Books by Robert Quackenbush

FIRST GRADE JITTERS by Robert Quackenbush
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 1, 2010

"School doesn't worry me," confides this little boy. "Last year I had a lot of fun there...I was in Kindergarten then." Assurances to the contrary notwithstanding, Aidan is plenty worried. A just-before-school-starts get-together with chums from last year, particularly Tammy's account of bumping into their new teacher at the supermarket, helps the little guy get over those butterflies. Quackenbush recognizes a reality that is often glossed over—that even kids with a bit of school under their belts can worry about changes—and provides welcome support for them. Even readers who laugh outwardly at Aidan's misconceptions will likely breathe tiny, private sighs of relief. Nascimbene places Tintin-esque characters against gorgeous, Japanese print-inspired backgrounds in a muted palette, the delicate lines and flat perspectives providing a soothing environment to calm jitters of all kinds. (Picture book. 5-7)Read full book review >
FICTION
Released: March 17, 1980

Two very short, very broad spoofs in picture-book format. The first is as clunkingly obvious as "great detective" Dr. Aramy's mistakes when he is called to a resort hotel to solve the mystery of a stolen pearl. Dr. Aramy constantly interrupts the lined-up staff members' accounts of incidents surrounding the pearl's disappearance, accusing each in turn on the basis of far-fetched conclusions, until he finally hits home with the manager, the only one left. The outlandish solutions proposed by famous ghost catcher Mr. Dibble in the second story are less hollow and a bit more ingenious, but still pretty creaky. At least his contraptions—involving a silver bell on a silken cord, a one-eared black cat, chicken fat and honey on the stairs, etc.—all work, and Bleek Manor's ghost eventually packs up. Quackenbush writes some extra jokes into the pictures, but overall his illustrations are so loud that they drown out the words—a fate that the first story deserves and the second is too weak to overcome. Read full book review >
THE WIZARD ISLANDS by Robert Quackenbush
Released: Nov. 21, 1973

The subject of islands lends itself easily to a romantic-enigmatic treatment, and Jane Yolen has put together a generally satisfying collection of both obvious and out-of-the-way teasers. There are local legends about ghosts and pirate treasures and shipwrecks, a short roundup of moving, disappearing or dubiously charted islands, an observer's report on the actual "birth" of Surtsey island just below Iceland, and a trio of longstanding puzzles: the anthropological/logistical one of Easter Island's great sone faces, the biological one, pursued by Darwin, of the Galapagos Islands, and — inevitable — the ancient one of Atlantis, which was possibly a combination of Them and Crete. Just as puzzling is the choice of illustrator for a book that depends on a mysterious, evocative mood — but as the pictures are savingly in black, gray and white, a suitably fog-shrouded impression is maintained throughout. Read full book review >