Books by Emily Jenkins

Released: Sept. 11, 2018

"Share this joyous holiday tale of a Jewish immigrant family all year long. (glossary, author's note, illustrator's note, link to latke recipe, sources) (Picture book. 3-7)"
The first night of Hanukkah brings initial disappointment but finally great happiness to the youngest of the family. Read full book review >
BRAVE RED, SMART FROG by Emily Jenkins
Released: Sept. 5, 2017

"Subtly untraditional, with lovely prose. (author's note) (Fairy tales. 5-10)"
Folk and fairy tales intersect in tiny ways. Read full book review >
PRINCESSLAND by Emily Jenkins
Released: Feb. 7, 2017

"Although not the princess corrective some parents may wish for, the book's little lesson is one worth sharing: what's in the mind's eye is often more lavish and sweet than the real thing could possibly be. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A fantasy world of perfect princesses gives a young girl a respite from a bad mood. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 3, 2017

"This delightful story is a feast for the eyes and ears, and it will hold up well to repeated demands from eager young listeners. (Picture book. 2-6)"
Friendship blossoms between canine and rodent in this paean to the sheer joy of being alive. Read full book review >
STICKS & STONES by Sarah Mlynowski
Released: May 31, 2016

"Appealing, warmhearted, and magical. (Fantasy. 8-12)"
Nory and her friends are misfits in an alternate universe (Upside-Down Magic, 2015) where everyone has a magical talent. Read full book review >
TIGER AND BADGER by Emily Jenkins
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

"A very funny and fine tribute to a very young friendship. (Picture book. 4-7)"
Tiger and Badger are very young—maybe 4—and they are best friends, doing as best friends do. Read full book review >
UPSIDE-DOWN MAGIC by Sarah Mlynowski
Released: Sept. 29, 2015

"Readers will recognize much that is familiar and appealing in this alternate universe. (Fantasy. 8-12) "
In a society where everyone has a neatly defined magical talent, Nory is a misfit. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"Snow never left you feeling warmer inside. (Picture book. 2-6)"
Three toys make their way out into their first snow. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 11, 2015

"Jenkins and Yum perfectly portray the anxiety and false bravado of this delightful cast of characters who ultimately find fun in the scary stuff. (Picture book. 4-8)"
With the help of his two dogs, a boy attempts to tackle his fears—both imagined and real. Read full book review >
A FINE DESSERT by Emily Jenkins
Released: Jan. 27, 2015

"There is no other word but delicious. (Picture book. 5-9)"
Blackberry fool is a fine dessert indeed, and people have been making it for centuries. Read full book review >
THE WHOOPIE PIE WAR by Emily Jenkins
Released: July 23, 2013

"With humor and sympathy for her appealing protagonist and his secret friend, Jenkins continues a strong series for readers of short chapter books. (Fantasy. 7-10)"
A whoopie-pie truck threatens the Wolowitz family ice cream business in this third adventure starring fourth-grader Hank and his invisible bandapat friend, Inkling. Read full book review >
WATER IN THE PARK by Emily Jenkins
Released: May 14, 2013

From sunrise to sunset on a scorching summer day, people (and animals) use the water found in a park in many different ways. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 11, 2012

"A tale of ingenuity, youthful determination and marvelous math. (Math picture book. 4-7)"
Why would anyone sell cold drinks on a blustery, winter day? Read full book review >
Released: July 24, 2012

"Appealing any time of the year. (Fantasy. 7-10)"
Brooklyn fourth-grader Hank Wolowitz faces his worst Halloween ever when his invisible friend, Inkling, discovers that pumpkins are his favorite kind of food. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 13, 2011

"This enjoyable trio deserves its rightful place away from the confines of any toy chest. (Fantasy. 6-9)"
Who could imagine the introduction of a self-conscious stingray could lead to such great things? Read full book review >
Released: April 26, 2011

Nine-year-old Hank Wolowitz fears the prospect of fourth grade at New York's PS 166 without friends—his best friend Alexander just moved away (against his will). Sasha Chin from downstairs doesn't really count as a friend, because she has three good girl friends she hangs out with half the time. When Hank reaches for a Lego piece under the sink of his family's ice-cream shop, Big Round Pumpkin, and feels fur where it shouldn't be and days later sees a waffle cone disappear bite by bite, he knows something is fishy. After Rootbeer, the neighbor's dog, goes bananas barking at nothing in the hallway, Hank discovers he has accidentally saved an invisible, furry Bandapat named Inkling. Inkling, who loves squash and can be a stranger to the truth, feels he owes Hank a debt and must stick around until he can save Hank's life. An opportunity for that just might arise, since bully Bruno Gillicut has decided that Hank annoys him and must pay by forking over his dessert at lunch every day. Jenkins' possible series starter (given the hints at the close) is a gently humorous and nicely realistic (with the obvious exception of the invisible Peruvian Bandapat) tale about coping with the loss of a lifelong best friend. (The book will feature Bliss' signature black-and-white illustrations, but no art was available at the time of review.) Anyone who who has ever had an imaginary friend will appreciate sassy Inkling (who's invisible—not imaginary). (Fantasy. 7-10)Read full book review >
Released: May 12, 2009

A boy and a kitten engage in a battle of wills over feline food preferences. When Leo finds a lost kitten on his front steps, he names her Sugar, takes her home and offers her the last piece of his chocolate birthday cake with blue-frosting roses. Sugar won't eat it. Clueless about cats, Leo queries his adult neighbors for advice on how to make Sugar eat the cake. Everyone has opinions, but nothing works. Then a distraught Leo pours himself a glass of milk and makes a chicken sandwich—and Sugar gives him a quick lesson in cat cuisine. The standoff between Leo and Sugar is reinforced by repetition of the phrase "But Sugar would not eat it," rendered in large, bold typeface, while unusual perspectives and hot, bright colors create visual tension. Potter's intense pencil, ink, gouache, gesso and watercolor illustrations generate an aura of interrogation with tiny, solitary Sugar surrounded by Leo and his judgmental neighbors. Kids who are lectured at about what to eat will identify with stalwart Sugar, who knows what she likes. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 23, 2008

A little red-haired girl observes that many of the people in her neighborhood and school seem a "little bit scary." There's the big boy on the skateboard who plays loud music, the bus driver who demands exact change, the imposing school principal with the long fingernails and the wacky music teacher who picks on kids who can't sing in tune. But are they actually scary? That cafeteria lady who limits kids to one milk probably jogs after school, singing out loud to show tunes on her headphones, and the school nurse who applies stinging lotion must play the piano as his kids "pile on his lap and pull on his ears" after work. The little girl realistically concludes that in their private lives and once you get to know them, these people probably aren't scary at all. Boiger's humorous watercolor-and-line illustrations capture the potentially scary characters from a variety of visual perspectives that reinforce the message that there's more than one way to see things. An amusing reality check for the easily intimidated. (Picture book. 3-6) Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 9, 2008

Even more tender than its predecessor, these six related stories skillfully capture the bittersweet challenges of childhood independence. Initially featured in Jenkins and Zelinsky's Toys Go Out (2006), this collection stars winsome stuffed buffalo Lumpy, endearing rubber ball Plastic and vulnerable dry-clean-only StingRay. Witty dialogue and humorous scenes enhance these well-developed characters, as the friends realize their cherished girl's growing fondness for Barbies and sleepovers takes precedence over her once-favored toys. Stories center on the new chewing-obsessed toy shark, Spark, who receives quite the unusual welcome, the perilous health of Dryer, unexpected basement parties and the toys' unfortunate experimentation with nail polish. Zelinsky's superlative black-and-white drawings never fail to bring warmth and depth to these chapters. The girl, not completely grown, occasionally still finds comfort with her toys; StingRay wisely notes that she will love them "forever but not as much." Fortunately, StingRay's statement rings false when describing this winning work, whose original fans should enjoy this entry as much as the first. Poignant and compelling, this sequel sparkles. (Fantasy. 5-9)Read full book review >
SKUNKDOG by Emily Jenkins
Released: April 29, 2008

Jenkins and Pratt team up for a second canine-themed collaboration, this time focusing on a white dog named Dumpling and her unlikely friendship with a skunk. Although Dumpling has an extra-long snout and a large nose, she can't smell anything at all, and she has no dog friends since she can't participate in the normal canine olfactory introductions. After the family moves to the country, the lonely dog tries to befriend a skunk in the backyard with predictable results. Dumpling doesn't mind being sprayed by the skunk, but her suffering family must deploy all sorts of methods to get her clean. The skunk and the dog gradually become pals, playing in the backyard and sleeping on the afghan inside Dumpling's doghouse. The relatively long story has a strong narrative voice with rich language, but the humorous illustrations are the strongest feature. Pratt's paintings use bold strokes and deep hues against the background of brilliant green grass, with blurry shadows adding a dreamlike quality to Dumpling's story. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 14, 2007

"What happens on Wednesdays is I wake up when it is still dark out." From dark to dark, a preschooler's ingenuous narration of her day is a catalogue of the sweetly ordinary sights and events that make up the length and breadth of her reassuringly stable world. Jenkins's deep understanding of what a small child marks as important informs every line of this tale, from her protagonist's declaration of independence that "today is not a kissing day" to her very personal map of her neighborhood. That takes her "up the block where we once saw an umbrella caught in a tree, past the bakery where we got that chocolate croissant, across the street, past the daycare where I used to go when I was little. . . . " Newcomer Castillo's illustrations evoke Margot Zemach, with thick smudgy lines and a wintertime palette that celebrates the leafless beauty and energy of this intimate patch of Brooklyn. From what is same every Wednesday (the preschool routine) to what is different (late afternoon play), every moment is both as particular as this one unnamed child and as general as every child. Another domestic triumph. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 12, 2006

A little girl has three toys who are best friends: Stingray, a stuffed stingray who claims to know it all, Lumphy; a daring and curious stuffed buffalo; and Plastic, a bouncing, red toy who has yet to find out her true identity. The three toys love the little girl, and life in her bedroom is fine and—usually— predictable, but when the toys go out into the wide world outside, almost anything can happen. Six stories, accompanied by Zelinsky's lively black-and-white illustrations, tell of their escapades and discoveries, including an eventful trip to the beach, the development of an intimate knowledge of the washing machine, the pitfalls of sleeping atop the bed and an understanding of the importance of birthdays. A blend of Toy Story and the stories of Johnny Gruelle and A.A. Milne, this is a solid collection that will serve as a good read-aloud, as well as a nice choice for young readers, who will enjoy exploring the warm, secret world of toys. (Fiction. 6-10)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 6, 2006

Just how far will parental love stretch? This simple text reassures tiny tots that mom and dad are sure to love them even when they whine, interrupt, forget to say "please," pour cereal on the floor and ask for every toy in the store. But what if wee ones track in mud, paint on the walls, chew with open mouths? Yup. And if that toddler screams, hides the keys, puts crayons in the dryer and refuses to get dressed? Indeed. Even when little kids mess with the checkbook, unfold the laundry, pull hair, hit someone and won't share? Yes! Kids will misbehave and parents will always love them. The comforting message is enhanced by humorous, slightly surreal watercolor illustrations featuring a very naughty little creature gleefully acting out while a very tolerant parent endures. While the assurance of parental love is commendable, might young listeners assume there are no negative consequences to misbehavior? (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
THAT NEW ANIMAL by Emily Jenkins
Released: March 10, 2005

Fudge Fudge and Marshmallow do not like the new animal, not one bit. Their people stop throwing sticks and tossing balls to the two dogs just so they can sit and look at the new animal, even kissing "it" when it cries. The dogs consider eating it, burying it, and sleeping on top of it in the cradle; then, someone else arrives, called Grandpa. Just like the new animal, he smells differently from dogs, but when he tries to pick "it" up, the dogs bark loudly; after all, it's not his new animal, it's theirs, "to hate as much as want to." As the new animal (a baby, of course) crawls its way into the dogs' hearts, they realize they can like "it" just a bit after all. Pratt quirkily illustrates the droll canine point of view with thickly colored, soft-edged broad strokes. The elongated humans reflect canine perspective and doughish-shaped heads while spare facial lines comically express canine and baby reactions. These two will fetch delight in Jenkins's clever take on new arrivals. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2004

Wielding pen, brush, and odd bits of cloth or cardboard with breezy abandon, Cantone depicts a pop-eyed, carrot-topped child in variously skewed domestic settings, tallying her "particular tastes"—"Dogs <\b>are not her favorite thing. ‘I do not like large ones that drool, but small ones that keep their tongues in their mouths are okay.' " After going on to weigh in on cats, foods, colors, her big brother, baths, boats, and baby dolls, Alberta concludes with the unsurprising revelation that her very favorite thing is (wait for it): "ME!" Self-absorbed narrators can have some entertainment value, but Alberta's voice or—despite the wildly modernist art—visual presence isn't strong enough to stand out among all the Eloises and Olivias—nor are younger readers likely to make much of her abrupt insight that, "What you like and who you are, these are not the same. But they are not so very different either," without adult interpretation. (Picture book. 7-9)Read full book review >
DAFFODIL by Emily Jenkins
Released: May 3, 2004

The creative team of Five Creatures (2001) has produced a spirited tale about individuality. People can't tell Daffodil and her sisters apart, even though Daffodil has a big mouth, Violet has squinty eyes, and Rose has a dimple in her chin. For parties, to tell the difference, their mother dresses them in different colors that match their names. Violet and Rose are "LUCKY DUCKS" because their dresses are pretty, but Daffodil hates her yellow dress because it reminds her of pee! Daffodil refuses to wear her dress the next time, because she hates it "very extremely Hugely MUCH," only to discover that her sisters hate theirs, too. When they outgrow the dresses, Mommy lets them choose new party clothes: Violet picks black with a pleated skirt, Rose picks plaid with a velvet sash, and Daffodil chooses cherry red pants with a matching jacket. Bogacki's colored chalk art flounces across the spreads with text that twirls with the girls and large type that emphasizes Daffodil's reactions. Entertaining and blooming with child appeal. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 3, 2002

"A moving and sensitive story, artfully enclosed in an engaging and deceptively lighthearted narrative."
A touching, genuinely funny debut from Jenkins (Tongue First: Adventures in Physical Culture, not reviewed) on the strange coming-of-age of a precocious girl at a progressive school in the '70s. Read full book review >
FIVE CREATURES by Emily Jenkins
Released: April 20, 2001

Shared and distinct traits appear in the five creatures in Jenkins's household—two adults, a young girl, and two cats. Bogacki (My First Garden, 2000, etc.) uses a fish-eye perspective and a schoolchild's elementary expressiveness to give these comparisons a decidedly mellow, soft-focus feel. "Four who like to eat fish. Three who like to drink milk, one who's allergic, and one who only has it in coffee. Two who like to eat mice. Only one who likes to eat beets." The comparisons fluidly shift back and forth, including adult with child, or child with cat, or any combination that fits. There are even those shared if dissimilar tastes: "Five who love birds . . . but not all in the same way." There are touches of humor: apparently one of the cats can open the cupboard door, and it's the cats and adults who can climb on high stools. The book has an appealing way of inviting the reader in, allowing for moments of identification: "Two who can read, and one who is learning" or "three who don't like taking baths." And it is also good fun to chart the action of the text; it's not always who you'd think who gets included or left out of the mix. A great introduction to Venn diagramming, but fun enough to start folks grouping on their own. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

When Billie and her baby brother, Bix, neglected children of rock stars, stow away in their uncle's car, they find themselves transported to the Borderland, a world where animals talk. When Bix is kidnapped by the evil Kingfish, Billie must try to rescue him, with help from a shady crow and a talking wheelchair. No one would ever accuse the father-and-daughter team of Jenkin and Jenkins of lacking imagination, but there's little evidence of discipline or focus anywhere. The endless parade of invention for its own sake rapidly loses control; at first diverting, the action becomes numbing, and readers won't care enough about the characters to keep traipsing after them. Truly original creative turns show promise, but can't compensate for a wild-card plot. (Fiction. 8-12) Read full book review >