Books by Matt Phelan

XANDER'S PANDA PARTY by Linda Sue Park
Released: Sept. 3, 2013

"Unquestionably warmhearted, but its emphasis on zoological facts somewhat undermines its whimsy. (Picture book. 3-5)"
As a member of a rare species, Xander the Panda runs into some evolutionary conflicts when faced with the eternal quandary of whom to invite to his party. Read full book review >
BLUFFTON by Matt Phelan
Released: July 23, 2013

"Thrilling—a spirited, poignant coming-of-age vignette and an intriguing window into a little-known chapter in vaudeville history. (art not seen in full color) (author's note) (Graphic historical fiction. 9-12)"
In this winsome, sparely spun graphic novel by Phelan (The Storm in the Barn, 2011), Henry Harrison gets a tantalizing taste of the outside world when a young Buster Keaton and more vacationing vaudevillians tumble into his small Michigan town. Read full book review >
AROUND THE WORLD by Matt Phelan
ADVENTURE
Released: Oct. 11, 2011

"Three true tales of adventure as grand and admirable in the telling as they were in the doing. (Graphic nonfiction. 10-13)"
With uncommon perception and a flair for visual drama, Phelan tracks three intrepid souls' solo journeys around the world. Read full book review >
I'LL BE THERE by Ann Stott
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: March 1, 2011

"The brief text coupled with quiet, warm illustrations is best suited for young preschoolers but lacks the power of the classic Guess How Much I Love You or Mama, Do You Love Me? (Picture book. 2-4)"
This companion book to Always (2008) traverses familiar picture-book territory. Read full book review >
FLORA'S VERY WINDY DAY by Jeanne Birdsall
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Aug. 1, 2010

"Emotionally true from cover to cover. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A little girl paints on a low table; her smaller brother reaches out and knocks paint and crayons all over. Read full book review >
SPILLING INK by Anne Mazer
NONFICTION
Released: April 1, 2010

"The best of recent volumes on the subject. (introduction, appendix) (Nonfiction. 9-14)"
Two prolific writers for children offer advice on the writing process for young writers. Read full book review >
THE STORM IN THE BARN by Matt Phelan
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

"This is not to be missed. (Graphic fiction. 9-14)"
Eleven-year-old Jack Clark feels useless on his family's Kansas farm. Read full book review >
TWO OF A KIND by Jacqui Robbins
FICTION
Released: July 7, 2009

"Julisa and Anna are fine models for young girls looking for guidance in the ways of friendship. (Picture book. 4-7)"
What makes a true friend? Read full book review >
LUCKY BREAKS by Susan Patron
ADVENTURE
Released: March 10, 2009

"If Lucky's brain crevices and her 'glands' make one too many appearances, she can be forgiven because it's so nice to have her back. (art not seen) (Fiction. 8-12)"
Lucky Trimble, age ten (soon to be 11), returns with the 42 other Hard Panners in this sequel to the 2007 Newbery Award winner, The Higher Power of Lucky. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Jan. 1, 2009

"Overall, a dynamic examination of one of America's first leaders. (author's note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)"
Large in stature and shy of disposition, George Washington demonstrated a remarkable spirit from his early youth. Read full book review >
ALWAYS by Ann Stott
by Ann Stott, illustrated by Matt Phelan
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Aug. 1, 2008

"The artwork and the cozy message combine to create a vastly reassuring if not particularly original tale for little ones. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Stott's simply executed tale explores the expansiveness of a mother's love. Read full book review >
VERY HAIRY BEAR by Alice Schertle
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2007

"He's a bear of rare appeal, and it's hard to resist the urge to snuggle down next to him. (Picture book. 5-7)"
Outlined in a thick, curly halo of split ends, a "boulder-big bear with shaggy, raggy, brownbear hair everywhere . . . except on his no-hair nose" bounds happily through a seasonal round in this outdoorsy gambol. Read full book review >
A BOX FULL OF KITTENS by Sonia Manzano
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: June 5, 2007

"Still, the appealing watercolors and child-friendly elements will draw many readers in. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Ruthie, a girl who loves Superman and kittens, is asked to keep her aunt Juanita company. Read full book review >
WHERE I LIVE by Eileen Spinelli
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: June 1, 2007

"All in all, a pleasing portrait of the healing that can follow an all-too-common childhood trauma. (Fiction/poetry. 7-11)"
First-person free-verse poems describe the emotional journey made by one little girl when her family is forced to move. Read full book review >
FLORIDIUS BLOOM AND THE PLANET OF GLOOM by Lorijo Metz
FANTASY
Released: April 1, 2007

"Whimsy—gone wrong. (Picture book. 4-7)"
With an explanatory verse that feels tacked on to compensate for an abrupt start, this well-intentioned fantasy about the need for companionship is a flop. Read full book review >
ROSA FARM by Liz Wu
by Liz Wu, illustrated by Matt Phelan
ANIMALS
Released: Nov. 14, 2006

"Though the story has amusing moments and Phelan's line drawings are charming, there are just too many complicated plotlines and characters for the target reading age. (Fiction. 7-9)"
Charlotte's Web meets Lord of the Flies in this offering from newcomer Wu. Read full book review >
THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY by Susan Patron
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Nov. 7, 2006

"A small gem. (Fiction. 9-11)"
The facts of Lucky's life in Hard Pan, Calif. Read full book review >
THE NEW GIRL...AND ME by Jacqui Robbins
ANIMALS
Released: July 1, 2006

"Phelan's pale watercolor illustrations beautifully capture the gentleness and vulnerability of his young protagonists and Robbins's pitch-perfect prose makes this a subtle winner. (Picture book. 3-7)"
A young outsider finds a best friend in the new girl in her class. Read full book review >
THE SEVEN WONDERS OF SASSAFRAS SPRINGS by Betty Birney
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: July 1, 2005

In this fun, folksy outing set in 1923, 12-year-old Eben McAllister has seven days to find seven wonders in Sassafras Springs, Mo. Read full book review >