Books by James Yang

STOP! BOT! by James Yang
by James Yang, illustrated by James Yang
Released: July 23, 2019

"The visual details invite interaction, making it a good choice for storytime or solo inspection. (Picture book. 2-6)"
It's a quiet day, until…. Read full book review >
BUS! STOP! by James Yang
by James Yang, illustrated by James Yang
Released: March 13, 2018

"An imaginative, fun ode to bus travel and its many minor surprises. (Picture book. 2-5)"
A young bus rider's misfortune turns weird and delightful in Yang's playful picture book. Read full book review >
PUZZLEHEAD by James Yang
by James Yang, illustrated by James Yang
Released: April 21, 2009

The world is ripe for exploring with friends, but Puzzlehead (his head is a toppled capital E) can't seem to find his groove. His friend Bob invites him to spin on a swinglike contraption, but it just makes Puzzlehead dizzy, and Sue's bouncing game is a headache-in-the-making. Finally, he finds his "perfect place"—a capital E-shaped hole in the ground into which he can stick his head: "Puzzlehead wanted to stay there forever." Alas, he gets stuck there, upside-down and alone. When his four friends band together to pull him out—POP!—they all go flying, and—BLAM!—hit the ground, all their strangely shaped heads fitting together like puzzle pieces into a big rectangle. "I think I found the best Puzzlehead place of all," Puzzlehead proclaims. Perhaps the author is suggesting to young readers that what feels like their "perfect place" may not be their "best place?" Colorful, digitally rendered, geometric creatures scamper and play abstractly like a Calder mobile, but the text is rather flat, and the message is either intriguingly multifaceted or just, well, puzzling. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2006

Joey and Jet's previous adventure was a clever way to teach young children about prepositions. This time the point is more subtle. Joey and his dog Jet are outside exploring space together—at least, until Jet sees his bone and takes off. Joey calls Jet. He searches for him. And he asks everyone he meets if they have seen his dog. Finally, he hears the familiar squeak of Jet's bone, along with a voice calling them both back to earth for lunch. While the text is minimal, it's the illustrations that deliver the message to young listeners. Yang's textured artwork introduces them to a unique outer space, which includes aliens, robots and many interesting forms of transportation and housing. Retro colors and geometric shapes add to the space feel of the pictures. It is not until the last spread that readers will realize that Joey and Jet are cleverly imagining their adventure using props found at home: a badminton birdie, a shovel, the vacuum, a hose, some balls and a lawn sprinkler. A subtle, and much-needed, push for imaginative play. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
JOEY AND JET by James Yang
Released: Sept. 1, 2004

A game of fetch teaches young children how to describe locations. When Joey throws the ball for his faithful dog, Jet, the dog takes off on a journey. "Jet chases the ball among the birds . . . through the trees . . . on the water . . ."—until at last it pops out of a hole in the ground and he's able to grab it. The words referring to locations are in bold type, adding emphasis: up, down, across, between. A double-paged spread follows Jet back through the maze of places he's visited and finally back to Joey, who praises Jet—and then throws the ball again. Yang's simple textured illustrations keep the focus on the dog and the ball, further emphasizing the location of the ball in relation to its surroundings. He also sidesteps a very common complaint of the very young: except for the birds and the fish, all the characters have two eyes showing, even when their heads are in profile, thereby avoiding the inevitable question: "Where's his other eye?" An excellent introduction to what can usually be a difficult concept for youngsters. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2002

Two little boy figures get together for a play date in a simple, repetitive text that emphasizes opposites. One page reads: "Turn it on and turn it off and turn it on again" and shows the boys pulling the chain on a lamp. The facing page shows their dark silhouettes with text only slightly altered: "Turn it off and turn it on and turn it off again." The geometric, stick-figure illustrations with two eyes on one side of a face in profile and hair represented by several straight lines sticking up from a head the shape of a marshmallow are reminiscent of the drawings of a four-year-old. The mothers appear only as skirts and black high heels, lending the illustrations a retro feel. It's short, sweet, simple, and made to appeal to a two-year-old whose greatest joy is to repeat endlessly his favorite activities until it's time to "Go away and come on back and go away again." Part of the Harper Growing Tree series that comes complete with "tips for reading and sharing." (Picture book. 2-3)Read full book review >