Books by Lauren Castillo

IMAGINE by Juan Felipe Herrera
Released: Oct. 2, 2018

"A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared. (Picture book/memoir. 4-8)"
Former Poet Laureate Herrera encourages his young readers to imagine all they might be in his new picture book. Read full book review >
A BOY, A MOUSE, AND A SPIDER by Barbara Herkert
Released: Oct. 24, 2017

"A stunner—radiant even. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)"
The story of how E.B. White came to write two of his three classic children's books. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 2016

"A very good goodnight book. (Picture book. 3-5)"
Cumulative text builds up to a sweet goodnight in this bedtime book. Read full book review >
TWENTY YAWNS by Jane Smiley
Released: April 1, 2016

"Perfect bedtime story for the end of a busy day. (Picture book. 3-6)"
After a day at the beach, Mom, Dad, and Lucy are tired. But when the moon shines through her window, and everything looks mysterious, Lucy is suddenly wide awake. How will she go to sleep? Read full book review >
YARD SALE by Eve Bunting
Released: April 14, 2015

"A simple, moving tale of a family in transition. (Picture book. 3-7)"
When her parents hold a yard sale to downsize prior to moving, Callie experiences mixed emotions until she realizes she still has what's most important. Read full book review >
NANA IN THE CITY by Lauren Castillo
Released: Sept. 2, 2014

"A sweet story for country-mouse readers. (Picture book. 3-6)"
A child learns to appreciate Nana's urban environs. Read full book review >
THE TROUBLEMAKER by Lauren Castillo
Released: June 3, 2014

"Engaging and worthwhile. (Picture book. 3-7)"
This late-summer vignette features two kinds of troublemakers: a bored brother and a bold, thieving raccoon. Read full book review >
CITY CAT by Kate Banks
Released: Nov. 19, 2013

"A lovely, if unlikely, feline journey. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A black cat serves as European tour guide for child readers in this offering from Banks and Castillo. Read full book review >
THE READER by Amy Hest
Released: Oct. 1, 2012

"A charming (if rather implausible) celebration of a snowy, book-y, day. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Reading anytime, anywhere is touted in this story about a boy, his dog and a snowy day. Read full book review >
HAPPY LIKE SOCCER by Maribeth Boelts
Released: May 1, 2012

"Boelts' quiet tale celebrates the perseverance of a young girl as she attempts to achieve her goals. (Picture book. 5-9)"
Soccer is a bittersweet mix of sorrow and joy for Sierra. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 11, 2011

"Readers ready for chapter books will delight in seeing the world through Spunky's eyes and powerful nose. (Fiction. 8-11)"
The beloved family of Julian and Huey Bates (The Stories Julian Tells, 1981, etc.) is back after a long hiatus. Spunky, their mixed-breed dog, hilariously reveals all about his humans and realizes his purpose in life. Read full book review >
MELVIN AND THE BOY by Lauren Castillo
Released: July 5, 2011

"Emotionally true and therefore highly satisfying. (Picture book. 3-6)"
A boy wants a pet, but his parents turn down his requests until he asks to bring a turtle home from a pond in the park. Read full book review >
THAT’S PAPA’S WAY by Kate Banks
Released: May 1, 2009

Father and daughter head out to fish in the early dawn; Papa picks up the earthworms with his fingers, while the narrator scoops them with her shovel. He whistles as he rows, "because that's Papa's way," and she sings "Whoosh" with the waves, because that's her way. Banks's gentle, present-tense narration captures the specificity of the moment, as Papa lands a fish and narrator holds her breath, hoping she'll get a bite. Their understanding of each other is deep and intimate, evident in both text and Castillo's illustrations. Her soft, reassuringly thick outlines contain this happy pair, even as they are cradled within their boat, which in turn is held gently by the waves. Thick, matte stock completes the warmly rumpled look of this loving snapshot. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
BIG CAT PEPPER by Elizabeth Partridge
Released: May 1, 2009

"Mama, me, and Pepper, / always been this way. / Never been without him, / even for a day." A young African-American boy sure loves his big cat Pepper, but one day Pepper won't play. The next day Pepper won't drink or purr. After the inevitable occurs, mother and son bury the cat in a flowerbed. When the boy asks if Pepper will be scared down there, Mama responds, "No, sugar, no, / I'll tell you why. / His spirit is forever— / it can fly, fly, fly." The boy doesn't understand until one day he holds still: The grass tickles his ankles like Pepper's fur, and he hears Pepper's purr in the wind. The boy's heart opens up, and he knows Pepper will always be with him. Castillo's mixed-media illustrations of a rural, single-parent family are smudgily warm and comforting. The entirely secular explanation of death and the fact that there is no substitution pet added to the family in the end make this a very worthwhile addition to bibliotheraputic literature for the young. (Picture book. 3-8)Read full book review >
BUFFALO MUSIC by Tracey E. Fern
Released: May 19, 2008

When Molly first settled in West Texas, she did her chores to "buffalo music," the noises made by massive herds of buffalo grazing nearby. Soon, however, buffalo hunters arrived to slaughter the animals they thought would last forever. "Forever came fast." In six years the buffalo were gone. Molly's grief over their loss abates when a fellow settler brings her two orphaned buffalo calves to raise. They thrive and word spreads: Soon Molly's herd numbers 100. When Yellowstone National Park decides to rebuild its herd, some of Molly's buffalo become founding members. Molly's story, though fictional, is based on the real life of pioneer Mary Ann Goodnight, whose homebred buffalo eventually populated not only Yellowstone but other wildlife refuges and several zoos. Fern's debut is auspicious. Her homespun expressions ("fending off wolves and poachers with the long end of my rifle") allow Molly's straightforward sentiment to shine. Castillo's smudgy illustrations recall Glen Rounds and invest both Molly and the buffalo calves with enormous personality. Together they make this story one with widespread appeal. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 2008

While it strives to fit into the cheery mode of The Old Woman and Her Pig, this doesn't have the simplicity of the classic. Miss Prudence gazes out her window to see a pig eating her flowers and goes out to shoo him away, but instead a rearing horse frightens the pig and she "tumbled through the air and landed on the pig's back." As the pig and Miss Prudence race through a town that might be early New York, silk drawers, a clothing bag, a rag doll, a priest's stole and numerous other items attach themselves to Miss Prudence who is still riding on the pig. At each encounter, Stanek repeats the refrain, " . . . but the pig ran on," offering the audience a chance to help tell the story. Finally, the pig races into the Mayor's office, deposits Miss Prudence and all the accumulated stuff, "and the pig ran on." While not necessarily a first purchase, there's potential for a good storyteller to enliven the telling and introduce a small audience to a slice of turn-of-the-century New York. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 14, 2007

"What happens on Wednesdays is I wake up when it is still dark out." From dark to dark, a preschooler's ingenuous narration of her day is a catalogue of the sweetly ordinary sights and events that make up the length and breadth of her reassuringly stable world. Jenkins's deep understanding of what a small child marks as important informs every line of this tale, from her protagonist's declaration of independence that "today is not a kissing day" to her very personal map of her neighborhood. That takes her "up the block where we once saw an umbrella caught in a tree, past the bakery where we got that chocolate croissant, across the street, past the daycare where I used to go when I was little. . . . " Newcomer Castillo's illustrations evoke Margot Zemach, with thick smudgy lines and a wintertime palette that celebrates the leafless beauty and energy of this intimate patch of Brooklyn. From what is same every Wednesday (the preschool routine) to what is different (late afternoon play), every moment is both as particular as this one unnamed child and as general as every child. Another domestic triumph. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >