Books by Kady MacDonald Denton

WHAT ARE YOU DOING, BENNY? by Cary Fagan
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 2, 2019

"A lovely, gentle exercise in getting along. (Picture book. 3-7)"
A young fox cub just wants to play with big brother Benny. Read full book review >
A CHRISTMAS FOR BEAR  by Bonny Becker
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 19, 2017

"Another appealing adventure for this delightful duo, just right for a Christmas Eve storytime, perhaps enjoyed with a plate of pickles. (Picture book. 3-7)"
In their sixth adventure together, best friends Bear and Mouse celebrate Christmas with pickles, a poem, and presents. Read full book review >
A LIBRARY BOOK FOR BEAR by Bonny Becker
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 22, 2014

"Team Becker and Denton has again succeeded in creating a book that keeps the attention of young readers and makes them smile. (Picture book. 3-6)"
In a series of scenes both silly and gently humorous, the ever persistent Mouse works hard to persuade gruff-but-lovable bear to become a library user. Read full book review >
THE GOOD-PIE PARTY by Liz Garton Scanlon
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2014

"A must for every child who has to move away and for teachers and parents who want to help children through these times. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Posy Peyton does not want to move away from her secret clubhouse, her books, her bird feeder or her friends. Read full book review >
THE SNIFFLES FOR BEAR by Bonny Becker
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2011

"Bear and Mouse are the 21st-century Damon and Pythias—kids who haven't met them yet will be happy they've encountered them now. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Bear is sure no one could possibly be as sick as he is. Read full book review >
THE QUEEN OF FRANCE by Tim Wadham
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2011

Rose awakens one morning in a majestic mood. She selects items from her jewelry box and make-believe basket before promenading into the garden and announcing to her mother, "Hello, I am the Queen of France." Rose's commitment to the role is so complete that she continues, "Have you seen Rose?" Her mother and father are happy to play along, always gently emphasizing how much they love Rose as Rose. Soon this little girl is not content to be the Queen of France, she must also be Rose. So, she changes out of her costume, flounces into the kitchen and asks her mother the whereabouts of the Queen of France. Rose moves in and out of her role (and costume) before ultimately deciding that she'd really rather just be Rose, since her mother and father would miss her so much. But fancy can't be subdued so easily, and after dinner Rose's creativity stirs again. Illustrated in creamy, pink-hued watercolors that lend a glow to Rose's cheery home, this sweet tale demonstrates that, with the right attitude and outfit, imagination reigns supreme. (Picture book. 2-6)Read full book review >
A BIRTHDAY FOR BEAR by Bonny Becker
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

Fans of the 2008 picture book A Visitor for Bear will delight in this second offering from Becker and Denton about curmudgeonly Bear and his intrepidly friendly—not to mention "small and gray and bright-eyed"—visitor, Mouse. This time, however, the book is an early reader, welcoming new readers to independently encounter this odd couple's deepening friendship. At book's opening, although Bear has accepted Mouse's presence, he rejects all presents and denies Mouse's efforts to celebrate his birthday. Undaunted, Mouse persists in showing up in a variety of disguises to deliver all sorts of goodies and gifts. As in their earlier picture book, Mouse draws up on the sheer force of his cheery goodwill to chip away at Bear's resolve, ultimately succeeding in forging a deeper bond between them. The text is broken into four chapters, and it reads as a well-pitched combination of humorous dialogue and omniscient commentary. Meanwhile, the energetic ink-and-watercolor illustrations brim with humor while firmly establishing Mouse and Bear as friends new readers will enjoy visiting time and again. (Early reader. 6-8)Read full book review >
A VISITOR FOR BEAR by Bonny Becker
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 1, 2008

The sign on Bear's front door declares "NO VISITORS ALLOWED"—and the curmudgeon means it. When a tapping at the door interrupts his breakfast preparation, he's quite annoyed, especially when he opens it and finds a small, bright-eyed mouse. Bear points to his sign and slams the door. But, when he opens the cupboard for a bowl, there is the mouse. "OUT," commands Bear. Three more times, the mouse raps and Bear yells. He locks the door and windows, stops up the chimney, plugs the drain in the bathtub and thinks he's mouse-free—until he lifts the tea-kettle lid and there's the mouse—again! "I give up," Bear blubbers. "You win!" Two plates of cheese, two cups of tea and two sets of fire-warmed toes later, the mouse promises to go. When Bear walks him to the door, he shows his appreciation of mouse's company by taking down his sign: "Only for salesmen—not friends." Charmingly droll, watercolor, ink and gouache illustrations, excellent pacing and the contrast in the sizes of Bear and mouse are a perfect comedic mixture. Kids will giggle each time the mouse reappears and grin with satisfaction when big and little become friends. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2007

How long is a second? How about a minute? An hour? A day? Hutchins has all the right answers to these time-related questions and more, and she explains them flawlessly, in terms just right for young children. A second, for example, "is a hiccup—The time it takes to kiss your mom / Or jump a rope / Or turn around." An hour is "Sixty minutes singing by. / If you build a sandy tower / Run right through a sprinkly shower / Climb a tree and smell a flower / Pretend you have a secret power / That should nicely fill / An hour." With a sense of wonder and gentle whimsy reminiscent of Ruth Krauss, each line of text rhymes and dances along with three playful children and their families as they explore and travel through a year's worth of sunrises, seasons, growing, counting, learning and fun. Imminently appealing watercolor illustrations, replete with warmth, complement the text perfectly. An excellent read-aloud and a great choice for any child learning about time. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
A SEA-WISHING DAY by Robert Heidbreder
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2007

An imaginative boy and his dog Skipper take an impromptu voyage. Short first-person rhymes tell the story, which begins in the backyard, where splashing in a tiny pool triggers a wish to go to sea. "AHOY!" A ship comes billowing by, and the boy finds himself in the crow's nest: "I skimmed the deep blue from east to west." A towering rogue wave brings a nine-headed sea monster. The duo finds refuge on "a coconut isle," where pirates, a buried treasure, an old crocodile and frolicking mermaids complete the adventure. When they land ashore (i.e., back in the yard), the sea is gone: "There was only the pool that sat on our lawn." What better way to finish the day than with a warm bubble bath? Heidbreder's rousing poem is precise, colorful and accessible, a terrific combination for young readers. Denton's gouache illustrations are similarly pitch-perfect, fun and funny without descending into camp. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
SNOW by Joan Clark
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2006

It has been snowing continuously for a whole month. When it finally stops, "trees and houses disappeared / shovelers and plows appeared." Sammy emerges from his house, climbs a snow mountain and imagines what could be beneath the white peaks and cliffs. From a big black bear and her cubs in a cave, to a wooly mammoth, to ruby- and emerald-mining dwarves and elves, to moles drinking ice-cream sodas, Sammy climbs and conjures a new dream each day. When the warm sunshine finally melts all but a small island of snow, Sammy imagines a new vision of grass. Mixed-media watercolor-ink-oil-charcoal paintings in soft wintry blues illuminate a lackluster story of a young child's playful fantasy and way of coping with a long dormant frosty season. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
I GAVE MY MOM A CASTLE by Jean Little
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 1, 2004

This is an engaging package: small poems, most about giving and receiving, with the immediacy of a movie and the energy of a random conversation. They are well-matched by Denton's lively, supercharged drawings, in black-and-white or blue-and-white line and shadow, which capture the spirit and the movement of each poem. The longest are two or three pages; many are shorter. In "The Bulb," a prickly teenager called Mary encounters why her Gran actually named her Amaryllis; in "The Melon," a girl carves her little brother's name in a watermelon that delights him when it's served. In "Loving an Elf," an older sister explains how much easier it is to love her little sister now that she's not quite so cute. Children from toddlers to teens are the voices in these poems, and what is given and received often involves siblings and parents. Quite enjoyable. (Poetry. 9-12)Read full book review >
AMBER WAITING by Nan Gregory
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2003

Gregory (Wild Girl and Gran, not reviewed, etc.) sends an oblique but pointed message to parents: Amber enjoys everything about Kindergarten except having to wait to be picked up. Here, she's left to sit in the hall for an hour after her classmates depart, wishing she could fly so that she could deposit her father on the Moon and leave him to wait while she soars over all the other fathers on Earth. Denton creates brightly lit watercolor classroom and playground scenes, strands Amber—looking lonely at first, then annoyed—beneath a clock, then opens broader scenes to depict her imagined flights. At last Dad rushes in, flashing "his famous smile," but his superficial apology becomes something more genuine after Amber asks him if he's ever been on the Moon, "Waiting for someone. Scared and lonely." This is just the sort of episode that children should insist on sharing with similarly dilatory caregivers. (Picture book. 5-7)Read full book review >
TWO HOMES by Claire Masurel
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 1, 2001

Rising above the standard fare in this genre, with their deadly prose and workaday illustrations, this offering is not afraid to state the obvious: Alex's mommy and daddy don't live together. Alex matter-of-factly explains it: "Daddy lives here. Sometimes I live with Daddy. Mommy lives there. Sometimes I'm with Mommy." Writing about a now-common experience for many young children, Masurel (Good Night!, 1997) has successfully created a reassuring addition to the separated-parents bibliotherapy booklist. Alternating between Dad's and Mom's, Denton's watercolor, gouache, and ink illustrations display an intimate knowledge of the complete lives of the city-dwelling Mom and the country-living Dad. At Mommy's there's a big, comfy chair to cuddle up in and read; at Daddy's a child-sized rocking chair. There are separate but equal accommodations, too, including a dog at Dad's and an aquarium full of fish at Mom's. Alex is nearly gender-neutral, dressed in a kid uniform of cotton pants and shirt (red at Dad's and blue at Mom's) with straight hair bobbed at ear length. This portrayal allows all children the opportunity to identify with the young narrator. On page after page, Alex and his parents engage in the pleasant common activities of early childhood, from playing dress-up with an assortment of friends, taking a bath, and shucking peas at Dad's, to baking gingerbread men at Mom's. An extremely positive take on an often-painful subject. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
TOES ARE TO TICKLE by Shen Roddie
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 16, 1997

A takeoff of the Ruth Krauss and Maurice Sendak classic A Hole Is to Dig (1952) that revives the same snappy childlike style of defining words that so charmed generations of early listeners. From the first yawn of morning to the last kiss goodnight, Roddie goes through meals, playtime, a visit to the park, dressing up, and more with simple one-liners describing favorite behaviors and feelings. ``Morning is for waking up . . . milk is to give some to the cat . . . and a mirror is for making faces'' are just a few examples of the cuddly sentiments expressed with joy. Exuberant Helen Oxenburyish expressions enliven scenes of two siblings trying on oversized shoes, seesawing, building tents of blankets, emptying purses, and other typical discoveries. Chipper colors add to the free-spirited frolic found in the pages of this early concept book. (Picture book. 2-5) Read full book review >
REALMS OF GOLD by Ann Pilling
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 1993

An excellent introduction to mythology, with 14 graceful retellings—pourquoi tales like the opener, a West African legend explaining why the Earth Mother's children are so many different colors; stories of love and tragedy (Persephone, the willow pattern story); legendary heroes and fools (Midas, Finn MacCool, Perseus). The brevity of the selections (even Balder's story, with its complex cast of characters, takes just eight pages), large, open type, and profuse illustrations (pen-and-ink with watercolor, marginal vignettes to full-page) make these versions especially suitable for children in the early grades. Many of the colors and design motifs are adapted from the cultures that originated the tales (Greek vase designs, Chinese brush painting, African textiles, Pacific Island carvings). An attractive volume for pleasure reading as well as classroom use. (Nonfiction. 6-11) Read full book review >
JENNY AND BOB by David Wynn Millward
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 1991

Three exquisitely simple preschool dramas: ``Angry Jenny'' frightens the cat, breaks her doll, is sent to bed to cry and then makes amends all around; she and friend Bob find a ``Poor Bird''—not sleeping, they agree, but dead—and honor it with burial and a special guard, including dolls and an interested cat; a ``Rainy Day'' finds the two happily involved in imaginative play in a puddle. Denton's perceptive illustrations are as economical as the text; her small people are unusually gentle and beguiling, yet without sentimentality. Perfect for lap or toddler group. (Picture book. 2-6) Read full book review >
THE STORY OF LITTLE QUACK by Betty Gibson
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 1991

In a fine picture-book debut, Gibson neatly weaves insights about a child's development into the stock plot of a beloved pet turning up with young after a mysterious disappearance. Little Quack has been Jackie's best friend; the other farm animals are too busy to play. Still, the duck (like Jackie) needs her own kind, too. A warm story about friendship, growing, and self- reliance; in her perceptive, impressionistic illustrations, Denton observes the lonely child and his animal friends with amused affection. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >