Books by Fran Manushkin

PLENTY OF HUGS by Fran Manushkin
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 14, 2020

"Plenty of need for this warm hug of a book. (Picture book. 1-5)"
A sweet portrait of parental love, notable for its depiction of a two-mom family. Read full book review >
BAMBOO FOR ME, BAMBOO FOR YOU! by Fran Manushkin
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 7, 2017

"Sweet and satisfying. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Panda sisters Amanda and Miranda enjoy playing, watching other animals, and chewing on bamboo. Read full book review >
PEDRO, FIRST-GRADE HERO by Fran Manushkin
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2016

"This earnest Latino first-grader who overcomes obstacles and solves mysteries is a winning character. (Fiction. 5-7)"
The creators of the Katie Woo series turn their focus to a peripheral character, first-grader Pedro—Katie's friend and schoolmate. Read full book review >
HAPPY IN OUR SKIN by Fran Manushkin
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 25, 2015

"The combination of lovingly humorous and detailed mixed-media illustrations and infectious rhymes will cause little ones and their families to pore over this book again and again. (Picture book. 2-5)"
More than skin deep, this rhyming paean to diversity offers readers an array of families of all colors and orientations, living and loving one another in a vibrant city setting. Read full book review >
THE BELLY BOOK by Fran Manushkin
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 8, 2011

"Delightful art adds panache to this simple ode to a familiar body part. (Picture book. 2-6)"
A meditation on the middle for beginning readers and younger listeners supports some appealingly merry illustrations. Read full book review >
MANY DAYS, ONE SHABBAT by Fran Manushkin
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2011

"This light and unencumbered overture holds a substantial message for young Jewish families. (Picture book. 2-4)"
The concept of one/many runs throughout this Shabbat story featuring a modern family as it prepares to host a low-key Sabbath dinner. Read full book review >
THE TUSHY BOOK by Fran Manushkin
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2009

Using bouncy rhyme, Manushkin pays tribute to the virtues of the tush. Both animals and humans have them. Even the king and queen have tushies. Some are firm and some are droopy. It's a fun word to say, but it also cushions you during a fall. It's a place to put your underwear and something to somersault over your head. Dockray's colorful line drawings illustrate with realism and humor all the activities of the tushy, from sledding to skating to dancing. The artist's use of white space leaves the pages uncluttered, letting the detail shine through. As the author states, we all have tushies, but readers will also all have smiles after finishing this book. Having finished it once, however, they're unlikely to pick it up again; as one-joke butt books go, this pales in comparison to such derriere-licious treatments as Chicken Cheeks, by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes (2009). (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
HOW MAMA BROUGHT THE SPRING by Fran Manushkin
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 1, 2008

This delicious picture book provides the perfect recipe for those who are sick of winter. In a story within a story, a mother tells her winter-weary daughter Rosy how her mother brought spring to Minsk, by mixing eggs, milk, cheese, flour and sugar to make a wonderful surprise. Golden circles of batter, flipped from the pan onto a blue tablecloth, look "like sunflowers against a blue sky." As mother and daughter cook, the house grows warm, the snow melts and wild animals awake, sniffing the air. Papa comes home, and the family eats the golden bundles. "What is it?" asks the daughter. "It's a blintz!" answers Mama. "What a perfect name! It tastes just like it sounds—surprising and sweet." As her story concludes, Rosy's mother brings out grandmother's tablecloth, and she and Rosy prepare to make blintzes to bring spring to Chicago. A blintz recipe is included. Berry's illustrations provide exactly the right touch, from the blue-fringed tablecloth endpapers to the folk-like art full of swirls, music and Chagall-like colors and perspectives. (Picture book. 5-10)Read full book review >
THE SHIVERS IN THE FRIDGE by Fran Manushkin
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2006

What if a family of five kitchen magnets were marooned in the fridge with only their cardboard box for warmth? Manushkin's sparkling mix of folkloric repetition, funny dialogue and—"PHOOMPH!!!"—perfectly chosen sound effects, cleverly withholds its punch line till the end. All day, the Shivers face predictable but rattling events: quaking rumbles, blazes of light, "monsters" that "reached out, reached out" to snatch away bits of the foodscape. One by one, each Shiver—by design or accident—is whisked off to an uncertain fate. (In a hilarious union of art and text, Mama cavorts in warm Emerald Lake—only to stick fast as the gelatin sets: "Emerald Lake, Jolly Whip—and MAMA!—were gone.") The antic mixed media spreads hum: Compositions agreeably evoke Paul Galdone with fresh, original garnishes. Zelinsky runs with the authorial metaphor, depicting the fridge contents as a skewed, teeming village—where a milk carton's top is a pitched roof, and broccoli's a tree. From endpapers on, hidden visual clues hint at the Shivers' magnetic personalities. Cool ingredients for read-aloud laughs. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
LET GEORGE DO IT! by George Foreman
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 2005

Inspired by the lead author's real family, five brothers, teenaged to toddler and all named George, scramble about a house (decorated with portraits of historical Georges from Carver to Patton) preparing a birthday party for their same-named paterfamilias. The text runs to one-lined captions: "George made the cake. George vacuumed. George put up decorations. George took out the trash, and George took a nap"—leaving it to Martin's splashy, effervescent cartoons to show just which George does what. "Mrs. George" does put in an occasional appearance, but really, the boys have it here, and though the fixed grins on the lads and their hugely muscled Dad look more Cosby than Foreman, the theme of working together, albeit sometimes at amusing cross purposes, toward a common goal comes through without preaching. An above-average celebrity effort, with some product placement in the pictures, but less than you might expect. (Picture book. 5-7)Read full book review >
THE LITTLE SLEEPYHEAD by Fran Manushkin
BEDTIME BOOK
Released: May 1, 2004

This little sleepyhead is an urchin with wild hair and an imp's mien, and he wants to sleep after playing all day. He tries the grass, but bugs tickle him. Squirrels hug branches, but he finds trees bumpy; frogs dream on lily pads, but he just gets wet. After each trial comes the call and response: "Did he sleep? No!" When he cuddles up next to a bear and the bear snores, Little Sleepyhead shouts that he wants quiet and wants to sleep. So doing, he wakes up everybody. The beavers began chewing down trees, the crash startles the birds, whose feathers fly about into a soft pile, and—there it is: a bed! But Little Sleepyhead still isn't comfy. Along comes a lamb, he holds out his arms, and the lamb snuggles inside them. And did lamb and boy sleep? YES! Gore's beautifully luminescent images go from the colors of late afternoon to early evening in a world that is "so young that all the rocks were little pebbles." And the last sentence makes it perfect for that last story before bed. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
DAUGHTERS OF FIRE by Fran Manushkin
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

Manushkin floridly retells ten stories about women from the Hebrew Bible, all which will be well known to those who attend religious schools where Biblical stories are told. Although most chapters deal with individuals, Eve, Sarah, Rebecca, Leah, Rachel, etc., she devotes two chapters to "The Women of the Exodus," including Moses's mother, and "The Women in the Wilderness," with the incident of the golden calf. But Hebrew Bible in an English translation should be an example of plain language with certain poetic forms and repetitions meant originally to be transmitted orally. So, when the reteller reduces a perfect line, e.g., "Entreat me not to leave thee . . . " into, "Do not entreat me to leave you . . . " simplicity and clarity are lost, replaced by awkwardness and wordiness. Too often the exclamation point is used to convey excitement and danger, rather than verbs to carry the emotion. Alas, although the book is about the matriarchs, the patriarchs, by and large, still set the stage and are more centrally involved in the drama. Shulevitz (What Is a Wise Bird Like You Doing in a Silly Tale Like This?, 2000, etc.), who continues to experiment with style and media, uses mixed media and creates tactile, textured settings that convey time and place. Settings are striking, but human figures are sometimes strange, especially in profile. When Biblical stories are wanted for oral presentation, these will do and the full-page art carries. But—be warned, the wordy embellishments tend to distract from these ancient stories and histories, which is really too bad in such a lush book. (Nonfiction. 9-12)Read full book review >
STARLIGHT AND CANDLES by Fran Manushkin
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 1995

Manushkin (My Christmas Safari, 1993, etc.) affectionately depicts a contemporary Jewish family keeping Sabbath. The preparation begins on Thursday night when Rosy and Jake help Papa bake challah bread; the scent fills the house, ``a sweet hint of the Sabbath to come.'' Friday afternoon is for final preparations and soon all is ready for Mama to light the candles as the Sabbath officially begins. At dinner both Rosy and Jake lead in the singing of songs. Family stories are told and soon it's time for bed. The next day the entire family goes to services and spends the day in simple pleasures like visiting, taking walks, and snoozing. All too soon Sabbath is over, ``but next week there will be another.'' Chwast's illustrations show amiable figures in bold black outlines around clear-hued watercolor shapes. The book is well- designed; the art is wonderfully matched to the story's quiet mood and consistently appealing, sprinkled with amusing details. This fond introduction, full of information, effectively conveys the warms spirits of one family's weekly rituals. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
MY CHRISTMAS SAFARI by Fran Manushkin
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

Pretitle illustrations imply that this cumulative safari is imaginary, suggested by a gift of toy animals the narrator receives. The journey—begun when, ``On the first day of Christmas my father showed to me: A green truck for our safari''- -is both companionable and exuberant. ``Three wildebeests,/Two leopard cubs...'' and so on join the throng, with all the animals engaged in new, amusing activities on each spread. In Alley's engagingly detailed pen-and-watercolor illustrations, the five curious baboons are particularly funny, while readers will also enjoy spotting and counting the playful little cubs and the other animals. The threat of ``Eleven lions roaring,'' allayed by ``Twelve elephants trumpeting,'' makes a dramatic denouement to this creative adaptation; then the child and her dad head back to their tent—and, back home, off to bed. (Picture book. 3-7) Read full book review >