Books by Ian Schoenherr

THE BOOK OF BOY by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 6, 2018

"Blend epic adventure with gothic good and evil, and add a dash of sly wit for a tale that keeps readers turning the page, shaking their heads, and feeling the power of choice. (Historical fiction. 8-12)"
Light and darkness have never clashed with such fierce majesty and eloquent damnation. Read full book review >
THE AFTER-ROOM by Maile Meloy
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 3, 2015

"This series finale wraps up most of its loose ends in a satisfying bow, leaving just enough room for imaginative middle-grade readers and teens to conjure up their own futures for Janie and Benjamin. (Historical fantasy. 10-14)"
Orpheus and Eurydice as incipient Cold War spies. Read full book review >
THE TWISTROSE KEY by Tone Almhjell
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 22, 2013

"Fantasy that evokes the classics of yore and stands proudly among them. (Fantasy. 9-13)"
Skillfully blending facets of classic high fantasy, this debut novel will captivate readers with its rich plot and detailed worldbuilding. Read full book review >
THE APPRENTICES by Maile Meloy
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 4, 2013

"This sober and well-constructed adventure accurately conveys the geopolitical instability of the era and is leavened with just enough magic, chaste romance and humor to appeal to middle-grade readers through teens. (art not seen) (Historical fantasy. 10-14)"
"Our work is an ongoing struggle with unintended consequences," says Marcus Burrows, the titular apothecary of Meloy's previous novel for young adults (2011). Read full book review >
THE APOTHECARY by Maile Meloy
ADVENTURE
Released: Oct. 4, 2011

"Although Janie's narration loses some of its charm and humor as the adventure escalates, its blend of history, culture and the anxiety of the time with magical 'science' will keep readers just as spellbound as the characters. (art not seen) (Historical fantasy. 10-14)"
Following the paths of Neil Gaiman, Julia Alvarez and Carl Hiaasen, bestselling author Meloy (Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It, 2009, etc.) takes a successful plunge into middle-grade fiction. Read full book review >
ALEXANDER HAMILTON by Jean Fritz
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Jan. 1, 2011

His enemies may have called him an outsider, but Alexander Hamilton was loyal to his adopted country. In a swift and lively narrative, Fritz traces Hamilton's life from his childhood in the West Indies to schooling in America and on to his involvement in just about every phase of the nation's birthing. A soldier in Washington's army, he was later asked to be on Washington's staff as an aide-de-camp, thus beginning a close relationship with the future president. Later, Hamilton was asked to be the first secretary of the treasury for the new nation, the perfect position for a Federalist, who believed in a strong central government, a national bank and a monetary standard. The narrative features abundant detail without ever losing sight of Hamilton the person, no small feat for a work about a complicated man in complex times, and Schoenherr's black-and-white illustrations are a perfect complement to the text. The volume comes to an unfortunately perfunctory conclusion with Hamilton's death in his duel with Aaron Burr, though source notes add interesting additional reading. (Biography. 9-12)Read full book review >
DON’T SPILL THE BEANS! by Ian Schoenherr
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2010

"What's THAT, Bear? / Don't spill the beans! / Don't let it slip! / Don't give it away! / Just button your lip!" Bear has a brightly colored box, but he is having a difficult time keeping its contents a secret. So he tells Elephant and Toucan…and one by one, one animal leads to another. He tips off Hippo and blabs to Rabbit. Before long everyone knows. Everyone but the readers, that is. "Well, Bear, / THAT was fun, / but didn't you / forget someone?" When he and his pals spell it out, it's a special wish about a very special day. Schoenherr's vibrantly dressed, wide-eyed animals are expressive, and each is overjoyed to be in on the secret. The ink-and-acrylic illustrations hearken back to the Golden Books of days long gone, and the big, friendly, hand-lettered text makes this ideal for doing double duty as a beginning reader for those just learning to sound out their letters and put together words. Great for storytimes on secrets or as a special birthday gift. (Picture book. 1-4)Read full book review >
READ IT, DON’T EAT IT!  by Ian Schoenherr
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 2009

The appealing cover is sure to entice young hands to reach for this preschooler's primer on how to treat books and behave in libraries. Jauntily dressed animals demonstrate 15 caveats with the fuzzy bear from the cover acting as top banana throughout. The rhyming dos and don'ts are printed in a very large font on the left page while the right side visually demonstrates: "Find someplace else to sneeze" shows a denim-wearing elephant holding a book to its mouth and sneezing through its trunk; "Be careful with it at the pool" has a hippo wearing a green-on-yellow polka-dot swimsuit holding a book while floating on a rubber raft; "Don't overdue it, just renew it" finds the bear staggering under a tall load of books. The clean ink-and-acrylic illustrations, akin to the author/illustrator's Cat and Mouse (2008), are pleasingly playful, with white type on the verso color pages contrasting with the brightly colored scenes set against white backgrounds on the recto. Ideal for preschool storytimes; librarians will love it (although they might have to explain "Don't censor, delete, or deface"). (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
CAT & MOUSE by Ian Schoenherr
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

"So I won't pull her tail / Nor drive her away, / But Kitty and I / Very gently will play…" The "I" in Schoenherr's free adaptation of three nursery rhymes is a sportive, mischievous mouse that Kitty pretends to ignore until making a quick feint to grab the wee beasty. The book's text ebbs and flows to "I Love Little Pussy," "Hickory, Dickory, Dock" and "Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo," though surely it is the artwork that will hold the attention of the young. Schoenherr's fine and sure line work could have become antiseptic, but maintains the dignified playfulness of a china doll. And operating inconspicuously under the frolicsome game of cat-and-mouse is just a hint of gathering menace betrayed by Kitty's limpid, chartreuse eyes. Smart Mouse knows you can push a cat only so far—"I'll never vex her / Nor make her displeased. / For Kitty can't bear / To be worried or teased"—before playtime becomes dinnertime. (Picture book. 2-4)Read full book review >
PIP & SQUEAK by Ian Schoenherr
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 1, 2007

This appealing picture book profiles the winter journey of mice Pip and Squeak, as they go from their home in a mailbox through a rural landscape buried under snow, to the birthday celebration of their forest friend, Gus. The briskly succinct text manages to hold its own with alliteration, repetition and even a touch of wordplay. But as with many books for the very young, the bright pictures do much of the heavy lifting. The action-packed, mixed-media paintings are big and bold, with a nimble handling of color, texture, perspective and momentum. The lap set will delight in the escapades of the intrepid rodents as they traipse like trapeze artists across a clothesline and scale a snowman as if it were Mount Everest. One minute, kids will feel superior to Pip, who mistakes the snowman's carrot nose for cheese; the next, they will hold their breath as the little fellow tumbles off the side of the snowman. Rest assured: This soon-to-be popular offering ends on a happy—albeit surprising—note. (Picture book. 1-4)Read full book review >
SLEEPYHEAD BEAR by Lisa Westberg Peters
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 2006

Bear is kept from his summertime snooze by buzzing, stinging and whirring bugs. Growling, swimming, swatting and climbing fail as escape attempts. In desperation, he climbs inside a too-small hollow log that then rolls down a hill, tossing poor bear into a meadow. By now, he is too tired and sore to even attempt to elude the bugs. But maybe he doesn't have to. Summer is filled with non-annoying insects, too—bugs that flutter and tickle bear's bad mood away. As the stars and fireflies come out, snoring can be heard coming from bear's direction. Peters's attempt to stick to the rhyme scheme often sacrifices the rhythm of the verses—those who share this aloud may stumble. Spot-on facial expressions make Schoenherr's illustrations shine. His renderings of the insects are remarkably lifelike, while bear and the raccoons are stuffed animals come alive. This dichotomy enhances the bear-against-the-bugs aspect of the story. A sweet summertime bedtime tale sure to garner an empathetic smile from anyone who has ever suffered mosquito-buzzing-in-the-ear insomnia. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
SUNRISE, SUNSET by Sheldon Harnick
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2005

Schoenherr uses the original setting for the renowned song's first appearance in this format, capturing its wistful tone with light-drenched scenes that basically reproduce the sets for Fiddler on the Roof, and people in shtetl garb who sometimes resemble the play's cast members. The lyric is voiced by an adult, and though children won't find the theme of time's too-quick passage particularly meaningful, they'll have no trouble following the two young lovers through courtship and wedding to a final tableau with a child of their own—and will likely join their parents or librarians in singing the lines. So despite the less than venturesome setting, this makes a good choice for intergenerational sharing. Musical arrangement at the end. (Picture book. 5-7)Read full book review >
LITTLE RACOON’S BIG QUESTION by Miriam Schlein
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2004

Poking his wet head out of his bath, Little Raccoon asks his mother an important question: "When do you love me most of all?" He offers many guesses, wondering whether it's when he wakes her in the morning, or when he has good manners at the table. Is it when he plays in the trees with the other raccoons or when he swims all the way across the pond and back? Finally tired and ready for bed, Little Raccoon is out of guesses. Hugging him close to her chest mother tells him her answer, "Now." Little Raccoon's big brown eyes shine from the pages as he tries to guess when he's most loved. Bath times in a mixing bowl and play time in a many-limbed tree rendered in acrylics and ink offer amusing illustrations to accompany the quiet story. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 1998

Littlesugar continues her series of picture books about artists (A Portrait of Spotted Deer's Grandfather, p. 1308, etc.) with this retelling of an incident that happened when Homer was mid-career. During the Civil War, as an illustrator for Harper's Weekly, Homer became interested in the lives of the former slaves. In 1875 and 1876 he returned to the South to find out how they had fared in the decade since the war's end. In contrast to the derogatory stereotypes then common in depictions of plantation life, Homer painted African-Americans with sympathy, dignity, and beauty, capturing, at one point, a man dressed for Jonkonnu, an old slave holiday. His interest was not appreciated by some of the local white toughs, whose confrontation with Homer on the porch of the town hotel is the central incident in Littlesugar's book. It is related in the colloquial voice of the fictional Cilla, here presented as the daughter of the hotel owner. In sketchbook style, many of the illustrations consist of figures without background, which has the effect of highlighting the composition of the figures in space and intensifying the drama of the relationships between them. Ideally, this book might be paired with a work such as Ann Keay Beneduce's A Weekend with Winslow Homer (1993) to give readers a better sense of Homer's life, times, and work than is provided in the excellent but very brief endnote. (Picture book. 8-11) Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Sept. 10, 1996

The question of how it might have felt to pose for the famous Monsieur Degas is considered in Littlesugar's story. Schoenherr's lovely, rich full-color illustrations copy the style of Degas's pastel ballet studies, bringing the artist's studio and era to life. The text is more socially conscious than aesthetically pleasing, e.g., Marie is called a ``rat'' rather than ``petit rat,'' the more affectionate appellation for beginning dancers, and the sentence that ``she danced as hard as the main ballet girls'' falls flat. The tale, however, is both imaginative and realistic, incorporating Degas's reputation for being demanding with his models and the working class origins of many of the dancers at the Paris Opera. Here, Marie von Goethem's mother is a laundress, and her father is a tailor. While Marie poses for what will be the sculpture known as ``The Little Dancer,'' she is not exhausted, for Degas gives her imagination flight, helping her to become a better dancer. The idea is charming and balances nicely with the reality: Many dancers lived in obscurity, unsung except for Degas's immortalization of moments they spent backstage or in the chorus. An unusual, thoughtful look behind the scenes in both the performing and visual arts, this is a comely story that will be useful in curricula. (Picture book. 6+) Read full book review >
AMERICA ALIVE by Jean Karl
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 19, 1994

Karl (The Search for the Ten-Winged Dragon, 1990, etc.) admits in her foreword that America Alive is by no means a complete history of this land. How could it be when she covers from the first people to travel across the land bridge between Asia and America, during the Ice Age, until the present? That said, this book is an easy and enjoyable read. Because the narrative flows naturally from subject to subject, and is finished in little over 100 pages, the reader can truly see history's own narrative unfolding. Karl divides her work into ten chapters: ``The First Americans'' is about Native American culture before the arrival of Europeans; ``The First Settlers'' covers Roanoke Island, Jamestown, and the Puritan settlements; ``Finding a New Way'' discusses the Revolutionary War and the building of the nation; and so on. The idea of placing standing portraits of historical figures in the margins is inspired. They don't disrupt the text, they add to the general sense of continuity, and they are an education in themselves. Unlike more comprehensive volumes, Karl's gives the student of history an overview of the forest. And what a magnificent forest it is. (Bibliography; index) (Nonfiction. 10-14) Read full book review >
NEWF by Marie Killilea
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 16, 1992

Basing her tale on a legend heard on the GaspÇ Peninsula, Killilea tells a sweet story about a Newfoundland—a huge, bear- like dog—and a kitten. Mysteriously, ``the Newf'' appears on shore on a spring day and moves into an abandoned cottage, where there's already a thin but feisty kitten. The Newf procures a fish and shares it; the kitten playfully tackles his tail, and the two make an affectionate alliance. A bit of drama is added by a summer rescue of the kitten from the waves and by one in the winter from a snowslide, but the real appeal here is in the relationship, especially as portrayed in Schoenherr's lovely, elementally simple paintings, which have virtually no details- -just sea, sky, grass or snow, an occasional glimpse of the cabin, and the immense, gentle black dog and his tiny companion. And then what? Better not ask. Charming. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >