Books by Margaret McNamara

VOTE FOR OUR FUTURE! by Margaret McNamara
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 18, 2020

"Essential—the energetic narrative and uplifting illustrations will inspire and empower young readers to get out the vote. (Picture book. 5-9)"
The children of fictional Stanton Elementary School educate themselves and their community about the vote in this picture book. Read full book review >
THE BUG GIRL by Sophia Spencer
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 11, 2020

"Inspirational for young naturalists. (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)"
A fourth grade girl tells how her mother helped her change from being bullied to being celebrated—for her love of bugs. Read full book review >
POOP OR GET OFF THE POTTY! by Margaret McNamara
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 12, 2019

"Distracting design aside, the book's wholehearted embrace of its subject should make it welcome in many a toddler's household. (Picture book. 1-3)"
A potty-training book with potty humor aplenty. Read full book review >
ELIZA by Margaret McNamara
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 2, 2018

"Well-researched and intricately illustrated, this portrait provides an accessible jumping-off point for those interested in the Broadway musical and captures an extensive historical period from a specific and interesting perspective. (Picture book/biography. 6-10)"
"My story began on a hot August day in 1757." Read full book review >
THE DINOSAUR EXPERT by Margaret McNamara
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 17, 2018

"A pivotal moment in a child's life, handled with grace and sensitivity rather than conflict or ineffective lecturing. (Picture book. 6-9)"
Timely intervention keeps a young science enthusiast's career ambitions on the rails in this fourth outing for Mr. Tiffin's class. Read full book review >
A POEM IN YOUR POCKET by Margaret McNamara
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 27, 2015

"Gentle and subtle, this sensitive story teaches a lot about poetry, perfectionism, and the power of a teacher and a poet. (Picture book. 4-10)"
Mr. Tiffin is back, just in time for National Poetry Month at school. Read full book review >
GOLDEN AT THE FANCY-DRESS PARTY by Margaret McNamara
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 3, 2013

"Age-appropriate story sophistication outweighs didacticism. (Squeak's glossary, Goldie's cape instructions, music) (Fantasy. 6-8)"
Fairy Golden Bell travels to the mainland for an adventure packed with fairies, fashion and bullying. Read full book review >
THE APPLE ORCHARD RIDDLE by Margaret McNamara
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 9, 2013

"A sweet, slice-of-school-life story. (Picture book. 5-7)"
In this follow-up to How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? (2007), a field trip to an apple orchard presents an occasion for daydreaming Tara to solve a riddle posed by her teacher, Mr. Tiffin. Read full book review >
ROSY AND THE SECRET FRIEND by Margaret McNamara
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 23, 2013

"Not the subtlest book, but girls who love fairies won't care. (how to make a fairy house, glossary of baby Squeak's language) (Fantasy. 6-8)"
Fairy Rosy Bell strikes up a forbidden friendship with a human child. Read full book review >
SYLVA AND THE FAIRY BALL by Margaret McNamara
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 23, 2013

"Good intentions and heroism wrapped in a dainty package for girls who can't get enough fairies. (glossary of baby Squeak's language, cake recipe, music) (Fantasy. 6-9)"
The first installment in a chapter-book series chronicling the adventures of Tinker Bell's younger sisters. Read full book review >
GEORGE WASHINGTON'S BIRTHDAY by Margaret McNamara
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 10, 2012

"Overall the connection between the boy and the future general and president is labored and tenuous, and it may well baffle young readers unfamiliar with most of those stories. (Picture book. 7-10) "
This potentially amusing blend of story and historical fact feels a bit strained. Read full book review >
THE THREE LITTLE ALIENS AND THE BIG BAD ROBOT by Margaret McNamara
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 27, 2011

"This one may be too stuck on the arc of the original tale to come alive in its own right. (Picture book. 5-7)"
An extremely odd variant on "The Three Little Pigs." Read full book review >
THE WHISTLE ON THE TRAIN by Margaret McNamara
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 23, 2008

A modern intercity train takes its passengers from the big city to Littleville and beyond to the tune of "The Wheels on the Bus." Egielski's bright, cheery cartoons provide views of the passengers inside the train and of the train itself as it travels over trestles, under overpasses and through tunnels. The pop-up technology allows for a fair degree of visual drama—a head-on glimpse of the locomotive and another image of the train snaking through a tunnel are particularly effective. As the tableaux open with each turn of the page, the book lacks the interactivity of Paul O. Zelinsky's The Wheels on the Bus (1990), but it should prove highly popular in storytime. (Pop-up/picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
HOW MANY SEEDS IN A PUMPKIN? by Margaret McNamara
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 10, 2007

The smallest boy in class learns an important lesson about size in this delightful tale that combines a boost in self-esteem and a math lesson. Charlie loves everything about school except lining up by size—he is always the smallest. One fall day, his teacher presents the class with three pumpkins: small, medium and large. They must predict how many seeds are in each, then do the messy but fun work of removing the seeds. For homework, they think of how they should count them all. One group counts by twos, one by fives and Charlie counts the smallest pumpkin's seeds by tens. The final tally is a surprise to everyone, with a not-so-subtle message that "Small things can have a lot going on inside them." A page of pumpkin facts will have readers wanting to grow their own pumpkins. Karas's watercolors charmingly portray Mr. Tiffin's busy class hard at work, but having fun learning. The children's faces vividly express the wide range of reactions to pumpkin guts, as well as Charlie's uncertainty about being the smallest. This will resound well with elementary-school teachers, who will find it useful for teaching prediction, skip counting and even beginning multiplication. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
ONE HUNDRED DAYS (PLUS ONE) by Margaret McNamara
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 1, 2003

The celebration of the 100th day of class is a popular addition to the school calendar, reflected in a recent spate of read-alouds with centenary themes. McNamara (Too Many Valentines, below) joins the centennial bandwagon with this first offering in a classroom-based easy reader series featuring a small group of multi-ethnic first-graders from Robin Hill School. This story features a red-haired girl named Heather who is excited about the planned celebration with each child invited to bring 100 tiny items to school to share with the class. She gathers 100 buttons of all sorts, but then is unable to attend the party because she is sick. The class delays the celebration to wait for Heather's return, and each child then shares 101 items on the next school day. McNamara's clever, humorous story is a natural for sharing on the 101st day of school, with opportunities for related math activities (counting, sorting, adding, and learning about time), but it also serves well for children who are just beginning to read simple stories on their own. Gordon's loose watercolor and ink drawings are full of tiny, humorous details, such as Hannah's buttons flying all over after she sneezes or 100 spiders escaping from their box on a child's desk. The Robin Hill School stories will find a ready audience on easy reader shelves in both school and public libraries. (Easy reader. 5-7)Read full book review >
TOO MANY VALENTINES by Margaret McNamara
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 1, 2003

McNamara (One Hundred Days [Plus One], above) explores Valentine's Day in this beginning easy reader, part of her Robin Hill School series set in a first-grade classroom. In this story a boy named Neil announces that he doesn't want any Valentines because "Valentines are frilly! Valentines are pink!" He comes to regret his decision when all the other children are caught up in the Valentine celebrations, with lots of cards to examine for the rest of the day. Neil's wise teacher respects his feelings, but then arranges for all the children to sign one Valentine, which is delivered to Neil at home. Some subtle lessons are artfully conveyed within the story: how it feels to stick with a decision to be different and how accommodations can sometimes be made to respect someone's wishes and allow that person to save face. Teachers will use this as a read-aloud before Valentine's Day to address the perennial problem of leaving someone off the Valentines list, and new readers will enjoy reading about Neil's problem and its solution. Gordon's humorous illustrations in watercolor and ink bring the first-graders to life, with funny little touches (a bird delivering Neil's card, his cat with the stamp caught on its tongue). Successful easy readers with real stories, humor, and appealing illustrations are always in demand, and the kids of the Robin Hill School first grade seem poised to each star in their own story. (Easy reader. 5-7)Read full book review >