Books by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

BIM, BAM, BOP… AND OONA by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Released: Feb. 5, 2019

"Budding engineers of any species will agree that Oona has well earned the right to feel 'just as big as a duck should feel.' (Picture book. 6-8)"
A farmyard duck who's not built for speed finds a way to win the morning race down to the pond. Read full book review >
Released: May 16, 2017

"A vibrant, life-affirming tribute to a chef and his city. (authors' notes, illustrator's note, bibliography, resources, biographies) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)"
The third installment in the Food Heroes series presents Roy Choi and the Los Angeles street-food scene. Read full book review >
CREEKFINDING by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Released: March 1, 2017

"A heartening story of environmental restoration. (Informational picture book. 5-9)"
Bulldozed years earlier and filled to make a cornfield, a lost creek is found and restored on an Iowa farm. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 9, 2014

"An obvious choice in communities that have active Edible Schoolyards, it may spark some interest in communities that do not—yet. (afterword, author's note, bibliography, resources) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)"
Alice Waters, restaurateur and founder of the school garden-to-table program the Edible Schoolyard, is feted in this lively biography. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 24, 2013

"From the small press Readers to Eaters, this worthy collaboration reveals how one man's vision of food for all has inspired an amazing life of service. (afterword by Will Allen, author's note, bibliography of resource materials) (Picture book/biography. 6-11)"
Martin (Snowflake Bentley, 1998, etc.) shares the real-life story of Will Allen, innovative farmer and founder of Growing Power, an urban farm in Milwaukee. Read full book review >
Released: April 9, 2007

In this whimsical tale set in South Louisiana, readers meet a blue-headed rooster who, due to a case of the chicken measles, loses the will to trumpet the morning wake-up call. When the rooster's owner, Mrs. Vidrine, decides it's time to make some "quiet rooster stew," his friend, a brown hen called Cleoma, takes action. She and the other chickens invent ways to keep Mrs. Vidrine busy while Cleoma sets out to find musician Joe Beebee, whose marvelous music just might inspire the rooster to sound his morning call once again. In a text that is at the same time eloquent and hilarious, Martin creates a rousing barnyard tale into which she skillfully interweaves the story of fictional musician Joe Beebee, recounting his childhood love of music and his attempts to fashion his own instrument from a cigar box and an old screen door. Illustrator Sweet often includes several frames on one spread to depict everything that's happening simultaneously. Her lively illustrations, employing collage and found objects, are the perfect complement to this lyrical Louisiana tale of good music and good friends. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
BANJO GRANNY by Sarah Martin Busse
Released: Nov. 13, 2006

When Owen's distant Granny hears that he's a baby who goes "wiggly, jiggly, all-around giggly, and tip over tumble for bluegrass music," she just has to pack up her banjo and go dance with him. This is the tale of her journey, which is just as much fun as the music. At each obstacle she encounters, her banjo playing magically transforms the landscape and allows her to continue on her way to Owen's home in the city. Among other things, she tames a wild river into a quiet creek that she can row across. As Granny gets closer, readers see Owen getting ready for her (the birds update him on Granny's progress). It is easy to see the influence of Mary Poppins in Root's earth-toned illustrations, which perfectly capture the feisty bluegrass grandma and her rustic woodsy cabin. Includes music, chords and lyrics to "Owen's Song" and a short note on the beginnings of bluegrass. While less imaginative kids will be left wondering why Granny didn't hop a plane or drive her car, most will find her modes of transportation delightful and inspirational. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
ON SAND ISLAND by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Released: Aug. 25, 2003

The author of Snowflake Bentley (1998) and the illustrator of Amy Cohn's Abraham Lincoln (2002) team up for an atmospheric picture of fishing village life on an island in Lake Superior several generations ago. Setting out to build a boat from salvaged boards, ten-year-old Carl trades labor with his adult neighbors for needed skills, nails, paint, and other supplies, then rows off on an idyllic, long-anticipated outing. Martin's measured prose—"Carl dreamed about boats. / He drew the boat he would build: / a little flat-bottomed pound boat / like the fishermen use . . . "—gives the episode a grave, formal feeling, and Johnson's delicately lined, low-contrast paintings respectfully depict a community in which "island neighbors are closer than cousins," always willing to give each other a hand. Thoughtful readers will appreciate this low-key tribute to a child's determination, and to the mutual respect that binds a community together. (Picture book. 7-9)Read full book review >
Released: April 21, 2003

This poignant story of the magical gift a girl shares with her grandfather is a gem. Isabel's grandfather had a pig that was just like family to him, and the last of its litter, "The Pig of the Pig," is shy Isabel's best buddy. They accompany Grandfather "when he works the water gift," following a Y-shaped branch to find water in even the driest of fields; Grandfather says it's "the whole earth talking." When Isabel's pig goes missing, she rallies her own surprising courage, and, with Grandfather, uses the gift to find her precious friend. Martin's magnificent prose will draw the audience in, and keep them there. The narration is at once the dreamy voice of a child and the detailed, imagery-laden voice of a master storyteller. Wingerter's acrylic illustrations are swathed in soothing, subdued blues, greens, and tans—the tranquil tones follow the story's gently sloping mood. The swirling texture of the images makes the sensations of the New England scenes nearly tangible. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
SNOWFLAKE BENTLEY by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Released: Sept. 1, 1998

Wilson Bentley (1865—1931) was fascinated by snow, in childhood and adulthood, and, practically speaking, is the one who "discovered" snow crystals, by photographing them in all their variation. As a youngster, he was so taken with these little six-sided ice crystals that his parents scraped together their savings to buy him a camera with a microscope. From then on, despite his neighbors' amusement, he took hundreds of portraits of snowflakes. As an adult, he gave slide shows of his work, and when he was 66, a book was published of his photos—a book that is still in use today. Martin chronicles Bentley's life and his obsession in a main, poetic text, but provides additional facts in careful, snowflake-strewn sidebars. The deep blue snow shadows and fuzzy glow of falling flakes in Azarian's skillfully carved, hand-tinted woodcuts recreate the cold winter wonderland of "Snowflake" Bentley's Vermont. This is a lyrical biographical tribute to a farmer, whose love of snow and careful camera work expanded both natural science and photography. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-9) Read full book review >
GRANDMOTHER BRYANT'S POCKET by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Released: March 1, 1996

After the death of her dog in a barn fire, Maine farm girl Sarah Bryant has bad dreams that stick ``to her skin like . . . soot.'' Her parents try to comfort her, but when the dreams persist, her father takes her to Grandmother Bryant for a cure. Her grandmother gives Sarah a cloth purse or ``pocket,'' embroidered with the words Fear Not, but as Sarah's grandfather, Shoe Peg, predicts, ``There are no quick cures.'' In time Sarah is helped over her nightmares by a one-eyed cat who comes to sleep on her pillow and, indirectly, by a greedy neighbor who finds Sara's lost pocket and connives to keep it. Martin (Washing the Willow Tree Loon, 1995, etc.) gives the story, which is set in 1787, a distinctive tone in poetic chapters that are seldom more than a page long. Aphorisms and folk wisdom intertwine with the telling; characterizations are revealed in two or three unforgettable lines (``Beck Chadwick would walk uphill to make trouble'' and ``would rather spread bad words that eat apples''). Mathers's cameo-like illustrations harmonize beautifully with the story; its theme resonates. (Fiction. 5-9) Read full book review >
WASHING THE WILLOW TREE LOON by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

An involving tale to help youngsters understand the effects of oil spills by focusing on the travails of a single loon. Drenched in oil, a loon hides in the shallows near a willow tree. Martin (Good Times on Grandfather Mountain, 1992, etc.) introduces a succession of volunteers, diverse in occupation, age, gender, race, and in their reasons for tending birds. Methodically the bird is cleaned and cared for, until it is ready to be restored to the wild. Inspirational in tone, the book will appeal to readers with an interest in environmental matters. Carpenter's finely textured oil paintings expressively convey the practical work of cleaning birds. A fact-filled, helpful ``Note on Bird Rehabilitation'' is included. (Picture book. 5-8) Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1992

Old Washburn is a whittler and an eternal optimist. When his cow (``Blanche Wisconsin'') wanders off, he remarks that ``her milk never did make good cheese'' and fashions a drum from his milk bucket; the departure of his pig and chickens and the raccoons' depradations in his cornfield elicit equally cheerful reactions. Even when the wind blows down his cabin, Washburn sleeps happily beneath the stars and then whittles a fiddle from the pieces. The fiddle music draws his neighbors, who dance, join in on the rollicking tunes, and pitch in to rebuild his house; the animals, too, are lured back by the music. Martin's wry, nicely cadenced narration gives her tale a hearty folk-tale flavor. In her skillful watercolor art, Gaber (The Woman Who Flummoxed the Fairies, 1990) varies closeups that draw the reader right into the action with novel perspectives and, in the joyous dance scene, a sly reference to Matisse's compositions of circling figures. Entertaining, original, and beautifully produced. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >