Books by Lynn Plourde

Released: Sept. 3, 2019

"Not a top pick for the giving. (Picture book. 2-5)"
A reflection on the intangible gifts of the Christmas season. Read full book review >
BELLA'S FALL COAT by Lynn Plourde
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"Adults may feel nostalgia over seasons past—and young readers will be introduced to the enticing lure of autumn and the joys of sharing it with someone they love. (Picture book. 3-5)"
An exuberant girl leaps into the joys of seasonal change with her loving grandmother. Read full book review >
MAXI'S SECRETS by Lynn Plourde
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"Though purposive, this earnest boy-and-his-dog tale makes a strong case for Secret No. 11: 'There's nothing so bad in the world that dog kisses won't make it better.' (Fiction. 9-12)"
"My dog, Maxi, dies," warns Timminy at the start of this friendship tale set in small-town Maine. Read full book review >
Released: May 3, 2016

"Best friends don't have to do everything together, but they are there for one another, and Tiny and Penelope exemplify that. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Exuberant Penelope and shy and retiring Tiny, the most oddball of friends, are back, this time trying to decide what they can do together in the school talent show.Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 23, 2014

"Stick with the original story of Rudolph and his redeeming red nose, with two new versions available in 2014. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer decides he wants to stay home for just one Christmas Eve, so a Moose takes his place, with mixed results. Read full book review >
Released: June 25, 2013

"Penelope joins the ranks of some other popular nonconformists, including Ian Falconer's Olivia, David Shannon's Camilla Cream and Victoria Jamieson's Bea. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A hippo with her own sense of style shows her 1-year-older, uptight, mouse best friend that it's important to be true to yourself. Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2011

"Readers will delight in this latest dino pets installment and wonder where the dinosaurs might go for their next calamitous adventure. (Picture book. 3-8)"
The little boy from Dino Pets (2007) finally gets to show his menagerie off to his class, but will school ever be the same again? Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2009

Remove tongue from cheek and flex it to get ready to trippingly read this story in rhyme that positively boings with silly sound effects. "Grandpappy snippy snappies / His suspenders all the day / Snippy-snappy-snoo / What those suspenders can do!" His zingy snap gets cows unstuck from muck, sends the sheriff's car off in the right direction and gets the derailed train back on track. But what happens when his suspenders lose their snippy-snappiness just when a flock of crows flies off with his honey poo and Grandmammy needs rescuing? He reveals his secret weapon (lightning-patterned undies). "Grandpappy's a hero / No suspenders in sight / He used his own pair of bloomers / To save his wife." Santoro's wildly exaggerated cartoons and the cleverly designed word composition echo the action and put the snap into this goofy tale. There's plenty of "suspension" of absurdity here. (Picture book. 4-6)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

Bill Pottle doesn't mind being called the dump man, because that's his job and he loves it. He finds treasures all the time: a rocking chair, a globe, a weather vane and, most of all, books. The town's children understand—they don't want to throw their books away either—and are delighted when Mr. Pottle creates a dump library with mismatched shelves and no late fees. When the books start mounting up, Mr. Pottle takes them out on the road, filling a grocery cart and heading to the town's nursing homes and back alleys. Then one day, Mr. Pottle is missing. The children find him in a ditch with a broken ankle, and when they visit him in the hospital they discover something surprising—Mr. Pottle can't read. The grown-up townspeople are uncomfortable, but the children know exactly what to do! Plourde's feel-good tale of recycling and community moves slowly, but Mr. Pottle's obvious love for what he does holds great appeal. Owens's soft, realistic watercolors nicely complement this gentle tale. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
SCIENCE FAIR DAY by Lynn Plourde
Released: Jan. 1, 2008

The latest in the series of picture books occurring in Mrs. Shepherd's class focuses on the ubiquitous science fair. Main character Ima Kindanozee (say it out loud) is aptly named. She is so curious about her classmates' science-fair projects that she checks out each one, overwhelming the creator with many questions. Unfortunately, in her enthusiastic quest for knowledge, Ima usually ends up destroying the work. Mrs. Shepherd remains relatively calm, stalling the principal's attempts to enter the room and judge the now messy scene. She helps each student repair Ima's damage just as Ima innocently ruins another project. Finally, principal Helm will be distracted no longer and enters the classroom. Everything has been repaired and Ima takes the Principal around, asking questions of each student that show off their knowledge. Duly impressed, Mrs. Helm leaves. Mrs. Shepherd states that Ima may not have her own science project but she certainly has "a nose for news," with the last illustration showing the newspaper Ima has produced. Wickstrom's cartoon-like illustrations set the tone for the silliness, and the subject of the book is sure to be a winner with teachers and children alike. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2007

Where do all those lost mittens go? Despite Mommy's warning not to leave her mittens at school, young Molly does, but for a good cause: She uses them to warm up a shivering turtle in her classroom's terrarium. Mr. Jolly, her teacher, rescues them and puts them on the lost-and-found pile, prompting the refrain, oft-repeated, "Mittens, mittens, my, oh, my, a mountain of mittens piled up high." In subsequent days, Mommy tries Velcro, crocheting, duct tape, etc., to keep Molly from losing her mittens. Apparently, it's a school-wide epidemic: When the principal Mrs. Folly announces that students will not be able to leave the school without mittens, she triggers a rush on the mitten pile, as well as a hilarious disaster. Vane's busy illustrations—in watercolor and dip-pen and India ink—are full of quirky additional jokes. A happy and sublimely silly tale—but why is a book about mittens publishing in the summer? (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
DINO PETS by Lynn Plourde
Released: May 1, 2007

Dinosaur lovers' imaginations soar with this inventive flight of fancy from Plourde. A very lucky little boy just happens to have a Dino Pets store in his town . . . and parents willing to own a dinosaur. He chooses the biggest dinosaur, but when it won't fit through his door, back to the store he goes. The fastest one runs away, and he keeps stepping on the longest one's tail. Problems abound with each new dino pet, from the softest to the smallest, down to the scariest, until finally, there are no more dinosaurs to choose from. Sadly, the little boy returns home . . . to find all the dinos gathered there—"Look! My dino pets all came home! No one likes to sleep alone." The rhyming text and Kendall's wonderfully creative illustrations will keep young readers riveted, while even the most avid dinosaur fans will likely learn something new, as very few of these are commonly known. The final pages name the dinosaurs featured in the text, with the caveat that paleontologists learn more each day and the longest, softest, etc. may change in the future. A great one to pair with Bernard Most's work, dinosaur fans will revel in the possibilities. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
BOOK FAIR DAY by Lynn Plourde
Released: July 1, 2006

Dewey loves books of all kinds. He's so excited about book fair day, he gets up before the sun rises and walks to school. (There won't be room for his purchases on the bus; he takes a wagon.) Dewey is horrified to find that his class will be the last to visit the book fair. He's certain everything will be gone. He tries three times to sneak down to the library to shop, but Mrs. Shepherd catches him every time. When the class finally gets there, Dewey spends so much time helping his friends find the right books, that everything is sold . . . except for the box of books the librarian was saving for him. Plourde and Wickstrom's fourth story about Mrs. Shepherd's class is not the funniest or most inventive, but young bibliophiles will enjoy reading about this kindred spirit. Wickstrom's smiling, spindly-legged watercolors of a multicultural classroom are a big plus. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
DAD, AREN’T YOU GLAD? by Lynn Plourde
Released: March 1, 2005

Good-intentioned mayhem follows in the wake of a little boy's attempt to make his father's day a special one. Plourde keeps the action flowing and the text simple: "Dad, aren't you glad I'm such a good house painter?" Alert: Tell young readers they are not to attempt these stunts in their own homes, like taking out the trash (tearing the bag), washing the dog in the bathtub (flooding the bathroom), pouring the milk in the cereal (flooding the kitchen) and, indeed, painting the outside of the house. Wummer's illustrations clearly render fiasco leading to fiasco (deftly offering the counterpoint to the boy's stated goals), Dad getting more droopy-eyed, even the dawning in the little boy that this may not have been his father's easiest day. No surprises in this old tale of a helping hand run amuck, but quick fun, and just brimming with bad ideas ready for insertion in kids' melons. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
PAJAMA DAY by Lynn Plourde
Released: Feb. 1, 2005

Isn't there one in every class? All of Mrs. Shepherd's students show up on Pajama Day with pillows, plushies, and pj's—except for aptly named Drew A. Blank. Happily, Drew does bring along a full measure of ingenuity, and so rather than being "odd man out" all day, he quickly concocts alternative sleepwear from found materials, substitutes a balloon for a pillow, finds ways to participate in all the day's activities—and even becomes a local hero by waking his classmates from an inadvertently extended naptime before they miss their bus. But there's something else he's supposed to remember. . . . Wickstrom's relaxed cartoon scenes of smiling, bean-nosed figures visually underscore the casually inclusive atmosphere in Mrs. Shepherd's class; readers who have already met these lively children and their understanding teacher in School Picture Day (2002) and Teacher Appreciation Day (2003) will happily snuggle down for this new episode. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
MOTHER, MAY I? by Lynn Plourde
Released: March 1, 2004

Despite all the pop and fizz, this story of a mother getting the full Mother's Day treatment from her young daughter suffers from the relentlessly pained expression on the mother's face. "Mother, may I, on your special day, be the mom to you today?" The little sprite, her demeanor speaking volumes, has the devil in her. Mother already looks wary and exhausted, and this is the first page, the start of the day. There follows the predictable debacle: messes here, mayhem there, all—credit where credit is due—rendered in great plashes of watercolor by Wummer. Mother spends most of the day with an ice bag on her head, darkening circles under her eyes, while her daughter engages in a jet-propelled ballet of destruction. Then—no surprise—the grim, overcast skies clear when the young tyke tootles out an "I love you" at day's end. There and then, the mother might have murmured something for all the literal trouble the girl went to. But, churlishly, nary a word of appreciation is peeped. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2003

Summer, the youngest child of Mother Earth and Father Time, takes readers along on her playful vacation in this latest addition to this duo's wonderful series about the seasons. Summer is much too busy jubilantly celebrating all the joys of her life cycle by frolicking at the beach, swimming, building sandcastles, hiking, berry-picking, and camping beneath the coolness of the forest trees, to take heed of her parents' reminder to tend first to her chores. Only after a frisky splash through the coolness of a waterfall and a gleeful climb up a mountain, does she realize her neglect—viewing the parched, brown earth below. She quickly begins her responsibility of sprinkling the necessary raindrops to quench a thirsty world, making everything bloom and green again. Summer then finishes off her work with the welcome colors of a rainbow, leaving her paints behind for sister Autumn to decorate with her traditional fall colors. Mixed-media acrylic-and-pencil illustrations dominated by brilliant, sunshine yellows burst from the page, beautifully blending with the mirthful, rollicking rhyme. A dazzling completion to an attractive series. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 2003

It's all a matter of proportion, suggests Plourde, and Maybella Jean Wishywashy just hasn't got any. It's teacher appreciation day at school and every student knows what they are going to do for their teacher, Mrs. Shepherd, whom readers first met in School Picture Day (2002). They will give her apples and wear clothes of her favorite color and scrub her blackboard squeaky clean. Maybella can't decide what to do, so she figures everything is better than nothing: A shopping cart full of goodies, all of her clothes rather than an outfit, polishing the whole classroom instead of just the board. "Well, that was very . . . thoughtful of you," Mrs. Shepherd halting responds, "Er, that was very . . . generous of you." It's only when the local TV station appears that Maybella shines. When all the other students get tongue-tied, Maybella positively barks she likes "everything" about Mrs. Shepherd. Exuberance and independent thinking don't get much of a salute here ("everybody knows apples are the official teacher treat")—Maybella's not portrayed as a winning sprite, but as too much—especially considering the tepid, vaguely sniffy replies she gets from Mrs. Shepherd. On the other hand, Wickstrom's artwork is full of life and floats this dour boat beyond expectations. Teachers will appreciate it. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
THANK YOU, GRANDPA by Lynn Plourde
Released: March 1, 2003

Soft-focus illustrations in greens and blues, warmed by touches of orange and gold, and set off by warm orange end-papers set the mood for the brief text that tells the story of a young girl and her beloved grandfather. As she moves from toddler to girlhood, grandfather grows older until inevitably, "one day the girl walked alone." On their walks he has taught her to say, "Thank you and good-bye," to the dead grasshopper and the butterfly. Grandfather thanks the fireflies for "brightening our journey into the night." Soon he cannot walk without assistance, and his granddaughter supports him, just as he helped her walk in babyhood. In the end, alone, the girl blows on a dandelion and says, "Grandpa, I love you and I'll miss you. But I will never forget you. Thank you, and good-bye." The images of nature are beautiful, and the joy the grandfather and girl feel at being together is evident in their faces. Though rather sweet, this will provide comfort in times of loss with its reassurance that death is part of the natural cycle of life. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2002

A child's urge to tinker brings her entire class to the brink of disaster—and, happily, back. Everyone starts out to school dressed in their best, but they take on an increasingly spotty look after Josephina Caroleena Wattasheena the First sprays them with oil while disassembling the school bus's gear shift; with pencil shavings when she deconstructs the pencil sharpener; then water as she plumbs the sprinkler system's mysteries; and finally soot from the bowels of the boiler. The rather twee photographer—" ‘Everyone, say cheesy wheezy, if you pleasy' "—has troubles too, as he struggles to get the children together, only to discover that his camera is kaflooie. Sounds like a job for you-know-who. Wickstrom fills his cartoon classroom scenes with gap-toothed, square-mouthed grins, and gives his dark-skinned engineer-in-training both a tool chest and an expression of fierce concentration. Young readers, with or without a mechanical vocation, will laugh at Josephina Caroleena Wattasheena the First's compulsive "fidgeting, fiddling, fuddling, and foodling," as well as the decidedly unusual class portrait that ultimately results. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
SPRING’S SPRUNG by Lynn Plourde
Released: March 1, 2002

The spring season gets a treatment of its own, following autumn (Wild Child, 1999) and winter (Winter Waits, 2001) from the same author/illustrator team. As before, the verse and illustrations personify the seasonal players. In this case, Mother Earth wakes her daughters, the spring sisters of March, April, and May, saying, "You must wake the world / to start a new day." At the end, they must wake one more: summer. But before they awaken anyone, the three girls bicker and vie for first place in Mother Earth's affections. After she affirms "I love you ALL the best," the daughters are ready to wake the earth and "Spring's Sprung! / A new day's begun." The insouciant mixing of months, seasons, and days may not bother preschoolers, but adults may notice. Nonetheless, the tone is lighthearted and fresh, appropriate to its season. Illustrations, as in the previous books, are liquid acrylic and colored pencil on museum board. Mother Earth's form emerges from the earth's topography while the daughters are portrayed as free-standing girls with many visual allusions to their physical ties to the earth, such as hair that flows into a river or curls into mounds of bushes. The colors are pastel, and there is much that is a fresh, new green. Touches of flowers and familiar mother-and-baby animals (such as bunnies and ducks) dot the backgrounds. There is a distinct New Age flavor to both story and illustrations. The large, vertical format is equally suitable for storytime or individual readings. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
SNOW DAY by Lynn Plourde
Released: Nov. 1, 2001

This picture book will challenge, and likely enthrall, young readers with its jagged cadence and wealth of imaginary words, all the while soothing them with Takahashi's artwork, which, despite the clarity of its color and lines, has an air-brushed softness. The story follows a young girl and her brother on a snow day. Inside the house, all is snuggly; outside, all is blustery: "Wooooo-ooooo! / Wild, whirling wind / Crashes limbs to lines. / Lights dance. Flick-a-lick. / Lights die. Flick-a-flooo." When the storm passes, the family heads outdoors. "Snow day walk. / Sluggingly, trudgingly slow. / Snow day shovel. / Grunt, push, pick up, pwoosh." Not all is drudge, as there are sleighs to be ridden and snow angels to be swept. The wind-down is as tender as a lullaby. A minor clash develops between Takahashi's warm-hearted illustrations and Plourde's at times unmusical, eccentric text, but Takahashi creates a common ground by investing the children with owlish eyeballs. And she has caught the magic of a snow day, one of childhood's unexpected gifts, to give the story a natural buoyancy. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
WINTER WAITS by Lynn Plourde
Released: Nov. 1, 2000

Plourde and Couch continue their seasonally themed picture-book partnership, which began with Wild Child (1999), a well-received story of young Autumn and Mother Nature. In this beautifully illustrated sequel, Winter is a barefoot boy in flowing robes made of snow drifts, a Jack Frost figure in icy shades of blue and silver with an icicle nose and snowflake eyes. He waits impatiently for Father Time to have time to play, amusing himself by creating frosty pictures, ice sculptures, and a special giant snowflake as a gift to please his daddy. Plourde tells her story in rhymes that freeze up occasionally, but she also has a flair for rich vocabulary and some ingenious made-up words. The dark, crystalline world of a winter night is wonderfully captured in Couch's swirling double-page-spread illustrations done in acrylics and colored pencils, and he works wonders with the personification of Winter and Father Time. Mother Earth appears on the last page, promising not to let Spring oversleep, so another seasonal saga seems in the works from this talented team. This won't be a favorite with literal-minded little ones, but will be enjoyed by those imaginative children who can appreciate an absorbing allegorical adventure along the lines of Barbara Helen Berger's Grandfather Twilight (1984). Teachers of older children will also use this oversized picture book as an introduction to mythical characters or allegory or as a springboard to creative-writing assignments. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
WILD CHILD by Lynn Plourde
Released: Sept. 1, 1999

The change of seasons from fall to winter makes a captivating bedtime story as Mother Nature tries to tuck in her wild child, Autumn. This child will do anything to stay up; when she complains that she needs a song, her mother provides one that includes acorns splattering, leaves crinkling, and birds twittering. Next the child needs a treat, and after she has munched on a bounty of cranberries, nuts, and pumpkins, she has to change into her pajamas. These nightclothes are the flame colors of autumn leaves with orange slippers to match. Before she can really fall asleep, the child demands a goodnight kiss. This "frosty kiss" is necessarily cold and frozen, foreshadowing the next season, but to readers, the effect of such a somber kiss from mother to child is chilling, or at least less than comforting. Finally the child yawns and curls up to sleep, but the mother will not be resting, for another child, Winter, arrives and "can't sleep." Couch's absorbing illustrations match the allegorical aspect of the poetic text, and both transport readers with images of unusual clarity and depth. (Picture book. 3-7) Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1997

The road is blocked by big pink pigs, and there's nothing to do but get out of the car and try to get them to move. But instead of budging, the pigs are joined by chickens, then sheep, then bulls, all equally reluctant to move from the car's path. The whole family gives up in exasperation; Grandma comes up with the perfect words to make everyone hop to: ``TIME FOR SUP!!'' The family piles back into the car, suppressing giggles at Grandma, whose stern facade is now covered in mud. The story is fun, but the language and rhymes make it rollick and roll, to the same rhythm the family car might make, heading down washboard road: ``And he shooed. And he squealed. And he rutted. And he reeled. But the pigs didn't budge. Not a tiny little smudge''—words that precisely convey the conniptions of the brother attempting to rouse the swine. A wonderful frolic in mud and verse, and Plourde's debut. (Junior Library Guild Selection) (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >