Books by Sarah McMenemy

BEES IN THE CITY by Andrea Cheng
Released: Nov. 7, 2017

" A profoundly disappointing posthumous outing from a beloved author. (Picture book. 5-8)"
A breezy look at urban beekeeping. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 25, 2011

Modern bike-riding kids do not realize that for women at the turn of the 20th century bicycles equaled freedom. For Tillie Anderson, it was the ticket out of her job in a tailor shop and into the world of racing and fame. In Tillie's day, women cycled in long dresses, gracefully navigating figure eights or circles around a ladylike maypole, never being seen with "bicycle face." With her trusty needle and thread, Tillie sewed a close-fitting, scandalous suit for riding, allowing her to enter real bike races. Loose, dainty watercolors employ an old-timey palette and give this historic tale the right touch of humor. Tillie is always surrounded by white, making her easy to find in the race scenes. Each spread is full of movement, with circles and ovals playing their proper role in this tale of athleticism, women's rights and freedom. The endpapers extend the story—the opening shows women's fashions and the closing recounts the highlights of Tillie's life in racing. (author's note) (Picture book/biography. 6-10)Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 13, 2009

The end papers indicate that the now-gray-haired Agatha May Walker and Eulalie Scruggs have been best friends from childhood, living across the street from each other on heavily trafficked Rushmore Boulevard. When Agatha decides to take her wing chair and her homemade cookies and sit in the middle of the street, Eulalie brings a Parcheesi board and a stool to join her. Soon drivers want to play and a neighbor stops by for a cookie. Children begin to play hopscotch and skateboard and make chalk drawings. The Rosado twins have their birthday party, locals play music and plant flowers—and the city renames the street (sans traffic) Walker Road. Eulalie and Agatha are brown and pink, respectively, and wear their best hats and pumps. McMenemy's bright-hued watercolors tell the tale with simplicity—button eyes, comma noses, flat perspective on white ground. This civil-disobedience fable may cause streetwise readers both young and older to scratch their heads: Can two old ladies in heels really turn their street into a pedestrian mall? (Picture book. 5-8) Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 11, 2008

Yes, Davis admits, younger brothers are irksome little mimics of older brothers, who have yet to learn that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Here, an older brother must contend with the ever more vexing stages of his younger brother's growth. First he's just there, all bald and grinning and making serious eye contact. Then he's "[c]reeping and crawling closer and closer, coming toward me…he touched, next he grabbed—all my stuff." He is…"Bro-zilla." Both text and McMenemy's mixed-media artwork are minimalist, yet jumping with character and color. The older brother obviously has his moments of pique and exasperation, but he doesn't express an urgency to render the pestiferous copycat into pulp. Given the volatility of the subject, it's impressive that the book doesn't fall into the happy-family species of the wouldn't-that-be-nice genus. There is a genuine sense that soon enough the younger brother will be a mate, and a comment as brazen as "always be nice to your little brother" doesn't ring fatuous. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
EVERYBODY BONJOURS! by Leslie Kimmelman
Released: April 8, 2008

A petite rodent guide, Monsieur LeMousie, takes a charming young girl wearing the colors of the French flag (blue Mary Jane shoes and a red dress with a white heart) and her family on a romp through the sights of Paris, showing her where and how to use the greeting "bonjour." Simple, bouncy rhymes ("Bonjours high. / Bonjours low. / Bonjours fast. / Bonjours slow. / Everybody bonjours!") are transformed by McMenemy's exuberant paper-collage and gouache illustrations. The brilliant splashes of color depict the Eiffel Tower, the steps at a Metro station, traffic encircling the Arc de Triomphe and a café along the Boulevard St.-Germain, among other recognizable landmarks. And when it's time to bid au revoir, the little girl knows that she'll greet her grandparents waiting back home with a "hello." Endpapers with a loosely drawn map depict most of the sites visited by the girl and her family. The next-best thing to an actual visit to Paris. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
JACK’S NEW BOAT by Sarah McMenemy
Released: June 1, 2005

Jack can't wait to sail the toy sailboat his Uncle Jim made for him. Every day of his vacation he asks, "Please can I sail my boat today?" and every day his uncle tells him to wait for a calmer sea. Days of stormy weather pass, so the minute the rain stops, Jack races to the beach and puts the boat in the water, thinking it will be "only for a moment." But the small sailboat disappears beneath a giant wave! The two spend hours searching for the toy, only to find it in the harbor, and only slightly worse for wear. While the story does indirectly extol the virtues of patience, it does thankfully forego a pound-on-the-head lesson to focus instead on Uncle Jim's sympathy for and friendship with his nephew. The summery illustrations, in paper collage and gouache, are gorgeous, especially as they capture the motion and moods of the ocean with bold brushstrokes and moody blues. As simple and satisfying as a toy sailboat on a salty sea. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
WAGGLE by Sarah McMenemy
Released: May 1, 2003

McMenemy mixes broad strokes of paint with big pieces of torn paper in a debut that seems to wiggle with the same enthusiasm as the tail of the puppy-from-hell she portrays. With a delighted Rosie chasing—sometimes far—behind, the pup her Dad brings home excitedly heads straight for shoes and wastepaper basket, races outside to dig up flowers and to gambol in mud, and then dashes back inside over the bed and into a closet. "What do you think we should call him?" Dad asks. Rosie doesn't take long to decide (see title), and is last seen receiving a slurp of approval from the new family member. The art is all big, bright, simple shapes against vibrant monochromatic backgrounds, with just a few details sketched in; Rosie and her father never lose their fond smiles (Mom perhaps wisely, is absent), and young readers, too will instantly adore this doggy dynamo. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >