Books by Peter Sís

ICE CREAM SUMMER by Peter Sís
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: May 26, 2015

"Oh, yum. (author's note, further reading) (Picture book. 4-10)"
In ice cream colors, Sís delivers an encomium to summer, to the power of learning, and to that beloved, creamy-cold treat. Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: May 27, 2014

"Extraordinary and wonderful. (Picture book/biography. 6-12)"
What was essential about one golden-haired boy in love with flying becomes visible in Sís' richly visual biographical portrait of French writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Read full book review >
THE MAGICIAN'S APPRENTICE by Kate Banks
Released: Aug. 7, 2012

"A moving, thoughtful apprentice tale. (Fantasy. 10-14)"
Sixteen-year-old Baz's coming-of-age journey exceeds all his expectations. Read full book review >
MADLENKA SOCCER STAR by Peter Sís
FICTION
Released: Sept. 28, 2010

"A story not quite as intricate as the exuberant girl's fans might hope; nevertheless, a sweet, vuvuzela-free homage to a beloved sport around the globe. (history of soccer endnote, 'soccer' pronunciation guide) (Picture book. 4-8)"
For fans fresh off the excitement of the World Cup, joyful Madlenka is back, but she's not walking around the block—this time she's dribbling, turning and twisting with her brand-new soccer ball. Read full book review >
THE DREAMER by Pam Muñoz Ryan
FICTION
Released: April 1, 2010

"A brief selection of Neruda's poems (in translation), a bibliography and an author's note enrich an inviting and already splendid, beautifully presented work. (Historical fiction. 9-13)"
Ryan's fictional evocation of the boy who would become Pablo Neruda is rich, resonant and enchanting. Read full book review >
THE DREAM STEALER by Sid Fleischman
BEDTIME BOOK
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

"Sweet and silly, consider this slim bedtime fare that lingers long after the tale is told. (Fantasy. 6-11)"
So slender and slight it feels light enough to float from your hands, Fleischman and Sís's latest chapter-book collaboration supplements their previous Newbery-winning pairing, The Whipping Boy (1987). Read full book review >
THE WALL by Peter Sís
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Sept. 4, 2007

"A masterpiece for readers young and old. (afterword) (Nonfiction. 8+)"
Sís has loved to draw for as long as he can remember, and this work tells the parallel stories of his early years drawing and the rise and fall of communism in Czechoslovakia. Read full book review >
PLAY, MOZART, PLAY! by Peter Sís
BIOGRAPHY
Released: May 1, 2006

"Play a little Mozart and let readers enjoy this feast for the ears and eyes. (Picture book/biography. 4-7)"
In celebration of the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth, Sís beautifully harmonizes words and illustration in a delightful and accessible biography of the composer for the picture-book audience. Read full book review >
THE HOUSE OF PAPER by Carlos María Domínguez
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: Nov. 7, 2005

"A brisk, evocative mystery for book-lovers who may feel bound to read it twice."
A swift, jaunty literary mystery. Read full book review >
THE HAPPY TROLL by Max Bolliger
by Max Bolliger, illustrated by Peter Sís, translated by Nina Ignatowicz
FANTASY
Released: June 1, 2005

"Young readers with a taste for measured, thought-provoking tales carried along upon whimsical illustrations will linger here. (Picture book. 6-8)"
First U.S. edition of an economically told moral tale, in which a troll loses his beautiful singing voice after a yen for gold turns him prideful. Read full book review >
THE TRAIN OF STATES by Peter Sís
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 1, 2004

"One can't even fall back on the standard 'Good for reports.' (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-10)"
Combining the author/illustrator's stated "love for [his] adopted country with [his] admiration for antique circus wagons," this offering serves up 50 cars, one for each state, and "a most marvelous caboose" (Washington, DC). Read full book review >
THE TREE OF LIFE by Peter Sís
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Oct. 1, 2003

"A fine introduction to Darwin, but a better explanation of the science, for older readers, can be found in Dorothy Hinshaw Patent's Charles Darwin: The Life of a Revolutionary Thinker (2001). (author's note) (Nonfiction. 8+)"
Charles Darwin never learned to draw, so the record of his famous, five-year voyage on the Beagle consists solely of wonderfully detailed diaries, letters, and journals. Read full book review >
ANIMAL SENSE by Diane Ackerman
POETRY
Released: Feb. 11, 2003

"Good poetry, fine illustration, a bit of natural history gently rendered and more than occasionally funny—what child could ask for anything more than this exquisite little gem? (Poetry. 7-12)"
Poet and naturalist Ackerman (The Night Crossing, 1994, etc.) examines the five senses by way of the animal kingdom. Read full book review >
SCRANIMALS by Jack Prelutsky
POETRY
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

"Prolific they may be, but poet and illustrator have never done better work than this hilarious, inventive cousin to Edward Lear's nonsense botany and zoology. (Poetry. 7-12)"
Sís's hallucinogenic art takes Prelutsky's ever-clever comic verses in new directions in this topflight returning superstar collaboration (The Gargoyle on the Roof, 1999, etc.). Read full book review >
MADLENKA’S DOG by Peter Sís
ANIMALS
Released: April 2, 2002

"The human and canine cast both are identified on the final page of this fantastical, brilliantly imagined outing. (Picture book. 5-9)"
The urban child introduced in Madlenka (2000) takes another stroll around her multicultural block, this time accompanied by an imaginary but convincingly present dog. Read full book review >
BALLERINA! by Peter Sís
by Peter Sís, illustrated by Peter Sís
FICTION
Released: April 30, 2001

"There aren't many books on ballet for younger preschoolers, so Terry's imaginative fantasy dances will find a place in the spotlight with the littlest budding ballerinas. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Sís continues his series of preschool-level stories (Dinosaur!, not reviewed, etc.) exploring the boundaries of fantasy and reality within areas of particular fascination to preschoolers. Read full book review >
MADLENKA by Peter Sís
by Peter Sís, illustrated by Peter Sís
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Oct. 4, 2000

"Undeniably clever, well-intentioned, and beautiful, but flawed. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Madlenka is losing her tooth and sets out to make her happy announcement to everyone in her multiethnic New York City neighborhood. Read full book review >
SHIP AHOY! by Peter Sís
Released: Sept. 1, 1999

"S°s is at his simple best, using broad lines to depict reality, and then the spidery, dot-dash penwork to shape his fantasy world; he and children speak the same language to weave their dreams. (Picture book. 3-6)"
In a third book that links the imagination of a small child with the toy vehicles in his possession, S°s (Trucks, Trucks, Trucks, p. 538, etc.) puts realistic scenes of a child on the lefthand pages, and the scenes the child envisions on right. Read full book review >
THE GARGOYLE ON THE ROOF by Jack Prelutsky
Released: Sept. 1, 1999

"Of my infamous career.' (Picture book/poetry. 6-10)"
PLB 0-688-16553-2 With customary vim and darkly musical verse, Prelutsky introduces gremlins, griffins, goblins, basilisks, and their kinfolk, playing readers like stringed instruments, keeping them rapt with quick changes in tempo and by varying the architecture of his poems. Read full book review >
TRUCKS TRUCKS TRUCKS by Peter Sís
Released: April 1, 1999

"The world that S°s creates is wonderfully inviting, not least as a result of his artwork, with their simple, expressive lines and minimal use of color. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Following in the path of Fire Truck (1998), S°s transports young listeners to a realm they love, the world of trucks. Read full book review >
TIBET by Peter Sís
Released: Nov. 1, 1998

"Beautiful illustrations of Tibetan-style art, illuminated reproductions of Vladimir's diary, and richly colored landscapes, all by the author, combine with the haunting story of a young boy's longing for his absent father to create an enchanting and delightful piece of work."
A grown man reads through a diary of his father's travels in China and Tibet, written long ago and kept locked away for many years in a red box. Read full book review >
FIRE TRUCK by Peter Sís
by Peter Sís, illustrated by Peter Sís
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 1998

"The spartan application of color makes the intensely red fire trucks leap off the pages, perfect for point-and-name games and for inspiring similar flights of the imagination. (Picture book. 4-7)"
S°s (Starry Messenger, 1996, etc.) celebrates a universally cherished childhood favorite—the fire truck—in simple, clean lines and smooth planes of color. Read full book review >
SLEEP SAFE, LITTLE WHALE by Miriam Schlein
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 1997

"On the reverse side of the fold-out pages is a long map where children—if they haven't already fallen asleep—can pick out the sleeping creatures in their habitats. (Board book. 2-6)"
An elongated lullaby—pages that unfold, concertina-style, into a look at dreaming animals from around the globe. Read full book review >
STARRY MESSENGER by Peter Sís
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Oct. 31, 1996

"A small ink illustration on the copyright page, of an open book with heart and mind taking flight, deserves special attention. (Picture book/nonfiction. 6+)"
In the same vein as S°s's Follow the Dream (1991), this work, subtitled ``Galileo Galilei,'' artfully introduces the fascinating life of Galileo to young readers. Read full book review >
MONDAY'S TROLL by Jack Prelutsky
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: April 1, 1996

"Mother Ogre's Lullaby'' and the title poem, but every poem will be relished, come Halloween or any time of the year. (Picture book/poetry. 4-12)"
In a companion volume to The Dragons Are Singing Tonight (1993), a talented duo introduces a variety of trolls, ogres, witches, a bigfoot, and a yeti. Read full book review >
THE 13TH FLOOR by Sid Fleischman
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

"Whether climbing the ship's rigging in a storm or rescuing his sister from death by creating a pirate's ghost out of a codfish and a Walkman, Buddy is sturdy and unflappable, and his adventures are entertaining. (Fiction. 8-12)"
A tale of time travel, filled with Fleischman's trademark combination of humor and wild adventure. Read full book review >
THE THREE GOLDEN KEYS by Peter Sís
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Nov. 1, 1994

"S°s summons a richly experienced childhood and a city full of wonders. (Author tour) (Folklore/Picture book. 6+)"
A man in a hot-air balloon is blown off course by a storm. Read full book review >
STILL MORE STORIES TO SOLVE by George Shannon
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Aug. 1, 1994

"Accessible, wise, and richly humorous. (Folk Tales. 9-12)"
Akbar the Emperor draws a line across the floor and challenges his jester Birbal to make it shorter without erasing anything. Read full book review >
A SMALL TALL TALE FROM THE FAR FAR NORTH by Peter Sís
ADVENTURE
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

"This denouement isn't developed much; but the unusual story and the extraordinary visual delights accompanying it are not to be missed. (Picture book. 5-10)"
In an intriguing global verso to his Follow the Dream (1991), S°s embroiders on an autobiographical tall tale, remembered by Jan Welzl (1868-1951) from his youth in Czechoslovakia. Read full book review >
THE DRAGONS ARE SINGING TONIGHT by Jack Prelutsky
POETRY
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"A must for dragon fanciers and for all those who enjoy light verse. (Poetry/Picture book. 4-10)"
Eighteen deftly fashioned verses in the trademark Prelutsky style, with catchy rhythms, clever rhymes, and witty wordplay and conceits (``If you don't believe in dragons,/It is curiously true/That the dragons you disparage/Choose to not believe in you''). Read full book review >
KOMODO! by Peter Sís
by Peter Sís, illustrated by Peter Sís
ANIMALS
Released: May 27, 1993

"Lucid, elegantly rendered art with a wealth of intriguing details; wonderfully appealing subject. (Picture book. 4+)"
As in Martin/Gammell's Will's Mammoth (1989), reality turns to fantasy when a child is so fascinated by dragons that her parents take her to the Indonesian island of Komodo, where, escaping crowds of tourists, she wanders into the jungle and encounters a ten-foot monitor lizard—the Komodo dragon of her dreams. Read full book review >
AN OCEAN WORLD by Peter Sís
ADVENTURE
Released: Oct. 23, 1992

"Exquisitely designed; charmingly offbeat. (Picture book. 3+)"
Virtually the only text in this book dedicated ``To all who care about our world'' is a postcard from Sis to his family, explaining that a whale raised at ``Ocean World'' is soon to be set free. Read full book review >
FOLLOW THE DREAM by Peter Sís
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Aug. 1, 1991

"An unusually creative addition to the rapidly growing stack of books on Columbus. (Biography/Picture book. 4+)"
A brief, straightforward, uncontroversial summary of the events leading up to Columbus's first voyage and of the outward voyage itself—a book that serves to caption a series of dreamlike, highly imaginative illustrations blending the visual inspiration of 15th-century maps with this gifted Czech artist's perception of his own emigration as an escape from Europe's encircling walls. Read full book review >
MORE STORIES TO SOLVE by George Shannon
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: April 26, 1991

"Notes on sources. (Folklore. 5-12)"
Like Stories to Solve (1985), a collection of very brief riddle-stories, each with its solution given after a page turn. Read full book review >
THE WHIPPING BOY by Sid Fleischman
Released: April 14, 1986

"Thin at times, this comic adventure story does offer readers a nice change of pace."
A rollicking tale of adventure and mistaken identity, written in a style reminiscent of 19th-century melodrama. Read full book review >