Books by Marilyn Janovitz

I WILL TRY by Marilyn Janovitz
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2012

"This cheery selection will bring feelings of accomplishment and security to new readers and budding gymnasts alike. (Picture book/early reader. 2-5)"
This girl is ready for a challenge! Read full book review >
PLAY BABY PLAY! by Marilyn Janovitz
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2012

"Here's to all the fun without any of the fuss. (Board book. 6 mos.-3)"
No need for rain to go away because babies can stay inside and play. Read full book review >
WE LOVE CHRISTMAS! by Marilyn Janovitz
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2007

Two cheery kittens enjoy preparing for the holiday in this delightful rhyming story for young children. The text is easy enough for toddlers to enjoy as a first Christmas story, and the pages are printed on a thicker, coated paper stock that will stand up to heavy use. The short, patterned text uses the construction of "we like . . . " as the structure, so beginning readers could also follow the activities of the pair of cute cats. With a different holiday activity shown on each page, the two kittens play in the snow, pick out a tree, bake cookies and cake, wrap presents and decorate, before settling down on Christmas Eve in their red and green pajamas. With her attractive, full-page illustrations in watercolor and ink, Janovitz creates a comfortable, safe world for her two charming kitties, who live in a modern house and wear brightly colored, patterned clothes and socks, with the patterns in deliciously mismatched contrast. The final pages show the two kittens on Christmas morning, gleefully digging into their stockings and dancing around the Christmas tree. (Picture book. 1-6)Read full book review >
WE LOVE SCHOOL! by Marilyn Janovitz
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 1, 2007

Janovitz's introduction to school brims with cute animal characters versifying their good fortune to be at school. "We like to cut. / We like to glue. / We like to hang the art we do. / We like to swing. / We like to slide. / We like lining up to go inside." That last line is the giveaway; isn't it safe to say that many kids would never utter it? These children are being used as mouthpieces for someone else's program, and young readers will know. "We like snacktime, / and we know / we need good food to help us grow. / We like to sing. / We like to clap. / We like to take a little nap." Ditto. Visually sweet and wholesome, the book is undercut by the declarative text, which feels more hypnotic than genuine. Readers, especially those looking for some comfort, may want to feel party to any cheerful assertions meant to soothe, but Janovitz's characters don't invite the reader in, instead they baldly go about their unsubstantiated proclamations—"We like. . . . " Maybe we don't, and then what do we do with our ruffled feathers? (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
A, B, SEE! by Marilyn Janovitz
ABC BOOKS
Released: June 1, 2005

Here Janovitz elaborates an idea that rightly helped Suze Macdonald earn a Caldecott Honor for Alphabatics (1986): Each letter of the alphabet transforms over four bright, simple cartoon panels into an animal ("A" to an "Alligator," "B" to a "Beaver," etc.). But the final panel, being hidden under a flap, gives this change an extra dimension by turning it into a guessing game. In several cases, however, she doesn't play fair; despite several visual cues, first time viewers don't stand much chance of figuring out "Lemur," for instance, not to mention "Uta lizard," or "Xiaosaurus." Still, unlike Joose Goffin's surrealistic Oh! (1991) and its sequels, this does provide an occasional opportunity for successful deduction, along with an enticing invitation to play with sequences and familiar shapes. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
MAYBE, MY BABY by Marilyn Janovitz
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 1, 2003

Janovitz (Three Little Kittens, not reviewed, etc.) adds a wishful, animal bedtime lullaby to the already overstuffed shelf. Here, babies are nuzzled, stroked, cuddled, and kissed as they drift off to sleep in the warm safety of their parents' embrace. A baby penguin perches on his father's feet; a baby otter snuggles on her mother's belly; a mother nuzzles her baby lion cub; and a baby whale floats slowly against her mother's side. "Maybe, my baby, / you'll close your eyes, / And maybe, my baby, / you'll fall fast asleep. / Good night, my baby, good night." The poem ends as the last baby, this time human, drifts off to sleep. Softly rendered watercolor washes with pen details fill each page, accompanying the rhythmic and repetitive verses. Soft and snuggly, but unfortunately, not unique. (Picture book. 2-4)Read full book review >
GOOD MORNING, LITTLE FOX by Marilyn Janovitz
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 2001

Janovitz's second book about the appealing Little Fox (Little Fox, not reviewed) finds him getting up early so he and Father Fox can "sleep late" together. It's the weekend, when "they always did things together." Mother Fox rises to make surprise breakfast—porridge, which Father Fox isn't sure he likes; Little Fox instantly concurs. Father, then child decide to make their own breakfast. Father Fox likes eggs; Little Fox thinks eggs are good. But there are no eggs, nor any bread for toast, nor any fruit in the bowl. Mother Fox goes out to shop, while Father Fox begins the usual Saturday morning chores, ably imitated by Little Fox—folding and fluffing (a joyous pillow toss for Little Fox), picking up and putting away (mostly the toys of Fox the Younger), and dusting (a feather-duster duel). All is delightfully presented in unframed, airy, soft-hued, colored-pencil-and-watercolor "snapshots." Now hungry, they return hand-in-hand to the kitchen, to reconsider porridge, which now smells and looks good. "Maybe we should taste it," says Little Fox, reversing their roles, and they both dig in. The last of the pot goes into Little Fox's bowl, "and little Fox ate it all up," a gentle encouragement to be open to new things. Cuddly foxes, a loving family, and an intergenerational but particularly age-appropriate conflict all make this book a good choice for group as well as one-on-one reading. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
LOOK OUT, BIRD! by Marilyn Janovitz
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 1994

A simple circular story: ``Snail slipped/and hit bird./Bird flew/and frightened frog,'' and so on, with each spread depicting the new encounter in a boxed scene at the left and its result in a series of images of each dislodged creature making its way off the page to the right. In the end, ``Moth fluttered/and startled snail,'' bringing us to the book's title and also back to the beginning. The actions aren't always apt (it's hard to imagine a startled snail), but very small children will enjoy the actions that come with each page turn (each with its different verbs) and the clearly recognizable animals, limned in informally wavering black filled in with cheery color. A good choice for toddlers, who will enjoy chiming in on the inevitable rereadings. (Picture book. 2-5) Read full book review >
AMERICA'S FIRST ELEPHANT by Robert M. McClung
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 14, 1991

In 1796, an enterprising American sea captain brought a two- year-old Indian elephant to America, where she delighted crowds from Boston to Savannah. In his fictionalized account, McClung provides a young Indian keeper and the captain's son to accompany ``Kandi'' on the voyage (although he doesn't say which characters are real). The narrative here is not exceptional, but the events themselves—especially the details of transporting an elephant in a sailing ship—are of interest, while the story as a whole makes a fine showcase for a smattering of social history, concluding with President Washington meeting Kandi in the US capital: Philadelphia. Janovitz makes an excellent debut, incorporating authentic detail in her colorful illustrations, the lively characters escaping from their well-organized frames. An attractive choice for young readers. (Nonfiction. 5-10) Read full book review >