Books by Laurence Anholt

Released: April 1, 2014

"Nevertheless, it's an engaging entry in a winning series. (Picture book. 5-8)"
Anholt continues his series of introductory picture books about the artists with this entry on Marc Chagall. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 21, 2011

"An exceptionally bright and beautiful masterpiece. (iPad storybook app. 6-12)"
A spectacular iPad adaptation of Anholt's children's book about van Gogh, his art and his friendship with a French family. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 2009

Anholt continues his series of picture books about children and great artists with this homey episode about Paul Cézanne and his son, also named Paul. The highly eccentric painter has lived apart from young Paul and his mother for years, and as the tale opens, he has just invited his son to visit him in the Provençal countryside, where the boy finally finds him on a mountainside, painting. As the two get to know each other, Cézanne explains his theory of painting: "I make everything into simple shapes….You are as round as a sweet little apple!" A chance meeting with a Parisian art dealer leads to recognition and success and ultimately to young Paul's future career as his father's agent. It's a simply told tale that emphasizes the father-son relationship; lessons about Cézanne's importance in the canon are slipped in sideways. Tiny reproductions of Cézanne's works are integrated into the author's customarily loose, bright watercolors to illustrate those lessons. An author's note rounds out the background of the story and indicates that young Paul's grandson, Philippe Cézanne, assisted in its making. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
SEVEN FOR A SECRET by Laurence Anholt
Released: May 1, 2006

What begins as a pleasant exchange of letters between young Ruby, who lives in the city, and her grandfather, who lives in the country, quickly becomes a maudlin tale overshadowed by social ills. The plot hinges on "The Magpie Song," that Grampa sang to her dad: "1 for Sorrow, 2 for Joy . . . 7 for a Secret never to be told." With Ruby's mom pregnant, her dad frets about family expenses and Ruby worries they will all have to live under the railway bridge. As Grampa's health declines, the symbolism for each magpie number is connected to events ("4 for a boy" when Ruby's brother is born). When Ruby doesn't get a letter from Grampa, and a magpie appears on her balcony, she knows that "1 for sorrow" means Grampa has died. Adults will foresee the outcome: Ruby's family moves into his forest house and she finds the "secret" number seven in the magpie tree—a box of gold coins. The magpie device strains the story, the sequencing wobbles and the story framework falters. Attractive illustrations and the secret may appeal to kids, but not enough to overcome the contrivances. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 2006

Simian twins Chimp and Zee return, bounding out of bed and into a birthday mini-adventure. Clad in jammies and closely attended by "Mumkey" and "Papakey," the two zoom on new scooters through bright, leafy landscapes on their way into Jungletown for "the most enormous, stripiest Birthday Surprise of all"—a double gatefold tent with a party set up inside. It's the wildest birthday celebration since John Archambault's Boom Chicka Rock, illustrated by Suzanne Tanner Chitwood (2004), and though Chimp and Zee are temporarily led astray by a "shortcut" into Slimy Swamp, young monkeys of the human sort will happily "go bananas" along with them. (Picture book. 4-6)Read full book review >
SOPHIE AND THE NEW BABY by Laurence Anholt
Released: Oct. 1, 2000

The Anholts team up to present Sophie, who faces a common big-sibling dilemma. In the spring, she's excited to hear about the baby that will come in winter and notifies her doll and other toys that they'll have to move over because "someone important is coming soon." She waits through spring and summer, so long that "sometimes she forgot all about the Winter Baby." Fall arrives, and then the first snow of winter, which coincides with the birth of her brother. There is life after a sibling's birth, but not like before. This baby wants a lot and he wants it "all right now." Tired of his attention absorption, Sophie asks her mom, "When will he be going back again?" She's shocked to hear the baby's a permanent fixture, then frustrated in having to wait to play with him, and then infuriated sufficiently to dash out into the snowstorm and tell the world, "I don't want that baby anymore!" Parental understanding and the passage of time ameliorate that sentiment; when spring returns, Sophie has moved to affectionate acceptance. Naïf, detailed illustrations underscore perfectly the reality of Sophie's voice and emotions in a book that will reassure siblings of newborns. This is no Julius, the Baby of the World (1990), but it does accurately portray the waiting and subsequent adjustments that accompany this familiar event. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
HARRY’S HOME by Catherine Anholt
Released: April 6, 2000

This enchanting story about a city boy who goes to visit Grandad on the farm teaches children about the concept of "home," showing that while each person's (or animal's) home might be different, each is special and precious to its inhabitants. Harry loves the hustle and bustle of his native city—he loves the fast pace, the fire engines, the escalators and elevators, and even the noise that characterizes urban life. Grandad, on the other hand, loves his quiet farm nestled in the beautiful countryside, where his beloved animals, trees, and flowers surround him. On Harry's birthday, Grandad gives Harry a very special present—a ticket to come visit him. This will be Harry's first trip to the farm and his first time away from his mother. After an exciting journey on a bus, train, boat, another bus, and finally a taxi (the double-page spread charmingly depicts Harry and Grandad traversing a wide variety of terrains), they arrive at Grandad's home. But in the night, Harry feels homesick and wants to go home. He misses the bright lights and can't get used to the quiet that his grandfather loves. Luckily, Grandad knows just the trick—he gives Harry a baby lamb to take care of for the week. After his one bout of homesickness, Harry soon adores the farm and loves seeing the animals in their own homes—the pigsty, henhouse, dovecote, etc. Underlying Harry's story, there is also a lesson of tolerance—neither Harry's city home nor Grandad's country home is better—everyone is entitled to his own preference, but must respect the feelings of others. While Harry's homesickness is glossed over too quickly (had it been explored more deeply, this would have been an extremely useful book to accompany children on trips to their grandparents), Harry's Home is a delightful book filled with lovely watercolor illustrations in vivid, yet soft colors with especially beautiful hues of blues and purples. Harry and Grandad are an irresistible duo. (Picture book. 3-7) Read full book review >
STONE GIRL, BONE GIRL by Laurence Anholt
Released: March 1, 1999

To the true story of Mary Anning, a pre-Darwin fossil hunter who made a major discovery at the age of 11, Anholt adds a folklorish spin. Derided by other children and set apart by surviving a bolt of lightning, Mary assembles such an impressive collection of "snakestones" and "curiosities" from the clay cliffs around her Dorset village that two female scientists take her under their wings. Later, after the death of her father, known as "Pepper" for his speckled beard, she meets a similarly speckled dog, who becomes her constant companion and, before disappearing, leads her to a giant, spectacular marine fossil. Tumbling cottages and spectral dinosaurs across a crumpled landscape, combining swirls of vivid color with disparate perspectives, Moxley creates a hectic, feverish visual rhythm for the tale, but anchors her scenes with Mary's small, solid figure, in no-nonsense braids and brown shift. A tale that is frequently, and more conventionally, told elsewhere, it lends itself well to such an atmospheric, crackling rendition. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9) Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1998

Catherine And Laurence Anholt's Big Book Of Families (32 pp.; $16.99; Nov.; 0-7636-0323-6): Bursting with the boisterous business of family life, this volume from the Anholts is "big" on activity. Poems and captions take a backseat to spread after spread of family members shopping, chasing, tugging, napping, working, playing, fighting, feeding. The best descriptions are the ones that make poetic leaps, e.g., this exultation of a clothesline: "Skirts and shirts and dressing gowns—/The wind begins to blow—/They're like a family upside down,/Dancing in a row!" Another page lists verbs such as "bathe," "chatter," "hurry," and "play," accompanied by fetching little drawings that place the verbs in a familial context. A celebration for families of all sizes and configurations. (Picture book. 3-7) Read full book review >
COME BACK, JACK! by Catherine Anholt
Released: May 1, 1994

Jack can't read yet; still, he loves books so much that he slips right inside one, leading his older sister, who follows, a merry chase as he becomes one ``Jack'' after another. From the bottom of the hill where she's spilled her pail, Jill sends the sister on to the house that Jack built, where he's jumping over a candlestick; in the end, the two escape from a giant down a beanstalk and back out of the book. The adventures are whisked through rather than developed, and the conclusion (``perhaps books aren't boring after all,'' muses the sister) falls a little flat, but tots will enjoy identifying favorite characters, especially in the lighthearted illustrations. The relevant rhymes are included on the endpapers. (Picture book. 3-7) Read full book review >
KIDS by Catherine Anholt
Released: Sept. 1, 1992

In spritely verse and lively pen-and-watercolor illustrations, an exuberant survey of kids' diversity: ``Slow kids, quick kids, healthy kids, sick kids/Smooth kids, hairy kids, cute kids, scary kids.'' The contents of a typical pocket; a count-down of kids hiding (``...six in a box,/Five behind curtains, four behind clocks...''); what nasty kids are like (``They tell you lies, they spoil your games''), and nice ones (``They make you laugh, they hold your hand'')—with the same tots pictured for both; things kids make and do; fears, secrets, dreams, and wishes: an imaginative compilation with a dozen characters to follow from scene to scene and dozens of entertaining details to discover. (Picture book. 3-7) Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1992

After Dad reads them the story of Noah's Ark, Minnie and Max are off to bed, along the way pretending to be a pair of one kind of animal after another. The tigers who bounce up the stairs and the crocodiles who splash in the bathroom are still being kangaroos after they're tucked in for the first time; but after Max gets scared at the idea of a lion under his bed, the two at last curl up to sleep—as little mice. The animals the children imagine appear in oval vignettes on the text pages, while the cheerful children themselves cavort in their cozy home, with plenty of animal toys and pictures in evidence. As usual, the illustrations are exceptionally warm and lively. Good-humored and appealing. (Picture book. 3-6) Read full book review >