Books by Harmen van Straaten

THE SNOWMAN'S WISH by Harmen van Straaten
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2013

"The magic is missing. (Picture book. 3-6)"
On a snowy, wintry night, the toys in a woodland cottage each boast that they are the most wonderful; all except a lonely snowman in a globe, long forgotten. Read full book review >
FOR ME? by Harmen van Straaten
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 1, 2007

Innocent gifts of hearts and flowers from an anonymous donor exert a powerful effect on their recipients. When Duck discovers a red rose and a piece of paper with a red heart on his doorstep, he's surprised and suspects a trick. He runs to Toad's house for advice only to find his friends Toad, Otter and Hedgehog have also received a heart and a rose. Clueless, they immediately speculate about the significance of the hearts and roses, who they are really for and who sent the mysterious gifts. As imaginations soar, egos inflate. Each assumes he's the object of an unknown admirer until their new neighbor Mole arrives and shyly confesses she sent all the hearts and roses as a way to introduce herself. As soon as Duck, Toad, Otter and Hedgehog realize the hearts and roses were for all of them, they gallantly offer to take their new friend Mole on a boat ride. Simple illustrations executed in bold lines and primary color washes capture the confusion and eventual camaraderie of these puzzled pals. An amusing, bemusing tale. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
DUCK’S TALE by Harmen van Straaten
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2007

Something seems to have been lost in translation in this Dutch picture book featuring a story-within-a-story framework. After Duck asks bespectacled Toad to identify the red pen he found, he is convinced that if his formal, portly pal can read with the glasses he discovered, then he, Duck, can certainly compose a story with his new pen. So he begins to scribble and then asks Toad to read it. Toad's interpretation of the scribbles is a tribute to the friends who saved Duck after his migrating parents abandoned their duckling. With a confusing start, the text is choppy and wrongly implies that Toad is an illiterate fraud. As stand-alone art, the delicate illustrations are lovely, with flowing lines and soft watercolor washes in a marshland palette. But the narrative quality of the paintings is questionable, with sometimes puzzling perspective; plot elements missing in action; and endpaper portraits of a jazzercise Duck that don't jibe with the plot. In the end, this is a duck's tale most fowl, er, foul. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >