Books by Jay O'Callahan

RASPBERRIES! by Jay O'Callahan
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

The author's storytelling voice and the illustrator's folk-inspired art whip up a delicious tale of tarts. Simon was once a famous baker; his bread rose higher than anyone's and people came from all over to buy it—until two baker friends stole all his money. After that everything he touches falls flat. He sells his shop, buys a farm 100 miles away and sells eggs. One day he sees a young girl wearing a dress of bright patches. Sally had been his favorite customer, and he always gave her extra bread because her family was poor. Now, in return, she gives Simon a pouch of dried raspberries to plant. When Simon opens the door the next morning, he sees a rolling red sea of raspberries, leading to a partnership with Baker Willums to make raspberry tarts that become a sensation for the town's birthday celebration. The text's oral beginnings make it a delicious read-aloud, and Moses's old New England setting suits it to a T. Stretching out the word "rassssspberrrrrrrieeeeeeeees" (printed in a curling red type) throughout heightens the fun. Recording included. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1996

Herman and Marguerite ($15.95; April 1996; 36 pp.; 1-56145-103-7): The subtitle of this book is ``An Earth Story,'' but this is really a lowdown tale of friendship between a worm and a caterpillar. O'Callahan (Orange Cheeks, 1993, etc.), who keeps popping up (in a black-and-white cutout photograph) in the middle of spreads, mixes natural science into his story and winds up with a rambling narrative. The younger O'Callahan's debut exhibits a real way with worms; her collage illustrations express an animation not usually associated with such earthbound creatures. (Picture book. 4-8) . . . Read full book review >
ORANGE CHEEKS by Jay O'Callahan
Released: May 1, 1993

A well-known storyteller evokes the emotions and conflicts of childhood with a somewhat discursive story about a four-year- old who gets into mischief, half on purpose, on a visit to Grandma's—though his mother has threatened that ``if there's any trouble you won't go overnight for a year.'' Mom has cautioned that Grandma can be ``a grump,'' but Grandma helps Willie cover up; then, when Willie almost lets the cat out of the bag, she explains the ``trouble''—``The trouble was Willie and I didn't have enough time together.'' Not quite trusting his readers, O'Callahan stretches words for emphasis (``No troubl-l-l-llllle ma-ma-a-a-a''); the drama and nuances of this warmly perceptive story might be enhanced by an accomplished reader, but children Willie's age may like a simple delivery just as well. Raine's impressionistic, rather formal paintings nicely capture the boy's feelings, especially his loving relationship with Grandma. (Picture book. 3-7) Read full book review >
TULIPS by Jay O'Callahan
Released: April 1, 1992

In his first picture book, a gifted storyteller who has performed worldwide tells a tale about a practical jokester whose victims finally turn the tables on him. During biannual visits to ``Grand Ma Mere'' in her sumptuous Parisian establishment, Pierre bedevils the servants with his pranks and even, one fall, plants a single black tulip among the hundreds of red ones he has enjoyed in the spring. But on his next visit, Pierre is the one surprised: every one of Grand Ma Mere's vast expanse of tulips is black—and besides, the gardener has left a grasshopper in Pierre's sock, the butler a wet sponge in his shoe, and so on. Santini deftly illustrates this satisfying comeuppance in soft pencil and watercolor, amusingly satirizing the events and glorying in the elegance of Grand Ma Mere's mÇnage. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >