Books by Linda Smith

THE INSIDE TREE by Linda Smith
Released: Feb. 1, 2010

Mr. Potter lives a cozy life in his little house, enjoying tea by the fire and looking out at a fine tree in his yard, underneath which his dog sleeps. One night, he notices his dog looking in through the window and decides to bring him inside. The generous gesture has ramifications, though: Now the tree outside seems lonely without the dog. Uprooting the tree, Potter plants it within the house, directly through the floorboards, and in no time the tree's growth necessitates a hole through the roof. When it inevitably starts to rain, the cherubic and portly Potter decides to move into the barn, allowing the tree to flourish outside once its growth precipitates the collapse of the existing house walls. The absurdity of this story flows neatly; even though Potter does not seem to understand his foolishness, in both text and illustrations the dog provides a healthy skepticism. Parkins's deep, dark acrylics on canvas detail all the comforts of home. Potter's noodlehead behavior will have kids anticipating and groaning throughout. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
MRS. CRUMP’S CAT by Linda Smith
Released: May 1, 2006

Who doesn't know someone who adamantly vows never to let a stray cat in the house? Meet Mrs. Crump, who "opened her front door one rainy day to fetch the paper and discovered an exquisite golden cat shivering on her porch step." The cat won't shoo, slips inside the door and polishes itself in front of the fire. As the cat ingratiates itself paw by paw, Mrs. Crump comes up with one reason after another why not to give the cat the boot, buying cream at the grocer's, bathing it for fleas, buying a collar, etc. Her last resort is a sign in Mr. Henry's store window: "Found. One sneaky, finicky, troublesome, wet yellow cat with fleas." Surprise—no one claims it and you can guess what happens next. Subtle illustrations with a British accent (seamed stocking, spectator shoes) humorously underplay the tale. Kids will see what's coming and giggle as the cat pussyfoots its way into Mrs. Crump's home and heart. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2003

The author of Mrs. Biddlebox (2002) posits another irascible senior citizen, this one living in a big boot with only an equally irritable cat for company. The arrival of five rambunctious children to a neighboring shoe sends both scurrying to the nearest witch for a supply of "Kiddie-Be-Gone." Unfortunately, it's a stale batch (and she doesn't read the instructions); suddenly, the coterie of cheerful young folk is transformed into a huddle of grumpy, querulous oldsters, "Some saggy and baggy, with moles on their skin, / Some crinkled and wrinkled, with rolls on their chin." Manning sets this cautionary tale in a landscape of rolling hills and widely scattered shoes and cottages. The old folk are all marked by scowls beneath oversized red noses—until the old woman hastily stirs up a batch of "Kiddie-Come-Back" that restores her neighbors to a fresh-faced, "clattering, chattering, clamoring crew" of children. "Now what would that old woman do?" Well, if you can't beat 'em. . . . Readers of Mother Goose with lingering questions about that old woman with so many children will find some answers at last, in this lively take on the traditional rhyme. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
MRS. BIDDLEBOX by Linda Smith
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

Features pinched, frizzy hair floating like a cloud of concentrated gloom overhead, entirely surrounded by great, dark angry swirls of color, old Mrs. Biddlebox has definitely gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. But rather than just grump around, she marches off to gather up dirt and shadows, twirl the fog around her broomstick like oversized cobwebs, roll up the lowering sky, stir in a sunbeam, pour it all into a pan, and bake the day into a delicious cake. Smith's posthumous text displays the animated rhythm and rhyme of her debut, When The Moon Fell Down; Frazee (Everywhere Babies, 2001, etc.) gets not only Mrs. Biddlebox's evil mood just right, but her ultimate "witchety delight" too as, with a full belly, she throws open her window (a door in the verse, but let's not quibble) to a moonlit night aswirl, this time, with flower-like stars. If Betsy Everitt's Mean Soup (1992) isn't filling enough, dish up this tempting dessert. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
Released: May 31, 2001

The Moon has taken many an excursion to Earth in picture books, but never has he had a better time. Having always had only a view from above, Moon is delighted upon landing to learn that horses have knees; then, accompanied by a friendly cow, he sails into a sleeping town to window shop, falls in love with a blinking hotel sign, and dances with his bovine companion until dawn. Brown (Stella's Dancing Days, p. 178, etc.) depicts Moon as a comfortably dressed, round-headed gent with widely set dot eyes and a contagious smile—a smile that survives even the Farmer's remonstrance: " ‘Moon!' he cried. ‘This isn't right! / Cow, how dare you roam! / A moon belongs in the sky at night, / And a cow belongs at home.' " <\b>Maybe so, but Moon is last seen winking and grinning warmly down from the sky, a celestial invitation to share happy memories. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >