Books by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace

Released: March 1, 2012

"A pleasingly high-energy invitation to see, understand and appreciate art… and to make some too. (credits, thumbnail bio of Hepworth) (Informational picture book. 6-9)"
Three frisky mice, sensibilities honed by an exposure to painting in Look! Look! Look! (2006), give 3-D art a similarly close onceover. Read full book review >
READY!  SET!  100TH DAY! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Released: Sept. 1, 2011

Minna the rabbit is back, and this time she is trying to come up with a creative idea for her "Ready! Set! One Hundred!" project. Read full book review >
POND WALK by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Released: Feb. 1, 2011

Buddy the little bear returns for a lesson in limnology, the study of bodies of fresh water (Rocks, Rocks, Rocks!, 2009, etc.). Buddy is game for about anything, and because he's game he has a good time. When his mother suggests a pond walk, Buddy's all over it. "Yes!" said Buddy. "I like ponds! I hope I see a turtle!" Donning their boots—galumphing galoshes in Wallace's handsome cut-paper collages—they go mucking about in a neighborhood pond. Buddy's curiosity is satisfied by his mother, whose guidebook identifies damselflies, dragonflies, salamanders, lily pads, pond skaters and whirligig beetles. Buddy peppers their gentle adventure with corny jokes—"How did the frog feel when it hurt its leg?... Very unHOPPY!"—and his enthusiasm has a nice droll edge to it: "Duckweed!" he exclaims with delight when his mother identifies it. When a turtle finally mooches into view, Buddy yodels "Tur… …tle!," whereupon it slips under the water. That's not a problem, however, as Buddy gets his drawing pad and chronicles the event, and when he returns home he makes his own rock turtle (instructions included). As Wallace imparts her pond knowledge, she fashions a day of simple pleasures—poking around, drawing, picnicking, snoozing—that is a heart-gladdening exemplar. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
PLANTING SEEDS by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Released: March 1, 2010

From one to ten, a family of brown bunnies digs, plants, waters, weeds, tends, harvests and eats the carrots in their garden. Wallace's anthropomorphized collaged-paper bunnies are positioned, for the most part, against a bright blue sky in simple compositions, making it easy to count them as one by one they join the spreads. She provides other objects to count, adding interest for repeat readings: The clouds (on sunny days), garden tools, birds and insects, etc., all match the number of the bunnies in any spread. The verse text is a series of declarative sentences with a predictable pattern, all beginning by indicating the number of brown bunnies engaged in the activity at hand. Although the numerals do not appear within the primary narrative, a concluding page presents them, each next to the appropriate number of carrots. Terrific. (Board book. 1-3)Read full book review >
STARS! STARS! STARS! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

Wallace's latest brings back Minna, who is curious about stars (Fly, Monarch, Fly!, 2008, etc.). Her mom suggests a star-themed dinner (recipes included), a trip to Star Space at the Children's Museum and some stargazing. Minna invites four friends along. Stellan greets them, asking each what they wonder about stars. The guide then leads them through the exhibits, answering their questions by asking them a few of his own. The basics are presented in easily digestible bites accompanied by interesting factoids. Among the topics explored: stars' composition, temperature, color, distance, how stars are named, stellar navigation, what astronomers do and constellations and galaxies. Backmatter encourages children to do many of the same things that Minna enjoyed doing. The illustrations are the author's trademark cut-paper collages, with the addition this time of photographs and computer-generated images of the galaxies, constellations, planets and sun. Make room on the shelf for this one. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
ROCKS! ROCKS! ROCKS!  by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Released: April 1, 2009

When Buddy, a budding petrologist, shows his mom a cairn he stacked, she suggests a trip to Rock Ridge Nature Center. There the pair follows the blue diamonds along the rock trail. Readers will learn along with Buddy about bedrock, erosion and the ways in which people use rocks to build and make things. Roxie the park ranger does an excellent job of explaining the three types of rocks and how they are formed, using vocabulary in context. The only piece missing in this otherwise complete overview is some kind of key to identifying the rock types—Buddy sorts rocks according to their physical characteristics, but none are classified. The information is broken up into bite-sized chunks and separated by Buddy's corny jokes—just right for young learners' attention spans. Three pages of rock activities, sayings and place names cap off the text. Wallace's trademark cut-paper artwork is in evidence, this time with the addition of photographs, which lend the rocks real texture. Spot-on for young enthusiasts. (Informational picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
FLY, MONARCH! FLY! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Released: March 1, 2008

Wallace has created another winner with her latest starring Minna and Pip. This time the rabbit family bikes to Butterfly Place, a natural outdoor habitat for monarchs designed to teach visitors about butterflies. With signs, pictures and their guide Bert's blue bag of materials, the siblings follow the life cycle of a butterfly from egg, through larva and pupa, to adult. Along the way they search the milkweed leaves for eggs, use Bert's costumes to become caterpillars and molt, see several pupae at different stages, use party blowers to simulate a butterfly's proboscis and don wings to learn about butterfly migration. Definitions and pronunciation aids abound, but do not overwhelm the story. Jokes and wordplay break up the learning, along with some simple activities to do at home. Backmatter includes more information about monarchs, instructions for planting a butterfly garden and some general resources. Wallace's trademark cut-paper artwork adds depth, texture and dimension to her illustrations, which seem to pop off the pages. With this in hand, there is no reason why any child cannot raise a monarch. (Informational picture book. 3-8)Read full book review >
SHELLS! SHELLS! SHELLS! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Released: March 1, 2007

On a trip to the beach, Buddy Bear collects seashells and his Mama teaches him about the animals that made them. Buddy is the perfect curious pupil; young readers will experience the sights, sounds and textures of the beach through his senses. Mama introduces lots of mollusk vocabulary, explaining in easy-to-understand language what each new word means, and linking it to words and concepts that children already know (mantle and skin, bivalve and bicycle). Wallace presents quite a bit of information, and she will keep readers' attention by breaking up the learning with Buddy's numerous snack breaks and clever wordplay jokes. The artwork is a combination of cut-paper and real shells. The curious result keeps the focus on the shells, highlighting each one and making sure none blends into the background. Backmatter presents a few more seashell facts and gives directions in making a bookmark. A stellar introduction to mollusks and the shells they make; an informative, accessible and necessary addition to any seaside library and every school where oceans are studied. (Nonfiction. 5-9)Read full book review >
THE KINDNESS QUILT by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Released: Sept. 1, 2006

Wallace's art is wonderful: fancy- and found-paper collage, markers and pencil make Minna's bunny family and classroom glow with pattern and shape. The text in this one, though, is a little goopy. Minna's teacher reads them the Aesop fable of the Lion and the Mouse (the essence of which is recounted and illustrated). The class decides to practice kindness, and Mrs. Bloom says they will celebrate with a "Kindness Project." Minna finds kindness in her family's helping in Community Clean-Up Day, in sharing soup with a neighboring family, in reading to her little brother. She makes a series of pictures about these acts and pieces them together. Mrs. Bloom puts all of the class's pictures of kindness on the bulletin board and makes a kindness quilt, which grows and grows. The philosophy gets a little slippery, too: Is it kindness to do your chores without being asked? If you do a kind thing so you can make a picture of it, is it still kind? Possibly too much burden for a pretty package. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2006

Three clever mice (budding artists all) deconstruct a famous painting, and use what they learn to explore their own ideas about art. The Bigley family's three resident mice—Alexander, Kiki and Kat—hear the "CLACK" of the mail slot and, knowing the Bigleys are away, rush to intercept the delivery, which happens to be a picture postcard from a friend named Art. "Looking at paintings is wonderful!" his message declares. On the opposite side is the Portrait of Lady Clopton; she's an elaborately dressed Elizabethan lady. Following the advice of the book's title, the mouse trio explores the oil painting through tiny picture frames that they cut from pieces of paper. They discover that they can see the painting in different ways, through its colors, shapes and lines. Armed with this knowledge, they create their own art. There's a handy glossary and a step-by-step art project: "Making a Self-Portrait Picture Postcard." An accessible book, packed with learning opportunities. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
ALPHABET HOUSE by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

Wallace's rabbit family introduces the letters of the alphabet. Inside their white clapboard house, twins Zinnia and Zoë, along with their siblings, parents and grandparents, engage in typical daily activities, each cleverly designed to present a letter. Each white-bordered illustration's theme includes items starting with the letter prominently featured in the corner. For "O," brother Zeke busily prepares oatmeal cookies in the kitchen while Zack strolls in, carrying an owl. Oranges form a colorful wall decoration while olive oil and onions reside on the shelf. Wallace's intricately cut-paper collages overflow with details and wit, giving readers numerous opportunities to find letter-appropriate objects. The vignettes provide both easily identifiable items for new learners as well as more esoteric objects, such as a zither, hexagon-wearing hippo and others, to challenge older readers. The energetic colors of the collages combined with the intriguing and changing scenarios are bound to capture readers' attention. The end pages include a legend detailing most of the items found in each letter's illustration, with the teaser suggesting that readers find more. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
RECYCLE EVERY DAY! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Released: March 1, 2003

The bunnies at Minna's school have been asked to create a poster about recycling. The best posters will be used as illustrations in the Community Recycling Calendar. Minna really wants to win, and her family has helpful suggestions. They recycle every day: Monday they take old clothes to the clothes bank; Tuesday they clean the yard and make compost; Wednesday they go to the recycling center. Every day they reuse, reduce, or recycle, but Minna doesn't decide how to make her poster until the day before the contest. Winning posters for each month are announced, and just when she's sure she hasn't won, Minna gets her wish. Wallace's (Pumpkin Day!, 2002, etc.) illustrations are her very recognizable cut-paper collages done here with found and recycled paper. The story is a vehicle for the Be Green message, but young readers won't mind. Between the seven activities Minna and her family do during the week and the posters her 12 schoolmates display, each with a recycling suggestion of its own, there are plenty of ideas youngsters can act upon to be kinder to the Earth. There's a fun recycling game (the game board is the penultimate page), a real recycling challenge for readers and their families, and, on the last page, swatches of the papers used in the illustrations with the invitation to find them in the pictures. There is more story here, but less information, than Gail Gibbons's Recycle! (1992). However, the intended audience will enjoy the extras. An excellent introduction to this increasingly important subject. (Picture book. 5-9)Read full book review >
PUMPKIN DAY! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

A cheerful excuse for a seasonal story with Wallace's (Count Down to Clean Up, 2001, etc.) paper-cut collages, a bit of science, a dab of folklore, and several rather bland recipes. Another of her bunny families sets off for Pumpkin Hollow Farm one day in late October to pick pumpkins to make into jack-o'-lanterns. At the farm the owner takes photos from her pocket to answer questions about how pumpkins grow from seed to flower to fruit. In the patch itself are signs that offer jokes as well as facts like "Pumpkins are healthy food. They provide vitamins a, B-1, B-2, and niacin—calcium and iron, too." The rabbit children examine and exclaim over a variety of pumpkins, select the ones they want, come home to scoop them out and carve them, and celebrate with a dinner of pumpkin muffins ("Buy pumpkin bread mix and follow the directions. Add 1/4 cup of canned pumpkin"), toasted pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin pie. A simple introduction to the fruit, for pre-schools and early childhood classes with an inviting yellow and gold cover. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
BABY DAY! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Released: March 24, 2002

Simple pictures and text show a baby's day filled with objects of all colors, textures, and shapes. Baby bunny is scooped from his crib into the loving arms of his mother, then sits patiently in his high chair, receiving spoonfuls of food from his father. Soon it is bath time and then time to get dressed for the day. Opposing pages to these images feature the items necessary for these activities: pajamas, a cup and a spoon, a rubber ducky, socks, booties, and a playsuit named in lower-case text under the object. Cut-paper collages are layered together to create visually stimulating illustrations that will interest even the smallest child. Endpapers consist of graphic black-and-white designs perfect for young babies, while the lyrical text, combined with brightly colored images, will entice slightly older children. Too soon it is time for a nap, but readers can have fun imagining the busy activities ahead for this baby and his parents. Stiff pages with rounded corners and a small format make this a perfect choice for tiny hands. (Picture book. 0-3)Read full book review >
COUNT DOWN TO CLEAN UP! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

Ten of Wallace's signature bunnies (Paperwhite, 2000, etc.) gather together to neaten up a park. Almost wordless, the text counts down from ten as the bunnies stop by various stores, hardware, gardening, etc., to pick up supplies to complete their tasks. Children will pore over the detailed pages looking for clues to who disappears from the group. On the title page, portraits of the individual bunnies are placed so that kids may delight in naming each one (Henry is the one with glasses, Mae has a red ribbon, and Jack is in blue) and follow their progress through the story. The layout is clean and obvious, with each number written out in bold-face on the upper-left-hand corner of each double-page spread. Observant readers will find the numeral posted somewhere else on the page sometimes as an address on a door, perhaps placed on a window display item or on a sale sign. The bright, bold cut-paper collage supports the subtracting and adding concepts. For each number, children can count the bunnies along with discovering at least one grouping of similar items, such as five very different bird feeders. This is a pleasing, developmentally appropriate volume that not only supports the math concepts but will be a welcome addition for neighborhood studies. Delightful. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
A TASTE OF HONEY by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Released: April 1, 2001

"Poppy, where does honey come from?" asks an inquisitive little bear in this charming picture book by the author/illustrator of Apples, Apples, Apples (2000). Grandpa explains it step-by-step, beginning with buying the jar of honey at the local market. Unlike other titles that begin with bees and flowers and work forward to the end product of honey on the table, Wallace uses a clever backward design, starting with a spoonful of honey, explaining how it got to market, came from a honey farm, was pulled from the comb with a honey extractor, and so on. At each step, the child bear asks, "But before that?," lending a read-aloud extra to the simple text. Appealing paper collages in bright primary colors help to illustrate the meaning of the information. Double-paged layouts are visually striking, and young children who aren't ready for words can read the images. A spread of bees filling the honeycombs is especially effective. The honey extractor is shown with labeled parts, and notes explain the specialized clothing of the beekeepers from helmet to the boot bands that keep bees out of pant legs. The author includes information on the bees' waggle dance, kinds of flowers that are used for honey, a honey board game, and interesting honey facts. The book ends as it began, with a question, as Lily asks: "Poppy, where does bread come from?" It is to be hoped that Wallace will tell young readers all about that in a new title equally as fine. (Nonfiction. 4-7)Read full book review >
PAPERWHITE by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Released: Sept. 1, 2000

In this quiet tale, young Lucy and her elderly neighbor Miss Mamie "make spring" together by forcing a narcissus bulb. Wallace's (Rabbit's Bedtime, 1999, etc.) cut-paper collages feature saturated colors and simple, distinct shapes placed against monochromatic backgrounds. Both in pictures and spare text, children can follow along as the two rabbit friends carefully fill a jar with pebbles, place the bulb at the top, and watch as roots and shoots grow, day by lengthening day. The domestic setting is suggested by a few homey details—balls of yarn, a bowl of cookie dough, wall knickknacks—and the two are last seen sitting companionably at Miss Mamie's kitchen table, sharing tea and cookies—and the blooming, fragrant paperwhite—while a late snowfall is visible through the window. The promise of spring, and the pleasures of intergenerational friendship, dovetail neatly here. (Picture book. 5-7)Read full book review >
APPLES, APPLES, APPLES by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Released: Aug. 1, 2000

A cheerful tale, sweet and crisp with some easy lessons about apples. In early autumn a family of bunnies decides to go apple-picking, and off they go to Mr. Miller's orchard. He shows the parents and Minna and Pip how to pick apples, and how to use a special tool to get them down from the high branches. His chart shows the varieties and their characteristics and he labels the parts of a sliced-open apple. Teaching them how apples grow, both from seed and by grafting, he also informs them that apples belong to the rose family. When they get home with their bags of apples, they make applesauce and learn to make apple prints. There's even an apple song and a collection of apple sayings (as in "You are the apple of my eye"). The images are cut-paper collages in poster paint colors: not only are the apple shapes quite pleasing, but Mr. Miller's red hat, Mom's purple scarf, and the family's green table are eye-catching shapes, bold and clear. A delicious addition to the apple bookshelf. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-8)Read full book review >
RABBIT'S BEDTIME by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Released: Sept. 1, 1999

As a young rabbit prepares for sleep, the pleasures of the day are recounted in couplets: "Time with others. Time alone./Time to nurture seeds I've sown." In the day, there was also time to play, sing, cuddle, and hug. Each activity is impressively captured in Wallace's distinct cut-paper artwork; the colors invite readers to linger, and the scenes are immediately recognizable. The positions struck by the rabbits—e.g., two bunnies dancing about in the spray of a sprinkler—are remarkably natural. While the rhymes and imagery are highly accessible, Wallace has added incidentals that expand the age range for the book, such as ladybugs, dragonflies, or a crab in a fish tank, that are fun to discover and identify. The final image of the bunny hunkering down with a teddy bear will bring smiles. (Picture book. 1-5) Read full book review >
SNOW by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

A reminiscence about the charms of snow: the narrator, a rabbit, fondly recalls the childhood excitement that came with the first snow each year. The rabbit would wait with brother Max for the flakes to appear in the sky before engaging in all the usual antics of a snowy day, and then return home to drink hot chocolate. The language is plain and the tone even, but the text is not without pretty moments (``Max liked to measure out the six spoonfuls of cocoa. `One, two, three, four, five, six,' he'd count.'') The illustrations are cut-paper collage: simple shapes on simple backgrounds. The paper figures are only roughly glued down, giving them the shadowy dimensionality of a quaint stage set. Wallace's first book is almost too wispy, but a sweet wisp at that. (Picture book. 3-6) Read full book review >