept sands and gusty seas. This jolly little tale heralds a welcome return for Louie and his faithful red rooster, adding a sprinkling of summer fun to brighten someone's day—regardless of the season. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

Ziefert and Bolam (Clara Ann Cookie, Go to Bed, not reviewed, etc.) have combined their talents again to introduce Murphy, the burly yellow Labrador who loves to eat. Murphy is Cheryl's charge, and he likes nothing better than lying on the porch, rising only to accept any morsel tendered his way. And there have been many morsels, enough to find Murphy tipping the scales at 95 pounds. " ‘You definitely need to diet,' Cheryl scolded." So she gets her pooch a treadmill. Understandably, Murphy is a tad reluctant to start burning the calories, but Cheryl insists. Murphy begins to shed the pounds and catches the eye of the neighborhood dogs: "Look at that build" and "He's no couch potato." Then the newspapers get hold of the story and Murphy gets plastered all over the front page. " ‘Clearly, this was just the beginning. Soon I would be famous. And rich!' " says Murphy. Well, maybe, but there's no denying Murphy's charm, nor Ziefert's infectious, lighthearted spirit, which Bolam snares with her simple, rosy paintings. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
GOIN’ TO BOSTON by H. Ellen Margolin
Released: June 1, 2001

Riding along, a little girl inspires a parade of people as she travels by bicycle to visit Boston Common. Following the verses of a 1920s Appalachian folk song, she is soon joined by a horse-drawn cart; a tractor towing a pig; and a family riding in their Model T. The caravan continues to grow as it is joined by a shepherd and his flock, a bus full of people and chickens, and even a small band. The repetitive verses carry the groups to the Common where they sing, dance, eat, play, and relax. A closing illustration features an idyllic scene as the people enjoy the afternoon in the park. Simple line illustrations shaded in soft colors illustrate the ever-growing group of travelers. A note from the author and sheet music follow the text. While there is some merit to having simple songs available in picture books for group sing-alongs and the repetition will encourage joining in, an unfortunate coupling of rather plain illustrations with a very, very long song may limit the audience. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 2001

A lighthearted countdown in which a bear and his buddies elude the bumblings of a troop of hunters. In a voice that works well as either a jaunty sing-song or as a lullaby, Parker's verse follows the hunters as they are eliminated, one by one, while they try to hunt down the not particularly wily bear. "Ten hairy hunters start following the trail. / Ten hairy hunters are hot on Bear's tail. / Ten hairy hunters head into the unknown. / Shhh! Bear's friends do some hunting of their own. / Nine hairy hunters . . . " Bolam's ice cream-colored cartoons follow the action as one man at a time is removed from the hunters' file by an unlikely cast of ursine pals: elephants, giraffes, tigers, snakes, who end up adorned in their hats, shorts, and shoes. There is an excellent combination in these pages of the mildly hair-raising with the humorous, a kind of slapstick for the very young, as the hunters set traps while oblivious to the fact that they are the quarry. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2000

Exuberant rhymes describe an energetic preschooler's day in this colorful counting book. Readers can happily count along with the smiling sister as she bustles through her busy schedule. The fun begins at breakfast, as brother and sister sit down to eat. After that, it's off to preschool for sister, where a plethora of counting opportunities abound—from the number of children participating in story time to how many doughnuts are available at snack time. Coats (One Hungry Baby, 1994) focuses on everyday items and circumstances familiar to young children, such as three friends walking hand-in-hand to playgroup and five jars of paint await a budding artist's inspiration. Several lines of verse introduce each new number, with a full-color, two-page spread accompanying the rhyme. The featured number is highlighted via capitalization, although the text lacks any visual representation of the numeral itself. ("NINE fingers pointing up, reaching very high. / Twinkle, twinkle, little star! / Let's all touch the sky.") Bolam's (Louie's Goose, 1999) full-bleed illustrations offer vibrantly colored scenes from a child's day, depicting a merry assortment of multicultural children doing what children do best: namely, play. Several of the illustrations offer a slight counting challenge, e.g., for the seven kangaroos hopping, the accompanying picture reveals an entire playground full of frolicking children, and it's up to readers to seek out the ones imitating the bouncy beasts. Lively rhymes about fun activities combined with spirited pictures make this one young readers will want to hear over and again. (Picture book. 1-4)Read full book review >
BEAROBICS by Vic Parker
by Vic Parker, illustrated by Emily Bolam
Released: Feb. 1, 1997

This counting book, its tribal rhythm pounding through its rhyming, typographic lines, is truly aerobics on the page. In her first book, Parker takes a funny concept and executes it flawlessly. After a bear turns on his boom box, ``With a fizzle in their fingers and a tingle in their toes, two hoppin' kangaroos know how Bearobics goes. Three giggling gorillas now get into the groove. Bopping and shoowapping. Just watch them as they move!'' Bolam's bright, flat illustrations fit the manic mood perfectly. Kids will love the irresistible movement of the words—and the invitation to join in for the count, which progresses (in one particular leap) to a million ants. Frenetic and fun. (Picture book. 3-8) Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 1997

With beginning readers in mind, Ziefert (The Tweeny-Tiny Woman, 1995, etc.) retells the traditional story of the magic pot that won't stop cooking in this entry in the Easy-to-Read series. This time, it is a little girl who saves her mother and the town from a flood of porridge by remembering the right combination of words to shout at the pot. Simple drawings showing a contemporary setting are only part of the recasting process this folktale has undergone. Repeated words and short lines will encourage new readers, and for that, the book is useful. It's just not much fun; the confines of the form, worked to such advantage by Minarik, Lobel, and Rylant (and Nola Buck—see review, above), make for a flat-footed telling here, and since most children know a version of the tale, there's no suspense to engage them. (Fiction/folklore. 4- 7) Read full book review >
THE ELEPHANT'S CHILD by Rudyard Kipling
Released: Jan. 1, 1992

No, no, and, again, no! Bolam's abridgements are pointless; her changes are foolish vandalism. Her shortened version is no easier than Kipling's "best beloved" classic; she omits the ostrich and—outrageously—the bicolored python rock snake, as well as the Elephant's Child's delightful itinerary and most of the richly deserved spankings he finally administers to his aunts and uncles; what's left is not so much less challenging as less fun in the absence of the whole. Worse, and quite gratuitously, the baboon uncle has become a lion. Kipling's story is not a folk tale; it's a masterpiece whose glory is its language, and children as young as four have enjoyed it for almost a century. There is no excuse for tampering with it. (Incidentally, this is Bolam's debut, and she looks like a promising illustrator: vigorous bold line and vibrant, sophisticated colors in collage- like blocks.) (Picture book. Not recommended for any age—it's not all right, Best Beloved. Do you see?) Read full book review >