Books by James Stevenson

GOING, GOING, GONE! WITH THE PAIN & THE GREAT ONE by Judy Blume
ADVENTURE
Released: Aug. 12, 2008

"This is the third of a projected quartet of chapter books, sure to be welcomed as enthusiastically as its predecessors were. (Fiction. 6-9)"
First- and third-graders Jake and Abigail alternate as narrators to describe a series of trips: boogie boarding at the beach, riding the Gravitron at an amusement park, visiting the emergency room, losing each other in the mall and canoeing the Everglades. Read full book review >
COOL ZONE WITH THE PAIN & THE GREAT ONE by Judy Blume
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: May 13, 2008

"For cat lovers who are wondering what Fluzzy is thinking, a seventh chapter tells all. (Fiction. 6-8)"
Jake and Abigail, Blume's ever-sparring siblings, return with six new stories filled with laughter, provocation and, most of all, affectionate loyalty. Read full book review >
MY DOG MAY BE A GENIUS by Jack Prelutsky
POETRY
Released: March 1, 2008

"Too many of the poems consist of rhyming couplets in lockstep rhythms that dwell on mild sillinesses, resulting in an uneven collection in which the only-pretty-good overwhelms the truly-great. (Poetry. 5-10)"
Two grand masters team up to produce a decidedly goofy illustrated poetry anthology. Read full book review >
SOUPY SATURDAYS WITH THE PAIN & THE GREAT ONE by Judy Blume
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Aug. 28, 2007

"This welcome new collection should attract a new generation of readers. (Fiction. 6-9)"
Once again, Blume shows off her pitch-perfect understanding of childhood anxieties and family dynamics. Read full book review >
NO LAUGHING, NO SMILING, NO GIGGLING by James Stevenson
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 16, 2004

"Despite covering familiar territory, this outing is sure to delight Stevenson's zillions of fans, or anyone with a funny bone, for that matter. (Picture book. 6-8)"
Stevenson reprises Don't Make Me Laugh (1999): a grumpy alligator named Mr. Frimdimpny again proclaims himself "in charge," warning that any reader who so much as cracks a smile has to turn back to the first page and start over. Read full book review >
FLYING FEET by James Stevenson
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2004

"Arranged into brief chapters and festooned with loosely drawn, tongue-in-cheek scenes of unpracticed, but enthusiastic performers, this new episode will bring down the house—or, at least, bring on chuckles from recent easy reader graduates. (Fiction. 7-9)"
In their seventh collective appearance, the multispecies residents of Mud Flat put on a show after getting fleeced, skinned, or otherwise bilked by a pair of tap-dancing con artists. Read full book review >
CORN CHOWDER by James Stevenson
POETRY
Released: April 1, 2003

"Readers will be grateful he is, too. (Poetry. 7-9)"
In 25 new observations, catalogs, and stray thoughts, all as sweet and chewy as the six previous servings, Stevenson (Corn-Fed, 2002, etc.) invites readers to contemplate how a long, practically unused pencil came to have such a flat eraser or to guess what's in the oversized backpacks lugged by a spread full of schoolchildren (a pumpkin? 200 trading cards? the family dog?). Read full book review >
THE CASTAWAY by James Stevenson
ADVENTURE
Released: April 1, 2002

"Young travelers, timorous or otherwise, will chuckle. (Picture book. 5-8)"
Stevenson continues the adventures of his usually intrepid mouse Hubie (The Stowaway, 1990, etc.). Read full book review >
CORN-FED by James Stevenson
POETRY
Released: March 1, 2002

"But readers overwhelmed by the recent tsunami of daffy, clever verse will find the reflective, faintly elegiac tone here a cornsiderable relief and a different reason to smile. (Poetry. 7-10)"
Despite the title, Stevenson's latest corncatenation of poems and pictures, or at least its second half, has an urban flavor, from buses full of children "[l]ooking for the universe" pulling up to the Hayden Planetarium to "I love dawn, / Especially with / New York City / under it" paired to a skyline. Read full book review >
ROCKS IN HIS HEAD by Carol Otis Hurst
NATURE
Released: May 31, 2001

"And through good time and bad, he's like one of them—a real rock—to his family. (Picture book. 5-9)"
A big-hearted true story of a man with rocks in his head (and in his pocket), nourished by the deep humanity in Stevenson's watercolors. Read full book review >
JUST AROUND THE CORNER by James Stevenson
POETRY
Released: March 31, 2001

"Time spent stalking this poet is never frittered away. (Poetry. 6-9)"
Sentimental but never corny, Stevenson offers more sweet kernels of verbal and visual poetry, celebrating the everyday world of cookies, ice cream, and old shoes, a seaside tire exposed at low tide, "growing its own seaweed and barnacles," a partly demolished house, a closed-down diner, images evoked by a clutter of objects on a kitchen windowsill. Read full book review >
GRANDADDY AND JANETTA TOGETHER by Helen V. Griffith
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Feb. 28, 2001

"If you're charge of read-tos or are just seeking a good read and you missed this duo before, run—do not walk—to your bookseller or library and get to know Grandaddy and Janetta. (Fiction. 7-9)"
The surpassing good news here is that three of Griffith's four estimable chapter books about Janetta and her Grandaddy (Grandaddy's Stars, 1995, etc.) are again available to delight "readers" who are read-to, young readers themselves, and more than a few older readers. Read full book review >
CHRISTMAS AT MUD FLAT by James Stevenson
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 31, 2000

Stevenson (The Most Amazing Dinosaur, p. 640, etc.) returns to Mud Flat, there to measure the doings and take the eccentric pulse of that homey burg and its population of guileless animals. Read full book review >
THE MOST AMAZING DINOSAUR by James Stevenson
ANIMALS
Released: May 31, 2000

"Kindle interest in an outing with this appealing glimpse of a museum after hours. (Picture book. 6-8)"
In the prolific Stevenson's latest, a rat on the road gains temporary shelter, new friends, and new destinations in a natural-history museum. Read full book review >
CORNFLAKES by James Stevenson
FICTION
Released: March 31, 2000

"Tailor-made for sharing, in class or on a lap. (Poetry. 7-9, adult)"
Picking up where his third gathering of poetry and pictures (Candy Corn, 1999) left off, Stevenson gives wry or gently sentimental twists to 25 more everyday sights: fathers and sons in the park; bicyclists; old people and buildings; his paintbox; his wastebasket; a mountainous hamburger. Read full book review >
DON'T MAKE ME LAUGH by James Stevenson
Released: Sept. 9, 1999

"A giggly masterpiece. (Picture book. 3-9)"
A profoundly silly book—a book with rules. Mr. Frimdimpny, a dour alligator, makes the rules: do not laugh, do not even smile, and if readers do, they must go to the front of the book. Read full book review >
CANDY CORN by James Stevenson
Released: March 1, 1999

"Unicorn? (Poetry. 7-9)"
Definitely on a roll, Stevenson has reinvented himself as a poet, following up Sweet Corn (1995) and Popcorn (1998) with this new set of small, seemingly artless, instantly engaging free verse, printed in a variety of shapes and colors. Read full book review >
POPCORN by James Stevenson
POETRY
Released: April 1, 1998

"Backyards tell stories'), and more with familiar and elegant candor. (Poetry. 8-10)"
"The dredge dredges sludge:/Sludge like fudge,/sludge that won't budge,/Sludge you wouldn't care to tudge." Read full book review >
MUD FLAT APRIL FOOL by James Stevenson
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 1998

"Tongue-in-cheek humor, delivered in deft and funny chapters. (Fiction. 6-8)"
April Fools' Day brings out the joker in Mud Flat's animal residents: George the fox breaks out his squirting lapel rose, Newt the gator tries the old dollar-on-a-string trick, a mole produces a note that she claims was left by space aliens. Read full book review >
SAM THE ZAMBONI MAN by James Stevenson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Jan. 1, 1998

"A competent collaboration, but not a memorable one. (Picture book. 6-8)"
A father and son team up for the first time in this warm intergenerational tàte-Ö-tàte. Read full book review >
THE MUD FLAT MYSTERY by James Stevenson
FICTION
Released: Aug. 1, 1997

"His understated humor is right on target for the age group, and while many books in this format are deadly to read aloud, this one is a blast. (Fiction. 5-8)"
The very slightest of mysteries (what's in the big box on Duncan's porch?) is parlayed into 12 short, delightful chapters with a very large cast of animal characters in this funny, easy-to- read addition to the Mud Flat canon (The Mud Flat Olympics, 1994, etc.). Read full book review >
HAPPILY EVER AFTER by Anna Quindlen
FICTION
Released: March 1, 1997

"Some amusing twists don't conceal the tale's essential thinness. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 7-9)"
Quindlen (for adults, One True Thing, 1994, etc.) bows with this literary confection slightly reminiscent of Jay Williams's feminist fairy tales. Read full book review >
THE OLDEST ELF by James Stevenson
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

"Created by an elf who's no where near Elwyn's age, this Christmas fantasy is written with sweetness and wit, infused with nostalgia for the good old days, and brimming with appeal for the good old now. (Picture book. 5+)"
In Santa's up-to-the-minute workshop, video games beep, battery-operated toys are the order of the day, and Blitzen has been replaced by a female reindeer, Josephine. Read full book review >
A PIZZA THE SIZE OF THE SUN by Jack Prelutsky
POETRY
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

"Terrific. (Poetry. 5+) (First printing of 115,000; author tour)"
A collection of well over 100 poems that pop and sparkle like firecrackers, well up to the standard set by this team's Something BIG Has Been Here (1990) and The New Kid on the Block (1984). Read full book review >
I MEANT TO TELL YOU by James Stevenson
BIOGRAPHY
Released: April 1, 1996

"Less anchored in the long-ago than his other recent picture-book reminiscences (Higher on the Door, 1987; July, 1990; etc.), this will inspire conversations between parents and children of any age. (Picture book. 3-5)"
From a deliberately awkward first line—``I meant to tell you, before I forget''—to the final scene, in which a man, child, and dog walk away from readers down a beach, this newest intergenerational love letter from Stevenson (The Bones in the Cliff, 1995, etc.) has a wistful tone. Read full book review >
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 1, 1995

"Parents won't mind reading this one out loud as many times as it's requested. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A delightful story of a dog who longs for a home of his own. Read full book review >
THE BONES IN THE CLIFF by James Stevenson
FICTION
Released: May 1, 1995

"It should be a hit with reluctant readers and middle graders alike who are ready for a bit of realism and tension. (Fiction. 10+)"
Stevenson, well-known for his lighthearted picture books, has written a surprisingly gritty novel that, with its economy of language, can easily be enjoyed by readers younger than its intended audience. Read full book review >
SWEET CORN by James Stevenson
POETRY
Released: April 1, 1995

"A book that says much in small ways. (Poetry. 8+)"
``WHY AM I HAPPY / THAT I WAS BORN? / JUST ONE REASON / (IN SEASON): / SWEET CORN!'' And so this exaltation, titled, ``Roadside Stand,'' sets the tone for Stevenson's collection of 28 short poems. Read full book review >
THE ROYAL NAP by Charles C. Black
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 1995

"Full of extravagant gestures and wacky sound effects, this work is genuinely funny and never once aims over the head of its audience. (Picture book. 3-8)"
King Gordo insists that his castle be totally silent each day at one o'clock so he can take his nap—and he's very cranky if he doesn't get it. Read full book review >
ALL ABOARD! by James Stevenson
ADVENTURE
Released: March 1, 1995

"A fast, enjoyable read. (Picture book. 4+)"
Stevenson (A Village Full of Valentines, 1995, etc.) has written a breezy adventure in traditional comic book format, with his characteristically sketchy black pen drawings, loosely filled in with pale watercolors. Read full book review >
A VILLAGE FULL OF VALENTINES by James Stevenson
FICTION
Released: Feb. 1, 1995

"The holiday hook may sell this book, but there's a rib- tickling ending that makes it a keeper. (Picture book. 5+)"
Various whimsically drawn woodland animals appear in the first six chapters, making, sending, or receiving valentines. Read full book review >
THE MUD FLAT OLYMPICS by James Stevenson
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 1994

"A lovely early chapter book that adults will find difficult to resist sharing aloud. (Fiction/Easy reader. 4-10)"
The animals' sports meet is the most good-natured of field days, from the eagerly anticipated arrival of the opossum Burbank with the torch to the celebratory picnic when Ardsley and Hastings (elephants) sing a duet as the others drift contentedly off to sleep. Read full book review >
FUN/NO FUN by James Stevenson
BEDTIME BOOK
Released: April 1, 1994

"Authentic and fun. (Autobiography/Picture book. 5-9)"
Once again, Stevenson finds an imaginative and appealing perspective from which to present America as it was when he was growing up a couple of generations ago, in this case with eponymous pairs that reveal preferences universal (cowboy boots/galoshes) or individual (ice skates/roller skates); surprisingly few are unique to the period, though the freedom with which the young observer roams has a carefree confidence that's getting harder to find. Read full book review >
WORSE THAN THE WORST by James Stevenson
FICTION
Released: March 1, 1994

"A reliable premise, developed with Stevenson's usual wit and skill as a cartoonist and raconteur. (Picture book. 5-10)"
Could anyone be worse than ``the worst person in the world,'' now so familiar a curmudgeon that's he's called simply ``the worst''? Read full book review >
THE PATTACONK BROOK by James Stevenson
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

"Slight, but sweet; fans of Stevenson's art won't be disappointed. (Picture book. 4- 8)"
Shoehorned, with uneven grace, into an insistent dactylic tetrameter that mimics a burbling brook (``A branch floating by might be jumped on and ridden./One might ride over waterfalls down to the sea''), here is the saga of Sidney—a frog, first seen recording the Pattaconk's voice in his notebook—and his friend Sherry, a snail (``I'm a listener, not a speller''). Read full book review >
GRANDADDY AND JANETTA by Helen V. Griffith
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: May 27, 1993

"Stevenson's delicately adroit lines and soft colors nicely enhance the quiet mood and gentle wit. (Young reader/Picture book. 5-9)"
In a six-chapter companion to Georgia Music (1986) and Grandaddy's Place (1987), Janetta returns to her grandfather's Georgia cabin after a year back in Baltimore. Read full book review >
THE FLYING ACORNS by James Stevenson
FICTION
Released: March 23, 1993

"A book that begs to be read aloud. (Picture book. 5-10)"
When the turkey puts up a poster—``CIRCUS: Good Acts Needed''—three bored squirrels decide to become aerial artists, but their efforts to work up a routine lead to one pratfall after another; meanwhile, three equally bored vacationing snails look on, commenting among themselves (``This should be thrilling''; ``They're very dedicated''). Read full book review >
DON'T YOU KNOW THERE'S A WAR ON? by James Stevenson
FICTION
Released: Oct. 23, 1992

"Again, Stevenson assembles quintessential bits of daily life, evoking an entire era along with his particular experience of it. (Autobiography/Picture book. 5-9)"
Another vignette from the popular illustrator's boyhood: 1942-45, while his brother was in the navy. Read full book review >
ROLLING ROSE by James Stevenson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 14, 1992

"Charming. (Picture book. 0-6)"
A familiar piece of baby equipment—the rolling walker—is celebrated in artfully cadenced, unrhymed verse whose rolling rhythm vividly evokes the heady freedom endowed by these first wheels, as does the imaginative text. Read full book review >
LOOP THE LOOP by Barbara Dugan
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 14, 1992

"A frequent theme, treated with unusual insight and imagination. (Young reader. 5-10)"
Illustrator Stevenson takes to wheels twice this month: in his own book about babies (below) and, here, in Dugan's fine debut—the story of a friendship between a little girl and a feisty but increasingly forgetful neighbor in a wheelchair. Mrs. Simpson invites Anne to tea and shows her some terrific yo-yo tricks. Read full book review >
MONTY by James Stevenson
ANIMALS
Released: March 27, 1992

"Typically delightful Stevenson wit, in both the economical, cartoon-style drawings and the spare, pungent dialogue. (Picture book. 4-9)"
Arthur (a frog) and Doris (a duck) and Tom (a rabbit) depend on Monty (an alligator), or anyhow they walk on him: he swims them across the river on the way to school, and they've begun to take him for granted (``Let's see some speed, Monty!''). Read full book review >
THE WORST PERSON'S CHRISTMAS by James Stevenson
FICTION
Released: Sept. 16, 1991

"As usual, Stevenson's expertly scribbled illustrations are more than half the fun—eye-pleasing and witty. (Picture book. 4+)"
It was inevitable that this perennial Scrooge would finally encounter Christmas and mellow just a bit; still, fans should be amused by his typically curmudgeonly shenanigans before an unpremeditated sled journey precipitates him into a neighborhood party that softens him up in spite of himself. Read full book review >
BRRR! by James Stevenson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Aug. 19, 1991

"Predictably amusing and deftly drawn. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Grandpa's latest tall tale concerns the winter of 1908: so cold that little brother Wainey literally froze in the bathtub, while the houses, buried under a layer of snow that Grandpa collected with a giant snowball, were also encased in ice that could be shattered only by Wainey's piercing shriek. Read full book review >
THAT'S EXACTLY THE WAY IT WASN'T by James Stevenson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 26, 1991

Stevenson's agile line, inimitable wit, and child appeal are undiminished as Grandpa and his little brother Wainey argue their way through still another hilarious cartoon reconstruction of their extraordinary youth, contradicting each other on every detail (``that was not a cave,'' corrects Uncle Wainey, ``It was an iguana's mouth'') of a tall-tale adventure involving a landslide, a volcano, and ice cream for dessert.~(Picture book. 4-9) Read full book review >
SOMETHING BIG HAS BEEN HERE by Jack Prelutsky
Released: Sept. 8, 1990

"Another winner from this talented pair. (Poetry. 5+)"
A wealth of funny new verse from a favorite poet. Read full book review >
OH NO, IT'S WAYLON'S BIRTHDAY! by James Stevenson
Released: March 30, 1989

Three antic animal stories infused with this prolific author's characteristic dry wit. Read full book review >
I AM NOT GOING TO GET UP TODAY! by James Stevenson
FICTION
Released: Oct. 12, 1987

"Though there is plenty of the repetition required by learning readers, there are also some unusual words like Memphis, suggesting that this is not the easiest easy reader; but it has enough appeal to keep beginners entertained."
After an eight-year interval, a Beginner Book by this well-loved originator of the series is welcome; and since Seuss hasn't chosen to illustrate it himself, we are lucky to have Stevenson as alternate. Read full book review >
SAY IT! by James Stevenson
illustrated by James Stevenson, by Charlotte Zolotow, edited by ALC Staff
Released: Oct. 20, 1981

"Tender or mushy depending on the beholder, this latest of Zolotow's sweet nothings is balanced by Stevenson's pictures, which make the scenes bracingly splendiferous rather than soft-focus soggy."
"Say it! Say it!" cries the little girl as she and her mother take a walk through the autumn leaves. Read full book review >