Books by Victoria Chess

BRENDA BERMAN, WEDDING EXPERT by Jane Breskin Zalben
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: May 18, 2009

"Brenda's endeavors to reconcile her hopes with reality tell a tale of acceptance that will help young readers struggling with their own life transitions. (Fiction. 6-9)"
When her Uncle Harry becomes engaged, Brenda reluctantly adjusts to the concept of a new aunt and cousin. Read full book review >
THE COSTUME PARTY by Victoria Chess
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

"Not a bad way to while away some stuck-indoors time. (Picture book. 6-8)"
After a long rainy spell sets her five bull terriers to tearing up the house, Madame Coco decides to divert them with a costume party. Read full book review >
BABY BABKA, THE GORGEOUS GENIUS by Jane Breskin Zalben
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 20, 2004

"A detailed Eastern European recipe for chocolate babka tops off an already enticing offering for the sibling-challenged. (Illustrated fiction. 6-9)"
Beryl knows she will love, love, love her new baby sister, certain to be as sweet as a chocolate babka. Read full book review >
THE SCAREDY CATS by Barbara Bottner
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2003

"A funny and revealing look at our fears, how they can be blown out of proportion and rob us of life's comforts and pleasures, even if they do bite us on occasion. (Picture book. 3-7)"
The Scaredy Cats have managed to scare themselves into petrifaction in this droll, cumulative tale. Mr. and Mrs. Scaredy Cat wake to the new day; they are cold, but they don't want to shut the window because it might close on their fingers. Read full book review >
TEENY TINY TINGLY TALES by Nancy van Laan
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

"Children will enjoy Van Laan's storytelling cadence and the sheer fun of the language—and you can't beat Chess's ghoulish creatures with a hairy toe. (Picture book. 4-6)"
Van Laan (Tickle Tum!, p. 59, etc.) presents a collection of three not-too-scary rhyming tales populated by Chess's (The Beautiful Butterfly, 2000, etc.) wickedly loathsome, dark-eyed creatures. Read full book review >
THE LITTLE BUGGERS by J. Patrick Lewis
POETRY
Released: June 1, 1998

"The title of each poem twists across the page, adding extra zip to the critters we so often zap. (Poetry. 5-8)"
Aimed at a younger audience than its wittier, more sophisticated cousin, Paul Fleischman's Joyful Noise (1989), this collection of poems celebrates bugs. Read full book review >
THIS FOR THAT by Verna Aardema
adapted by Verna Aardema, illustrated by Victoria Chess
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Feb. 1, 1997

"This rewrite Westernizes the tale as do the illustrations—the portrayal of Africans borders on stereotypical, and the landscape is fairly flat and nondescript—derogating the origins of the material. (Picture book/folklore. 6-10)"
 In this Tonga tale from Aardema (The Lonely Lioness and the Ostrich Chicks, p. 1318, etc.), a rabbit connives and trades with her friends for a drink of water, only to discover that a lie ``may travel far, but the truth will overtake it.'' The book opens when Rabbit tries to sneak a drink of water from a hole she didn't help dig. Read full book review >
GOOD NIGHT, DINOSAURS by Judy Sierra
POETRY
Released: Feb. 20, 1996

"Each page has a handsome yellow border, framing the text on one page and the picture on the other, snugging the book like a baby's blanket. (Picture book. 3-6)"
 A tongue-in-cheek lullaby book of small good-night poems for dinosaurs. ``Three tyrannosaurus rexes/Once lay dreaming of their breakfasts/In what's now the state of Texas.'' Sierra (Nursery Tales Around the World, 1995, etc.) uses comic neologisms (tyrannograndma and scaredysauruses among them) and ends every poem with a gentle refrain. Read full book review >
THE BIGNESS CONTEST by Florence Parry Heide
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 1994

"It's a shame to spend so much talent on such an unfortunate premise. (Picture book. 4-8)"
 Beasley, a huge hippopotamus, would like to be best at something, but with his ungainly bulk he's a loser at gymnastics and running. Read full book review >
SPIDER KANE AND THE MYSTERY AT JUMBO NIGHTCRAWLER'S by Mary Pope Osborne
ANIMALS
Released: May 3, 1993

"Chess's usual wit and whimsy will be at work to illustrate Osborne's perfectly imagined insect world. (Fiction. 6-10)"
 A sequel to Spider Kane and the Mystery Under the May-Apple (1992), set in the same cottage garden. Read full book review >
TEN SLY PIRANHAS by William Wise
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 1993

"Readers of a certain sort will relish this mightily. (Picture book. 5-8)"
 The long subtitle—``A Counting Story in Reverse (A Tale of Wickedness—and Worse!)''—explains it all: Ten toothy fuchsia piranhas (``Each a slippery schemer, with a dozen dirty tricks'') ogle and menace and, one by one, devour each other; the last is snapped up by a crocodile. Read full book review >
GRIM AND GHOSTLY GOINGS-ON by Florence Parry Heide
FICTION
Released: Aug. 17, 1992

"Still, the topic is an enduring favorite; the versifying is skillful; and Chess provides amusingly wicked, not too gruesome visualizations in her usual pungent style. (Poetry/Picture book. 5-9)"
 Typical, fairly gross juvenile-style humor—rival monster mothers boasting (``Mine smells like/an old sardine.''/''Mine's the weirdest/thing you've seen''), the nasty habits of rubber bands (``They creep and ooze and slither...They crawl up on your blanket/and swarm all over you./Then they suck your blood out...''), and the like. Read full book review >
SLITHER McCREEP AND HIS BROTHER, JOE by Tony Johnston
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 1992

 ``Joe won't share his beach ball'' and ``Joe won't let me use his rat robots'' are just two of the complaints that Slither has for his mother. Read full book review >
SPIDER KANE AND THE MYSTERY UNDER THE MAY-APPLE by Mary Pope Osborne
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 1992

"A sequel is in the works. (Fiction. 6-9)"
 The sinister Emperor Moth has captured Mimi, a lovely butterfly with a past. Read full book review >
GHOSTS! by Alvin Schwartz
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Sept. 1, 1991

"Chess's tongue-in-cheek illustrations add a perfect gruesome touch. (Folklore/Easy reader. 5-8)"
 From its foreword to its notes on ``Where the Stories Come From,'' this ``I Can Read'' collection of seven appealing, mildly scary stories is a model of authenticity: the simplified but effective retellings honor both their sources and their intended audience. Read full book review >