Books by Jacqueline Rogers

GOBLIN MOON by Jacqueline Rogers
Released: July 23, 2019

"A just-scary-enough romp for the brave. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A Goblin Moon on Halloween night brings the goblins out to frolic. Read full book review >
Released: May 10, 2016

"Produced to celebrate the National Park Service's upcoming centenary, a breezy invitation to prospective travelers to 'get out there!' (Picture book. 6-8)"
A family road trip through several national parks transforms young Jane's feelings about missing out on a summer of online fun with her friends. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 10, 2014

"As with many holiday gifts, the sparkly packaging may interest toddlers more than what's inside. (Board book. 1-3)"
Readers can count down eight of Santa's reindeer as they jump up and out of the scene. Read full book review >
ROCKET RIDE by Graham Salisbury
Released: Sept. 11, 2012

"Calvin continues to charm. (Fiction. 7-10)"
When Calvin Coconut's father schedules a concert in Oahu to promote his popular new album, Rocket Ride, Calvin is nervous and excited to see him for the first time in four years. Read full book review >
CALVIN COCONUT:  KUNG FOOEY by Jacqueline Rogers
Released: Sept. 13, 2011

"This newest continues to spin a fun and thoughtful yarn. (Fiction. 7-10)"
Sixth in a winning series set in Oahu, Hawaii, this latest about 9-year-old Calvin spins a new twist about his struggle with the island bully that will leave readers satisfied with its auspicious, though imperfect, resolution. Read full book review >
Released: March 8, 2011

Fifth in the Calvin Coconut series, this fast and engaging read focuses on fourth-grader Calvin, who lives with his mom, little sister and a teenage houseguest, Stella, since his father left the family. Set on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, this installment takes a distinctive turn toward adventure as torrential rains cause terrible flooding and Calvin finds himself and a friend in danger. Rogers' pen-and-ink drawings are nicely expressive, their playful feel becoming more subdued when depicting the more serious event of the flood. The ongoing strengths of the series are once again present in this volume—cultural details that emerge contextually and blend seamlessly with the narrative and an appealingly realistic depiction of Calvin's busy and sometimes stressed family. In an earlier volume, his mom's boyfriend, Ledward, began transforming into more of a father figure for Calvin, and here, Stella's boyfriend, Clarence, also starts to serve as a role model. While young audiences will appreciate and be drawn in by the quick-moving action, the at-times predictable plot is not the point here. Rather, it is what keeps readers moving through this nuanced, often very funny and heartfelt story of a boy's growth and understanding of his role in a family made stronger by its willingness to redefine itself. (Fiction. 7-10)Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 9, 2010

A school assignment about persuasive writing frames this appealing third offering in a series set on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. Along with his classmates, Calvin is at first hesitant to write on the topic, "What I want so badly I can taste it," as assigned to them by well-liked teacher Mr. Purdy. However, when he realizes that what he really wants is a dog like the one he had when his father was still around, he finds unexpected aid in persuading his mother from Ledward, her boyfriend. A somewhat sweeter tone takes hold in this latest in the line-up, in which Calvin's relationship with Ledward deepens and the adult's role modeling helps him to understand more about his responsibilities at home. Rogers's black-and-white, shaded illustrations are again a welcome complement—in particularly, the playful, dynamic depictions of Streak, the dog on which Calvin eventually sets his sights. A healthy dose of humor, such as Ledward's pet pig that rides with him in the front seat of his jeep, will keep readers engaged. (Fiction. 7-11)Read full book review >
CALVIN COCONUT by Graham Salisbury
Released: Sept. 8, 2009

This second installment about Oahu-dwelling Calvin builds on the engaging story line first introduced in the chapter-book series's debut title, Calvin Coconut, Trouble Magnet (2008). Annoyed by the teasing doled out by their 16-year-old houseguest Stella, Calvin borrows Zippy, a neighborhood cat, and places it on her pillow, which causes a nasty allergy attack. Afterward, Calvin is unexpectedly consumed by guilt and he soon hatches a scheme to make it up to her with a snazzy but pricey birthday gift. With the help of his friends, Calvin searches the island high and low for ways to make money (while avoiding bully Tito), and the inevitable hijinks ensue. While somewhat formulaic, this slice-of-life-styled look at Calvin's working-class family includes the experiences of having an absentee father, a busy-but-more-than-capable mom and siblings, complete with realistic strife, all of which add some depth. Rogers's simple black-and-white illustrations are a fine embellishment. Light in tone, rich with cultural details and populated by likable characters, this slim volume will appeal to many a young reader. (Fiction. 7-10)Read full book review >
CALVIN COCONUT by Graham Salisbury
Released: March 24, 2009

Believable, funny characters populate this chronicle of fourth grader Calvin's life on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. In short chapters narrated in the first person, Calvin and his friends reluctantly bid summer adieu and begin the new school year. Coinciding with this is his mom's announcement of the imminent arrival of her friend's teenage daughter from Texas. Her stay forces poor Calvin to move into the storage room, crawling with a host of creepy insects, including a centipede he captures in a jar. As the subtitle suggests, only mischief can ensue. The story line here is a familiar one of an (at times, overly) energetic but well-meaning boy stumbling into mishap. Yet the cultural details of Oahu emerge naturally, the inevitable neighborhood bully is richly developed and the familial relationships among Calvin and his sister, their mom and her boyfriend are touching, realistically tempered with moments of frustration. Rogers's lively ink-and-wash drawings augment the story and evoke a playful feel. An auspicious start to a series that is likely to have broad appeal. (Fiction. 7-10)Read full book review >
BETSY B. LITTLE by Anne McEvoy
Released: Jan. 1, 2009

This vertically enhanced title follows the fortunes of Betsy B. Little, extraordinarily tall giraffe and ballet enthusiast. Betsy's dream is to be a ballerina, but an unfortunate run-in with the ceiling and the snark of her fellow students relegate this lone artist to the great outdoors. Once there, however, she discovers that the sky's the limit (so to speak) when it comes to dancing beneath the stars. It's the usual "be yourself" fare, but the conclusion may leave readers scratching their heads. So Betsy B. Little proves that she can be a great ballerina by merely being outside? Seems a bit lacking. On top of that, there's not really enough story to justify the book's 32 pages. Though Rogers's thick-painted watercolors and characters charm, there isn't much here that's going to distinguish Betsy's from the hundreds of other animals-who-want-to-dance picture books out there. Nice enough, but reach for Dumpy La Rue, by Elizabeth Winthrop and illustrated by Betsy Lewin (2001), if there's a need for an anthropomorphic fix en pointe. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
ONE TRACTOR by Alexandra Siy
Released: March 1, 2008

A young boy's imagination fuels adventures galore in this clever one-to-ten counting book. When the boy's toy tractor runs out of gas, he turns to other amusements; as he flies his toy plane, he looks up to see a small mouse piloting one higher up in the sky. The two new friends welcome three boatloads of pirates, who quickly join in the fun, acting on their own instead of being manipulated by the boy as regular playthings are. Together, they all build roads, battle a fire-breathing dragon, take a train ride and peddle their bicycles. When the fun is done, the boy solemnly waves goodbye to the already distant ships and plane. One of the last spreads shows him fast asleep in the grass and surrounded by the toys that inspired his amazing imagination. Rogers's watercolors truly make this concept come to life. Each of the toys has its own personality, and young readers will patiently seek out each of their silly antics on the generous full-page spreads. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

This unusual mid-level easy reader employs realistically illustrated animal characters who speak to one another and use logic to solve a problem together. A hunting dog who is searching for quail meets a mother turkey who is distraught at the theft of some of her eggs. The helpful dog tries to find the thief and along the way meets another female turkey who has also lost some eggs to the same thief, an opossum. The dog helps one turkey move her remaining eggs to the other turkey's nest where they can cooperatively raise their babies together, and the babies then treat both turkeys and the dog as parents. Though the dialogue between the animals implies a fictional treatment, the illustrations are realistically portrayed and some concrete scientific concepts are worked into the text. Animal lovers who are learning to read might find this considerate pointer and his turkey friends a welcome change from more usual easy-reader plotlines, and of course, there is the ever-popular tie-in with the Thanksgiving holiday to provide another use in the classroom. (Easy reader. 5-8)Read full book review >
CARS by Nancy Smiler Levinson
Released: Sept. 1, 2004

This mid-level early reader focuses on the history of the automobile industry. The chronological organization begins with earlier forms of transportation and continues with the invention of the automobile in Germany and the US, the development of the assembly line in Detroit, and early days of family driving with open cars—"Mama wore a long coat, goggles, and a beehive bonnet. . . . The children wore hoods. So did their pet dog!" The history continues up to the current era, with mention of gas shortages, pollution, and the development of hybrid cars. Woven into the narrative is the sociological impact of the automobile with an eye to the young reader's interests. Watercolor illustrations on each page provide accurate historical references to the early autos in their respective settings. Additional information includes a time line and a glossary of terms. A topic with definite appeal, full of fascinating details. (Easy reader. 5-8)Read full book review >
KINDERGARTEN COUNT TO 100 by Jacqueline Rogers
Released: July 1, 2004

Rogers offers a counting book for kids who like a little action with their numbers. The numbers are introduced—and shown to have practical application—as ragamuffin Petey goes through a day at school. There are two sisters to tickle awake, five friends with baseball caps sitting in the school bus, seven giant steps from the water fountain to the classroom door. The energetic art encourages readers to dig in and start counting: adding up the footsteps is particularly effective, and so too are the times when all the elements are jumbled together—say a swarm of kids standing in line seen from the front—and younger counters will have their eye-number coordination tested. This is a very straightforward counting affair, no gimmickry or numerical sleight of hand, and ought to serve well as a secondary introduction for numbers one to twenty, with 100 thrown in for good measure. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
Released: March 2, 2004

Yes, nine-year-old Chelsea, whose family life revolves around church activities, is perfect most of the time. She prays to God to keep her perfect as the best acolyte, best Sunday School helper, and best good-deed-doer—but when her prayer for Mrs. Cruz doesn't keep her from dying, she has her first fight with God. Her Jewish friend Naomi is a foil for common fourth-grade encounters with school events, family traditions, and religious beliefs, as is her nemesis, klutzy Danny, who disrupts the youth bell choir and the church play about the Good Samaritan. Unusual for its focus on religion for this age, nevertheless the kids' behavior and questions about prayer and values ring fairly realistic. A nice touch at the end is when the beloved older minister leaves for a new church and is replaced by a woman. (Fiction. 7-10)Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 15, 2003

Retelling the tale "Why Dogs Have Wet Noses" from the dog's perspective, Cullen sets the story in America and uses Appalachian dialect recorded by Richard Chase. The result is a folksy, charming, appealing variation. "Folks didn't take much to dogs in them days, thought dogs were no count, just toters of fleas." When Little Scraggly Hair limps into Noah's barnyard where he's sawin' and hammerin' away, the two take to each other immediately. Scraggly totes his bag of nails and herds the critters onto the ark. Come the rains, he bounds up the ramp, but there's no room. He's "stuck 'tween a pair of cranky bears and two snortin' buffaloes. Fits so tight, he has to stick his nose through a knothole," where, many days later, a dove with a branch lands. Colorful watercolor illustrations harmonize with the folksy tone and effective points of view buoy up the subtleties. An author's note upfront details her story's origin. Another refreshing take on the biblical story, less religious, more human nature. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2003

A traditionally depicted Santa and his reindeer arrive at a spooky, underground home to deliver presents on Christmas Eve. Though the text is familiar, this family is quite different: green goblins with buggy eyes, pointed ears, and three toes on each foot. The father goblin narrates the poem as in most versions, but the ten goblin children stop dreaming of sugarplums (bugs and worms) to join in the action. They pounce on Santa, grab the toys, and chase the terrified elves, until Santa fills all the stockings—with the little goblins. He escapes to his sleigh, hog-tying the goblins that still cling to his legs, with one goblin peeking out from the pack of toys on the final, wordless page. The juxtaposition of the familiar poem with the hilarious goblins makes a funny parody, and the naughty (but cute) goblin children add a new note of Christmas cheer to the old words. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
GOOSED! by Bill Wallace
Released: Nov. 15, 2002

A dog's settled, comfortable life gets a nip in the nether parts after a puppy's sudden arrival. When T.P., named for an incident in his past involving the room with what he calls the "tall, white drinking bowl," hears human buddy Jeff telling his mom and dad about a "chocolate lab" on loan for just a week, honest, he has no idea that the household is about to acquire (permanently, of course, by the end) a new resident for whom the word "frisky" is way too pale. Not only is the four-legged youngster both leaky and ignorant of proper canine protocols, she unleashes a nonstop barrage of irritating chatter—"Are you a dog? You smell like a dog, only not as big or pretty as my mother. Are these your people? Are they going to be my people?"—and claims entirely too much of Jeff's attention to boot. T.P. sulks at first, but it's just not in his nature to stay down for long. After rescuing the newly-named Mocha from being drowned by a wild goose, he comes to terms with his new role as caregiver. Rogers's accurately detailed drawings, replete with smiles and close-ups of the exuberant pup, capture not only the semi-rural setting, but the engagingly doggy spirit of this upbeat animal tale. (Fiction. 10-12)Read full book review >
KINDERGARTEN ABC by Jacqueline Rogers
Released: Aug. 1, 2002

Rogers returns to the class from Tiptoe into Kindergarten (1999) to introduce a flurry of letters and words in the always-winning treasure-hunt format that will have eyes poring over the pages. Using a letter-day approach, the class works its way through the alphabet—upper and lower case—focusing on activities each day that highlight the featured letter, but readers are encouraged to search the picture beyond that obvious connection. So, on Bb day, there are not only backpacks, but a ball, bat, boat, books, boots, bottles, boxes, boy, braid brown, and brush. On Nn day, it's not just nickels, but necklace, nine, noses, note, numbers, nut. A good number of the items are none too easy to locate, but they are all there to the attentive eye. This not a primer on the ABCs, but an extension of the letter-learning process, a vocabulary builder that will test readers with the likes of easel, knees, llama, quarrel, and tambourines. (Picture book. 4-6)Read full book review >
I WANT TO SAY I LOVE YOU by Caralyn Buehner
Released: Dec. 1, 2001

In a tender tale that captures the essence of childhood, a mother describes the myriad reasons she adores her offspring. The perceptive verses detail the enchanting vagaries of young children: sleep-tousled hairdos, decidedly offbeat fashion notions, questionable love offerings—dead insects, for example—skinned knees, and more. Beuhner's keen observations reveal a universal truth: it's those lovable quirks and foibles that so endear children to their parents. The phrase "I love you" is the emphatic statement that echoes throughout the poem, whether it's prefaced with the very honest sentiments of "I love you because of . . . " or "in spite of . . . " Aware that the path of parenthood is not always smoothly traversed, Buehner succinctly sums up the contraposition inherent in the parent/child relationship. "I am big, and you're still small, / We don't see things the same at all." Yet she swiftly bridges the generation gap with the reassurance, "But that's okay." Rogers's unique artwork clearly expresses the emotions within. Collages created out of assorted pieces of paper layered together and then painted and drawn upon add depth and vitality to the illustrations. The rich tones of the full-color pictures provide an ideal backdrop for the deeply moving poem. A perfect way to show little ones they are cherished. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 15, 2001

In 1869, at the age of 55, a big woman with a big name—Esther Mae Hobart McQuigg Slack Morris—headed to Wyoming Territory. She believed a woman should be able to vote and to hold office and she set about to see to it that she could in South Pass City. Sure enough, on election day her doctor attested that "the operation of voting had no ill effects on a woman's health." She went on to become Justice of the Peace when her predecessor resigned over woman suffrage only to turn the job back over to him, once she'd proven herself. When the demise of gold fever caused South Pass City to dwindle, Esther Morris moved on to other places in Wyoming, but she had made a convert to the cause in a young lawyer named Ben Sheeks, who brought the message to Washington State and Utah. The story is told as the rollicking tale it is, and the brightly colored pictures feature the exaggerated facial expressions and golden exterior light of a fine Wild West, cartoon newsreel. Even the horses have big personalities. Wyoming was the first territory to grant women the right to vote, decades before American women in general could. This is a fun-loving look at one woman's place in that history. An author's note includes sources, Web sites, and places to visit. (Nonfiction. 6-9)Read full book review >
WITCH TWINS by Adele Griffin
Released: July 1, 2001

Two novice Philadelphia witches discover both that magic is harder to control than it seems and that they're not as inseparable as they supposed, in this lighthearted family story with a twist, from the author of Dive (1999). Outwardly identical, inwardly "as different as the sun and moon, peaches and peanut butter, or long division and poetry," Claire and Luna Bundkin "love-love-love" many of the same things, but "hate-hate-hate" the news that their father has proposed to brassy Houston fashion designer Fluffy Demarkle. As the two search for appropriate spanners to throw into the works, subplots bubble up: the twins come up for their first Witch Tests (dubbed "GST's"); a bobbled love spell gets a bully off older brother Justin's back in hilariously effective fashion; and for the first time in their school careers, Claire and Luna are placed into separate classes—a separation that turns out to be considerably less traumatic than expected. With deceptive offhandedness, Griffin speeds the tale along to the climactic wedding, which the repentant twins manage to rescue from the results of their own spell-casting in the nick of time, earning in the process their witch's stars and a pair of kitten familiars to boot. Preteen readers will "love-love-love" watching these seemingly ordinary 11-year-olds in action. (Fiction. 10-12)Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2001

Luna has begun to have some reservations camping, but her twin, Claire, is determined to be elected "Camp Bliss Girl." At first the idea of going away to camp seemed exciting, but as the date draws near, Luna begins to feel unsure of herself. She has never been as good at making friends as her twin and she dreads having to participate in sports at camp. Her five-star-witch grandmother attempts to smooth over her fears by giving her some magical marigold powder that should give Luna more zest. Unfortunately, the powerful powder is stolen from Luna's suitcase and strange things begin happening, leading Luna and Claire to suspect that there is a rebel witch at Camp Bliss. Luna is prompted to find her niche in this unfamiliar environment and Claire learns some humility at the hands of an equally good athlete. Hilarity ensues as the mystery of the hidden witch unfolds. This latest adventure of the identical witch twins will enlighten as it entertains. Young girls will identify with Luna's fears and Claire's aspirations as they secretly wish to have magical powers themselves. (Fiction. 7-11)Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2001

A poignant tale about a pint-sized tot who longs to be big. The youngest of eight, little Maggie McGee can't wait to do all the fun things her brothers and sisters do, like riding bikes and going to school. Too often, being the littlest means being left out. In due time she enters school, only to make the disheartening discovery that there are still more big-kid activities and privileges just out of her reach. "I will never big enough, thought Maggie. Not in my whole life." However, when Maggie's older brother forgets his lines during the fourth-grade play, it's none other but the littlest who comes to his rescue. With a wry but sympathetic eye, Van Leeuwen paints an accurate portrait of life at the bottom of the family totem pole. Readers will empathize with Maggie's predicament, her tale being an anthem for all younger siblings, who can glean some measure of hope (and reassurance) from her experiences. Rogers's soft watercolors add a dash of zest to the slow-paced tale, marking Maggie's growth with changes in hairstyle and her proportion to her surroundings. Detailed paintings don't miss a beat, capturing all the humor of the situations and Maggie's spunky determination to measure up to the older kids. More slice-of-life than high adventure, Van Leeuwen's story is sweetly engaging; it putters along at an even keel without ever reaching any exciting peaks but is never the less a satisfying read. And just watch what happens when Maggie really grows up. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
A BIG, SPOOKY HOUSE by Donna Washington
Released: July 1, 2000

This ghost story has more than a touch of the shaggy dog about it and would certainly be more successful as a performance piece than as a storybook. In Washington's version of the traditional scary tale, the fall guy is "a big man, a strong man" who not only has never backed away from a fight, he spoils for them (The Story of Kwanzaa, 1997, etc.). When he is challenged by one of the ladies in town to join the volunteer army, he accepts and sets off to join up. He turns down any assistance on the way—he wants no help—but when rain starts falling in the middle of the night, he takes cover in a spooky house on a hill. Although no one is in evidence, the door creaks open for him, a fire is blazing in the hearth, and a sumptuous meal is set out. Lesser mortals would flee, but not our big, strong man. A cat appears, leaps in the fire, licks upon a hot coal, and asks, "Are you going to be here when John gets here?" "And past that," says the man. A bigger cat appears, leaps in the fire, chews on a burning log, asks the same question, gets the same answer. When yet a third cat, big as a pony, arrives, eats the other two cats, licks the fireplace clean, and pops the question, our big man, our strong man, takes a powder. Why did he flee? Who is John? Who's that even bigger cat reflected in the mirror? Dunno. Even as material for a storyteller, it is hard to see how this ending works, though, thankfully, the same can't be said for Rogers's watercolors, which are terrific scene-setters, if abandoned at the climax. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 1999

An incantatory surge drives this simple story to an inspired place far beyond the elemental confines of the plot. Empathic watercolor illustrations depict a preschooler's introduction to kindergarten; she goes on tiptoe into her older brother's classroom: "I can be/so very still. Hiding, hiding,/I can watch now/what they're doing/all day long." As she explores, she gets drawn in, "On the chalkboard/I make letters/Take my turn/when they are done." Sometimes the girl investigates on her own, with blocks and puzzles and a search for the bathroom; other times there is distant engagement: "Singing songs now/jumpy songs now/Clapping hands/and stomping feet." By the end of the day, the girl is ready for her own first day in kindergarten, sometime soon. Children will doubtless appreciate not just the defusing of kindergarten angst, but the compassionate, vivid musicality of Rogers's pages as well. (Picture book. 4-6) Read full book review >
PRIVATE LILLY by Sally Warner
Released: July 1, 1998

Lily, who is six, her brother Casey, twelve, and their mother have moved from a house in New Jersey to a small apartment in Philadelphia. Casey has a space of his own, while Lily has to share a room with her mother. Seeking privacy, Lily attempts to sleep in the bathtub with the chair cushions, but the faucet leaks and the cushions get wet; she then tries to make a cave under the kitchen table that lasts only until a spider takes a walk across her face. Sleeping in the closet doesn't work out much better. Casey provides the solution when he spots a folding screen in a used-furniture store, which the family refurbishes to Lily's satisfaction. Warner keeps the tone light and the focus tight, so readers only know that the family's reduced circumstances are because a "mean judge" has sent Lily's father to jail for "taking stuff that wasn't his." In true six-year-old form, Lily's attention is on the problem of privacy, and while a one-chapter predicament has been spun into a novel, the childlike first-person narration is written with considerable humor and grace. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 7-9) Read full book review >
THERE GOES LOWELL'S PARTY! by Esther Hershenhorn
Released: March 15, 1998

Old proverbs foretelling rain figure prominently in this tale of a little boy's birthday hopes. Lowell has been scratching the days off his calendar all year in anticipation of his birthday: As he sees it, the family will flock, music will flow, and it will be a proper celebratory hoedown. When a red sky in the morning suggests that all may not go as planned, Lowell's mother is cautious when he brings her word of the glorious dawn. Nor does his father like those low-flying geese, nor granny the flapping oak leaves. But Lowell trusts his Ozark Mountain cousins to make it, his hopes soaring then dimming when each passing sign is interpreted. This is a big-hearted, can-do tale full of good cheer and trusty kinfolk, and the story is given an added verve through Rogers's fine, place-summoning watercolors. In her debut, Hershenhorn includes a list of rain-related proverbs at the end of the book, many of which are right as rain. (Picture book. 6-10) Read full book review >
WEIRD PET POEMS by Dilys Evans
Released: Oct. 1, 1997

Animals great and small, real and imaginary sprawl across Rogers's vigorous, spread-filling, eye-filling watercolors in this wild and woolly successor to Monster Soup and Other Spooky Poems (1992). Evans opens with a poem of her own, sending a joyous eight-year-old out to celebrate his birthday by searching for the perfect pet. He considers James Reeves's ``The Doze'' (``Through Dangly Woods the aimless Doze/A-dripping and a-dribbling goes''), then a yak, a pterodactyl, a bat, a monkey, an ant, a mud-loving ``Mudgimu,'' and others, who appear in poems by Marilyn Singer, Theodore Roethke, May Swenson, et al. At last he settles on Issa's puppy, sleeping in the long grass ``with a leaf stuck in his mouth.'' With just 14 poems, including the one on the endpapers, this is a slender gathering, but the selections vary nicely in tone and level of discourse, and the illustrations expand upon the pieces with exuberance. (Picture book/poetry. 6-9) Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1995

Can a puppy grow up into a girl? Aleasha Ann Davidson does just that in this entertaining, simple chapter book. Aleasha, who narrates, describes her arrival in the household as an Australian shepherd puppy. Nick, who had wanted a brother or sister, quickly adjusts to his pet, but his pet's adjustment surprises the whole family. With a puppy's reasoning, Aleasha decides that being human would be more fun and in the course of the book, with comic incidents along the way, turns into an affectionate seven-year-old girl. Children may be bothered by the way Aleasha can repeat and understand words from puppyhood, at the same time explaining to readers that she doesn't, in fact, comprehend much of what she has heard. It's not the only gap in logic, but the story has the appeal of a good family read-aloud, regardless of its imperfections. (Fiction. 7-11) Read full book review >
FIVE LIVE BONGOS by George Ella Lyon
Released: Oct. 1, 1994

Painter/Dad wants his children to sit quietly and learn to paint, but ``the Bongos'' have their own ideas. They can't help but trade in canvas and brushes for pots, pans, tins, trays, spoons, cups, and ladles. In a nonconforming, musical text reflecting various percussive moods, Lyon (Mama Is a Miner, p. 1133, etc.; Here and Then, see below) depicts the creative means the painter's five children adopt in pursuit of their ``Found Sound Band.'' After they raise a clamor with various kitchen utensils, ``cat's got her fur up/dog's gone to hide/parade's getting louder/road's getting wide,'' Mom (sitting at her desk and clutching her head) can't think straight, Dad can't mix his paints, and the five budding musicians are sent to exploit other resources in the garage and the city dump. While the text sometimes misses a beat, the lustrous illustrations bridge the temporary shifts in mood and scene, brilliantly syncopating with the cacophonous text. A lively invitation to readers, artists, inventors, and musicians to come join the anarchic fun. (Fiction/Picture book. 3- 8) Read full book review >
BEST FRIENDS SLEEP OVER by Jacqueline Rogers
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

Gilbert Gorilla is so excited about his elephant friend Eddie's slumber party that he forgets to take along his toy clown, in case he can't fall asleep. All goes well until bedtime- -the four friends (including Ricky Rhino and Conner Crocodile) have a splendid time playing games like ``Pin-the-Flies-on-the- Hyena,'' sharing a pizza, and having a humongous pillow fight. Still, once he's snuggled into his sleeping bag, Gilbert can't restrain his sobs. His friends rally round to comfort him: they play him a special song, Ricky loans him his teddy bear, and by morning everything's fine again. The story holds no surprises- -though it's well told, and making the nurturing friends male is a nice touch—but Rogers's delicate watercolors are enchanting. The expressively rendered animals in their imaginatively patterned pj's are all boy, whether romping, intent on pictures they're drawing, or yawning themselves awake after a late night; there are dozens of intriguing and delightful details to discover. (Picture book. 3-7) Read full book review >
MONSTER SOUP by Dilys Evans
Released: Sept. 1, 1992

The genesis of this captivating book was unusual: the compiler (who is also an illustrators' agent), responding to Rogers's fascination with monsters (`` `They' kept popping up in her sketches; and we would talk about `them' as though they already existed and were only in need of a place to be''), chose these 16 poems not only for their appeal but also to summon Rogers's particular vision. The result has a great deal of variety and a special charm, nicely summed up in a poem by de Regniers—``Scare me easy/Scare me slow/Scare me gentle/Don't let go/my hand.'' Though there are plenty of ghoulies, ghosties, and witches here, there's nothing wicked or gruesome; an ingenuous humor is at work, and recognition that these superficially ugly creatures (like Max's Wild Things) represent a part of ourselves that's not too bad. Whether it's Sawyer's picnicking bugs capsized by a ``giant'' toddler or Lee's ``Thunder'' made by a giant's children slamming doors, Bennett's power-shovel dinosaur or Prelutsky's armored ankylosaurus, Ciardi's Halloween creatures or cummings's ``Hist Whist,'' imagination is the key. Mellow, witty, and delightfully inventive, Rogers's illustrations are her best yet. A year-round winner. (Poetry/Picture book. 4+) Read full book review >
EMMA AND FRECKLES by Valerie Beales
Released: June 30, 1992

When Emma gets a pony for her llth birthday, her dreams come true, but her joy is soon tempered by reality. Freckles has a hard mouth and a mind of his own, frequently leaving Emma in difficulty. Not anticipating the consequences, she rouses a neighbor's ire by jumping his fence, also spraining her ankle; the pony gets out and destroys her father's garden; Emma loses control at a pony show, knocking the instructor down. Fearful that her parents will get rid of Freckles, she runs away with him. Then, recovering from injuries received when the pony is spooked by a tractor, she accepts her need for help—only to discover that he's gone. Friends help rescue him from a cruel new owner, and in the end it all works out: Freckles is Emma's to love and train with the help of weekly lessons. Beales's concept of time is rather elastic, and the b&w illustrations don't always adhere to the text—which has been carelessly Americanized, leaving the setting in limbo. Still, these are minor flaws in a promising first novel. Overall, the adventures of overconfident Emma and her naughty pony are funny and satisfying: determination wins, cruelty is punished, and justice is served. (Fiction. 10-14) Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1992

A second episode in the ``Pet Lovers Club'' series pits third-grader Erin and her bunny Peter against the other club members, who want to raise money for the new animal shelter by electing a pet to lead the Easter Parade. Horrified at the thought of losing—not to mention the absurdity of an Easter Gerbil, an Easter Cat, or even an Easter Cockroach—Erin stages a rabbitnapping to give her pet some publicity. Impelled by wholesome guilt, she eventually confesses to the parade crowd and, in a fine display of protective solidarity, the rest of the club steps forward to share the blame. Fluffy but readable, with advice for rabbit owners and a record-keeping chart. (Fiction. 8-10) Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

In this first in a new series, the third graders of the Pet Lovers' Club organize a Halloween party to benefit a local animal shelter; unfortunately, class bully Dirty Donald promises to come. Scared of Donald and sad that his beloved dog Rolf has been sent away, Bernie decides to stay home; but once he's allowed to keep an affectionate stray he names Elton, he changes his mind- -dyed black and fitted with fake fangs, Elton makes a convincing enough werewolf to scare the daylights out of Donald. Later, Elton coaxes Donald out of his previously concealed fear of dogs, while Donald and Bernie become friends. Roos appends a dog-care checklist for readers to fill out—and advice for werewolf owners, too. Succeeding volumes will doubtless focus on other club members' pets. No surprises here: formulaic but readable and wholesome. (Fiction. 9-12) Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1991

A little like A Midsummer Night's Dream, this fifth romp with the Blossom clan flits lightly from amusing episode to hilarious set scene, the characters mixing, matching, and eventually sorting themselves out. Maggie and Ralphie (who now, with the help of his artificial limb, is bicycle-borne) are having a lovers' spat; old Mad Mary (the Vulture Lady, and Junior's best friend) has disappeared; Junior has the honor of keeping Scooty, the class hamster, for the weekend—but Mud, Pap's dog, seems to have eaten him and is now hiding under the porch while the distraught Junior vows vengeance; and Vern and his friend Michael form a sort of chorus with a perpetual case of uncontrollable giggles that they can quell only by thinking of a red joke. After one of the best trial scenes since Freddy the Detective (1932), with the jury turning out to be the culprit and the victim turning up happily unscathed, all is forgiven with just a few more delightfully comic twists. There's no reason to single out a best Blossom book—this is as funny as any, its wit nicely laced with pungent good sense. (Fiction. 8-12)Read full book review >