Books by Robert Papp

Released: May 1, 2011

The War of 1812—it's one of those topics many Americans flunk when asked to please explain what it was all about, though they just might get the year it started right. So, as the conflict's 200th anniversary bears down, readers can thank the Papps for bringing a thoroughly enjoyable fictionalization of a true incident of the war to the shelf. The story concerns the town of St. Michaels, Md., home to shipbuilders who were caught in the sights of the British military. "For weeks, the British had been snaking their way up the Chesapeake harassing villages and burning towns. And now it seemed they had chosen their next target." Young Henry Middle's father is in the militia, charged with facing the British troops. Night is falling, rain is lashing and Henry sets out to bring his father two lanterns, which sparks a brainstorm in the commander of the militia that saves the town from bombardment. The Papps have created good atmosphere: chaos and foreboding, the skies lowering, the British warships ghosting through the night. The artwork is highly heroic, the characters radiating auras as if they'd been stung by St. Elmo's fire. Readers might wish that the endnote more thoroughly explored the origins of the war. Still, this can't help but expand readers' understanding of our second war of independence. (Picture book. 6-10)Read full book review >
ANNA MARIA’S GIFT by Janice Shefelman
Released: April 27, 2010

Shortly after her father's death, Anna Maria is sent to study violin at the Pietà, an orphanage and music school for girls in Venice. She is welcomed by a new friend, Silvia, but victimized by a talented but jealous fellow violinist, Paolina. The composer Antonio Vivaldi teaches both girls, and they vie for the same solos. In a fit of jealousy, Paolina takes Anna Maria's beloved violin—a last gift from her father—and drops it into a nearby Venetian canal. Anna Maria searches for her treasured instrument while Paolina pays for this act of passion. A fascinating view of 18th-century Venice with its vibrant music scene, this novel explores the powers of friendship and forgiveness. The simply told tale, with its direct plot and characterizations, is suited to younger readers than Pat Lowery Collins's Hidden Voices (2009), with which it shares a setting. The secondary characters—the gondolier, the sisters of the Pietà and the wealthy merchant who ends up with Anna Maria's violin—add much to this offering for independent readers who love history. Papp's illustrations not seen. (Historical fiction. 6-9)Read full book review >
RUMBLE TUM by Stephanie True Peters
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

It's love at first sight when Beth first holds her fluffy black-and-white kitten Rumble Tum. In the days that follow, Beth's love swells as she watches Rumble Tum adjust to her new home and proceed to play, explore, cuddle and even make friends with the dog next door. Papp's glowing, painterly illustrations and the warm, clear text show the charming young feline and her family as she grows, frolics and learns about the world around her. It isn't until a rainstorm that Beth and Rumble Tum are separated for the first time; upset by the thunder and lightning, the young feline disappears. Mild suspense ensues as the family's initial attempts at finding her are unsuccessful, but much to Beth's relief, the resourceful kitten has managed to find a safe place to stay until it is time to go home. This inviting and straightforward story of a girl and her cat is playful and full of charm, and it's an excellent introduction to the pleasures and responsibilities of having a pet. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

Young Mary, newly arrived with her family from Ireland, has few friends, and her family doesn't have the extra money for a turkey. But her father helps her to find gratitude by telling her the story of the Pilgrims, extending the tale beyond the storied harvest to the hard times that followed, with each colonist restricted to five kernels of corn a day until finally their prayers were answered with rain. Papp's relentlessly lit spreads are peopled with some of the cleanest, best-fed Pilgrims and Irish immigrants in literature, complementing the highly directive subtitle to a T. The parenthetical "or else" may be unsaid, but certainly does not go unfelt. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
TITANICAT by Marty Crisp
by Marty Crisp, illustrated by Robert Papp
Released: June 1, 2008

Young Jim Mulholland's very excited to be a cabin boy on the new ship Titanic. It's not only the ship's maiden voyage, but his as well. He deems it good luck when a tortoiseshell cat greets him at the ship's berth. She turns out to be the ship's cat, and Jim is put in charge of her. He discovers she's just had a litter onboard, and Jim has his hands full with both cats and chores. In Southampton, Jim sees the cat taking her kittens ashore as the passengers are boarding. The cat isn't fast enough to get all her kittens, so Jim helps and finds himself stranded on shore as the ship leaves. When news of the disaster breaks, Jim thanks the mother cat for sharing her luck with him. Based on stories that came to light only recently, Crisp's tale is told well enough. Papp's photorealistic paintings are beautiful but overdramatic, and the cats are inconsistently colored. Still, this will please young Titanicophiles and some kitten fans. (bibliography, author's note) (Picture book. 5-9) Read full book review >