Books by Sue Truesdell

A MOOSE THAT SAYS MOO by Jennifer Hamburg
Released: Oct. 1, 2013

"Infectious good fun. (Picture book 3-8)"
A little girl with her nose in a book and toys scattered about conjures up a zoo filled with zaniness and mixed-up mayhem. Read full book review >
CHICKEN SAID, “CLUCK!” by Judyann Ackerman Grant
Released: Oct. 1, 2008

New readers and new gardeners alike will cluck with pleasure at the adventures of Earl and Pearl. Earl and Pearl want to grow pumpkins, so they set off, seed packet and shovel in hand, to begin their new garden. Pesky Chicken wants in on the fun, but the kids just shoo her off, over and over. When grasshoppers take up residence in the pumpkin patch, Chicken shows that she is good for something after all. Familiar easy-to-decode and sight words make this an ideal book for the newest reader. The repeated "Shoo! Shoo!" and "Cluck! Cluck!" add to the action, ensuring laughter and reading success. A generous font, very short sentences and careful text placement make this a notch better than most books for the very beginning reader. Truesdell's familiar and amusing illustrations perfectly reflect the spirit of the story of a boy (a boy of color!), a girl and a chicken, tending to their pumpkins. (Picture book. 4-6)Read full book review >
HALLOWEEN HATS by Elizabeth Winthrop
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

A group of neighborhood children set off for a night of Halloween fun in this holiday offering from Winthrop (Dumpy La Rue, 2001, etc.). The rhyming text focuses on the hats that the trick-or-treaters wear with their costumes, from the common (a pointed witch's hat) to the unusual (a football helmet with attached antennae for a ladybug costume). "Hats with feathers, / hats with ears, / hats to wave when someone cheers." The frolicking children all troop off to an evening party at their school, where they are greeted by a smiling witch (the principal?). Then they play a circle game, tossing their hats into the air and exchanging headgear for a new look to their costumes. Truesdell's watercolor-and-ink illustrations are chock full of humorous details, with grinning children, clever costumes, and nothing at all spooky for those who like their Halloweens wholesome. The illustrations are rather small for sharing with a group, but the bouncy text and wild variety of hats will be a treat in any Halloween story hour, especially with a collection of the creative chapeaux as props. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
ALIEN BRAIN FRYOUT by Barbara M. Joosse
Released: Sept. 18, 2000

Matched to a hard-to-top title, Joosse's (Ghost Trap, 1998, etc.) fourth neighborhood mystery featuring Wild Willie, with fellow junior detectives Kyle and Lucy, centers on puzzling changes of behavior in both a local bully and a parrot. It all begins when mean Chuckie Herman starts hanging around outside Lucy's house, cleaned up, exuding cologne, making friendly conversation—in other words, showing every sign that his brain has been fried by aliens. Then Kyle's parrot Scarface takes to making funny noises, and throwing up in Kyle's hand. Aliens again? A trip to the vet, some clue-gathering, and consultation with adults suggests another possibility: love. Wielding pen and brush with characteristic vigor, Truesdell captures the detectives' bug-eyed bafflement in a generous set of vignettes and larger sketches. As it turns out, Scarface is indeed expressing avian infatuation, and a more experienced cousin's reassurance—"Love sorta rumbles around for a while. And then it passes. Like gas"—proves true for Chuckie, who reverts to his nasty old self in the end. Bright with high comedy and low, this unabashed ribtickler will find plenty of reluctant readers among its many fans. (Fiction. 7-9)Read full book review >
GHOST TRAP by Barbara M. Joosse
Released: April 20, 1998

This third hilarious Wild Willie Mystery (Wild Willie and King Kyle Detectives, 1993; The Losers Fight Back, 1994) reunites Willie with Kyle, who has moved back to the neighborhood. Problems arise when Kyle meets Willie's new best friend, Lucy. Soon Willie is involved in a "Friend War" as Kyle and Lucy battle for his attention. Only the lure of a mystery waiting to be solved rescues the troubled trio from imminent disaster. Kyle has moved into the former home of now-deceased Loony Loraine Lamonde, a crime show enthusiast and hermit; strange noises convince him that the house is haunted. Joosse deftly captures the exuberance of childhood: At one point, Willie exclaims, "We were gasping. We were sweating. We were scared stiff. We were having the time of our lives." His witty commentary combined with the outlandish plot and practical resolution make this rousing tale a success. Truesdell's whimsical pen-and-ink drawings depict the humorous predicaments and add to the entertainment, right down to the dissolution of the Friend War and Lucy's declaration: "Three minds are sure better than one." (Fiction. 7-10) Read full book review >
Released: March 23, 1998

A perfectly silly take on the indignities of a hospital stay. Armed with a box of magical animal crackers, Filbert MacFee has the perfect defense against all the pricks and pokes: He can turn into whatever animals he eats. Threatened by a hypodermic needle, he turn into a rhinoceros who says, "Try to put a needled through that!" A penguin is appropriate for a frigid wheelchair and it's hard to get a spoonful of medicine into the mouth of a giraffe. Filbert keeps the staff hopping with his pranks, and things really get wild when—in the guise of an unhappy orangutan—he offers an animal cracker to his doctor, who turns into an orangutan, too. The two enjoy a rousing rumpus until (back to himself), Filbert is pronounced well enough to go home. The snappy text, featuring quirky characters and understated humor, works well with Truesdell's loosely drawn, larger-than-life animals who pop up at the turn of a page. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
NUGGET AND DARLING by Barbara M. Joosse
Released: March 17, 1997

Joosse (Snow Day!, 1995, etc.) tells an old story—a new friend muscles out the old, with all the sad consequences—pleasantly enough without plowing any new ground. Nugget is a scruffy mutt. Nell is a young girl. They're thick as thieves: Nugget keeps Nell's toes warm at night; Nell scratches Nugget's favorite spot. They stage magic shows for the stuffed animals and commune with the great outdoors. Things change, though, when Nell adopts a stray kitten that Nugget found. The kitten, named Darling, commands all Nell's attention, raising Nugget's hackles. When Nell scolds Nugget for causing a minor commotion, Nugget slinks away, devastated by the sea change in their relationship, jealousy coursing through his veins. Nell suddenly realizes she has given Nugget the bum's rush, so she goes about setting things right, making Nugget feel special again. There is little distinctive about the plot or in the way it's told, but Truesdell's artwork elevates the pages somewhat- -sprightly and very much in league with the James Stevenson school of pen and watercolor wash. (Picture book. 5-8) Read full book review >
THE LOSERS FIGHT BACK by Barbara M. Joosse
Released: Sept. 19, 1994

Not only does Wild Willie's (Wild Willie and the King Kyle Detectives, 1993, etc.) soccer team ``really stink,'' but the big and evil Chuckie has unofficially changed its name from the Bruisers to the Losers and has falsely accused Willie of K-I-S-S-I-N-G his next-door neighbor, Lucy. As Willie notes in a letter to a friend, his life is ``full of problems,'' and at first it seems clear that he has only one option: to hang his head off the couch, methodically kick the wall with his feet, and watch TV upside-down for the rest of his life. But he soon decides that while he can't change Chuckie, he can put him to good use by bribing him to play for the Losers. This book has many realistic and funny moments: Dad looks up from his newspaper occasionally to say things like, ``Teamwork. That's the ticket''; Mom can see into Willie's head as if it were a window. And although the climax is predictable—the Losers decide to win without Chuckie's help—it isn't preachy. A book that succeeds on the strength of its preteen narrator's goofy, appealing, and believable voice. (Fiction. 7-10) Read full book review >
ADDIE'S BAD DAY by Joan Robins
Released: June 30, 1993

In her third appearance, a tight-capped Addie delivers Max's present but explains that she can't come to his party. Good friend that he is, he tactfully ferrets out the reason (she's embarrassed by her new haircut), gets her on the road to recovery (``Your hair is growing back!'' and ``You have more hair than I do''), and, best, agrees to wear the jungle suit she's just given him if she wears hers to the party, too—thus concealing her newly shorn locks. Robins's wryly sympathetic voice and comically realistic dialogue are right on target; as always, Truesdell captures the histrionics in a few deft pen lines decked out in cheerful color. A particularly amiable take on a lively friendship. (Easy reader. 4-8) Read full book review >
Released: April 20, 1993

When his best friend Kyle moves to ``stupid-Cleveland- stupid-Ohio,'' a disgusted Willie expects the girl who moves in next door to have a closet full of party dresses, a unicorn with a lavender tail, and a bike with hearts and sparkles. Determined to know the worst, he sets out to spy on her, cheered on, long distance, by Kyle—only to have Lily glare back through his periscope and pull down her shade. Meanwhile, mysterious other children are seen next door and there's an outstanding new player on the opposing Little League team. To Willie's surprise (though not, probably, the reader's), these all turn out to be Lily, whose possessions—including a costume box—would be appropriate for any boy, and who enjoys sleuthing as much as Willie does. Joosse catches the kids' concerns with engaging humor; her realistic dialogue and approachable, staccato style—plus Truesdell's wonderfully lively and comical b&w illustrations—are sure to appeal. (Fiction/Young reader. 7-10) Read full book review >
LOOK OUT, LOOK OUT, IT'S COMING! by Laura Geringer
Released: Aug. 30, 1992

The title conjures up a delightfully scary childhood game that must be universal. Here, ``It'' is a blue, furry, elephant- size creature that climbs in a window, tends to leave mayhem in its wake, does such imaginative things as ``organize your shadows'' or ``blossom in the winter,'' and is a source of glee to the children who romp with it through a cluttered basement, in the midst of their school play, or at the beach. Somehow, adults never seem to notice it, though they are often astonished by what occurs in its presence. Geringer's brief, nicely cadenced text is amusingly suggestive, if a bit enigmatic; the real fun here is in Truesdell's ebullient illustrations of irrepressible kids and their bumptious, endearing companion. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1992

Not since Carl Withers's A Rocket in My Pocket (1948) has there been such a grand compilation of familiar (and unfamiliar) rhymes and chants from the children's own tradition: riddles, games, wishes and taunts; poems about love, food, school, or animals; parodies, nonsense, and stories. Schwartz organizes them by topic and/or form and provides all kinds of fascinating supporting material: an engagingly conversational introduction; general explanatory notes plus full item-by-item sources, many of which are intriguing in themselves (``Avik Roy, age 13, Detroit...1986''; ``Editor's recollection, Ten Mile River Boy Scout Camp...1940''), or which give alternate versions; even an occasional tune. In b&w pen and watercolor, Truesdell's marvelous characters dance across the generously broad pages, peering inquisitively at the hilarious goings-on or gleefully joining in the shenanigans. It's hard to imagine a child who wouldn't greet this treasure trove with enthusiasm. Extensive bibliography (items ``of interest to young people'' are starred); index. (Folklore. 4+) Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1986

Traveling by horse-drawn covered wagon, May-May and Rose Golly joke and bicker their way along the American frontier, entertaining the locals with their singing and dancing as they go. Pictured as vigorously middle aged, the two sisters have six cheerful minor adventures, such as singing inside their moving wagon to console themselves for being lost, then discovering that their first audience has meanwhile assembled outdoors, and inventing "The Dance of the Squashed Hat" in honor of the hat demolished during one of their squabbles. Byars makes masterful use of the controlled vocabulary of this genre, ingeniously incorporating repetitions and contriving, apparently effortlessly, the cadences and word choices of natural speech. The sisters are brought to rambunctious life by Truesdell's facile pen, with bright color added. This is Byars' first easy reader; more would be welcome. Read full book review >