Books by James Stevenson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

"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

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 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

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

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

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

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). The poems vary—some are little packets of energy (``Sardines'': ``Their daily lives are bland,/and if they land- -/they're canned'') while others allow readers to take a stroll through their treasure-filled lines. Read full book review >

I MEANT TO TELL YOU by James Stevenson
BIOGRAPHY
Released: April 1, 1996

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

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

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. Pete, 11, and his angry, drunken father have traveled around the country, hiding from a man Pete's father fears. Read full book review >

SWEET CORN by James Stevenson
POETRY
Released: April 1, 1995

``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

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

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. Hubie, the youngest brother in a fashionably dressed family of mice traveling by train to the 1939 World's Fair in New York, takes snapshots of everything he sees. Read full book review >

A VILLAGE FULL OF VALENTINES by James Stevenson
FICTION
Released: Feb. 1, 1995

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

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

"The understated humor here is in the details and unexpected juxtapositions and the variety of subjects; Stevenson's watercolor vignettes, sketched with the brush with no added lines, continue to be almost miraculously spare and evocative. 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            A wealth of funny new verse from a favorite poet.  Prelutsky's comic muse is at its best here - whether describing a homemade robot gone berserk ("…it ate the dust pan/and attacked us with the broom, /it pulled apart our pillows, /it disheveled both our beds…") or a whimsical trip to yesterday ("I'm moving very fast/as I'm putting off the future/for the rather recent past…"), he uses unexpected, vivid words in infectiously rhythmic cadences.  Amusing details abound - in a long list of the many fish a boy is not catching, or in a tall-tale adventure "that's the reason why my homework/isn't here with me today."  Many of the entries end with a nifty surprise or a deft comical twist.  Stevenson, who also illustrated Prelutsky's The New Kid on the Block (1984), contributes quietly hilarious b&w art.  Another winner from this talented pair.              (Poetry.  5+)

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
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 >