Books by Mary Morgan

PIP SITS by Mary Morgan
by Mary Morgan, illustrated by Mary Morgan
Released: April 1, 2017

"A good book for hatching new readers. (Early reader. 5-7)"
A playful porcupine kit ends up having ducklings imprint on him after their mother asks him to sit on her clutch of eggs. Read full book review >
WHEN YOU WANDER by Margarita Engle
Released: April 30, 2013

"A sensible safety lesson and a satisfying story. (afterword) (Picture book. 3-8)"
A charismatic golden retriever narrates this earnest story about finding a toddler who wanders away into the woods. Read full book review >
Released: May 13, 2008

Two dragons in Fairy Tale Land decide to open a pizza shop. BeBop cooks, while Spike serves as the speedy delivery dragon. Readers have the opportunity to guess who ordered each pizza from the types of toppings they choose: "One giant pizza, with a topping of magic beans," must be for the beanstalk giant, and Spike makes his delivery via hot air balloon. Tiny rose-petal pizzas must be for Thumbelina, while candy pizzas could be for none other than Hansel and Gretel, and so forth. Spike's mode of transportation changes with each delivery and includes a rocket, roller skates, a unicycle, a skateboard and, for his big finale, a motorcycle ridden on a high wire. Those with a love for reptiles, amphibians and/or mollusks may want to skip the pages where they are ingredients, but otherwise, Morgan's delightfully colorful artwork brims with details that will capture the attention of young readers. This playful addition to any fairy-tale collection will be a hit in storytimes. (Picture book. 3-8)Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2005

"A palatable historical novel that holds the nostalgia."
Seattle novelist Morgan's (Deeper Waters, 2002, etc.) folksy history lesson revisits a small Welsh town 20 years after the Americans ran through in WWII. Read full book review >
Released: May 13, 2003

In this diminutive charmer, a restless mouseling tells his mama that he'd rather sleep in a bird's nest, in a pile of puppies, a kangaroo's pouch, with bats in a cave, or with a polar bear mama. His own mama, unperturbed, offers canny objections—" ‘Yummy,' said Mama, ‘a delicious worm breakfast' "—for a while, but soon the little mouse is coming up with difficulties on his own, and eventually reaches the foreordained conclusion that his own grassy bed is best. Morgan gives the mouse child a tiny plush mouse toy, but he himself looks round and plush, as does his mama, and most of the gently smiling creatures his imagination conjures up. Aside from the misleading suggestion that polar bears hibernate, this cozy alternative to Kate Banks's Spider Spider (1996), Margaret Wise Brown's Runaway Bunny (1942), and similar parent/child dialogues is a good choice for bedtime sharing with any pajama-clad mousekin. (Picture book. 4-6)Read full book review >
DEEPER WATERS by Mary Morgan
Released: June 10, 2002

"Noah continues to be a likable and believable hero—prone to human error and misgivings—as Morgan avoids hackneyed plotting: an entry that's original and thoroughly diverting."
Morgan's third outing brings a return visit from lawyer Noah Richards. Since his debut (Willful Neglect, 1997), Noah has left his hometown of Springwell, Oregon, and is renting an oceanfront house on Edward's Bay, a short ferry ride from Seattle, where he's formed a legal partnership with Charlie Forsyth. The house Noah's renting is one of several newly built by his old friend Bigs Harrison, who's also fighting efforts by the Quanda, a local Indian tribe, to assert their rights to a share of the island's oyster beds and fishing grounds. By chance, Noah meets Quanda law student Jay Bishop and agrees to study the deeds and other materials that may prove the tribe's claim. Days later, Noah is shocked to find Jay's body on the beach near his house, shot to death. Once he's involved in a murder, it's the logical time for Noah's romance to heat up; but his tentative affair with next-door neighbor Sarah McKenzie, whose husband is more interested in climbing Mount Everest than in helping take care of their baby, is going nowhere. What to do? A day of fishing aboard the boat of Jay's friend Wayne Richards seems a welcome respite. Though it turns out to be a nearly fatal expedition, its aftermath pinpoints Jay's killer. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 2001

Babies, whether kittens, owlets, joeys, or tadpoles, hear different sounds from burps to purrs; this sweet story has them all. Each double-paged spread features a new baby and the sounds that it might hear, "What the piglet hears—Oink, oink, oink / What the joey hears—Boink, boink, boink." Bringing it all back home, the story concludes with "What the baby hears—"I love you!" Softly smudged illustrations rendered in watercolors and colored pencils depict the babies of all sizes and shapes. Repetitive sounds and phrases and the simple rhyming text make this a perfect read-aloud selection. Toddlers will delight in the sounds that this selection will encourage. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 9, 1999

An offbeat follow-up to her impressive debut (Willful Neglect, 1997)—offbeat in the sense that there are no corpses, no clues, no cops, no usual suspects. And yet there certainly is a mystery, one that Isabel Cartwright Bennet has been trying to solve ever since she left Malaya at the age of seven, a step ahead of the invading Japanese army. What happened to her parents? Why so little official trace of fairly high-profile people? Now it's 30 years later. Isabel's married, the mother of two, a functioning homemaker. But emotionally she's off-balance, and she knows it. There are secrets haunting her. And then one day her brother calls. He has to go to Malaya on business. Does Isabel want to come along? She leaps at the chance, though she does wonder a bit why it's being offered. Victor, a baby when they fled Malaya for England, has never shared her passionate need to know. In his view, history is history and only that, confined to the past, non-affective in any other tense. But—more than he's prepared to acknowledge—he loves his sister, depends on her, finds pleasure in her company. They return to their country of birth; they even locate "the house at the edge of the jungle." But startling things happen to them there, and when Malaya yields her secrets, both their lives are irrevocably changed. It's possible that more is made of Isabel's mystery than is warranted. But Isabel herself—as quirky and unpredictable as she is believable and fascinating—will keep you steadily turning pages. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 30, 1998

This newest entry in the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series examines the early stages of a puppy's development, from gestation to approximately eight weeks. The story, narrated by a young girl whose dog is about to give birth, covers the major milestones of a puppy's first few weeks: birth, opening the eyes, cutting teeth, walking, eating solids. Otto (What Color Is Camouflage?, 1996, etc.) offers pertinent facts about a puppy's development in a simple, comprehensible format. Drawing on a child's inherent fascination with puppies, she successfully combines information and entertainment; by stressing the utter dependence of the puppies on their mothers and human caretakers, she underscores the responsibility a puppy entails. Included at the end of the text are a list of suggested activities to enable children to further explore the world of dogs, while Morgan's heartwarming illustrations capture both the tender and rambunctious sides of puppies. An excellent resource for new and prospective owners, as well as the merely curious. (Picture book/nonfiction. 3-6) Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 16, 1997

A first-class debut novel that tells the story of young lawyer Noah Richards, a widower who, having enjoyed a short, blissful marriage, now finds himself lost, at loose ends. He returns to his hometown of Springwell, Oregon, from California to settle in his now-dead father's law office; moves into his parents' old house; and goes, zombielike, through the motions of writing wills and contracts—until a visit from a black couple, Angel and Joseph Ambrose, changes his life. Their five-year-old son Jordan died in St. Mary's, the local hospital, two months before, on the operating table, and they're convinced that the doctors were criminally negligent. Angel wants revenge, not money, and as Noah starts to explore the grounds for a malpractice suit he begins to see why. Springwell, the quiet town Noah thought he knew, becomes a place of danger and menace as old friends turn their backs; the nurses who confide in him about the staff doctors' callous indifference now feel themselves threatened; and racism raises its head in an unexpected place, until arson and murder bring—perhaps—some kind of determination. Most readers will want to hear more from the quietly charismatic hero of this poignant, penetrating, suspenseful debut, written in a style both easy and elegant. Read full book review >
I'M THE BOSS! by Elizabeth Winthrop
Released: April 15, 1994

The subject is clout, and how it's acquired. ``Julia [of Asleep in a Heap, 1993] was not the boss of anything or anybody and she didn't like it.'' Her parents tell her what to eat; her big sister orders her to scram; even her toddler sib hollers when she feels imposed on. Julia tries dressing like a grownup and giving orders; then she wears a ``boss'' sign and shouts. Neither garners respect. Even Mom's pacific proposal that Julia be the family's ``little boss'' backfires. However, quite accidentally, Julia finds that the family's cuddly puppy will sit, heel, or lie down on command—at least sometimes, and especially if he's rewarded with hugs. Winthrop has neatly distilled an awesome topic: power in family relationships. Even young children may begin to grasp the idea that power (and hence identity) grows from responsibility; and also that it helps to be on the receiving end of unconditional affection. Morgan's lively portrayal of the self-assured Julia augments the humor. Delightful. (Picture book. 2-6) Read full book review >
BENJAMIN'S BUGS by Mary Morgan
Released: March 1, 1994

A small, sweet book that describes, with disarming simplicity, a little porcupine's adventures on a walk with his mama, a motherly animal person who much resembles Mrs. Tiggy Winkle. Benjamin talks to an ant; has trouble getting out of a tree he's climbed; considers bugs under rocks and chirping crickets; and then, reaching for a whirligig, tumbles into a pond. Mama jumps in to save him, and ``all the pond critters clapped and cheered.'' Morgan's oval watercolors include dozens of appealing details, some of which escape their soft boundaries to add interest to the generous white space. With its delicate grounding in the real behavior of its humanized animals, this is a charming Beatrix Potter descendant, a perfect stepping stone to Potter's more demanding texts. (Picture book. 1-6) Read full book review >
ASLEEP IN A HEAP by Elizabeth Winthrop
Released: Oct. 15, 1993

A diverting new take on the topic of a wakeful tot. Though Mama, Daddy, and big sister Molly all call Julia to bed, she's too busy to come; instead, she goes right on with her play until Daddy gets her out of the mud and into the tub. There, the wakeful Julia sings Daddy to sleep, right on the bathmat, to be joined—one by one as it gets dark outside—by Mama, Molly, the dog, a cat, and three kittens. Finally, when ``her whole family [is] asleep, asleep in a heap on the bathroom floor,'' Julia dries herself, gets into her nightgown, and falls asleep too, on top of the lot. Winthrop's narration is the funnier for being so direct and perfectly childlike; Morgan's deftly sketched watercolors are disarmingly warm and cozy. Just the thing for a tuck-in storytime. (Picture book. 3-7) Read full book review >
BLOOMERS! by Rhoda Blumberg
Released: Sept. 30, 1993

On seeing friend Elizabeth Cady Stanton's trousers, Amelia Bloomer ``decided that women needed freedom not only from drunken husbands but also from cumbersome, crippling clothes.'' As with any revolutionary style change, ``bloomers,'' named for the editor of a women's journal, The Lily, shocked the public. But Bloomer's readers responded enthusiastically. Liberated from long skirts and confining corsets, women could move and breathe freely; soon they found they could also speak out and, led by Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Bloomer herself, began demanding equal rights. In lively prose supported by Morgan's subtly amusing watercolors, Blumberg (Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shogun, 1985, Newbery Honor) tells the youngest readers how the infancy of the women's rights movement put a twist in the knickers of American history. (Picture book. 5-10) Read full book review >
HUGS by Alice McLerran
by Alice McLerran, illustrated by Mary Morgan
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

An appealing pocket-sized book explores a concept that every loving parent enjoys teaching. In succinct, deftly phrased quatrains, McLerran sums up the uses and messages of hugs (``A hug can mean `Hello there!'/A hug can mean `Good-bye'''), some touchy situations (``At times you want to hug them back./At times you'd rather not''; ``A kitten sometimes likes a hug,/But just a very light one''). Morgan's cheery, skillfully limned toddlers and their caregivers are a heartwarming, multicultural bunch. A companion book, Kisses (what else?), gets into metaphorical kissing as well as the regular kind: ``The weather gives you kisses, too...Sun on your cheek,/snow on your tongue....'' A disarming valentine of a book, for a small friend or a larger one. (Picture book. 1-5) Read full book review >
Released: June 28, 1991

Five half-pint realistic stories about a day-care group (the ``Guppies''), each genial episode making its small, wholesome point via demonstration: the toddler who naps in the morning is the only one who's wide awake at lunchtime; an inchworm is fun to hold, but will be happiest outside. Kids and teacher are at their best here: no spats or reprimands. Morgan's well-observed, sturdy little people are consistently cheery but not sentimentalized. An appealing, useful book. (Picture book. 1-5) Read full book review >
ANIMAL TRACKS AND TRACES by Kathleen V. Kudlinski
Released: March 1, 1991

Over-sweet use of color and a coy tone limit the appeal of this book on tracks, castings, and nests. Children are challenged to guess which animals left ``sloppy clues'' like an owl pellet, deer tracks, or feathers—but the drawings lack size references, and an owl pellet is shown as ten times the size of the deer track. Butterfly wings are referred to as ``dirty clothes'' left by the insect. The reader is invited to take nature walks, observe, and make collections of such items as snake skins and spider webs. Pretty, but not as useful as older titles like Mason's Animal Tracks (1943, 1988). Glossary; index.~(Nonfiction. 8-12) Read full book review >