Books by Judy Cox

SHEEP WON'T SLEEP by Judy Cox
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 15, 2017

"Count them, play with them, and knit them into one wonderful blanket. (Picture book. 4-7)"
A happy array of wooly creatures tries to help bring about a good night's sleep. Read full book review >
SNOW DAY FOR MOUSE by Judy Cox
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2012

"Readers will look forward to taking this snow-day romp again and again. (Picture book. 4-8)"
In his fourth outing (Haunted House, Haunted Mouse, 2011, etc.), Mouse has a snowy adventure that could easily make the jump to being a wordless Pixar short. Read full book review >
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MRS. MILLIE! by Judy Cox
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 2012

"While the schtick may be getting a little old for everyday readers, clever teachers could turn this into a creative writing/art lesson that works for multiple grade levels. (Picture book. 4-7)"
Mrs. Millie's silliness with mixed-up words continues as her students plan a few birthday surprises, and this time, it is not just Mrs. Millie who gets her words wrong (Don't Be Silly, Mrs. Millie!, 2005, etc.). Read full book review >
THE SECRET CHICKEN SOCIETY by Judy Cox
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2012

"Chickens and children are lucky to live in this family. (Fiction. 6-10)"
Daniel, who loves all animals, learns a lot about chickens when he takes five chicks home. Read full book review >
NORA AND THE TEXAS TERROR by Judy Cox
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 15, 2010

Third graders Nora and Ellie are cousins, but they struggle to be friends. When Ellie's father loses his job, her family moves from Texas to Portland, Ore., upsetting Nora's predictable, calm life. Everyone struggles to adjust, but Nora and Ellie have the hardest time. Nora craves order while Ellie thrives on chaos. The girls have to share clothes, and Ellie is critical of the girly-girl clothes her cousin wears while Nora accuses Ellie of being a goth. When they end up in the same class, their teacher assigns a family-tree project that forces the girls into uncomfortable togetherness. Turns out they have more in common than they think, as they realize that they share a name and a relationship that is a lot like the one their mothers shared as children. Realistic situations coupled with modern economic problems make this a familiar story for today's young readers. Humorous black-and-white drawings pepper the story, deepening understanding. Fans of Johanna Hurwitz and Beverly Cleary will embrace these two modern cousins. (Fiction. 6-9)Read full book review >
CARMEN LEARNS ENGLISH by Judy Cox
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 1, 2010

An inventive teacher and a generous helping of internal strength takes Spanish-speaking Carmen over the language barrier when she starts school. La Señora Koski eases her new student into the classroom with a Spanish greeting: "Her Spanish sounded muy terrible!...I could see that she would not laugh at me if my English was terrible too." Word by word and phrase by phrase, Carmen picks up English; she bridges her experiences by teaching her classmates some Spanish and her little sister English so she will be ready to start school next year. Cox gets Carmen's narration just right, folding in both Spanish words and enough malapropisms to give readers a sense of her special voice. Dominguez's bright paintings present a basically confident little girl whose progress from anxious frowns to smiles will make readers cheer. Muy bueno. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
CINCO DE MOUSE-O! by Judy Cox
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 2010

Mouse is ready for another fiesta adventure (One is a Feast for Mouse, 2009). It is the fifth of May, and the blend of aromas of Mexican food hits Mouse's little house—an old clock—and wakes him up. Mouse leaves his cubbyhole and wanders through the house, where kids, Mom and Dad are engaged in their everyday activities. The "beany, cheesy, ricey smells" take Mouse out of the house, through the streets to the city park. There Mouse finds a busy street festival: papel picado decorations, food, dancers, a live mariachi band and children and adults enjoying a Cinco de Mayo celebration. Mouse cannot resist the temptation to jump on top of the colorful piñata to get the candy inside—but will this be Cat's golden opportunity? Ebbeler's feisty full-page illustrations of the world from Mouse's perspective expand on Cox's ebullient text and enchanting story line, establishing the adorable Mouse as a character that children, parents, teachers and librarians will want to follow from one celebration to the next. Ebbeler's color-soaked illustrations avoid stereotypes and are a refreshing approach to Mexican folk art and traditions. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
ADVENTURE
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

Following beautiful, cinnamon-scented Natasha, adventurous Frederick and his food-loving brother, Ishbu, leave their comfortable classroom cage and travel through Scotland and northern Europe to rescue her father, Professor Ratinsky, from the clutches of the nefarious Big Cheese. As readers of The Mystery of the Burmese Bandicoot (2007) already know, these are no ordinary fifth-grade rats. Ishbu is loyal and determined, and Frederick can read. His inventive mind and extensive knowledge of geography make it possible for all four of them to escape treacherous show mouse Mo-mo, rat-terrier henchmen Snip and Snarl, and the blind possum Big Cheese himself. The story moves quickly, helped by cliffhanging chapter endings, but the author (a former teacher) packs in interesting incidental information and intriguing new vocabulary. An afterword offers more detail about topics as varied as show mice, mousetrap catapults and the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade. A sequel that can stand alone, this lively adventure will appeal to able middle-grade readers who like to learn as much as Frederick does. (Fantasy. 8-12)Read full book review >
ONE IS A FEAST FOR MOUSE by Judy Cox
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 15, 2008

Mouse creeps out on Thanksgiving Day as the human family enjoys its post-prandial nap. He spots a pea on the uncleared table, and then a cranberry, then an olive, then a carrot stick...Thinking to himself, "One is a feast for me," he soon amasses one of everything, until a tower of food teeters on its base of one pea. Ebbeler's full-bleed, double-page spreads make the most of the humor made available by situation and scale—spot the bespectacled mouse dwarfed by his pile as he marches past Pilgrim salt-and-pepper shakers just his size. Greed goeth before a fall, however, in a slapstick climax children will relish. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
PUPPY POWER by Judy Cox
ANIMALS
Released: May 15, 2008

Impetuous third-grader Fran wins a prime spot in the class play and learns to control herself, thanks to puppy school. Fran really wants to be the princess in the play but her behavior is anything but royal: She barrels through groups of little kids ("squirts") to get to the tetherball pole first, collects roadkill to sneak into a schoolmate's backpack and grabs the wrist of her kindergarten reading buddy. At home, her big puppy Hercules is having the same self-control problems, and, with Fran's mother expecting a baby, it's clear that Hercules needs to shape up. Or else. It's hard to say who learns more at puppy kindergarten, Hercules or Fran, but they both progress, and Fran gets to show what a sweet princess she really can be. Though the resolution is too tidy, the familiar situation will resonate with the early elementary set. One cavil: The large typeface, coupled with Björkman's expressive, somewhat exaggerated, black-and-white drawings, would be much more accessible to new readers if the design allowed for more white space between lines and at the margins. (notes on puppy-training) (Fiction. 7-9)Read full book review >
ADVENTURE
Released: Sept. 1, 2007

After escaping from their comfortable classroom cage, two rat brothers journey around the world, caught up in a plot to steal a jeweled statue—the fabled Burmese Bandicoot—and to exterminate humankind. More adventure than mystery, this is an inviting introduction to what promises to be a series starring courageous Frederick and comfort-loving Ishbu. Cox returns to the idea of rats as classroom pets she introduced in Third Grade Pet (1998), with these engaging explorers, personified but still representative of their species in appearance, skills and appetites. Frederick's excellent education is nicely counterbalanced with Ishbu's strong moral sense. Occasional classic quotations support the idea that, though caged, Frederick has paid attention in class. Small drawings of the rats introduce each short chapter. An endnote provides some facts about rats and bandicoots, as well as the Karni Mata Temple, the Fire Balloon Festival of Myanmar and the Australian Big Bird Race, all of which appear in the story. Fast-paced and suspenseful, this is solid entertainment for the middle-grade reader. (Fiction. 8-12)Read full book review >
THAT CRAZY EDDIE AND THE SCIENCE PROJECT OF DOOM by Judy Cox
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 15, 2005

Third-grader Matt and his best buddy Eddie want to win the $50 gift certificate prize for first place in the science fair. Eddie has a great idea—or so he says. Matt has a soft spot for Eddie, but some amnesia too. Matt has forgotten the time Eddie started a fire in the front yard and the broken laundry basket roller coaster. In the middle of all the preparation week, Matt gets a stomach bug and has to miss school. Worse, he misses working with Eddie. When he returns, he falls victim to his friend's impulsive behavior. Seems that Eddie has told all the details of his illness, including the dreaded word, "diarrhea." The volcano that was the science project is now exploding with Matt's anger and shame. When he destroys the plaster creation, the friendship might be over as well. It takes one sister, stranded on the roof, to bring the boys together again in this early chapter book about friendship and forgiveness. Fast-paced and realistic, this tale rings true for its young readers. (Fiction. 6-9)Read full book review >
DON’T BE SILLY, MRS. MILLIE! by Judy Cox
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 11, 2005

In a classroom setting, the harmless fun begins with the kindergartner's teacher teasing her class by telling them to hang up their "goats," do the "frog salute," and get out their paper and "penguins." The children in Mrs. Millie's kindergarten class, after the initial surprise, reply in unison with the refrain, "Don't be silly, Mrs. Millie! You mean . . . " Full of giggles and guffaws, the children delight in the mental picture of the literal image in colored pencil, ink, and color wash which is equally as bright and absurd as the textual tease, but visually and verbally, Cox and Mathieu don't go beyond average. The verbal errors, though they provide an opportunity for the children to correct them, are a simple fun game for a limited age range, whether it's poodles or puddles, weasels or easels, quackers or crackers. Mrs. Millie's sillies will elicit snickers and participation, once through, but no more than that. (Picture book. 4-5)Read full book review >
GO TO SLEEP, GROUNDHOG! by Judy Cox
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 15, 2004

Groundhog doesn't know what he's been missing when he hibernates, but a case of insomnia gives him the opportunity in this toasty story of autumn and winter festivities. Secure in the umbers and ochers of his burrow, Groundhog crawls under his quilt to catch a few months of shuteye. He tosses and turns for a couple of weeks before deciding to jump his sleep engine with a short walk. It's Halloween, a whole new experience for him to marvel at, until a kindly witch whisks him home and tucks him in. A month later, after more tossing and turning, he's back outside, and it's Thanksgiving—where a turkey does the honors; then it's Christmas and Santa. Fortunately, he sees his shadow on Groundhog Day and can catch up on his sleep. The pleasing mood and gentle pacing makes Cox's tale ideal for bedtime, and Meisel's artwork is dreamily transporting. If young readers are sharing Groundhog's insomnia, a thorough note on the origins of Groundhog Day will give them something to chew on at book's end. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
MY FAMILY PLAYS MUSIC by Judy Cox
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 15, 2003

Here's a clan that outdoes even the Marsalis family. From her great grandmother, who plays a cathedral's mighty pipe organ, to little niece Sadie, who plays pots and pans in the kitchen, it seems that everyone related to this high-energy young narrator is a musician. And she's no exception, either: in fact, she plays with them all, on tambourine, triangle, cowbell, woodblock, maracas, handbell, and more. In cut-paper collages that look silk-screened, Brown depicts this exuberant percussionist with cornrows and a big grin, confidently accompanying big band and string quartet, dancing on club stages, and joining marching bands, plainly welcome wherever she goes. A closing glossary explains some of the terms and musical genres mentioned here, but it's the pride this child takes in her family, and her place in that family, that readers will remember most clearly. (Picture book. 6-9)Read full book review >
COOL CAT, SCHOOL CAT by Judy Cox
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 15, 2002

Gus and his family have just moved to a new apartment, but Gus is not making the most of his new start. His mother hints that his lack of focus, scatterbrained behavior, and general attention problems are nothing new. Even on the way to school on the very first day, a howling animal distracts Gus. The animal turns out to be a cat and Gus slips a string around its neck and tries to catch it. The cat escapes, Gus is scratched and bleeding, and he is late for school. This story, though good-hearted, lacks a sense of time and place. Except for the teacher's cursive writing on the board, readers have no idea of Gus's age or grade. Many of the situations seem unrealistic. Would a young boy with two parents really walk to a new school in a new neighborhood all alone on the first day? Would a child approach a wild animal and be able to slip a string around its neck? Would a new student be able to find an empty office and keep a cat there for weeks, undetected, without a litter box? Unlikely situations, awkward writing (including strange similes and confusing shifts from third person to first person narration), and an undefined setting add up to an unsatisfying back-to-school story. (Fiction. 8-10)Read full book review >
WEIRD STORIES FROM THE LONESOME CAFE by Judy Cox
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2000

The "Help Wanted" sign in a cafe window draws some unusual applicants in this breezy, tongue-in-cheek middle reader from the author of Mean Mean Maureen Green (1999). As proprietor/struggling writer Uncle Clem insists that nothing worth noting ever happens along their stretch of Nevada road, young Sam serves up a peanut-butter/fried-banana/bacon sandwich to a man with a pink Cadillac and blue suede shoes (" ‘Thank you,' drawled the man. ‘Thank you very much.' ") and a vanilla shake to a jolly vacationer from way up north ("Red cheeks: check. White beard: check. Round little belly: check. No. It couldn't be!"). Then an oversized dust devil delivers a girl with a dog (" ‘I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.' ") and helps rescue a small green traveler from a—vehicle—that crashes nearby (" ‘Can't understand a word he says,' said Uncle Clem. ‘Must be from out of state.' ") And these aren't the only visitors. Kidd supplies a generous array of vignettes and full-page cartoons, adding both fun and visual clues to the identities of these new employees. Though the Lonesome Cafe can't match Cynthia Rylant's Van Gogh Cafe (1995) for marvelous goingson, this will be a hit with young children, as well as reluctant readers old enough to twig to the cultural references. (Fiction. 7-9)Read full book review >
MEAN, MEAN MAUREEN GREEN by Judy Cox
THIRD GRADE PET by Judy Cox
ANIMALS
Released: Dec. 15, 1998

A girl with a fear of rats overcomes that aversion in this fast-paced classroom story, where the personalities of the students and a funny, alert teacher take center stage. Rosemary is horrified when a rat becomes the class pet. She can't help herself, though, when the students are deciding on a name; she shouts "Cheese" and the name is adopted. When it's her turn to take care of Cheese, Rosemary grows fond of the pet. So fond, in fact, that she steals it rather than let her awful classmate Brian take it home. After several misadventures trying to hide it at home, she gets it back into the cage, confesses to Mr. Wilder, and gives Brian a quick lecture on how to care for Cheese properly. Cox's glowing description of Rosemary's introduction to Cheese is believable; the author, who includes rat care tips at the end, obviously has great fondness for rats, and conveys those feelings without being cloying. The class, the teacher, even Brian are all casually realistic, and the story will surely have young readers clamoring for rats of their own. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 6-10) Read full book review >
NOW WE CAN HAVE A WEDDING! by Judy Cox
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 15, 1998

Perhaps only in New York City could a small girl go from one apartment to another in her building, helping friends of all nationalities prepare special foods for her sister Sallie's wedding. The delighted girl makes dolmades with her Greek papa, tamales with the groom's father, steamed cakes with Mr. Chen in 5B, biscotti with Se§ora Theodora in 2C, and so on. Thus, the tradition behind and significance of every delicacy is described in a childlike and joyful manner. The foods—including some Japanese fish of happiness and Chinese honey-harmonizing-with-oil buns—provide a mini-tour of world cultures. There are homey, familiar scenes of cooking in a variety of kitchens; the warm watercolor paintings contrast real-life domesticity with the exhilaration of the pending nuptials. (Picture book. 4-7) Read full book review >