Books by Jill Esbaum

FROG BOOTS by Jill Esbaum
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 3, 2020

"Frog boots are undeniably cool; sadly, this book is not. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A young boy and his boots struggle against gender stereotypes. Read full book review >
WE LOVE BABIES! by Jill Esbaum
CHILDREN'S
Released: Dec. 31, 2019

"An eye-catching way to introduce older toddlers and preschoolers to the babies of our world. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Esbaum brings the littlest listeners an adorable and rollicking read-aloud about animal babies. Read full book review >
HOW TO GROW A DINOSAUR by Jill Esbaum
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 23, 2018

"While Esbaum and Boldt can't address every aspect of having a new baby around the house, they hit the relevant highlights—the serious, the horrific, and the hysterical—and tenderly portray the growing bond between the two children. (Picture book. 3-7)"
Dinosaur fans expecting a new baby in the family now have a guide to big-siblinghood. Read full book review >
FRANKENBUNNY by Jill Esbaum
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 7, 2017

"A good choice for younger sibs terrorized by older ones or for kids who need a reminder that monsters aren't real. (Picture book. 4-8)"
What is it about siblings that makes them want to scare each other? Read full book review >
HONEY BEES by Jill Esbaum
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 1, 2017

"Serviceable text is lifted by thrilling photography. (Informational early reader. 4-8)"
A colorful introduction to the honeybee. Read full book review >
LITTLE KIDS FIRST BIG BOOK OF HOW by Jill Esbaum
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 8, 2016

"A scattershot assortment, easy on the eyes if only fitfully valuable for giving young inquiring minds the straight dope. (bibliography, index, parent tips) (Nonfiction. 6-8)"
From how a hair dryer works to how cheese, chocolate, and ice cream are made, Esbaum offers simple answers to over 50 common questions. Read full book review >
TEENY TINY TOADY by Jill Esbaum
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2016

"A triumphant reaffirmation of the truth that large hearts can beat in small chests, told in playful verse that gallops along with nary a stumble. (Picture book. 6-8)"
When her mom and all her brothers are trapped in a bucket, it's time for Teeny Tiny Toady to screw her courage to the sticking place and hop to the rescue. Read full book review >
ELWOOD BIGFOOT by Jill Esbaum
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"Bright, enticing cartoon illustrations and a character many can identify with will hook storytimers and new readers. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Elwood Bigfoot is lonely…won't any birdie be his friend? Read full book review >
I AM COW, HEAR ME MOO! by Jill Esbaum
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 15, 2014

"Forget Helen Reddy. Nadine is a poster cow for self-mortification. (Picture book. 3-5)"
Esbaum presents a wobbly story about a cow of wobbly confidence (though no shortness of bluster). Read full book review >
I HATCHED! by Jill Esbaum
by Jill Esbaum, illustrated by Jen Corace
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 23, 2014

"Invigorating and ebullient. (Picture book. 2-4)"
A killdeer chick bursts from its egg raring to go. Read full book review >
TOM'S TWEET by Jill Esbaum
ANIMALS
Released: Nov. 8, 2011

"Totally tweet-rific. (Picture book. 3-8)"
A tweet's anything but a tasty treat for fat Tom cat when his big heart gets him in trouble. Read full book review >
STANZA by Jill Esbaum
by Jill Esbaum, illustrated by Jack E. Davis
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2009

What's a dog to do when his talent is decidedly un-canine, especially when his brothers, Dirge and Fresco, are bullies of the highest degree? Stanza has a problem. He loves to write poetry and he knows if his brothers ever discover his secret writing room or piles of poetry, he'll be in a doggone mess. But when the opportunity to write a four-line poem for a contest grabs his fancy he throws caution to the wind and pens a snappy piece. Of course, he is discovered and things look bad for our hero, but the reward for second place is better than Stanza or his teasing brothers ever expected. Davis's hilariously busy watercolor illustrations, complete with graphic elements like speech bubbles and dream sequences, are a neat match for Esbaum's rhythm and rhyme, though it's distinctly odd to see the clothed, anthropomorphized pups "nipping bottoms." Young writers and poets may well enjoy watching Stanza's creative process, however, and might even be inspired to write poems of their own. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
TO THE BIG TOP by Jill Esbaum
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 10, 2008

Early 20th century, early morning, a train-whistle blows: The circus is coming to town. Two boys light out for the railyard, intent on being part of the action. They pick up odd jobs here and there, get a nickel here, and there they get—gadzooks—a ticket to the Big Top. When it comes time to parlay their nickels into something good—popcorn maybe, or a candied apple—Esbaum turns the story into a morality play, with one boy the straw dog of crass immaturity and the other a knight in righteous armor, and the clumsiness of the point-making steals the story's thunder. Fortunately, boys are a forgiving lot and the day is saved by what boys are also good at: trickery and getting on with it. It is Gordon who lights up the event, bringing prime elements of the story forward, dressed in electric color, and painting the background in a haze; the illustrations' almost-can-taste-it, dreamlike quality takes readers to Back Then, when midway and sideshow were the real deal. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
ESTELLE TAKES A BATH by Jill Esbaum
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2006

While a winter storm rages outside, Estelle relaxes by taking a long, hot, peppermint bubble bath. All is well until a mouse, seeking shelter from the storm, appears on the rim of the tub. Estelle clearly dislikes mice, and the illustrator has a grand time covering up pertinent bits of the plump naked lady as she attempts to get rid of this one. A broom, the cat, bubbles and a crossword puzzle are some of the imaginative items that preserve Estelle's modesty. When the mouse falls into the tub, Estelle decides she's not so afraid of him after all, and the new friends end up enjoying a bubble bath. The rhyming text is fun and the wordplay clever, but the illustrations really take the prize. DePalma employs bright pastels, a clever use of perspective and comical facial expressions to show the events. Colorful text dances along the pages just like Estelle, as she trips all over herself trying to catch the intruder. Young children will greatly enjoy the slightly naughty illustrations and the one uncovered fanny that DePalma allows. Prepare for a bunch of rowdy story-timers as they giggle over the never-quite-totally-nude Estelle. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
STE-E-E-E-EAMBOAT A-COMIN’! by Jill Esbaum
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 8, 2005

Inspired by a passage from Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi, Esbaum captures the bustle and commotion attending a steam packet's arrival in a small river town: "Rubberneckers, / pounding boots, / whiskered geezers, big galoots. / Wheels a-clatter, / choking cloud, / yapping dog, excited crowd." Focusing on animated faces and burly figures, Rex depicts the hubbub with Norman Rockwell-esque realism, adding the occasional inset close-up. With the title repeated in page-filling, 19th century-style display type for a chorus, this makes a rhythmic, emphatic evocation of a scene from days gone by, its visual volume akin to Judith Heide Gilliland's exuberant Steamboat! The Story of Captain Blanche Leathers (2000), illus by Holly Meade, though its content is closer to William Anderson's comparatively restrained River Boy (2003), illus by Dan Andreasen. (afterword, map) (Picture book. 7-9)Read full book review >
STINK SOUP by Jill Esbaum
by Jill Esbaum, illustrated by Roger Roth
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 8, 2004

Spending a week at Granny's is not Annabelle's idea of fun for two reasons: she has to be in charge of making her little brother, Willie, behave and she has to help Granny put up mountains of tomatoes. Annabelle can't stand doing either thing because she hates tomatoes—and Willie and trouble go together like biscuits and gravy. When he drives the hay bale cart pulled by Chester the goat into the pond, or lassoes chickens, or climbs the windmill, Granny doesn't see his mischief-making and blames Annabelle. When Granny sends Willie to the cellar with eggs, he doesn't close the cellar doors and a polecat gets in and they all get skunked. Granny makes "stink soup" as the only remedy to rid them of the smell, and the tomato bath saves the day for everybody. The realistic illustrations salt-and-pepper the saucy tale with wry humor, comeuppance, and down-home flavor. Amusing. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >