Books by Tony Ross

BOA'S BAD BIRTHDAY by Jeanne Willis
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: April 1, 2014

"Festive fare that ultimately misses the mark. (Picture book. 4-8)"
On the cover of this picture book, an impossibly cute, sad-looking boa lolls from a tree branch, birthday hat on his head. What could possibly be the matter? Read full book review >
DRAT THAT CAT! by Tony  Ross
Released: Sept. 1, 2013

"A must for any child with a cat in the family. (Picture book. 4-7)"
When it comes to mischief, no pet can top a pampered cat. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 13, 2012

"Fully faithful to the voice Danziger gave Amber Brown, this visit with an old friend will totally satisfy readers. (afterword by Danziger's niece, 'the real Amber Brown') (Fiction. 7-11)"
Amber Brown fans will rejoice; against all odds, their favorite protagonist is back. Read full book review >
FLY, CHICK, FLY! by Jeanne Willis
Released: Sept. 1, 2012

"This gentle read-aloud looks forward to the time when the child will have a young one of her own. (Picture book. 3-7)"
The third of three owl chicks hesitates to fly, requiring much encouragement from its parents. Read full book review >
HIPPOSPOTAMUS by Jeanne Willis
Released: Sept. 1, 2012

"Eeeew. But in a good way. (Picture book. 5-7)"
A mysterious pink spot on Hippo's bum provides the MacGuffin for a lottamus of silly wordplay capped by a deliciously gross denouement. Read full book review >
WHO AM I? by Phinn Gervase
by Phinn Gervase, illustrated by Tony Ross
Released: April 1, 2012

"Why ask children to think deep thoughts when you can offer a superficial variation on the common 'Where's Mama?' theme instead? (Picture book. 5-7)"
Two picture-book veterans offer a phoned-in collaboration that blows off not only the Big Question it poses, but the plot, too. Read full book review >
I WANT MY LIGHT ON! by Tony  Ross
BEDTIME BOOK
Released: Sept. 1, 2010

"The pictures are clear, bold and exaggerated to great humorous effect. (Picture book. 4-6)"
This long-running British series (the first Little Princess book was published in 1986) has been adapted for television there. Read full book review >
OLD DOG by Jeanne Willis
by Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Tony Ross
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Aug. 1, 2010

"Great message about mutual respect, crisply told. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Does Grandpa need new tricks to get the attention of canine whippersnappers? Read full book review >
FLABBY CAT AND SLOBBY DOG by Jeanne Willis
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

"Skip this sermon and enjoy a nice walk outside instead. (Picture book. 4-7)"
Eating right and exercising is undoubtedly an excellent prescription for good health. Read full book review >
THREE LITTLE KITTENS AND OTHER FAVORITE NURSERY RHYMES by Tony  Ross
POETRY
Released: April 1, 2009

"Although readers are almost certain to find one or two rhymes previously unfamiliar to them, overall it's an ordinary outing, unlikely to displace the collections illustrated by Richard Scarry or Rosemary Wells, or to make much of an impression on the diapered set. (Nursery rhymes. 2-4)"
The first U.S. edition of a large-type, large-format gathering of standard Mother Goose rhymes—plus the occasional interloper, such as "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "Itsy Bitsy Spider." Read full book review >
MS. WIZ by Terence Blacker
FANTASY
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

"Instead of plot development, the focus relies too heavily on cheap jokes for little laughs. (Fiction. 6-9)"
Clad in tight jeans and sporting black nail polish, spell-casting Ms. Wiz, with an omniscient cat and curious rat in tow, transforms the Class Three children from little terrors to terrific pupils. Read full book review >
COTTONBALL COLIN by Jeanne Willis
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 1, 2008

"Young children daunted by how dangerous to mice and other small creatures Colin's world turns out to be may be happier with the sibling support in Martin Waddell's Tiny's Big Adventure (2004), illustrated by John Lawrence. (Picture book. 5-7)"
In a tale pointedly addressed to overprotective adults, a mother mouse finally lets her littlest one go. Read full book review >
BRAVO, MAX! by Sally Grindley
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: March 27, 2007

Continuing the exchange of notes and postcards begun in Dear Max (2006), renowned children's author D.J. Lucas and her greatest fan, young Max, provide mutual support in the course of another busy year. Read full book review >
DEAR MAX by Sally Grindley
by Sally Grindley, illustrated by Tony Ross
FICTION
Released: July 1, 2006

"A tribute to the power of letter-writing and imagination. (Fiction. 6-9)"
Nine-year-old Max strikes up a friendship with his favorite author, D.J. Lucas in this epistolary novel. Read full book review >
GORILLA! GORILLA! by Jeanne Willis
ANIMALS
Released: June 1, 2006

"Illustrations are ideal for group readings. (Picture book. 3-6)"
This colorful work, rendered in pastels, is another collaboration between the team that made readers laugh at Tadpole's Promise (2005). Read full book review >
NOTSO HOTSO by Anne Fine
by Anne Fine, illustrated by Tony Ross
ANIMALS
Released: March 7, 2006

"Ross's cartoons go a long way toward lightening the tone, but in the end they can't save Anthony from himself. (Fiction. 7-10)"
A self-described fastidious mutt deals with mange in this chapter book from Fine. Read full book review >
TADPOLE’S PROMISE by Jeanne Willis
ANIMALS
Released: June 1, 2005

"The setup being perfect enough to leave even adult readers unsettled, this makes a promising addition to the 'share if you dare' list, next to, say, Chris Raschka's Arlene Sardine (1998). (Picture book. 6-8)"
In this deceptively innocuous love story, a caterpillar and a polliwog pledge their love, promising each other that they will never change. Read full book review >
ENGLISH, FRESH SQUEEZED! by Carol Diggory Shields
POETRY
Released: April 1, 2005

"There's just not enough pulp in the glass. (Poetry. 9-12)"
The third in the BrainJuice series, this offering seeks to convey the parts of speech, grammatical rules and the principles of composition in 40 poems. Read full book review >
I HATE SCHOOL by Jeanne Willis
FICTION
Released: July 1, 2004

"Willis will have readers or listeners rolling in the aisles—and what a refreshing twist on all of those blandly reassuring 'First Day of School' stories. (Picture book. 5-7)"
Never have the horrors of school been more forcefully, or adroitly, expressed. Read full book review >
DON’T LET GO! by Jeanne Willis
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: May 1, 2003

"Wholesome fare for both parent and child. (Picture book. 5-7)"
Achieving the skill of riding a two-wheeled bike is the first step on the path to independence. Read full book review >
CENTIPEDE’S 100 SHOES by Tony  Ross
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2003

"As Little Centipede's mom, who should know better, indulges his folly without comment, the tale's internal logic isn't sewn down very tightly; still, children who struggle with tying even two shoes will sympathize with Little Centipede's situation. (Picture book. 5-7)"
In this cross between Jonathan London's Froggy Gets Dressed (1997) and Stuart Murphy's "MathStart" series, a little centipede buys a hundred shoes after stubbing a toe, and then spends most of the next few days learning the error of his ways. Read full book review >
THE CATS OF CUCKOO SQUARE by Adèle Geras
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2001

"Fans of Lauber's Purrfectly Purrfect: Life at the Acatemy (2000) will purr over this, too. (Fiction. 7-10)"
Newly fledged chapter-book readers will gloat along with the funny, furry narrators in these two tales of feline triumph. Read full book review >
LITTLE WOLF, FOREST DETECTIVE by Ian Whybrow
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

"Readers unfamiliar with this import's first three installments may trip over a few continuing plot threads, but there's plenty of noodleheaded humor, plus healthy doses of deduction and derring-do, to keep the howls coming. (Fiction. 8-10)"
From Frettnin Forest, Beastshire, the orthographically challenged correspondent introduced in Little Wolf's Book of Badness (1999) again reports nefarious doings and silly misadventures to his unsympathetic parents. Read full book review >
IT’S A FAIR DAY, AMBER BROWN by Paula Danziger
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: June 1, 2001

"Danziger shows her usual deft touch with childhood feelings and family dynamics, adding another original story with genuine humor and emotion to the growing chronicle of Amber's life. (Easy reader. 5-9)"
It's always a fair day or better with the irrepressible Amber Brown around. Read full book review >
GET READY FOR SECOND GRADE, AMBER BROWN by Paula Danziger
FICTION
Released: June 1, 2001

"The stage is set for more tales about Ms. Light's Bright Lights, and Amber's adoring fans will be ready for more second-grade fun. (Easy reader. 5-9)"
First- and second-grade teachers (and their students) will be especially interested in this laugh-out-loud, first-person story of Amber's first days in second grade. Read full book review >
ANIMALS
Released: March 31, 2001

"Ross's black-and-white, engaging illustrations provide lively visual clarity, but they cannot save this mess. (Fiction. 8-10)"
In this second book about Harry the Poisonous Centipede (1998) our intrepid hero and his friend George are captured by a "hoo-man" and are catapulted into a series of adventures precipitated by the need to find their way home. Read full book review >
WHAT A TRIP, AMBER BROWN by Paula Danziger
Released: March 1, 2001

"On the other hand, this and its companion, It's Justin Time, Amber Brown (ISBN 0-399-23470-5), will serve as primers for the Captain Underpants crowd. (Easy reader. 5-8)"
This Amber Brown easy reader, aimed at younger readers than the originals, feels choppy and a little too involved with bathroom humor for its own good, even considering the audience. Read full book review >
WHAT DID I LOOK LIKE WHEN I WAS A BABY? by Jeanne Willis
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Oct. 1, 2000

"A fine choice for a frog-themed story time or for integrating a satisfying read-aloud into science class. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Most schoolchildren in the primary grades study lifecycles in science class, often focusing on frogs to observe their dramatic metamorphosis. Read full book review >
LITTLE WOLF’S HAUNTED HALL FOR SMALL HORRORS by Ian Whybrow
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 4, 2000

"Ross scatters inkblots and line drawings liberally across the pages of Little Wolf's letters home, capturing the combination of low-level-foolery and creative orthography that characterizes this farcical import. (Fiction. 8-10)"
The spelling-challenged correspondent of Little Wolf's Book of Badness (1999) and Little Wolf's Diary of Daring Deeds (p.641) turns from would-be schoolmaster to a new vocation in this heavily illustrated eyeroller. Read full book review >
LITTLE WOLF'S DIARY OF DARING DEEDS by Ian Whybrow
ANIMALS
Released: May 16, 2000

"Peppered with phonetic spelling and lots of obvious mistakes, the format will let children revel in being smarter that Little Wolf. (map) (Fiction. 810)"
Whybrow's (Little Wolf's Book of Badness, 1999) second Little Wolf story includes every element needed to make an engrossing read for children: lost gold, travel, a villain, a ghost, and no parents! Read full book review >
THE BOY WHO LOST HIS BELLY BUTTON by Jeanne Willis
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2000

"It will take a good storyteller to make it work, but it might be worth the effort. (Picture book. 3-6)"
This quiet, engaging fantasy, illustrated in humorous, expressive color pencil falls flat at its sudden ending. Read full book review >
SLOTH'S SHOES by Jeanne Willis
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 1998

"Readers are bound to enjoy the amusing, offbeat party preparations. (Picture book. 3-6)"
It's Sloth's fifth birthday, and all the animals pitch in to plan the party of the year. Read full book review >
ADVENTURE
Released: Aug. 1, 1997

"Ross's sprightly black-and-white line drawings convey all the action and an array of centipede emotions. (Fiction. 8+)"
Banks (Angela and Diabola, p. 716, etc.) may be pushing the envelope again, this time with a protagonist who is young, poisonous, and many-legged. Read full book review >
AMBER BROWN IS NOT A CRAYON by Paula Danziger
Released: April 13, 1994

"The familiar story is nicely individualized in Amber's buoyant, authentically childlike narration; it's grand to have Danziger add books for younger readers to her many popular titles for the older crowd. (Fiction. 6-9)"
As Amber tells he, teasing third-grade classmates, she's not a crayon color but a girl — messy but well adjusted, lucky in a teacher who makes a game of studying other countries, trying to forget that best-friend Justin is moving to Alabama as soon as his parents can sell their house. Read full book review >
THROUGH THE LOOKING-GLASS by Lewis Carroll
CLASSICS
Released: Oct. 29, 1993

"Tenniel's elegantly limned art—which Ross's frequently parodies. (Fiction. 6+)"
Pruned to something less than half the original (using only Carroll's language), with chess moves, verse, chaptering, and main events intact: an abridgement that may find some use as an introduction, though any child who enjoys it should be steered to a complete edition. Read full book review >
I WANT TO BE by Tony  Ross
by Tony Ross, illustrated by Tony Ross
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

"Though the joke about contradictions between the grownups' words and actions is strung out almost too far, Ross's sly caricatures and visual innuendoes add considerable humor and subtlety to his simple-seeming story. (Picture book. 3-7)"
The little princess decides it's time to grow up: ``Perhaps I should be different'' (holding her teddy over a potty) but how? Read full book review >
SILLY TAILS by Jan Mark
by Jan Mark, illustrated by Tony Ross
ANIMALS
Released: April 30, 1993

"An offbeat treasure. (Picture book. 4+)"
A witty fable explaining why ``None of you has ever heard a vegetable talk'': The peaceable rabbits (dressed as Puritans) live on one side of a hedge, nibbling the amiably self-renewing grass, while on the other the gallant carrots show off for the benefit of ``fat and vulgar'' lettuces and ``dull and earthy'' turnips. Read full book review >
GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS by Tony  Ross
translated by Tony Ross, illustrated by Tony Ross
ANIMALS
Released: Dec. 2, 1992

"As a lighthearted modern take, though, James Marshall's delightful version (1988) is to be preferred; still, this is also acceptable, where funds permit. (Folklore/Picture Book. 4-8)"
In the manner of a parent trying to make a familiar old story more immediate, a colloquial update featuring white bears who ``had lots to eat and a color television set'' and a moptop Goldilocks in jeans. Read full book review >
A FAIRY TALE by Tony  Ross
by Tony Ross, illustrated by Tony Ross
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: April 1, 1992

"Touching and unusual. (Young reader/Picture book. 4- 10)"
A sweet, whimsical tale set in one of Britain's uglier mill towns. Read full book review >
RECKLESS RUBY by Hiawyn Oram
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 1, 1992

"The stereotype- bashing is heavy-handed, but the perky text and wickedly zany illustrations are witty enough to retrieve the story. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Ruby glows like a jewel; her mother calls her ``precious'' and hopes ``she'll grow up and marry a prince who'll wrap her in cotton and only bring her out for glittering banquets.'' On the advice of friend Harvey, Ruby spends the book in progressively more reckless acts calculated to win her a new image; she gets injured a lot, but finally gets her wish—plus Harvey's admiration. Read full book review >
EARTH MOBILES, AS EXPLAINED BY PROFESSOR XARGLE by Jeanne Willis
FICTION
Released: Jan. 1, 1992

"Not as amusing as its predecessors, but still good fun. (Picture book. 4-9)"
Moving right along, the fuzzy, green three-eyed alien who explained human babies so hilariously in Earthlets (1989), as well as our cats and dogs in later efforts, takes up the subject of terrestrial transportation before his class dons their disguises for a field trip to sample the marvels he has described. Read full book review >
EARTH TIGERLETS by Jeanne Willis
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 1991

"(Picture book. 4+)"
Though the first (Earthlets, 1989) in this series of comical lectures by an extraterrestrial pedant concerning what he describes as some of Earth's more bizarre species is still the funniest, these misconstructions of feline motives and behavior (``Earth Tigerlets...leave squishy puddings on the stairs so the Earthling has something soft to step on when he has forgotten his socks'') are also pretty funny, especially as rendered in Ross's vigorous, wickedly satirical pictures. Read full book review >