Books by Melissa Sweet

LITTLE RED WRITING by Joan Holub
Released: Sept. 24, 2013

"Every writers' group should start with this story. (Picture book. 7 & up)"
Exploding with puns, wordplay and the irrepressible desire to re-imagine "Little Red Riding Hood" one more time, Holub and Sweet bring forth some actual useful writing advice—that's not just for beginners. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 2013

"Very fine indeed. (Picture book/biography. 5-9)"
A sparkling picture-book biography of the dauntless organizer of the titular strike. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 8, 2013

"A splash of vibrancy about a self-taught master. (historical note, author's note, illustrator's note, references) (Picture book/biography. 5-11)"
This outstanding portrait of African-American artist Horace Pippin (1888-1946) allows Pippin's work to shine—and his heart too. Read full book review >
SPIKE, THE MIXED-UP MONSTER by Susan Hood
Released: Sept. 25, 2012

"Hood and Sweet succeed admirably in creating a new twist on an identity story while cleverly introducing Spanish words and exotic creatures. (endnote, glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)"
While Spike, a tiny axolatl salamander, practices being the monster he believes he is, the other animals call him cute and funny because he is small. Will Spike show his true nature? Read full book review >
MRS. HARKNESS AND THE PANDA by Alicia Potter
Released: March 13, 2012

"Fascinating—and pandas, too. (author's note, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 4-10)"
An unlikely American explorer brings the first panda to the West. Read full book review >
A GIANT CRUSH by Gennifer Choldenko
Released: Dec. 22, 2011

"Each addresses issues that affect self-esteem in a gentle, entertaining way. (Picture book. 4-7)"
Newbery Honoree Choldenko (Al Capone Does My Shirts, 2004) and Caldecott Honoree Sweet (A River of Words: The Story of Williams Carlos Williams, written by Jen Bryant, 2008) combine talents to tell the appealing tale of Jackson, a rather large rabbit, who is struggling with the often embarrassing, nerve-racking and exhilarating feelings of his first crush. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 31, 2011

"This clever marriage of information and illustration soars high. (bibliography of adult sources, quote sources, acknowledgements, period photo) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)"
This bright, brimming picture biography commemorates Tony Sarg, a brilliant, self-taught artist whose innovative helium balloons delighted legions of Macy's parade watchers from 1928 on. Read full book review >
RUBIA AND THE THREE <i>OSOS</i> by Susan Middleton Elya
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 7, 2010

"All pedagogy should be this palatable. (glossary) (Picture book. 3-7)"
The perennially popular "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" assumes a Spanish accent in this contemporary retelling. Read full book review >
EASY AS PIE by Cari Best
FICTION
Released: March 30, 2010

"A sweet look at a spunky kid with great problem-solving skills—and some rules that are easily applicable to everyday life. (Picture book. 5-9)"
Enthusiastic pie lover Jacob unwinds after school with his favorite TV program, Baking with Chef Monty. Read full book review >
CHARLOTTE IN LONDON by Joan MacPhail Knight
FICTION
Released: Dec. 1, 2009

"A terrific choice for readers with an interest in art history, this is a strong, appealing story on its own. (artwork credits, biographical notes, author's note) (Fiction. 8-12)"
It's 1895, and Charlotte, formerly of Boston, is leaving Giverny, France, where her father studies painting with Monsieur Monet, for London, where her mother hopes to model for John Singer Sargent. Read full book review >
DAY IS DONE by Peter Yarrow
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

"All in all, a very pretty disconnect. (afterword) (Picture book. 4-8)"
Yarrow's (of Peter, Paul and Mary fame) well-known song conveys the truth that parental presence brings peace to frightened children in a difficult world; on the CD that accompanies this book, his gravelly voice melds with the bright children's chorus and his daughter's nimble soprano. Read full book review >
ABC BOOKS
Released: June 9, 2009

"Capital! (Picture book. 2-6)"
Sierra's reliably commendable verse teams with quirky illustrations from Sweet to produce an alphabet-bedtime hybrid with plenty of appeal for families. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Aug. 1, 2008

"It is entirely possible that this offering will not only acquaint readers with the man and his poetry but will also inspire creativity—Williams would no doubt be pleased. (timelines, bibliography, author's note, illustrator's note) (Picture book/biography. 8-12)"
With plain words, appropriate to the style of this master of clear and precisely worded poetry, and brilliant images, Bryant and Sweet introduce Williams and his poetry in a fresh, accessible way. Read full book review >
TUPELO RIDES THE RAILS by Melissa  Sweet
ANIMALS
Released: April 7, 2008

"Fans of the popular stray-animal genre will bid her godspeed. (Picture book. 6-8)"
In a winsome tale laced with doggy humor, an abandoned canine tags along with a pack of other four-legged fellows searching for new homes, before finding a companion to call her own. Read full book review >
BABY BEAR’S BIG DREAMS by Jane Yolen
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 1, 2007

"She fills her illustrations with clever details, such as a stuffed bee toy carried by the little bear (instead of a teddy bear), and her exuberant style is well-matched to the young bear's playful antics and confident personality. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Yolen captures the universal wish of young children to be older and more grown-up without giving up the protective care and admiring love of their parents. Read full book review >
ANIMALS
Released: April 9, 2007

"Her lively illustrations, employing collage and found objects, are the perfect complement to this lyrical Louisiana tale of good music and good friends. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8)"
In this whimsical tale set in South Louisiana, readers meet a blue-headed rooster who, due to a case of the chicken measles, loses the will to trumpet the morning wake-up call. Read full book review >
CHARLOTTE IN NEW YORK by Joan MacPhail Knight
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2006

"Brief biographies of all the real artists and patrons are appended. (illustration credits, author's note) (Fiction. 8-12)"
This author-illustrator pair successfully continues the conceit of the child of a fictional 19th-century American painter living in Giverny, in Paris and now in New York. Read full book review >
WON’T YOU BE MY HUGAROO? by Joanne Ryder
FICTION
Released: March 1, 2006

"A celebration of all things lovable, Ryder's tale is bound to strike a chord with fans and newcomers across the generations. (Picture book. 2-5)"
While the venue has changed from smooches to hugs, Ryder and Sweet remain faithful to the popular format of their earlier title, Won't You Be My Kissaroo? (2004) Playful rhymes describe the myriad hugs to be savored as a young zebra spends the day at an amusement park with friends. Read full book review >
BABY BEAR’S CHAIRS by Jane Yolen
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

"A cozy and comforting send-off to slumber. (Picture book. 3-6)"
A wee bruin extols, in sly Goldilocks fashion, the virtues of the various sized chairs in his house. Read full book review >
SCHOOLYARD RHYMES by Judy Sierra
NONFICTION
Released: July 12, 2005

"Includes an index of first lines and an author's note. (Nonfiction. 4-8)"
Drawing on her Ph.D. in folklore, Sierra has compiled an upbeat selection of dozens of schoolyard rhymes and funny poems, complemented by Sweet's charming illustrations in watercolor and fabric collage. Read full book review >
MUSIC AND THE ARTS
Released: July 1, 2005

"Sweet fills her vibrant illustrations with bright citrus colors and bouncy children of varied ethnicities who help bring the rhymes to life. (Picture book/poetry. 4-6)"
Calmenson, herself a former kindergarten teacher, explores that world in this collection of original poetry. Read full book review >
CARMINE by Melissa  Sweet
ANIMALS
Released: April 4, 2005

"Includes Granny's recipe for alphabet soup. (Picture book. 4-7)"
The illustrator tries her hand at words and images in this delightful alphabet and fairytale twist. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Sept. 27, 2004

"A solid offering that, were it more completely sourced, would be nothing short of tremendous. (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-9)"
This winsomely imagined account of an episode when Audubon was 18 years old joins the flocks of commemorative works. Read full book review >
I LOVE YOU, TOO! by Eve Bunting
FICTION
Released: Jan. 1, 2004

"Sweet's limpid and winsome images, in bright washes of color, balance the text without being cloying. (Picture book. 3-6)"
An adorable small volume is just the right size for little hands and says just the right words for little voices. Read full book review >
GIGGLE-WIGGLE WAKE-UP! by Nancy White Carlstrom
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Oct. 14, 2003

"This boisterous tale is just the thing to chase away the doldrums and start Monday, or any other day, with a bang. (Picture book. 2-5)"
In an ebullient burst of playful language, Carlstrom's tale whisks readers through a youngster's Monday routine. Read full book review >
MOONLIGHT by Cynthia Rylant
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 1, 2003

"Surely some will take this as an example of looking differently at the deep darkness of night and all its splendors. (Picture book. 3-5)"
Moonlight's a night-loving, night-prowling cat, but Halloween night's her special favorite. Read full book review >
MY GRANDMA IS COMING TO TOWN by Anna Grossnickle Hines
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 1, 2003

"For so many children whose favorite family members live far away, Hines (Whistling, below, etc.) handles this issue with style, never forgetting to give kids credit for solving problems. (Picture book. 2-4)"
This joyous story impressively invokes a toddler's love for his distant Grandma. Read full book review >
POETRY
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

"Just like this.' (Picture book/poetry. 2-5)"
A collection of original poems offers cheery readalouds for very young children. Read full book review >
FICTION
Released: May 8, 2002

"Move over Ms. Frizzle, this guarantees that readers will not be 'tombed to eternal boredom.' (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-11)"
For armchair archaeologists, young and old, this imaginary trip to Egypt in 1924 will be golden delight. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY
Released: March 25, 2002

"She closes with an array of resources to help young readers get off the stick. (timeline, index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)"
Repeating the inspired formula of Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women (2000), Sweet's exuberant collages add both information and visual energy to lively profiles of more than a dozen female adults or children who have Found Something Significant. Read full book review >
POETRY
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

"Perky and pertinent. (Picture book. 1-5)"
An assortment of two dozen rhymes touts the triumphs of toddlerhood in this wonderfully affirming collection. Read full book review >
NOW WHAT CAN I DO? by Margaret Park Bridges
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 1, 2001

"A good way to jump-start the creative juices when the ho-hum blahs loom near. (Picture book. 3-5)"
With a little ingenuity, a sagacious mother turns rainy-day doldrums into dynamic adventures in housework. Read full book review >
DIRTY LAUNDRY PILE by Paul B. Janeczko
FICTION
Released: June 30, 2001

"Janeczko has a wide following through his own poetry collections, anthologies, and books on writing poetry, so this collection should find a ready audience, especially in school libraries. (Poetry. 7-11)"
Janeczko (A Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete Poems, p. 411, etc.) advocates using poetry in the classroom daily, and teachers who are introducing the concept of point of view will find some unique ways to get the point across through these poems. Read full book review >
TEN LITTLE LAMBS by Alice B. McGinty
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 2001

"And as a bonus, little ones who've yet to experience the irony of the slumber party will get solid training in the stay-awake-at-all-costs ritual. (Picture book. 4-6)"
In her debut picture book, McGinty depicts a slumber party that takes a sleepless turn in a comical counting rhyme. Read full book review >
BOUNCING TIME by Patricia Hubbell
ANIMALS
Released: April 30, 2000

"Young readers will be enthralled by this jubilant tale that celebrates children's wondrous ability to revel in the moment. (Picture book. 1-4)"
An energetic tot bounds through her day in this jaunty tale from Hubbell (Sidewalk Trip, 1999, etc.). Read full book review >
BATS AROUND THE CLOCK by Kathi Appelt
ANIMALS
Released: April 30, 2000

"Boogie down. (Picture book. 4-6)"
Lights, camera, action; it's American Batstand, a 12-hour marathon of nonstop shake, rattle, and roll hosted by the ageless Click Dark. Read full book review >
CHARLOTTE IN GIVERNY by Joan MacPhail Knight
FICTION
Released: April 1, 2000

"Credits for the reproductions, brief biographical sketches of all the artists, and an author's note are appended. (Historical fiction. 9-13)"
A fictional diary captures the Giverny of 1892 through the eyes of its little-girl owner, in this charmingly constructed conceit. Read full book review >
LOVE AND KISSES by Sarah Wilson
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 1, 1999

"Sendak team and Elizabeth Winthrop's Sloppy Kisses. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Small, sweet, and silly, Wilson's book exhorts readers to "Blow a kiss and let it go. / You never know how love will grow." Read full book review >
WILL YOU TAKE CARE OF ME? by Margaret Park Bridges
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 1, 1998

"While the premise might have become precious, Bridges's sentiments avoid the obvious. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Parent and child kangaroos charmingly express their immeasurable love in this appealing story, with echoes of Runaway Bunny. Read full book review >
PINKY AND REX AND THE SCHOOL PLAY by James Howe
FICTION
Released: April 1, 1998

"Unfortunately, the language is inexorably sterile, without even the humor of previous Pinky and Rex installments. (Fiction. 6-9)"
Pinky and Rex (Pinky and Rex and the Bully, 1996, etc.) return in this entry in the Ready-To-Read series, intended for emerging readers to tackle independently, with a plot to draw them in but little grace or style in the writing. Read full book review >
MONSTERS IN CYBERSPACE by Dian Curtis Regan
FANTASY
Released: May 1, 1997

"This offering in the series puts middle-grade readers right into Rilla's shoes, and it couldn't be a better fit. (Fiction. 8-12)"
As readers of Regan's Monsters in the Attic (1995) already know, Rilla Harmony Earth (formerly Rilla Pinowski) receives a different monster in the mail every month. Read full book review >
PINKY AND REX AND THE BULLY by James Howe
FICTION
Released: April 1, 1996

"Meanwhile, Rex is only a marginal figure, barely sketched into the tale; all her behavior is described rather than shown. (Fiction. 6- 8)"
This anachronistic entry about a popular duo in the Ready-to- Read series addresses gender issues for newly independent readers. Read full book review >
A HOUSE BY THE SEA by Joanne Ryder
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 1994

"An attractive addition. (Picture book. 3-8)"
In verse that echoes both Milne's whimsical make-believe and the cadence of Poe's ``Annabel Lee,'' a child imagines living by the sea: playing with the seals (``When I got too wet/or they got too dry,/we'd hug and we'd run/and we'd yell, `Good-bye' ''); wishing on the moon; being cared for by an octopus (``With an arm doing this/and an arm doing that,/he'd cook and make my bed''); and so on. Read full book review >
SYCAMORE STREET by C. B. Christiansen
FICTION
Released: Sept. 30, 1993

"Still, humorous and nonpreachy, with short paragraphs, plenty of repetition for newly independent readers, and likable watercolor illustrations: unusually attractive for this genre. (Young reader. 5-7)"
Best friends Angel and Chloe, who enjoy ``pretending'' together, have no time for new boy Rupert, who makes a pest of himself until Chloe discovers (while Angel's on vacation) that he's a good pretender, too. Read full book review >
PINKY AND REX AND THE NEW BABY by James Howe
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: March 31, 1993

"With lively, believable dialogue, realistic situations that gently test the likable pair's mettle, and Sweet's appealing art on every easily read spread: another strong entry in a popular series. (Fiction/Young reader. 5-8)"
Perhaps because Rex is a little older than the expectant siblings found in many picture books, her experience is the reverse of theirs: her worries about being supplanted come before her parents bring home new adopted brother Matthew. Read full book review >
PINKY AND REX GO TO CAMP by James Howe
FICTION
Released: March 31, 1992

"Howe presents these young children learning how to share their feelings with a sure touch for realistic dialogue; Sweet's full-color illustrations, on almost every page, nicely reflect the story's warmth and gentle humor. (Fiction. 5-8)"
Fifth in an appealing series of early chapter books about two close friends, boy and girl, whose names reflect their characters' reversal of stereotypical roles. Read full book review >
ROSIE'S BABY TOOTH by Maryann Macdonald
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 30, 1991

When Rosie, the appealing little rabbit introduced in Rosie Runs Away (1990), loses her first tooth, admires it so much that she's reluctant to part with it. Read full book review >
PINKY AND REX AND THE SPELLING BEE by James Howe
FICTION
Released: April 30, 1991

"Sweet's attractive illustrations extend the wholesome good humor. (Young reader. 6-8)"
One of two new books about the likable best friends introduced in 1990. Read full book review >