Books by Roni Schotter

GO, LITTLE GREEN TRUCK! by Roni Schotter
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"A familiar trope with a subtle, ecological twist. (Picture book. 3-6)"
A little green truck is the farm's best work truck, until he is replaced by a bigger and better model. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2012

"Pickiness aside, this is a clever, buoyant look at many children's favorite relative. (Picture book. 3-5)"
A bouncy rhyme delivers a warm, light-hearted look at all kinds of grandmothers. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 4, 2008

An apartment building in New York City in an earlier era forms the near-perfect world in which a little girl lives, surrounded by the love of her parents and her diverse neighbors. These friends are active in their community and get together often on the rooftop garden to share their experiences, expertise and, of course, their ethnic food. The narrator has always been at the center of it all, basking in her special place. But there's a baby on the way. Will she be left out, or is there plenty of love to go around? Based on her own early life in just such a city building, Schotter has crafted a sweet, reassuring tale for all those little ones who are facing the uncertainties of changing family dynamics. Widener's bright, cheerful, stylized illustrations hint at a not-too-distant past that is accessible to today's young readers and capture just the right mood of a loving, sharing community of family, friends and neighbors. Warm and comforting. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
DOO-WOP POP by Roni Schotter
Released: Nov. 1, 2008

School janitor Mr. Searle, a singer in his youth, earns the tag "Doo-Wop Pop." He has a kind heart and an eye for the shy. Inviting narrator Elijah Earl and four other timid classmates for an impromptu stage-dance lesson, he surprises the kids, who assume he'll teach them music, too. "That's your job. Stop, look and listen to the world. Catch the thing that makes you feel like you just have to sing!" The kids don't own instruments, but Pop describes his a capella days touring with the Icicles. The kid quintet listens to school sounds, practices and discovers individual vocal strengths—and greater harmony together—culminating in the anticipatory hush before their school show. Schotter incorporates deft internal rhyme and sly allusions to such hits as the Cadillacs' "Speedoo." Display type tattoos Pop's pro-kid patter: "Be-boppa bold…. Be-boppa brave." Collier's collaged watercolors transmit the clamor of crowded halls and connect Mr. Searle's debonair youth with his older, wiser self. Endpapers elegantly celebrate bands from the Dell-Vikings to the Penguins. Cousin Brucie's jacket blurb summarizes nicely: "—wow!" (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 2007

WIZZY FOOT may be just the perfect name to give to the array of both negative and positive behaviors exhibited by rambunctious toddlers. From the moment of waking, the WIZZY FOOT itches to be in action, stalking, stomping, banging, dancing, growling, waking the household and keeping them hopping throughout the day. Schotter's rollicking rhymes bounce readers right along, leading them from one activity to the next: "Eeny meeny miny moe. / It simply will NOT tiptoe!" Onomatopoeic words abound, making this perfect for read-alouds or library programs in which children can act out the parts. The artwork is truly inspired. Wohnoutka's exuberant child parades through the text, his actions huge and filling up the brightly colored pages. The facial expressions are spot-on, from the dismay of the parents who are attempting to get some work done, to their obvious joy in playing with their children. This is a loving tribute to the wild WIZZY FOOT in every child, sure to bring a smile to parents' lips . . . as long as their own is safely tucked into bed. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 22, 2006

A loving little girl gives her Mama a special gift in this gentle affirmation. Every day after school, the bus drops Luisa at the door of Walter's World of Beauty where Mama works "cutting, coloring, and curling." While Mama clips and combs, Luisa does her homework. Then she wields scissors, colored paper and glue to create portraits of Mama's customers, everyone different, but "everyone . . . a flower." Mama scrupulously saves her tips for Luisa's college fund because one day she wants to give Luisa the world. But Luisa knows Mama used to love to dance in a place called Roseland when Papa was around. Now Mama never dances and rarely smiles. For Mama's birthday, Luisa conspires with favorite customers to "turn the World into Roseland" so Mama will smile and dance again. Brimming with life and humor, Gallagher's stunning full-color oil illustrations trace Luisa's fairy godmother-like transformation of Mama from hardworking single parent into a real world Cinderella who becomes the "prettiest flower in the World." A heartwarming metamorphosis. (Picture book. 4-6)Read full book review >
Released: March 28, 2006

A charmingly prolix tall tale of a boy so word-obsessed that he collects new words on slips of paper. They bulge from his pockets, float around his head and fill his world. Classmates nickname Selig "Wordsworth" and give him a word for his collection: "oddball." The discovery that his purpose in life is to share his carefully chosen words with others leads to success and love. And, "if, one day, . . . the perfect word just seems to come to you . . . you'll know that Selig is near." Schotter's words are enlivened by Potter's distinctively naïve figures, all placed in settings in which words and labels are scattered about in a way that invites close inspection and promotes purposeful inquiry. It all adds up to an *exultant encounter, chockablock with tintinnabulating gusto (*see tantalizing glossary appended). A gift to precocious children and teachers as well. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
PASSOVER! by Roni Schotter
Released: March 1, 2006

Schotter describes in a simple, yet humdrum, rhyming chant, the celebration of Passover and the special Seder or dinner for a modern-day American Jewish family. She takes readers through the order of the evening as the house is "Passover perfect" and "sparkly clean" for the arriving relatives. The matzoh-ball soup is simmering in the kitchen, the table set with the seder plate's required items, the Haggadah or story of Passover ("how now we are free") is read aloud, the piece of matzoh hidden and found, the door opened for the customary spiritual Elijah visit and a "full and fat" family "reach for each other for a huge family hug." Schotter adds a slight touch of humor to this primary depiction with the participation of the family dog's role at the Seder while Kono's bland mixed-media characters of kippot-(skullcap) covered male heads and casually dressed children around a food-filled extended table indicate a warm familial atmosphere. A brief postscript provides additional, yet minimal information for the holiday's components. Dull, though serviceable for the youngest. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 2003

"He was Captain Bob, and he was the finest, fiercest flyer that ever flew the cloud-cluttered skies. He feared no one, not even the curly-headed Control Tower who called out his orders: ‘Clear the runway!' " But Bob will do the job of cleaning his room his way, the fun way, and that means imagining he's flying an airplane. Outfitted with goggles, flying gear, cushioned cockpit, and cardboard box-like plane, Bob is up, up, and away. This companion to Captain Bob Sets Sail (2000), in which he's the "bravest, best captain who sailed the Soapy Seas" (taking a bath), is even more delightful than the first. Cepeda's color-saturated, full-page oil paintings depict just the right amount of spunkiness, disorder, and aerial points of view. The Control Tower is, of course, Bob's mom, and an understanding, loving mother she is. How refreshingly clever and child-like Bob's sky-high antics are. Playfulness with type adds swirls and loops to the text layout. Captain Bob's inventive venture to cleaning his room is charming. Every youngster, whether hopeful pilot or not, will soar right along with Bob on his flight of fantasy. What's next, Captain Bob? (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
MISSING RABBIT by Roni Schotter
Released: March 18, 2002

It is very tempting to dodge the issue raised here—just where one does belong in a divorced family of two households—simply because it is so baldly put. There is no way to gain on the matter with any less than mortal resolve, no angled approach, and no exercise of the imagination. Young Kara and Rabbit, her stuffed friend, go everywhere together: to Dad's, then Mom's, then Dad's again, then Mom's. When leaving Dad's one day, Rabbit whispers to Kara, "Where do I live?" Kara decides to have Rabbit stay at Dad's. But then at Mom's, she misses Rabbit too much, and Dad ferries Rabbit over. Then the same happens at Mom's: Rabbit stays, but soon gets a lift to Dad's. Both homes are utterly protective and mutually respectful and welcoming, so that when Rabbit springs the inevitable—"Were do you live?"—on Kara, she can safely ask her parents. They reply that she lives sometimes with Mom, sometimes with Dad, and always in their hearts. Any child who can relate to this story probably hasn't got any issues regarding belonging in the first place. And such a cotton-soft world of divorce will yield no dividends for kids in more ragged emotional terrain. Would that the situation be so easily resolved. Moore's (Alice and Greta's Color Magic, not reviewed, etc.) party-colored watercolors are the visual equivalent to Schotter's (F Is for Freedom, 2000, etc.) sugarcoated universe. (Picture book. 4-6)Read full book review >
F IS FOR FREEDOM by Roni Schotter
Released: Oct. 1, 2000

Eleven years before the Civil War, the seeds of internal discontent took root when Congress passed the Compromise of 1850, a fugitive slave law designed to pacify slave owners in the South, when California was admitted as a free state, upsetting the balance of power. Ten-year-old Manda and her parents harbor runaway slaves from North Carolina in their New York home, as lawmen and bounty hunters seek to enforce this new law with a vengeance. The danger involved in escaping and assisting with an escape becomes clear to the reader, as does the need to flee from the US into Canada. When Manda learns that nine-year-old Hannah was whipped by her former owner for merely opening a book she was dusting, Manda sets out to teach her the alphabet and empower her with knowledge that can never be taken away. Manda nearly exposes both families to danger, however, when she takes Hannah outside to get a taste of physical freedom. Plans are then expedited to ensure the safety of both parties. Manda is selected to lead the slave family through a hidden escape tunnel to meet up with another member of the Underground Railroad and a packet boat that will transport them to the border of New York and ultimate freedom in Canada. In a simple story fraught with tension, Schotter has found a way to bring this history lesson to life for children no older than brave Manda and indomitable Hannah. (Fiction. 7-12)Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2000

Schotter (Purim Play, 1998) pens a rip-roaring tale of a boy's bath, his hijinks spiritedly displayed in Cepeda's (We Were Tired of Living in a House, 1999) bigger-than-life, full-bleed oil illustrations that make full use of the boy's superb orthodontia while tastefully maintaining his anatomical privacy. Captain Bob sails the soapy seas of Bath Bay and Faucet Falls, along with a host of bath toys. His imaginative powers are up to the rigors of his voyage, even when he's "attacked from behind by a ruby-ringed Sea Hand," his steady-gripped caretaker, who is herself capable of cleaning up the boy, and, judging by the lavish spillover, the post-bath bathroom. Captain Bob swims, floats, and submits to scrubbing but is never squashed. He controls the taps with shouts and roars until the waters cool and it's time to go. He drains the ocean to crawl out onto the "shaggy shore" of dry land, where he is brushed, dressed for bed, and kissed—just because he's Captain Bob. Sure to enliven tub time. Brace yourselves. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
PURIM PLAY by Roni Schotter
Released: March 1, 1998

A funny companion to Hanukkah! (1990) and Passover Magic (1995), by the same team. Here young Frannie is distraught because a cousin, who always takes the part of villain Haman in the annual family Purim play, has the flu, and her mother has invited a neighbor, eccentric old Mrs. Teplitzky, to join the family celebration and play the role. Mrs. Teplitzky (a dead ringer for Grandma Rose in Hanukkah!) turns out to have been an actress in her youth, makes up stagestruck Frannie as the most fetching Esther ever, and coaxes brother Ezra out of his wooden delivery of Mordechai's lines. The play is a rousing success, and by the end of the evening Frannie and Mrs. Teplitzky, with their mutual love of theater, are good friends. Another warm, amenable look at family life during a special holiday. (Picture book. 5-8) Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1997

From Schotter (A Fruit and Vegetable Man, 1993, etc.), the story of a would-be writer and her blank page, and the life going on all around her. Eva sits out on her New York City stoop, with her notebook, waiting for something to occur. Each neighbor who passes gives her writing tips: ``Try to find poetry in your pudding,'' suggests Mr. Morley, the maker of mundane mousses. ``Stretch,'' says dour dancer Alexis Leora, encouraging Eva to use her imagination. But it isn't until Eva takes matters into her own hands, by feeding her half-eaten Danish to some birds, that a domino effect transforms her neighborhood and gives her enough material to fill her notebook with observations more fantastic than fiction. Among the whirlwind of activity, the dancer and the pizza boy collide and fall in love, and Mr. Morley's mousse gets an accidental altering that turns it into a tasty treat. Schotter's story and Brooker's collages perfectly capture the cluttered eclecticism of New York City street life, so readers will forgive the author if the story lacks focus: The writing tips (which children will like) are lost in the blizzard of activity. (Picture book. 5-10) Read full book review >
THERE'S A DRAGON ABOUT by Richard Schotter
Released: Sept. 1, 1994

``Hold, friends, hold!/We are very cold./Inside and outside,/we are very cold./Something to warm us,/if we may./For that, kind folks,/we'll give you a play.'' So starts this marvelous adaptation of the revel known as the Oxfordshire St. George play. The play is a simple one about the subduing of a dragon. What is so compelling here is the vibrancy brought to the revel. Alley's illustrations throng with activity and color, testaments to the pleasures of mock seriousness (even if they do seem to borrow a tad heavily from Maurice Sendak; then again, he's no mean inspiration, so why quibble?). The revel—house-to- house evening entertainments enacted during the winter holidays- -is an institution that never should have faded away. But television and radio, not to mention the dangers of the modern night, stole its thunder. With Arthurian urgency and bright festivity, this book may launch a second wave for those roving nighttime theatricals. (Picture book. 4-7) Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

For 50 years, ever since he came to the US, Ruby has risen before the sun to stock his stand; now, when he arranges produce in ``perfect pyramids,'' Suny Ho and his little sister admire his artistry and ask how it's done; and when Ruby's wife, Trudy, asks, ``Is it time?'' she doesn't just mean time to get up in the morning: she hopes he'll honor his promise to retire to the mountains. When Ruby falls ill, Sun Ho's family pitches in with the shop and does such a fine job that it helps the old man, once he's well, to agree that ``It's time.'' Winter's jewel-bright cityscapes are composed with an affectionate care equaling Ruby's with an array of top-quality vegetables. An appealing, nicely formed story—whether it's the passage of generations, cultural transition, or fruit, ripeness is all. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >