Books by Liz Callen

WOLF PIE by Brenda Seabrooke
ANIMALS
Released: June 1, 2010

Deviating from traditional retellings of "The Three Little Pigs," James, Marvin and Lester Pygg build one brick house together at the start of this lively, accessible fractured tale. Marvin and Lester, cleverly depicted reading a copy of the traditional book, suggest building with straw or sticks, but James insists on sturdy bricks to safeguard against hungry wolves. When Wilfong the wolf shows up, he huffs and puffs, but the Pyggs don't let him in—and in a twist, he doesn't let them out. Stubborn and hungry, he spies on the Pyggs, soon growing fond of them and of the food they compassionately share. After being slowly reformed and welcomed into the Pyggs' friendship, Wilfong cooks a vegetarian pot pie (not a lupine pie, as the title suggests) and serves it to a "bunch of big bad wolves" lurking outside. Fooled, they agree to leave as long as they get his recipe. Callen's humorous, vibrant multimedia art deftly matches the tone of Seabrooke's amusing tale, resulting in a winning collaboration for independent readers ready to move on to meatier texts. (Early reader. 6-8)Read full book review >
READING, RHYMING, AND ’RITHMETIC by Dave Crawley
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2010

Crawley's latest anthology focuses on school-themed poems. The 20 poems range from amusing to thought-provoking and satirize the stereotypical attitudes and behaviors of school employees and students alike. From schoolyard crushes and cafeteria food to procrastination and the escape of the class snake, this covers it all. Here readers will find that Mrs. Riley is a teacher from the dark side of the moon, that teachers should not be allowed out in public on the weekend and that sometimes walking to school, no matter the weather or distance, beats taking the bus. "True or False" analyzes the difficulty one boy has with whether or not to cheat—he accidentally saw a smarter boy's paper—and "Last" explores the positive attitude of one child who is not athletically inclined. "I Before E, Except" deals with pesky spelling rules, while "New Kid in School" is likely to assuage some fears of the recently relocated. Callen's rather droll pen-and-ink-and-watercolor illustrations go hand-in-hand with the poetry, providing cartoon vignettes of hapless, racially diverse characters. A solid collection, but not a substitute for the likes of Silverstein and Prelutsky. (Poetry. 7-10)Read full book review >