Books by Mark Buehner

MERRY CHRISTMAS, MR. MOUSE by Caralyn Buehner
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 20, 2015

"Overall, a warm Christmas story with jolly rhymes and happy times for both the humans and the mice who share this house. (Picture book. 3-7)"
Mr. and Mrs. Mouse and their 17 children celebrate their first Christmas in their new home under the floorboards of a warm kitchen. Read full book review >
SNOWMEN AT WORK by Caralyn Buehner
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 16, 2012

"Fans and those looking for books about occupations may find themselves looking askance at every snowman they see. (Picture book. 3-7)"
The Buehners continue their snowmen-come-to-life shtick with this look at occupations. Read full book review >
THE QUEEN OF STYLE by Caralyn Buehner
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

As much an essay on the responsibilities of government as it is a cautionary tale about the hazards of boredom, this tale of a queen who takes a beauty-school correspondence course and uses her unwilling subjects—and their sheep—for practice will give readers food for thought as well as a chuckle or two. Discovering that her coursework requires practicing each lesson 50 times, Sophie repeatedly summons everyone to the castle for clipping, hair styling, manicures, eyebrow-plucking and like indignities. When at last they revolt, she sees the error of her autocratic ways and apologetically bids them come only when they like. Soon she realizes that her subjects have become her friends, and not only does she learn all about their lives but gains international renown for her realm's stylishly coiffed, dyed and buffed folk and livestock. Clad in peasant dress but sporting elaborate hairstyles (or, for the sheep, poodle cuts and jellybean colors), the figures in the hilariously understated illustrations add a plethora of sight gags to the mix. (Picture book. 6-8) Read full book review >
GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS by Caralyn Buehner
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2007

The Buehners retell the old familiar tale with a jump-roping, rhyme-spouting Goldilocks. When their porridge proves to be too hot to eat, the bear family goes for a stroll. Meanwhile, Goldilocks comes knocking to find a jump-roping friend. This Goldilocks does not simply test out the chairs: "Big chair, middle chair, little chair, too, / Somebody's here to bounce on you!" And so continues the old favorite, interspersed with Goldilocks's jump-rope verse. When she escapes through the bedroom window, none of the characters are sure what sort of creature they have just encountered. The Buehner's homey illustrations perfectly capture the facial expressions of the characters, and lend a particular kind of mischief to Goldilocks. Readers may miss the message on the copyright page, but hidden within each picture are three creatures, instantly adding challenge and appeal. Cute, but there's not quite enough new here to make it a must. (Picture book. 3-8)Read full book review >
SNOWMEN AT CHRISTMAS by Caralyn Buehner
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

The husband-and-wife team who created the popular Snowmen at Night revisits their snowy creations to see how snowmen celebrate Christmas. The rhyming text describes how the snowmen (and snow women, snow children and one snow dog) gather late at night in the empty town for a holiday gathering. They decorate a tree, play games and enjoy icy-cold snacks (snow cones, of course) before the snowman Santa arrives with presents made of snow for all. Carols around the tree conclude the festivities and the snow folk take up their proper posts again just before the sun rises. The illustrations are infused with mysterious blue or lavender light that highlights the rounded figures of the snow people, with lots of additional sparkling effects from the town's Christmas lights and streetlights. The snowmen are quite lively for characters with no legs and twig-thin arms, and they really do seem to have lives of their own that exist on some other icy plane. As in the previous story, there are tiny hidden pictures to search for in each illustration. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
NICCOLINI’S SONG by Chuck Wilcoxen
BEDTIME BOOK
Released: Sept. 1, 2004

Clouds form fanciful shapes in the star-sprinkled sky as the locomotives settle down for the night. Niccolini, the night watchman, protects them as they rest. He's a superb listener and he discovers that he can hear the voices of the trains, "Would you sing to me?" asks a locomotive. And so he does—to more and more trains. A mother passing by with a restless babe in arms discovers the magic of Niccolini's voice and soon his rail-yard lullabies become something of a legend in the small city. One night there comes a raging wind storm that rattles and clatters until no one can sleep. That night the grateful trains return the favor and calm the sleepless inhabitants. Niccolini becomes a conductor, of sorts. Buehner's evocative paintings illuminate the locomotives that are recumbent in the deep azure of night, all shadows and moonlight. Recalling the gentle, slightly melancholy ballad of yore, this bedtime story will soothe and captivate both young and old. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
SUPERDOG by Caralyn Buehner
ADVENTURE
Released: March 1, 2004

The Buehners convincingly suggest that heroes, super or otherwise, are self-made. Looking "like a plump sausage on four little meatballs," Dexter the dachshund is derided by all the other pooches and even the hulking tomcat Cleevis. Determined, however, to turn his dreams of becoming a superhero into reality, he undertakes a relentless program of study and exercise, orders a form-fitting, red-and-green hero suit, and proudly takes on the work of a Hero. That could be helping a puppy cross the street, tackling a purse-snatcher, putting out a trash-can fire, or organizing a neighborhood cleanup day. Flexing stubby but well-muscled arms, Dex cuts a distinctive figure in the illustrations as he grows into his role, striding with new self-confidence through his all-animal urban community, ever ready to help those in need. In the end, he even rescues Cleevis from a tree, picking up a sidekick as a result. Faster than a speeding bullet? More powerful than a locomotive? No—but this low-slung role model shows the inner stuff, both to transform himself, and to rise to the challenges that come his way. (Picture book. 7-9)Read full book review >
CHRISTMAS DAY IN THE MORNING by Pearl S. Buck
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2002

This longer story by Nobel Laureate Buck, originally published in 1955, is presented for the first time as an illustrated work for children. Early one Christmas, an older man thinks back to his best Christmas morning in the year that he was 15 and living on his family dairy farm. That year, the narrator of the story, Rob, surprised his father with a special, heart-felt gift by getting up in the middle of the night to do all the milking by himself so his father could have Christmas morning off. The boy's joy in planning the surprise for his father and the touching appreciation, pride, and love in the father's gratitude are effectively conveyed in both the moving text and in Buehner's (Snowmen at Night, p. 1385, etc.) realistic paintings. His deep-toned, striking illustrations are mainly set at night, with snowy farm scenes lit only by glowing lantern and shining star. One spread shows the Nativity scene with puffy clouds in a turquoise evening sky shaped like angel heralds, and the following memorable spread of the barn at night repeats this element with subtle clouds in the shapes of the participants in the manger setting. Buck's sentimental but touching story memorably illustrates the value of a gift created with love, a gift like Buehner's. (illustrator's note) (Picture book. 6-9)Read full book review >
SNOWMEN AT NIGHT by Caralyn Buehner
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

The work of this husband-and-wife team best known for The Escape of Marvin the Ape (1992) is always special; here it comes together in a delightful story about the nocturnal activities of snowmen that is refreshingly original and visually sparkling. Author Buehner imagines why snowmen may not look the same as they had the day before. While children sleep, their snowy creations gather for winter fun that includes ice-skating on a pond, hilltop sledding, and an enthusiastic snowball fight. The illustrative Buehner uses oil paints over acrylics to bring this idea to dazzling life. Primary colors delicately form the winter wonderland where the secret, active life of these frozen friends is grinningly revealed. A palette of blues and yellows painted against one another create depth and shadow while illuminating the night and casting a moonlit glow on the scenery. Perhaps the use of color to create light will assist young readers in their search for images of Santa Claus faces, rabbits, and dinosaurs that are hidden in the scenes. It would be difficult not to fall in love with this rollicking flight of imagination created by a terrific combination of talent. (Picture book. 2-6)Read full book review >
THIS FIRST THANKSGIVING DAY by Laura Krauss Melmed
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

Melmed (Moishe's Miracle: A Hanukah Story, 2000, etc.) treats children to a traditional Thanksgiving scene while allowing them to interact in this New World counting story. The tale unfolds in rhyme as young readers count Pilgrims and Native Americans while they work together to gather nuts, pick corn, and hunt rabbits in preparation for the big feast. The fun continues as readers try to locate the wild animals lurking in every scene, including an elusive turkey that manages to avoid being caught as food for any of the 12 dinner tables. Melmed adds educational details with the mention of the Wampanoag tribe and Squanto, the sole survivor of the Patuxet tribe who came to live with the Plymouth settlers. She also alludes to the story of the Mayflower ship. Buehner's (My Monster Mama Loves Me So, not reviewed, etc.) use of color beautifully depicts the season—quick dabs of red and orange oil paint create leaves, and long brush strokes with blended shades of blue and yellow let the ocean meet the sky. Each harvest friend has a simple smiling face, and details are reserved for scenery, such as the impressive shading used in the campfire scene that makes the light appear incredibly real. A refreshing look at an American tradition that reinforces the spirit of the holiday. (Picture book. 3-8)Read full book review >
I DID IT, I'M SORRY by Caralyn Buehner
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 1998

The Buehners (It's a Spoon, Not a Shovel! 1995, etc.) continue their mission to make learning decorum a giggle instead of a slap on the wrist. In page-long fables, animals such as Ollie the Octopus and Rateesh Rat get into situations that demand decisions, while multiple-choice quizzes allow readers to participate. When Ollie's mother calls him for dinner, should he obey her, or stay and play? When Rateesh is feeling lonely, will hoarding or sharing his cheese endear him to rodent playmates? The letter of the correct answer is hidden somewhere in the lush illustration accompanying every tale, and some of these are difficult to find; regardless, the answers are provided at the end of the book. The illustrations must be pored over; observant readers will discover an intrepid bee in every take and plenty of hidden silliness: sheep-shaped clouds, a gummy-worm fish snack, Santa departing from the North Pole. Most children will have no problem discerning correct behavior, and some adults may wince in recognition at the black-and-white approach to ethics: It's not right to lie about a child's age at restaurants where those under five eat free. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
MY LIFE WITH THE WAVE by Octavio Paz
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 1997

An outlandish and original tale by Paz (for adults, In Light of India, 1997, etc.) is cut and pressed into the picture-book format, for which Buehner provides wild images and, with Cowan, a humorous ending. A boy of about eight falls in love with the waves on his first trip to the seashore, and so takes one home. Fearing that the wave will be forbidden to board the train, he carries it aboard ``cup by small cup'' and hides ``her'' in the watercooler. At home, the wave rushes into the house, knocking over furniture, sending the cat screeching, and providing destructive merriment in the boy's room. ``If I caught and hugged her, she would rise up tall like a liquid tree, then burst into a shower and bathe me in her foam''—not a typical picture-book text, and adults may read more into those lines than Cowan intends. Like a sulky mistress, the wave begins to ignore the boy, and its amusing qualities wane. The family abandons the house with the wave inside; in winter it turns to ice and is easily returned to the ocean. The boy dreamily believes that he will have better luck with a cloud, but Buehner's last illustration—in which an anthropomorphic cloud emits lightning bolts—certainly does not bode well. Beyond the subtext, the story is full of drama; its fresh subject and boisterous improbabilities beckon. (Picture book. 5-7) Read full book review >
FANNY'S DREAM by Caralyn Buehner
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 1996

An ungainly farm girl named Fanny Agnes has a bit of the Cinderella in her and on the night of the mayor's ball goes out to the garden to wait for her fairy godmother. Instead, Heber Jensen comes a-courtin' and although Fanny dithers and declares she won't do windows, she shucks her princely dreams to throw in her lot with humble Heber. It's a hard life, but she gets treated like a princess in ways she never imagined. This clever tale from the Buehners (It's a Spoon, Not a Shovel, 1995, etc.) has smart twists and takes and is shot through with such tenderness that the telling nearly shimmers off the page. The text yields corny humor and rural circumstance; the artwork is just plain wonderful. With the same oblique, absurdist edge he brought to Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm (1994), Mark Buehner creates an oddly palpable world for Fanny, Heber, and their kids: Readers get to know their home and the land surrounding it, feel the passage of time, share in their modest pleasures and dramas, and come to love these folk. A delightful wedding of winsome story and ingenious illustrations; there is no more to be asked of a book. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
IT'S A SPOON, NOT A SHOVEL by Caralyn Buehner
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 1, 1995

A manners manual for etiquette-minded children in the '90s, in multiple choice. Like its much earlier predecessors, Seslye Joslin's What Do You Say Dear? (1958) and Jo Ann Stover's If Everybody Did (1960), this book uses humor to sweeten moral instruction. Through a quiz format, readers are supposed to select the correct response to various behavioral predicaments. For example, when Arvin Anteater offers Arlo Anteater his own anthill, the correct response is: a) ``Outta my way, Blubberbutton!'' b) ``There's a full moon tonight,'' or c) ``Thank you.'' The level of text's funniness may depend on the age brackets of the readers; the bulbous, color-laden illustrations will keep all ages entertained. Bright hues, weird angles, hidden pictures, and comic details (note the red-hooded heroine in the background of the wolves' tale) make the intriguing pictures fun to examine. In one, while the text cautions Walter Warthog not to talk with a full mouth, the illustrations show an eyeful of the mouthful. It could be that the best part of books on this subject is the vicarious glimpse of a mannerless world. Great guidelines for children in the formative years. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
HARVEY POTTER'S BALLOON FARM by Jerdine Nolen
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 1994

Harvey Potter owns a genuine US Government Inspected balloon farm where he grows balloons to order: clowns, animals, monsters for Halloween, and even—when the young narrator who has been delightedly watching the crops gets old enough to strike out on her own—a huge floater to carry her off. What's his secret? Since he farms at night, no one knows. Nolen's writing has an oral lilt to it; Buehner (Adventures of Taxi Dog, etc.) depicts Potter's unique crop in jellybean colors, bobbing atop cornstalks in businesslike rows. A wonderfully appealing premise, skillfully developed. (Picture book. 6-8) Read full book review >
A JOB FOR WITTILDA by Caralyn Buehner
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

Having trouble making ends meet, witch Wittilda kisses her 47 cats good-bye to go job-hunting, but promptly gets into trouble when, as a newly hired hairdresser, she arranges Mrs. Hatrack's hair into a web, complete with spider. Working for a pizza place goes better, thanks to Wittilda's supernatural advantage—her broom. Despite some slapstick adventures, plus rescuing a 48th cat along the way, she runs her route faster than the other contenders, wins the job, and carries pizza home to feed her cats. A slight tale, lively in the telling, with vibrantly comical Hopperesque illustrations featuring the dowdy, earnest witch and her delightful slew of bug-eyed cats. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
THE ESCAPE OF MARVIN THE APE by Caralyn Buehner
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 1992

Like Fatio's Happy Lion, Marvin leaves his cage at the zoo through an open door; unlike the lion, no one ever notices him as he roams—reading on the subway, giving his order to a bored waiter, catching a foul at a ballgame, or playing checkers in a park—nor does he return to the zoo (a hippo-escape provides the conclusion). Meanwhile, kids will have grand fun finding Marvin (not always easy, since—by some unexplained mechanism—he wears the right clothes for each activity), and examining the intriguing details in the bright, hard-edged paintings: Buehner combines Hopper's contrasts between luminous sunlight and richly shadowed color with an entertainingly satirical eye. Good fun. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
MAXI, THE HERO by Debra Barracca
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 1991

Maxi, the Taxi Dog (1990) again tours N.Y.C. His adventures, recounted in sprightly but rather forced verse and capped predictably by his chasing and capturing a thief, are unexceptional, but Buehner's vibrant paintings of the city and its inhabitants are observed with insight and a fresh eye; their lively detail is sure to hold attention. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >