Books by Lisa McCue

MERRY MERRY HOLLY HOLLY by Dori Chaconas
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 20, 2015

"A quiet, satisfying story about a charming pair of friends celebrating their affectionate bond. (Picture book. 3-5)"
The stars of a popular early-reader series move on to the picture-book world in this gentle story about finding a Christmas tree. Read full book review >
LITTLE WOLF GOES TO SCHOOL by Mary Packard
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 7, 2012

"Sweet and comforting, as intended. (Picture book. 3-7)"
The first two in Packard's new Watch Me Grow series address first-day-of-school fears and the welcoming of a new baby. Read full book review >
QUIET BUNNY & NOISY PUPPY by Lisa McCue
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2011

"For those toddlers who crave more of a story than traditional opposites books offer, this just may fit the bill. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Quiet Bunny's third outing (Quiet Bunny's Many Colors, 2011, etc.) explores opposites as he makes a new friend who is his different from him in every way. Read full book review >
QUIET BUNNY'S MANY COLORS by Lisa McCue
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2011

This is the second offering in a new series about the titular rabbit, following a previous exploration of animal sounds (Quiet Bunny, 2009). In this effort, Quiet Bunny finds out about the colors of the springtime and decides he doesn't want to be a plain brown-and-white rabbit any longer. He tries to turn himself yellow with honey and flower blossoms, green with lily pads, blue with blueberries and so on. A wise owl intervenes and points out that each animal has its individual color and that is what makes the forest beautiful. "We are all different colors, and we are all beautiful!" It's the old "be yourself" theme that has been told so many times and in so many ways, and this version really doesn't add anything new to the canon. The stereotypically wise owl solves the existential dilemma with a simple statement rather than allowing Quiet Bunny to come to the conclusion on his own, and the exploration is never anything more than superficial. McCue's illustrations combine undeniably cute and cuddly animals with lovely flowers, but it's all a greeting-card prettiness that comes off as saccharine. But since she is a prolific artist with many fans, Quiet Bunny will probably quietly move on to the next entry in his series. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
THE SWIMMING LESSON by Dori Chaconas
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 22, 2011

"This swimming lesson will make learning to read a pleasure. (Early reader. 6-8)"
Possum Fuzz and muskrat Cork are at odds over Fuzz's reluctance to visit Cork's house "in the middle of a pond" in this early-reader series entry. Read full book review >
CORK & FUZZ by Dori Chaconas
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 1, 2009

Cork the muskrat loves to find things like feathers and smooth sticks, while Fuzz the opossum likes to keep things like food in his mouth. These best friends, adorably drawn by McCue in ink and watercolor, come into mild conflict when Cork loses his best green stone and Fuzz finds it, chanting, "Finders keepers." Fuzz also finds a wiggling hump of fallen leaves. As the story progresses it becomes evident that Fuzz is not the brighter of the two: "Should I hit it?" he asks, brandishing a stick. Soon enough they discover a hidden chipmunk within the leaves, who enjoys playing his own game of finders keepers. Fifth in the series, this simple, sweet tale offers a lesson, wisely pronounced by Cork: "Sometimes we cannot keep the things we find." It's clear from these pals that true friendship can withstand all sorts of mishaps. This Level 3 in the Viking Easy-To-Read program offers a touch more in linguistic sophistication than the venerable Frog and Toad but definitely partakes of that timeless sensibility. (Early reader. 6-8)Read full book review >
CORK AND FUZZ by Dori Chaconas
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2008

Cork, the short muskrat who collects shiny stones, and Fuzz, the tall possum who collects, well, most things, including feathers, return in a fourth easy reader. Their slightly rivalrous friendship—they spar a bit over the sizes and types of their collections—is further tested when they encounter some "green stones" near a pond. Owing to a feather wrapped in Fuzz's tail, five hatching ducklings bond with the possum, and their returning mother duck "collects" him while hustling her brood back to the nest. After Cork finds a way to liberate Fuzz, the pair runs, flaps and quacks, "collecting laughs all the way home." McCue's charming pictures couple pastoral blues and greens of pond and meadow with wiry and shiny textures for Cork and Fuzz's fur and tails. While plotting is slightly thinner than in previous outings, Chaconas has fun with the friends' confusion as the busy ducklings overrun their nest. A welcome addition to a sweet, funny series. (Easy reader. 5-8)Read full book review >
CORK AND FUZZ by Dori Chaconas
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2006

In this delightful second installment, Cork the muskrat and Fuzz the possum struggle to resolve differences that jeopardize their friendship. Cork, who is older, notices that Fuzz is taller. In the duo's childlike estimation, older equals taller—it's simply a rule. Comical attempts to make Fuzz shorter, then Cork, taller, convey just the right mix of earnest endeavor and endearingly silly misapprehension. Chaconas's text and characterizations hearken back to the best of Harper's I Can Read program, evoking in particular the measured dialogue and sweet illogic of Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad. In turn, McCue's ink-and-watercolor illustrations pay tribute to Garth Williams, even as they offer up a pleasingly fresh color palette and singularly apt depictions of two hairy pals from toe to tail. This laugh-out-loud treat never falls short. (Easy reader. 5-8)Read full book review >
HOW DO I LOVE YOU? by Leslie Kimmelman
CHILDREN'S
Released: Dec. 1, 2005

A crocodile parent uses her child's digits to count the ways she loves him in this beautiful rhyming tribute: "How do I love you, little one? / Let me count the ways. . . . / One in sunshine; / Two in snow; / Three on rainy days." Mom loves everything about her child: from his grins, antics and messes, to the activities they do together, at all times of the day and through all the seasons. Reaching 20, she tells him that 20 is not enough: "For if I started counting now / until forevermore, as big as that / last number was, I'd love you / plus one more." The numbers are sometimes shoehorned into the rhymes, lessening its power as a counting book, but the sweetness overpowers this flaw. McCue's illustrations positively sing with the love and the joy the two bring to each other's lives. The pages are a riot of color, with vibrantly patterned borders surrounding the adorable duo. The illustrations and text suit either gender of both parent and child, making this suitable for any combination. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
CORK & FUZZ by Dori Chaconas
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2005

In this droll take on the evergreen theme of unlikely friendships, a small, lonely muskrat and a newly met, considerably larger possum search gamely for common ground. At first, it doesn't look good: Cork loves water and veggies, while Fuzz is into bugs and dry land; Fuzz gives Cork a scare by playing dead, then inadvertently sticks him with a thorn during an attempted game of pin-the-tail-on-the-turtle. Frizzed-up appealingly in McCue's finely inked natural scenes, the two make expressive, recognizably childlike figures that will have young readers rooting for them to find a way—as indeed they do, after discovering a mutual love for collecting interesting pebbles. The comical contrast between Cork's steady seriousness and Fuzz's daffy streak—" ‘Are you a duck?' Fuzz asked. ‘Ducks go cork! cork!' ‘Ducks do not go cork! cork!' Cork said. ‘Ducks go quack! quack!' "—adds even more animation to this budding friendship. Readers will hope for sequels. (Easy reader. 5-7)Read full book review >
FEATHERS by Eileen Spinelli
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2004

McCue's clean-lined, brightly colored close-ups of smiling birds, all in natural settings framed by garlands of vines, flowers or patterned ribbons, will draw children to these 27 impish rhymes, each of which celebrates a particular kind of bird. Sandwiched between a woodpecker's "Wake Up" and the night hawk's "Nighty-Night," Spinelli travels from the tropics to Antarctica, backyards to deserts, ocean to urban canyons, offering an occasional dud—addressing a blue-footed booby: "Do show off your skills / as a catcher of fish. / Do whistle. Do waddle. / Then— / do what you wish"—but more often taking flight: "Dizzy-dazzle thrumming bird. / No bigger-than-my-thumb-ing bird. / A silky, summer-strumming bird." This lively companion to the likes of Kate Kiesler's Wings on the Wind (2002) and Douglas Florian's ever-clever On the Wing (1996) finishes with sketchy endnotes that elaborate on information delivered in the verses. (Poetry. 7-10)Read full book review >
CORDUROY'S BIRTHDAY by B.G. Hennessy
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 1997

It's Corduroy's big day, and although he is pushing 30, he doesn't look a day over 5; in the years since his first appearance he has learned how to keep both straps of his overalls buttoned. He's invited over to Checkboard Bunny's home (for what will be a surprise party) but finds time before the party to ``recycle his newspapers and donate clothes that no longer fit him to the children's shelter.'' He also ``chooses some cans of food for the food bank.'' These are worthy activities, but entirely out of step with lighthearted action in the rest of the book, as Corduroy goes off to the party for a good time. The book brims with lift-up flaps, allowing children to get right in on the action: locating the hiding places of the guests, opening gifts, watching the birthday candles go from fire to smoke when the bear blows them out. Corduroy remains a winsome fellow, but those familiar with the older books (and who have not been eased into this series of knock-offs illustrated by McCue) will find no hint of the bear's urban roots (he lives in suburbia now), nor of the little girl who brought him home from the department store. Call it a lift- the-flap, call it a birthday book, but don't call it Don Freeman's Corduroy (1968). (Picture book. 2-6) Read full book review >