Books by Emily Gravett

CYRIL AND PAT by Emily Gravett
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 21, 2019

"Cheeky yet sincere. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Must you and your best friend be the same type of rodent? Read full book review >
THE AFTERWARDS by A.F. Harrold
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 19, 2019

"Gripping and poignant, a look at what it means to be brave and alive in the face of loss. (Fiction. 8-12)"
When Ember's best friend, Ness, dies, Ember tries to bring her back to the world of the living. Read full book review >
OLD HAT by Emily Gravett
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 27, 2018

"A story about teasing and pressure, but a fairly tranquil one—with excellent chapeaus. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Bowing to peer hat pressure never works. Read full book review >
TIDY by Emily Gravett
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 21, 2017

"Alarming, timely, gorgeous, and open-ended, allowing readers the time to think for themselves. (Picture book. 4-8)"
How tidy can a forest become and remain a forest? Read full book review >
LITTLE MOUSE'S BIG BOOK OF BEASTS by Emily Gravett
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 20, 2016

"Sweet and silly, this metafictive romp is sure to please even the most anxious readers. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Little Mouse makes a triumphant return, this time trading a pen for a paintbrush to tackle fearsome foes. Read full book review >
BEAR & HARE—SHARE! by Emily Gravett
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 5, 2016

"Well worth sharing. (Picture book. 2-4)"
Bear and Hare are more toddlerlike than ever. Read full book review >
BEAR & HARE by Emily Gravett
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 3, 2015

"A mischievous addition to the winter bookshelf. (Picture book. 3-5)"
Two friends have vastly different experiences in the snow. Read full book review >
BEAR & HARE GO FISHING by Emily Gravett
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 7, 2015

"Funny and quick, with excellent art that's curbed by its tight frame. (Picture book. 2-5)"
An easygoing fishing trip yields unexpected catches. Read full book review >
THE IMAGINARY by A.F. Harrold
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 3, 2015

"Wonderfully entertaining. (Fantasy. 9-13)"
What happens to the imaginary friends we make when we are so little we can't remember them later on? Read full book review >
MATILDA'S CAT by Emily Gravett
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 18, 2014

"Even Matilda's cat would like this. (Picture book. 3-6)"
A master of animal countenance, Gravett pairs an expressive cat with a busy kid and winks at the difference between textual and visual message. Read full book review >
AGAIN! by Emily Gravett
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 16, 2013

"This little bit of bedtime foolery feels a little incomplete, but it should strike a chord—and it's far wittier than the similarly themed Go the Fuck to Sleep. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Gravett, that master of the metafictive die cut, returns for a savvy bedtime satire. Read full book review >
WOLF WON'T BITE! by Emily Gravett
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 20, 2012

"A slightly cryptic but satisfying wolf/pig reversal. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Three carny pigs push a patient wolf too far in Gravett's latest. Read full book review >
BLUE CHAMELEON by Emily Gravett
ANIMALS
Released: March 8, 2011

A lonely chameleon pines for a pal. Blue in mood and hue, with slumped posture and anxious eyes, this protagonist is really sad. Each creamy white spread features the chameleon and one potential companion, such as "Pink cockatoo" or "Swirly snail." The eager lizard greets each one while beautifully, arrestingly adopting their color patterns and shape. A chameleon claw becomes snail antennae on one page, cowboy-boot spurs on the next. Readers understand why a brown boot and yellow banana don't respond to overtures, but live creatures seem intimidated—a grasshopper springs away off the page's edge and a fish looks decidedly nonplussed. Finally so forlorn that even flopping onto a gray rock and becoming gray doesn't convey it, the chameleon melts into the page. Here Gravett's gorgeous colored-pencil lines vanish, and her roughly textured paper offers the challenge of tipping the page to find an angle at which the chameleon's outline—now in white on white, like shiny dry glue—is visible. Luckily a small "Hello?" peeps from the following page, where a colorfully festive ending awaits. Both chameleons and friendship populate children's picture books liberally, but this one's well worth adding to the shelf. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
THE RABBIT PROBLEM by Emily Gravett
ANIMALS
Released: Nov. 2, 2010

In Gravett's gifted hands, an old math problem springs to life—and more life and more life! Medieval mathematician Fibonacci's "rabbit problem," in which bunnies breed at a specified rate, provides the structure of this glorious faux-wall calendar that watches a rabbit community from January to December. The title phrase alters monthly to portray current conditions in Fibonacci's Field—for example, rainy April is The Soggy Rabbit Problem. Gorgeous art uses watercolors, oil-based pencil and carrots. The bottom calendar pages feature notations ("check babies for fleas"—"are fleas edible?") and beautiful, bountiful paper layerings, some with complex depicted overlaps, others physically real—a newspaper in July's Bored Rabbit Problem and a cookbook for September's Too Many Carrots Problem have mini-pages that turn. Readers needn't care about the math of Fibonacci Numbers to love the hilarious, jam-packed visual details, many of which are playfully metatextual. In a magnificent pop-up climax, the rabbits gnaw a hole in December's page and explode out of the teeming field. Endless fun to pore over for kids and math-minded or geeky adults. (Picture book. 4-9, Adult)Read full book review >
DOGS by Emily Gravett
by Emily Gravett, illustrated by Emily Gravett
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 9, 2010

"I love dogs," states an unseen narrator at the beginning of this winningly simple opposites book. Utilizing the same color scheme—a gray-and-sepia palette on cream stock with only occasional, judicious touches of color—that she employed in Monkey and Me (2008), Gravett presents readers with an endearing collection of canines. This narrator is decidedly catholic in taste: "I love big dogs / and small dogs. // I love tough dogs / and soft dogs. // I love dogs that bark / and dogs that don't." With one pair of opposites per spread, there's plenty of room for the illustrator's signature whimsy. The big/small spread features an amiable Great Dane gazing benignly down at a tiny Chihuahua between his front paws. Good/bad shows two dogs with markedly different approaches to their master's slippers. All in all, it's a pleasingly goofy cast of characters that begs the question, is there any kind of dog this narrator does not like? The last spread reveals the identity of the narrator—which, in classic Gravett fashion, will make readers chuckle and then rethink the entire book that preceded it. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
SPELLS by Emily Gravett
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 6, 2009

What if you found a book of spells—but wished it were something else? This smiling green frog would prefer a book about boats, to spur his pirate imagination onto the seven seas, or about castles, to help him picture kissing a princess. Shredded paper makes an alluringly tactile ocean for Frog's pretend ship, built from this very book of spells (authored suspiciously by Emily Gribbitt, in her delightfully sly trademark meta-humor). One paper fragment offers the seductive "Spell to become a Handsome Prince." But how do you follow shredded directions? Horizontally split pages allow readers to concoct their own spell-combinations along with frog, with results traditional (snake, rabbit) or haphazard (fabbit, snird). Pencil, watercolors and sprinkled glitter supplement the collage. Finally, Frog—newly a tall (naked) prince—kisses a princess. Gravett's twist is more mischievous than truly dark, but make no assumptions about the power of a kiss! A torn scrap on the endpaper explains it all, delicately hinting the criticality of reading the small print when casting spells. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
THE ODD EGG by Emily Gravett
ANIMALS
Released: Jan. 27, 2009

This simple plot, illustrated in delicately winsome pencil and buoyant watercolor, will make readers jump at the upshot—and return to be startled again. "All the birds," including a chicken, an owl, a parrot and a toweringly elegant flamingo who doesn't fit on the page, have laid their own eggs—except Duck, who peers curiously below his balletically hoisted leg at the empty spot where an egg should be. When he finds one and adopts it, the others taunt him, à la Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson's classic Carrot Seed: " ‘Ha Ha!' ‘It'll never hatch!' " In a series of lengthening pages (the smallest being two inches from gutter to edge), all the other baby birds hatch while expectant Duck patiently knits. Creamy backgrounds and gentle colors don't mute the shocker of just who Duck's hatchling turns out to be as it shoots leftward out of its egg and across the spread, scattering birds everywhere. Endpapers show baby sporting a knitted scarf and booties, adoringly following proud (male) "mama" Duck. A gem of persistence and sweetness. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
LITTLE MOUSE’S BIG BOOK OF FEARS by Emily Gravett
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 16, 2008

Under the guise of a self-help book whose instructions are obediently followed by a mouse taking notes on the pages, Gravett takes readers on an intense exploration of fear. Each page features one phobia. Carrying a full-sized (not mouse-sized) pencil, Little Mouse confronts various angsts (clinophobia, fear of going to bed; ablutophobia, fear of bathing), some tweaked for mouse-relevance (aichmophobia becomes fear of knives, as a circus is cancelled due to an unfortunate incident with a farmer's wife). Most existential are whereamiophobia (fear of getting lost) and isolophobia (fear of solitude and, here, fear of the darkness of a solid-black page). Creative multimedia artwork with a frenetic vibe includes collage, foldouts (maps, newspapers), cutouts (nibbled page corners abound) and expressive and aptly wild pencil strokes. Myriad details—such as a receipt on the back cover listing the book's condition as "Poor, scribbled in, rodent damage"—reinforce the setup. Timorous Mouse doesn't vanquish the worries but does weather the dangers, revealing a tiny final smile at an unexpected turnabout. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
MONKEY AND ME by Emily Gravett
ANIMALS
Released: March 4, 2008

"Monkey and me, / Monkey and me, / Monkey and me, / We went to see, / We went to see some . . . / PENGUINS!" An ebullient little girl plays with her toy monkey, imagining visits to penguins, kangaroos and monkeys, of course, among others in this joyous tribute to the preschooler's imagination. The bouncy text never varies, except for the payoff line, which is set up by a spread of the two friends' playing at animal imitations. Gravett's smudgy pencil-and-watercolor vignettes feature a ponytailed little girl in a skirt and Velcro sneakers, her rumpled red tights and red-and-white striped shirt (which flops down, revealing her belly button as she hangs upside-down like a bat) the only bright spots in otherwise gray-and-sepia sketches. The broadly smiling tot needs no more color, her complete absorption in her play rendered with happy abandon. These vignettes dance across the lead-in spread; turn the page, and "BATS!" flap, "ELEPHANTS!" clomp. Playfully set typography finishes off this fizzy offering, which is perfectly in tune with the way a child's imagination and a beloved toy are all the ingredients needed for happiness. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
MEERKAT MAIL by Emily Gravett
ADVENTURE
Released: Sept. 25, 2007

A restless meerkat's wanderjahr lasts just six days, but that's long enough to visit as many members of his far-flung clan. Chafing at his large family's "Stay safe, stay together" lifestyle, Sunny packs a suitcase and goes off to visit a string of relatives, from Liberian mongoose cousins Mildred and Frank to Great Aunt Flo the marsh mongoose—oblivious to the predatory hyena struggling along behind. Unhappily, as he reports back on a set of lift-the-flap picture postcards, none of the places he visits are as warm or comfortable as his familiar old burrow, so in the end it's back to the Kalahari. There he gets a big welcome party with a banner, hugs, a platter of yummy scorpions . . . and the frustrated hyena gets a jeering send-off. Gravett depicts the meerkats, the mongooses and their varied habitats in deftly brushed watercolors, adding lighthearted riffs (the postcard from Aunt Flo's swamp is an ad for the "Dive-In Self-Service Restaurant") and decorating the endpapers with faux photos and newspaper clippings. Along with humor and suspense, she folds snippets of natural history into the tale—and it's worth noting that meerkats outdo even kittens for cuteness and personality. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
ORANGE PEAR APPLE BEAR by Emily Gravett
ANIMALS
Released: May 22, 2007

Loose line-and-watercolor illustrations ring the changes on all the possible combinations of the four title words in this deliciously playful romp. A very large, very genial bear first contemplates, then plays with the fruit, first turning orange, then morphing into an apple and a pear (in illustrations that emphasize his delightfully rounded posterior). The fruits themselves appear alone, in stacks and in simple compositions that recall Cezanne's still lifes. It's a masterpiece of superbly controlled pacing, each object and its corresponding word appearing initially alone on the page, then combining in twos, then all rushing together as the bear's play intensifies, then slowing again as he eats the fruits, one by one, in a glorious display of happy gluttony. The text employs only the four words of the title (with one notable, concluding exception), rearranging themselves to produce the felicitously surprising pictorial combinations. The creamy background and gray typeface complement the light lines and bright colors of the fruits, and the bear is a striking example of how, in this case at least, less is definitely more. (Picture book. 1-4)Read full book review >
WOLVES by Emily Gravett
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 1, 2006

With a nod to David Wiesner's classic, The Three Pigs (2001), newcomer Gravett creates a postmodern story that can easily be enjoyed by a less sophisticated audience. A rabbit checks out a book of information on wolves from the library. As he reads, absorbed, he fails to notice a wolf stepping out of the book, ever larger and more menacing. Wolves "have bushy tails," reads Rabbit, while trodding unaware on the wolf's tail. The wolf creeps up on the feckless bunny until Rabbit comes upon the information that wolves eat rabbits! The rabbit is bug-eyed with alarm, while the consummate page-turn reveals the library book clawed to shreds . . . the rabbit gone. Never fear, delicate readers, there is an alternate ending in which the rabbit and the wolf, who is a vegetarian, share a sandwich. Like many postmodern picture books, the mixed-media illustrations call attention to the book itself, and establish an ironic relationship between the deadpan text and the endearingly expressive rabbit stalked by the slavering wolf. Brilliant fun. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >