Books by Kristin Sorra

NO DOGS ALLOWED! by Linda Ashman
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 2, 2011

People with pets spell trouble—and opportunity—for a new sidewalk cafe. Read full book review >
GROUNDHOG WEATHER SCHOOL by Joan Holub
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

Holub presents a clever look at the weather as readers follow some groundhogs (and an imposter) through their training at Professor Groundhog's school. In their lessons (including "GeHOGraphy") they write reports on "Famous Furry Hognosticators," learn other natural weather predictors, read about famous figures in weather history, learn about burrow building, do a skit entitled, "The Reasons for Seasons" and experiment with making shadows. Readers can take "The BIG Test" along with students to see how much they have learned. Sorra's illustrations combine a scrapbook style, with letters, checklists and typed research reports, and a comic-book style complete with speech bubbles and panels. The result really lets readers get into the premise and allows for diverse facts to be presented in little snippets (and funny comments to be assigned to each unique groundhog). Bright colors, textures and the incorporation of found objects, as well as the busyness of each page will keep readers searching the artwork. Backmatter includes information about Groundhog Day. Nothing in-depth or too serious here, but good fun that will subtly teach in between laughs. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
BEACH DAY! by Anahid Hamparian
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 1, 2009

A cheerful little red-haired girl greets beach, umbrella, seagull and so on over the course of one clearly fabulous day at the beach. Each spread presents the girl against the beach background with the one line of dialogue—"Hello, waves [lifeguard, towel, etc.]"—assisting listeners in identifying the focal object of each painting. Sorra provides plenty of opportunities for adults to amplify and expand on the text ("What kind of sandwich is she getting out of the cooler?"), making this a cozily interactive experience, but refrains from crowding her compositions—a happy balance babies and their grown-ups will respond to. (12-24 mos.)Read full book review >
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 22, 2007

Gregorich returns to till the rich soil of idiomatic expressions she explored in Waltur Buys a Pig in a Poke (2006). Cleverly combining the literal with the idiom, channeled through the likable oafish Waltur, she explains three idioms in ways even the most literal reader can begin to understand. When Waltur, in his race to give a thank-you speech for a contest that has yet to be judged, moves his horse behind his cart to speed the trip along, the familiar saying's meaning has never been clearer. Hilarious situations coupled with lively, quirky watercolor-filled pen-and-ink illustrations, make this a perfect, fun tool for teaching this literary construct. The final author's note traces the idioms' histories and a quick translation for any young reader who needs an explanation as clear as the nose on her face. Give Waltur another blue ribbon. (Picture book. 5-9)Read full book review >
ANIMALS
Released: July 24, 2006

Cohabitants Waltur (a bear) and Matilda (a beaver) explore figures of speech in three episodes for emergent readers. Persistently taking little Matilda's cautionary aphorisms literally, Waltur searches the market for a new pet, refusing to buy several pigs in pokes (bags), but naïvely bringing one home (with disastrous results) because it's in a box. He then proceeds to prove out the truth of an old fable by assuming that a clutch of eggs will hatch out as chickens and finally he makes a deliberate effort to prove Matilda wrong by leading a horse to water and trying to force it to drink. Sorra illustrates with simply drawn scenes featuring a big bear, a small beaver and the occasional supporting character in comfy country dress. Each episode ends well, despite mishaps, and in the third, Waltur, discovering that persuasion works better than force, demonstrates that he's not such a dim bulb after all. Gregorich both shows and explains what each saying means, and supplies glimpses of their history at the end to boot. An amusing way to introduce the idea of metaphor—or wordplay in general. (Easy reader. 7-8)Read full book review >
KING O’ THE CATS by Aaron Shepard
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 1, 2004

This new version of the eerie English folktale features a considerably extended storyline from Shepard, for which Sorra supplies low-lit scenes of richly clothed cats among shadows and subtly twisted perspectives. Young Peter already has a reputation for wild stories, so when he tries to tell Father Allen that he's seen a feline coronation in the church, then a royal hunting party of cats riding foxes, he's not even allowed to finish. But when Peter brings Father Allen a tale of a royal funeral procession in the graveyard, the priest's skepticism vanishes, because his own charcoal cat, Tom, stands up, proclaims himself King o' the Cats, and leaps away up the chimney. A well-told, atmospherically illustrated replacement—at last—for the standard, but far-too-sketchy, Joseph Jacobs/Paul Galdone rendition (1980). (Picture book/folktale. 6-8)Read full book review >
ANIMALS
Released: June 1, 2002

How about those Gruffs tromping across their famously troll-guarded bridge between two Caribbean islands? Debut author Youngquist couldn't resist landing this well-known story in the heart of the area in which she spends part of each year. The drill here is the same: the three goats decide to opt for greener pastures, but must face their fear in the guise of a mean troll. They do so with their usual cleverness and strength. With island accents for the goats and troll and the help of Sorra's bright, Philippines-inspired acrylic colors, the story takes on the sun-drenched, water-surrounded rhythm of the verdant West Indies (sorry, no sandy beaches, just luscious grass and wavy water). Sorra (Venola in Love, 2000, etc.) visualizes the troll Calypso Joe as a regular stitch with his seaweed green hair and flip-flops. It's hard to take him seriously when mean Calypso Joe exercises his scare tactics. Youngquist, to her credit, paces her version just right and infuses the accents with a truistic tinge so parents and librarians can read it over and over to their children without cracking. However, one is left feeling that the newly mannered Calypso Joe is such a promising idea for a character in this setting that his further adventures will be more interesting than this debut. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >