Books by Lola M. Schaefer

THE BEAR AND THE STAR by Lola M. Schaefer
Released: Sept. 24, 2019

"Serene yet enigmatic. (Picture book. 4-7)"
A lyrical testament to peace. Read full book review >
RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! by Lola M. Schaefer
Released: Feb. 15, 2016

"More whimsy than fact here—but by that measure, an agreeable-enough romp. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Following Swamp Chomp (2014), Schaefer and Meisel explore animals in motion on the African savanna.Read full book review >
SWAMP CHOMP by Lola M. Schaefer
Released: April 1, 2014

"The illustrations invite children to take their time finding animals and figuring out their activities; the text would sparkle equally if the author had played more with rhyme, rhythm and alliteration. (Informational picture book. 2-4)"
The names of several animals that might inhabit a cypress swamp, along with a plethora of verbs, adorn pages full of brightly colored animals, plants and water. Read full book review >
ONE BUSY DAY by Lola M. Schaefer
Released: March 4, 2014

"Hooray for sibling revelry! (Picture book. 3-6)"
In this sequel to their excellent new-baby story, One Special Day (2012), Schaefer and Meserve depict a growing sibling bond between big brother Spencer and little sister Mia. Read full book review >
LIFETIME by Lola M. Schaefer
Released: Sept. 24, 2013

"Kudos for not dumbing it down, however. A more cohesive theme would make for a more understandable overall presentation, but readers will get their money's worth. (Informational picture book. 4-8)"
An original concept that begins simply and ends up surprisingly—and somewhat confusingly—complex. Read full book review >
MITTENS AT SCHOOL by Lola M. Schaefer
Released: July 1, 2012

"With its feline star, school theme and mild suspense, this is another solid addition to early-reader collections. (Early reader. 4-7)"
In Mittens' sixth outing, he goes to school to be Nick's show-and-tell, but sitting all day in his carrier is boring. Read full book review >
Released: March 20, 2012

Spencer may be a boy, but in him you'll find qualities worthy of the entire animal kingdom. He's fast as a horse, tall as a giraffe, funny as a monkey and more. Yet when his parents come home with a new arrival, Spencer finds a new way to describe himself. He may be like animals in many respects, but now he's gentle, just as a big brother should be. One would be right to question whether it's possible to create a wholly original new-baby picture book, but Schaefer's device of making the title part animal story, part sibling tale is a winning one. The text allows readers to guess what animal Spencer will come to resemble next, until finally there is only one thing left to be. To accomplish this, the tone effortlessly slides from raucous and rebellious to quiet and awe-filled (aww-filled too, to be honest) with nary a hitch. Meserve's digital oil pastels of idyllic grass and trees successfully conjure up both the wild bestiary of Spencer's id and the pastoral calm the new baby brings. Read full book review >
WHAT’S THAT, MITTENS? by Lola M. Schaefer
Released: May 1, 2008

In the third entry in this series for the newest readers, an inquisitive, gray-striped kitten named Mittens meets his next-door neighbor, a dog named Max. Using a minimal text in a large font, the simple story introduces Mittens, who plays alone in his fenced-in backyard. Mysterious scratching and barking noises from the other side of the white picket fence ensue, with plenty of leading questions and broad hints that prompt the new reader to predict what will happen to Mittens next. Soon the kitten and the unseen critter are both digging away on their respective sides of the fence to mutually beneficial effect, leading to a budding friendship. The author skillfully integrates short exclamations and animal sounds into the text, moving the story along and adding sensory details within the early-reader format. Hartung's soft-focus watercolor illustrations imbue the appealing kitten and the big (but friendly) dog with a perky sweetness that will charm the youngest readers. (Early reader. 4-7)Read full book review >
FOLLOW ME, MITTENS by Lola M. Schaefer
Released: May 1, 2007

Sweet kitten Mittens and his owner Nick, are back in this second book about Mittens in the I Can Read series. They are exploring the safe, interesting world outside their front door. While on their walk, Mittens stops to smell the flowers and is distracted by a butterfly and gets separated from Nick. Not to worry, a sweet reunion is in store. Short, manageable repeated text, generous font and clear illustrations are hallmarks of a good offering for brand-new readers, and this one delivers on all counts. The language sounds a bit stilted to an adult ear, but the predictable text and easy-to-decode words are just what an emerging reader needs. More challenging words ("flutter," "butterfly") allow a little challenge and are repeated frequently enough to become familiar. Clear, uncomplicated illustrations complement the text, further ensuring reading success. Comforting predictable fare for the newest reader. (Easy reader. 3-6)Read full book review >
TOOLBOX TWINS by Lola M. Schaefer
Released: Sept. 1, 2006

When it comes to growing up, emulation is often the name of the game, and Vincent is no exception. "Dad has a toolbox. Vincent has one, too." While mom is busy with the new baby, father and son set about doing many varied projects around the house. As father and son work in tandem, the text highlights in bright colors the names of the tools while explaining what they do and how they are applied. Levels and awls measure and mark for frames and shelves, saws and shears prune and snip the limbs of trees and vines, and screws and nuts twist and turn to repair doors. Dad uses the real tools while Vincent does his small part with the bright toy versions. The illustrations offer a softened realism in the depiction of colorful familial ambiance and small details such as the red patterned carpet, small black dog, the plant on the windowsill or the backyard barbecue. If one isn't bothered by the family's very gender-specific duties, this is a cozy lap read that also serves as splendid learning tool. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
AN ISLAND GROWS by Lola M. Schaefer
Released: July 1, 2006

A volcano forms under the ocean, erupts to form land, erodes and acquires flora, fauna and eventually human population. This highly simplified explanation of island formation attempts to distill complicated geologic processes into rhyming couplets for the youngest reader, often using no more than two words on a page. Colorful cut-paper collages illustrate the text and seem to set the story in the Caribbean, although the suggested follow-up reading is about Iceland, Hawaii and the Galápagos. Inevitably, the simplification leads to distortions and omissions. The pictures, for example, show lava pillows mounding up from the ocean surface and suddenly becoming sharp rocks. Perhaps for the sake of the rhyme, trees grow before the flowers, and birds arrive even later, although, in fact, as explained in the afterword, the birds help bring the seeds for the new island's vegetation. Introduce this science topic to readers capable of taking in greater detail. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-7)Read full book review >
MITTENS by Lola M. Schaefer
Released: June 1, 2006

Nick welcomes his pet kitten, helping him overcome fear of his new home in this My First I Can Read entry. Skittish Mittens "zooms" behind the noisy TV, into the spooky dark under the sofa and, finally, under Nick's bed. There, amid the clutter of toys and a wayward sock, he finds "a small place just for him." But the kitten, still frightened, meows until Nick finds him, reassuring the pet gently until the last page's "Purrrrrr." Schaefer's necessarily brief text is crisp and cogent, integrating dialogue in an accessible manner for new readers. Hartung's simple illustrations use tones of yellow, blue, brick red and grey. Nick has a mop of curly black hair, and both he and Mittens, a tabby with white feet and chest, feature mere dots and dashes for eyes and brows. Ample white space and oversized type complete the package: a sweet, sturdy addition to the growing array of very first readers. (Easy reader. 4-6)Read full book review >
LOOSE TOOTH by Lola M. Schaefer
Released: May 1, 2004

Losing that first tiny tooth is a huge event in the life of a child, celebrated here in this beginning easy reader from the I Can Read series. A little boy with curly blond hair is the first-person narrator, describing the condition of his loose tooth and his attempts to dislodge the tooth through wiggling and eating. The rhyming text is simple but clever, told in very short sentences with repeating sentence patterns and a catchy refrain. Wickstrom's loose watercolors with thick outlines provide additional humor, with distinctly different looks for each member of the boy's family. While this entry works well as a beginning easy reader, it will also be popular in kindergarten and first-grade classrooms as a read-aloud and will fit right in to story hours with dental themes. (Easy reader. 5-7)Read full book review >
ARROWHAWK by Lola M. Schaefer
Released: May 1, 2004

A poacher's arrow pierces a hawk and he almost starves—until he's rescued by humans and survives. The author and artist manage to depict the details of the raptor killing mice and snakes for food—and when he breaks his leg trying to free himself from being wedged in a tree—without being gory or gruesome. The full-page artwork realistically and poetically captures the feathery features and never shows the humans, which effectively retains the hawk's perspective. Tightly bound, a few of the double spreads dip into the gutter but the aerial views and atmospheric backgrounds make this ecology lesson an effective nonfiction drama enveloped in a narrative. Two pages of back matter relate the true account of the real Arrowhawk with a photo showing the arrow through him along with information on red-tailed hawks. Based on a true story and told in unemotional prose illustrated with beautiful, airy acrylic paintings, this will instill an appreciation for the beauty of birds of prey and their role in nature. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 2003

Detailed, scientific-quality drawings, simple, accurate explanations, and fold-out pages make this a satisfying treat for gardeners young and old. Featuring six common fruits and vegetables, Schaefer details how each flower is pollinated, forms seeds, and grows into the plant under the flap. The layout is fitting for the naturalistic theme, since it is reminiscent of poetry, down to the repeated line, ". . . where once a flower bloomed." She winds down by highlighting the planting cycle's end in winter, and its beginning again in the spring. The final spread details the pollination and fertilization of a flower, as well as its parts. There are also planting directions for the seeds featured. A glossary allows those without garden experience to better understand the text. George's illustrations are incredibly detailed, with intricate drawings of parts invisible on any casual visit to the garden. The multiracial children tending the garden are everyday kids with baseball caps and tennis shoes, showing that anyone of any age can harvest the fruits of their labors. Perfect for budding greenthumbs. (Picture book. 4-10)Read full book review >
THIS IS THE RAIN by Lola M. Schaefer
Released: Aug. 1, 2001

"This is the ocean, / blue and vast, / that holds the rainwater from the past." And this is the irresistible refrain of a stunning picture book on the water cycle, written as an innovation on the "This Is the House that Jack Built" pattern of cumulative text, which Schaefer used similarly in This Is the Sunflower (2000). Her rhyming storyline builds with a rhythm as steady as rain on a rooftop, following the cycle of water transformations and adding another element to the text with each refrain. Wattenberg's (Henny-Penny, 2000, etc.) glowing photographic collage illustrations feature an azure sea and a radiant golden-yellow sky with photos of real storm clouds or a black night sky with starfish stars. Her version of the vast, ancient ocean teems with fish, shells, treasure chests, and muted images of dinosaurs of ages past. Schaefer and Wattenberg have created the essential water-cycle title for younger children, imparting solid scientific information (we'll forgive the underwater dinosaurs) with memorable text and stunning art. Librarians will want this for story hours with water or rain themes; teachers will want it for water-cycle studies; and kids will want it for its clever rhymes, striking art, and mysterious sunken dinosaurs. As essential to library collections as rain is to summer sunflowers. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
Released: April 30, 2000

Schaefer starts with one sunflower growing tall in her garden and shows how just one makes many. Cumulative verse, reminiscent of This is the House That Jack Built, describes the growth cycle starting with the flower, then the seeds within the blossom; birds eat and scatter the seeds; the rain and the sun cause the sprouts to grow and, come next summer, there are many sunflowers standing in the garden. Sunflower facts and identification of the seventeen common birds shown in the illustrations are there if adults choose to augment the rhyme with more information. Crews's impressionist watercolors go beyond the text, deepen the understanding of the words and provide a context for understanding the concepts of the growth cycle. The sunflower, shown larger than the house and tree, describes the words tall and bright. To illustrate the flower that stands day and night, Crews paints a scene in which there are elements of both daylight and night. The beaks of the birds that crack the seeds are shown facing into a circle, their heads and beaks are realistic, yet in the next illustration, they fly on the page, wings outspread like angels with long robes behind to show they are `full of song." Although there is no mention of seasons in the text, Crews takes us through fall, winter, spring, bringing us finally to the field of sunflowers in summer. May be enjoyed as a poem or as a springboard for nature study. (sunflower facts, names of birds) (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >