Books by Marsha Hayles

BREATHING ROOM by Marsha Hayles
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 5, 2012

"A quiet, sober story of a genuine heroine who survives a devastating disease with grace. (photographs; author's note; notes on photographs) (Historical fiction. 10-14)"
Confined to a tuberculosis sanatorium in rural Minnesota, 13 year-old Evelyn Hoffmeister develops inner strength as she copes with loneliness, loss and the insidious disease that threatens her life. Read full book review >
BUNION BURT by Marsha Hayles
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 10, 2009

There's no lack of advice for this poor little boy. Bunion Burt, readers are told in tightly rhyming verse, has "feet that hurt. / They pinched and poked and pained him. / The folks all knew / 'Bout Burt's feet too— / His bunions had nicknamed him." Everyone in his life has a cure. Mama Myrt gives him Goop for the Feet, to little effect. Burt passes up a big wedge of cake to roam the family farm in search of a solution. The sweet sow Pert recommends a wallow in the mud, Grandma Gert orders a bath and Cousin Kurt says the sun can cure Burt's bunions. As depicted in Davis's appealingly quirky watercolor-and-acrylic illustrations, none of these remedies helps. Burt also tries ice and toenail polish (this last courtesy of cute sister Vert) to no avail. It takes Pappy Spurt to come up with the happy solution that young listeners will likely already have thought of. A bouncy rib-tickler, best for preschoolers. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
PAJAMAS ANYTIME by Marsha Hayles
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 1, 2005

A little pajama-clad boy recalls special times through out the year when he can wear his cozy and colorful pajamas. Worn on a snow day in January, on family night in March, and while watching the fireworks on the Fourth of July, the black-haired preschooler leaps across the pages in his PJs, singing the refrain "Time for pajamas, my jamas, mine-o." The playful and bright watercolor and gouache paintings depict a warm and loving family, and are the strongest part of this package. Told in rhyme and following the calendar year, there are some lovely images here, but the language seems forced at times. Fittingly illustrated by pajama designer Nakata, this looks to be a fun choice for bedtime, but the slight story makes it a title most libraries can do without. (Picture book. 2-6)Read full book review >
THE FEATHERED CROWN by Marsha Hayles
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2002

Flocks of mother birds from around the world join together on a maternal mission in this poetic Nativity story. The mother birds, presumably originating from North America since they fly over plains and snow and an ocean, somehow know that their help is needed, so they fly to the Middle East, adding more members to their flock during the journey. On their arrival, they build "a manger-throne, / a feathered-softened nest" and "a feathered crown / of humble down / soon warmed the new King's head." The final page shows a desert Nativity scene (with the stable in the background), the baby tucked into his customized nest with his unnamed mother and father nearby, and the birds and sheep still arriving to pay homage. During the entire journey, one cute little yellow bird (a baby stork?) clings to his mother's back and legs, and in the final pages, this avian baby joins baby Jesus in the community-built nest. Pons (Mouse Cleaning, 2001, etc.) provides lovely watercolor illustrations of birds in flight and tender images of Mary and her baby, who both look Asian though Joseph does not. The theme of offering gifts to the Christ Child is a common one, but the idea of mothers joining together to help another mother and newborn is a fresh twist, gracefully expressed in Hayles's (He Saves the Day, p. 258, etc.) rhyming text. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
HE SAVES THE DAY by Marsha Hayles
ADVENTURE
Released: April 1, 2001

A simple rhymed tribute to the young imagination that revels in speed in daring. The daring may all be in his head, but it is vibrant enough on the page, caught in a blow-your-hair-back style of cool colors. First the boy pulls his jet out of a deadly dive—"With wing flaps down / And spirits high, / HE SAVES THE DAY! / Again he flies!"—then he noses out the competition in a Grand Prix race. He tackles pirates with aplomb—"His cannons flash, / Those villains flee. / HE SAVES THE DAY! / Such bravery!"—and he dodges wild creatures in the rain forest. But when there is a bit of thick going with a fire-breathing dragon, he gets some welcome help from mom—yes, SHE SAVES THE DAY! Cravath (The Pizza That We Made, not reviewed, etc.) does a good job depicting how playing with toys can launch greater imaginative leaps—the visual movement from getting on a rocking horse to charging the dragon's den is silky smooth—and the rhyme provides plenty of additional energy, for no doubt this is one hellzapoppin' adventure. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
BEACH PLAY by Marsha Hayles
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 1998

Hayles's salute to a day at the beach is tendered in short, high-stepping rhymes: "Splashing/Dashing/Big wave crashing." The minimalist story concerns a small girl and her beachside endeavors: playing in the sand and surf, eating lunch, lolling in the water (where she finds a bottle with a message), and preparing to leave. A pleasing pace and energy inform these pages; firmly wedded to them and adding immeasurably to the day-at-the-beach atmosphere are Takahashi's acrylic illustrations, bright, immediate, and full of unusual perspectives. In a generous final touch, tucked away on the copyright page in the back, the message in the bottle is revealed: It's a note sent from the other side of the ocean, from a child in search of a pen pal, and signed "Hideko." (Picture book. 4-9) Read full book review >