Books by Kay Winters

DID YOU HEAR WHAT I HEARD? by Kay Winters
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 13, 2018

"Though the poems of Bruce Lansky and Jack Prelutsky remain the gold standard in terms of school poems, these do present some different topics and viewpoints. (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)"
Winters follows up her debut poetry book (Did You See What I Saw?, 1996) with another collection of poems about school. Read full book review >
VOICES FROM THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Kay Winters
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 9, 2018

"A good step-by-step portrayal of the dangers slaves were willing to risk for freedom and the complex, lifesaving organization that was the Underground Railroad. (historical notes, note from the author, references) (Picture book/poetry. 6-10)"
Jeb and Mattie, siblings living under slavery on a Maryland plantation, tell their story of escape on the Underground Railroad. Read full book review >
VOICES FROM THE OREGON TRAIL by Kay Winters
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 27, 2014

"Despite some good adventures, such as the fun of tossing buffalo chips and the thrill of climbing Laurel Hill, the combination of a one-voice-fits-all twang with too many names and characters is numbing rather than inspiring. (maps, historical notes, author's note, further reading) (Picture book. 7-10)"
A series of illustrated fictional monologues introduces the history of the Oregon Trail. Read full book review >
THE BEARS GO TO SCHOOL by Kay Winters
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2013

"No doubt the bears are adorable, and those just starting school may appreciate a new perspective on the going-to-school theme, but, especially in areas where there are real bears roaming the countryside, the mixed message is troubling. (Picture book. 4-7)"
Winters' Pete and Gabby are back, this time largely avoiding detection while they roam through an elementary school. Read full book review >
THE BEARS GO TO TOWN by Kay Winters
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 2012

"In what seems like a new golden age of early readers, this just isn't a standout. (Early reader. 5-7)"
Despite appealing pictures of mischievous bears, this story lacks teeth. Read full book review >
THIS SCHOOL YEAR WILL BE THE BEST! by Kay Winters
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 1, 2010

On the first day of school, this primary-grade teacher encourages her students to share their hopes for the coming year. In one- or two-page spreads, the wishes unfold: for the best seat on the bus, a chocolate fountain at lunch, to kick the ball into the right goal, not to be a vegetable in the school play. The quotidian-but-nevertheless-marvelous ("at least one snow day") mixes with the slightly ridiculous ("We'll have Skateboard Day") to provide a kid-level survey of anticipated fun. Andriani's line-and-watercolor cartoons likewise mix the fanciful (one little boy brings his giant purple boa constrictor for show-and-tell) and the realistic (two girls jump double Dutch as one of them imagines making friends in her new school). A catalog more than a story, this agreeable book could act as a fruitful springboard for class brainstorming. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
COLONIAL VOICES by Kay Winters
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 2008

Ever wonder what it felt like to be in Boston on December 16, 1773—the day of the infamous Boston Tea Party? At dawn, Ethan, the errand boy, heads out to deliver newspapers containing a notice from the Sons of Liberty about a secret meeting that night at Old South Church. Everywhere Ethan goes, there's a sense of urgency. Everyone has an opinion about the King and his tea tax. En route, Ethan encounters the printer, the shoemaker, the basket trader, the milliner, the midwife, the barber, the blacksmith and his African slave, the clockmaker and the silversmith's apprentice. By nightfall, Ethan arrives at the meeting where patriots opt to turn Boston harbor into a teapot and defy the King. Told from the perspectives of ordinary citizens engaged in ordinary work, the text conveys the diversity and defiance of the times. Engaging ink-and-watercolor illustrations contrast the drama of this historical event with details of everyday life in the streets and shops of colonial Boston. Savory historical fare. (historical notes, glossary, bibliography) (Picture book. 9-12)Read full book review >
MY TEACHER FOR PRESIDENT by Kay Winters
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2004

Come November, lots of people would cast their vote for Oliver's teacher—just the kind of secure, commanding, compassionate presence it would be good to see in the White House. Arranged by Brunkus in warmly agreeable two-page spreads—the left side depicting the teacher tending to her responsibilities at school, the right side showing her attending to the same qualities as chief executive—Oliver tells us of her fondness for white houses, that she likes to be followed about, likes to travel, knows how to keep the attention of her charges, doesn't mind any number of meetings, and signs important documents. Then Winters ups the ante: this gray-haired, bespeckled wise soul also knows first-hand how to react to emergencies, handle health-care issues, is interested in finding people jobs, keeping the Earth clean, and knows—here's the kicker—how to listen. It all starts so early, these fundamentals of a sensitive existence, and Winters makes the parallels simple to digest. Here's a third-party candidate to get behind. (Picture book. 5-7)Read full book review >
ABE LINCOLN by Kay Winters
ANIMALS
Released: Jan. 1, 2003

In a moving tribute to the power of books and words, Winters (But Mom, Everyone Else Does, p. 1239, etc.) introduces a young backwoods child who watched "peddlers, pioneers, / politicians, traders, slaves / pass by," down the old Cumberland Trail, until "his ideas stretched. / His questions rose. / His dreams were stirred"—and he was caught with a love of learning that carried him "from the wilderness / to the White House." In a mix of vignettes and larger scenes, Carpenter (A Far-Fetched Story, 2002, etc.) plants her lanky lad, generally with book in hand, amid a variety of rustic and early American scenes as he passes from infant to president. Using strong, economical language, Winter recounts selected incidents from Lincoln's life that point up several aspects of his character, sums up her thesis at the end ("He learned the power of words / and used them well"), then closes with a supplemental afterword that does not, unlike Amy Cohn's Abraham Lincoln (2002), misrepresent the Emancipation Proclamation. For bookish young readers in search of a role model, here's the best one since Jean Fritz introduced St. Columba in The Man Who Loved Books (1981). (Picture book/biography. 7-9)Read full book review >
BUT MOM, EVERYBODY ELSE DOES by Kay Winters
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

In order to convince her mother that her acts and desires are not only legitimate but also universal, a young girl paints humorous and exaggerated pictures to prove her point. When her mother comes into her bedroom and eyes the disaster area, the young girl says, "But Mom, everybody has a messy room," picturing in her mind (and a large bubble on the page) the various toxic waste sites that are her friends' rooms and much more lethal than her small clutter. And everyone gets a bigger allowance as images dance in her head of armored cars dropping off great sacks of moola to her friends. And absolutely everyone failed that test at school. She fancies a news reporter delivering the sound bite, "The world was stunned by the news that every child in the universe failed the test . . . " So it goes through nobody walking to school and everybody sleeping with the dog, nobody has to practice, and everybody can paint better than she can. Cushman's (What Teachers Can't Do, p. 814, etc.) illustrations never push too hard for effect and so give credence to the girl's outrageous conjectures, which serve as bright hailings to a vivid imagination. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
TIGER TRAIL by Kay Winters
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2000

The author and illustrator of Wolf Watch (1997) here team up again to let the tigress speak: "I am the tigress. / I walk alone. / No pack / no pride / no mate / helps me survive." Winters's tigress describes how she hunts to feed her cubs, washes them with her warm, wet tongue, carries them to safety to avoid a lurking leopard, and teaches them to swim, hide, and hunt, until at last they can go off to live on their own. The author presents a good deal of detail about the lifecycle, without ever giving specific information about the species of lion or geographic region where it is found. The title ends as it begins, as the tigress asserts: "I am the tigress. / I walk alone." Regan's huge black and gold tigress has strength and dignity, while the inquisitive cubs are cuddly and cute. Double-paged spreads allow for the sweep and majesty of the setting. But the illustrator is less successful at integrating the tiger into a realistic landscape. While the author describes the tigress hunting at the edge of the jungle at sunset "where peacocks roost," the illustrator presents a decorative peacock with feathers trailing to the ground. In any setting but a zoo, that bird would be dinner! The author does not provide sources, so young researchers will need to look elsewhere for school assignments, which certainly could be inspired by this beginning. This is an attractive nature read-aloud for the picture-book set. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
WHOOO'S HAUNTING THE TEENY TINY GHOST? by Kay Winters
Released: Aug. 31, 1999

PLB 0-06-027359-3 The timorous specter from this team's The Teeny Tiny Ghost (1998) reappears for a thrilling, hair-raising adventure. Woefully faint- hearted, the teeny tiny ghost knows he must practice being brave and in the school yard he valiantly faces the intimidating playground slide. However, when he returns home to discover empty rocking chairs moving on their own, mysteriously billowing draperies, and rattling chains, the apprehensive apparition's courage is tested. Winters's suspenseful story lends itself to a rousing recital at story hours; the steadily building tension as the diminutive spirit searches the house will generate delightful shivers, while the prosaic climax, in which it is revealed that Cousin Brad is completing his "hide and haunt" homework, prevents the tale from becoming too frightening for a younger audience. Munsinger's merry illustrations, overflowing with many humorous touches, contribute to this gleefully boisterous tale. (Picture book. 3-8) Read full book review >
HOW WILL THE EASTER BUNNY KNOW? by Kay Winters
Released: Feb. 9, 1999

paper 0-440-41499-7 When Mike learns that he will be spending Easter at his grandmother's house on Staten Island, he worries that the Easter Bunny will be unable to locate him and deliver goodies. A well-planned story line weaves together several humorous episodes: an attempt to find E.B. Rabbit's telephone number in the local directory, the creation of a detailed geographic map and colorful signs, plus a heartfelt letter that includes vital information like the color of his grandmother's front door. Weston's full-color illustrations capture Mike's fears, doubts, determination, and final joy; Winters's book comforts children and reminds them of the power of belief. (Picture book. 5-8) Read full book review >
WOLF WATCH by Kay Winters
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 1997

A brief, poetic picture-book celebration of the wolves in the wilderness and the birth and growth of four wolf pups. Muted brown and gray oil paintings show the events near the den (the pack howls) and above it—an eagle hunts. ``Down in the den/Deep in the dark,/One-two-three-four/Pups are born.'' Soon the pups, eyes open, stumble and tumble out of the den to play, and the eagle waits, until a wolf pup wanders after a cricket. Only the timely intervention of the father wolf prevents tragedy. The paintings capture the dignity of the animals, portray aspects of wolf behavior, and depict the rugged habitat in which they live. Especially effective is a spread of ghostlike wolves against grey rocks, as they ``weave like shadows,/Stalking a deer.'' A splendid complement to titles with a more fact-based approach to wolf life. (Picture book. 4-7) Read full book review >