Books by Janet Halfmann

MIDNIGHT TEACHER by Janet Halfmann
Released: Feb. 1, 2018

"An excellent homage to an African-American woman who taught ahead of her time. (Picture book/biography. 7-11)"
An unsung hero and literacy champion whose teaching changed many lives. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 15, 2016

"A sweet celebration of intergenerational slowpokery. (Picture book. 3-8)"
An unnamed little girl likes to go on long walks across the countryside with her grandmother…but Grandma, who walks with a cane, is a slowpoke. Read full book review >
ANIMAL TEACHERS by Janet Halfmann
Released: Aug. 12, 2014

"Nicely connecting the child to the natural world, this would be a useful opener for a unit about animals as well as a title to share with young animal lovers. (Informational picture book. 4-8)"
Just like human children, animal babies from chicks to bear cubs learn lessons from adults around them. Read full book review >
EGGS 1 2 3 by Janet Halfmann
Released: May 8, 2012

"A solid addition to the spring egg shelf. (Picture book. 3-7)"
Writing for a younger audience than usual, Halfmann pares down the text, leaving a math/science book that will have readers counting, guessing and learning baby-animal names. Read full book review >
HOME IN THE CAVE by Shennen Bersani
Released: Feb. 10, 2012

"Bat lovers (or haters, for that matter) aren't going to learn anything here that isn't offered more clearly and with less anthropomorphism elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 6-8)"
A young bat explores cave ecology, squired by a pack rat with a flashlight. Read full book review >
STAR OF THE SEA by Janet Halfmann
Released: May 24, 2011

An introduction to the ochre sea star, a Pacific coast variety. Halfmann appropriately focuses on sea stars' more amazing adaptations—sticky tube feet, a stomach that can be extruded from its body and the ability to regenerate its rays. Children follow along as one sea star uses the night's high tide to reach the shore, where the mussel beds and her next meal lie. Along the way, she uses her tube feet to right herself after a wave flips her, works to pry apart some mussels, eats her fill and narrowly escapes a hungry seagull. Unfortunately, the author misses some great opportunities to introduce vocabulary. Backmatter includes a diagram of a sea star, resources for finding out more, a four-word glossary and two pages of extensive additional information about sea stars. Paley's beautiful artwork consists of collages of hand-painted papers of watercolor blends and textures. While the colors and textures are truly evocative of the ocean setting, the illustrations fall a bit short in terms of scientific detail. The text mentions (without naming) the madreporite, the opening in the top of the starfish that allows it to take in water and power its tube feet, but the light-colored, off-center circle that marks this spot is missing in the illustration. This combines with the lack of scientific vocabulary to keep this from being a solid resource, but it could serve to spark further interest. (Informational picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 2008

The daring Civil War escape of a slave, his crew and their families in a stolen Confederate supply boat receives appropriately inspirational treatment in this new picture book. Robert Smalls grew up in Beaufort, S.C., distinguishing himself to his owners as a bright, likely young man. Working on the docks, he quickly learned seamanship, a skill he put to the test when, as wheelman of the Planter, he used his knowledge of the Confederate's whistle signals and the opportunity presented by the onshore carousing of the white members of the crew to slip through the harbor to freedom. Halfmann tells the story slowly at first, laying out both Smalls's abilities and the yearning for freedom that only increased with his marriage and subsequent fatherhood. Smith, a newcomer to picture books, sketches out scenes and characters with broad daubs of oil, creating a sculptural effect that heightens the monumental nature of Smalls's deed. Page turns and textual pacing combine to relate the actual escape with pulse-pounding excitement; readers' relief at Smalls's success is almost physical. A triumph. (author's note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-11)Read full book review >