Books by Suse MacDonald

Released: Feb. 27, 2013

"Overall, a well-designed edition with extras that will appeal to diapered digerati. (iPad alphabet app. 1-3)"
Voicing, small-scale animations and a matching game suit MacDonald's 2008 abecedary to a T. Read full book review >
SHAPE BY SHAPE by Suse MacDonald
Released: June 1, 2009

In previous works MacDonald has proven to be a master of concepts by playing with space, design and clever construction. However, her latest creation takes a simpler approach. As the title suggests, readers layer single die-cuts with each page turn, shape by shape, until a prehistoric surprise is revealed at the end. Reminiscent of a certain Big Green Monster, this model is nothing new, but the author/illustrator knows what kids like. Bright, clean shapes pop against solid backgrounds, and a favorite lumbering dinosaur expands to fill the final gatefold. To be forewarned, there are sharp teeth aplenty, but they are contained within a wide grin, and the semicircles that illustrate the "fierce glance" give the dino a dopey, friendly appearance instead. Plus, the sweetest shape of all is not forgotten—his heart. (Picture book. 2-6)Read full book review >
Released: June 3, 2008

The alphabet's been good to MacDonald, who won a Caldecott Honor for Alphabatics (1986), and she has certainly returned the favor. Her latest abecedarian effort is a very simple toy/movable book for very young readers. It's a guessing-game/puzzle book of animals, each representing, in the shape it assumes and the initial character of its name, an uppercase letter of the alphabet. Every clean, colorful, crisply graphic page is actually a pocket in which is concealed a sliding card revealing the letter hinted at by the animal, along with that creature's name. A is for Alligator; B (one of MacDonald's favorite avian-shape letters) is for Bird. Although it's relatively sturdy, this striking book may not long endure the rigors of rough handling, but that shouldn't prevent librarians and educators from purchasing. Just know that curious little hands may not be able to resist investigating those pockets to learn what makes them work. A coup of concept, color and construction. (Picture book/toy book. 2-6)Read full book review >
Released: June 26, 2007

The clever construction of this counting book guarantees a repeat audience: After counting up to ten, readers turn the book upside down and count back down to one, where they can begin yet again. The rhyming text is spare, keeping the focus on the counting (both numerals and word names are used), but invigorating enough to mimic the splashy action of the fish. The real draw for children, though, will be the illustrations. Ingenious fish-shaped cutouts in each page overlap to create uniquely colored and patterned fish. So unique in fact that reversing the stack to read it again results in completely different fish. Eyes and stripes are disguised within pages as bubbles and seaweed, and the brilliant colors will hold the attention of even those youngest readers who cannot yet count. Thick cardboard pages ensure that this will withstand a lot of use, thereby making it a good choice for libraries looking to expand their counting-book collection. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

MacDonald gives Lear's 1871 collection of 26 nonsense rhymes a fresh take in this fun-filled alphabetical frolic. Hilarious, tongue-twisting rhymes lend themselves to wild interpretation and repetition. "A was once an apple pie, pidy, widy, tidy, pidy, nice insidy, apple pie!" is followed by "B was once a little bear, beary, wary, hairy, beary, taky cary, little bear!" Colorful, simple hand-painted cut-paper illustrations on a clean white backdrop ground the rhymes, providing visual links from one to the other. The wary, hairy little bear from the letter B curiously peers down at a tidy, "nice insidy" apple pie from the letter A. A blue jay from the letter J, a kite from the letter K, and a lark from the letter L aerially interact in one double-page spread, while the hefty ox from the letter X and the pack-carrying yak from the letter Y meet along the road in another. Action-packed antics and whimsical verses guarantee an upbeat trip from A to Z. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
I SEE A STAR by Jean Marzollo
Released: Oct. 1, 2002

Marzollo and MacDonald collaborate for their second rebus creation (I Love You: A Rebus Poem, 2000), this time with a story that follows a group of children preparing for a traditional church Nativity pageant. The simple rebus pattern repeats on each left-hand page, with symbols, letters, and numerals remaining the same except for the changing element of the young category of performer. The pattern uses just two simple sentences: "Can you see three kings? I see three kings." "Can you see a camel? I see a camel." The ending makes clever use of the star concept in three ways: as a physical symbol in the rebus, a single character in the play with the role of the Christmas star, and the punch line of 20 stars—all the children in the play. Preschoolers will enjoy "reading" the rebus and counting up all the various pageant characters; parents may use this with young children to introduce the concept of the Christmas pageant; and Sunday school teachers (and pageant directors) will also find this a worthwhile addition to their advent season preparations. MacDonald's children are cheerful and appealing as they don their creative costumes, and she provides humorous asides in her illustrations with the pageant participants getting into minor mischief. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2000

This elegant counting book by a Caldecott Honor-winner introduces young children to the numbers one through ten. An owl identifies and counts the various creatures she observes during her nocturnal wanderings. By the glow of the rising full moon, she encounters animals large and small, from five majestic cranes to eight tiny spiders. In simple, straightforward prose MacDonald describes Owl's observations while the abundant repetition provides new learners with plenty of practice in counting. "Owl saw 3 ducks near the pond. She counted 1, 2, 3." MacDonald's meticulous attention to detail is evident in every illustration. A two-page spread is devoted to each new number. One page details the name and quantity of the animals Owl espies, with an accompanying illustration depicting the appropriate number of creatures. The facing page contains a picture of Owl soaring over the landscape. Forming the feathers of her outspread wings are the numbers one through the featured number. For children already familiar with their numbers, the intricate cut-paper collages offer a visual challenge. Ingeniously designed pictures reward observant readers with a surprise—each animal has the highlighted number incorporated into its body. For example, a pair of mice form the numeral two with their tails. Likewise, seven bats all have one wing that resembles the numeral seven. A treat for both new and experienced counters. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1997

From MacDonald (with Bill Oakes, Once Upon Another, 1990, etc.), ten action verbs provide the setting for this guessing-game animal adventure for the very young. Action words—e.g., build, slide, swing, hide, wade, and climb—are introduced with colorful, oversized letters imitating the attribute of a particular animal in its natural habitat. Only a fat tail, pair of stick legs, hairy arm, or slippery flipper can be glimpsed in the introductory spreads for each animal. A turn of the page reveals the hidden creature in full view, paired with the word naming the animal in bold, black typeface. One spread pairs the nuzzling letters of the word Touch with two touching elephant trucks; the next spread shows the entire elephants, greeting one another. The letters of Wade move in the same dainty formation through water as the legs of flamingoes on the next page. MacDonald uses an Eric Carlelike medium of cutting clean shapes out of hand-painted tissue papers to create simple, uncluttered wildlife scenes: a pileated woodpecker pecking a tree or a long-necked giraffe reaching for leaves in the high canopy. A glossary of facts on all ten animals, too difficult for the picture-book audience, will be useful to adults sharing the book with children. (Picture book/nonfiction. 2-4) Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 1993

Only in English does the dog say ``Bow-wow''; Finns, Turks, Russians, and Poles agree it's ``How-how,'' while a dozen other languages come up with even more transliterations, as different as ``Ar-ar'' and ``Mong-mong.'' Varying his introductory question only slightly (``What does a lamb say?'' ``How does a cat sound?''), De Zutter lists sounds attributed to 16 animals, in several tongues for each. It's quite interesting: nine agree that cows say ``Moo,'' while even the variants aren't very different; for other creatures—chickens, horses, birds—the diversity can be enormous. The brief verse that introduces the lists is laughably awkward, but serves its explanatory purpose; Caldecott Honor medalist MacDonald adopts Eric Carle's tissue collage technique (crediting him in her dedication) to create handsomely designed, vibrant creatures, crisply silhouetted on a clean white ground. There's some disparity between format and subject appeal here; still, creative adults are sure to find uses for this attractive, multicultural look at a classic topic. (Picture book. 4-10) Read full book review >