Books by Viviane Schwarz

HOW TO PUT AN OCTOPUS TO BED by Sherri Duskey Rinker
Released: March 31, 2020

"Silly, wiggly, giggly fun. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Playful bedtime reading, with octopuses. Read full book review >
HOW TO BE ON THE MOON by Viviane Schwarz
Released: June 4, 2019

"The story is fun—and the artwork shines. (Picture book. 3-7)"
Adventurous Anna and cautious Crocodile take a trip to the moon and back to Earth. Read full book review >
HOW TO FIND GOLD by Viviane Schwarz
Released: March 8, 2016

" As much of a treasure as the gold they find. (Picture book. 3-5)"
Adventure-seeking red-dress-wearing brown girl + amenable crocodile = the perfect ingredients for finding a boatload of treasure. Read full book review >
I AM HENRY FINCH by Alexis Deacon
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"Small bird, big thoughts. Greatness achieved. (Picture book. 6-8)"
Can thinking change the world? Just ask Henry Finch! Read full book review >
IS THERE A DOG IN THIS BOOK? by Viviane Schwarz
Released: Oct. 1, 2014

"Eric Hill's classic Spot books come off as rather staid (not that that's necessarily a bad thing) next to this rambunctious, interactive hide-and-seek. (Novelty picture book. 3-5)"
The feline trio that tumbled through There Are Cats in This Book (2008) and There Are No Cats in This Book (2010) welcomes a new friend—and you can, too!Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 12, 2013

"An amusingly ferocious illustration of the benefits of sharing from the team behind the equally rodent-infested A Place to Call Home. (Picture book. 4-6)"
Who knew cheese ownership could be so dangerous? Read full book review >
THE SLEEPWALKERS by Viviane Schwarz
Released: May 14, 2013

"An intriguing premise, but it's too cramped and cryptic to reach its full potential. (Graphic fantasy. 10-13)"
From a floating, dream-proof Safe House, a diverse squad intrepidly issues forth to rescue children from attacks of nightmares in this melodramatic, rather confusing graphic outing. Read full book review >
A PLACE TO CALL HOME by Alexis Deacon
Released: July 12, 2011

Seven rodent brothers outgrow their hole and venture out into a junkyard in search of a new home in this vastly retooled take on "The Blind Men and the Elephant."

Comic-book panels, speech bubbles and rapid-fire dialogue heighten the humor that builds during the brothers' tiny odyssey. Before setting out, the pear-shaped critters cover their cowardly heads with dish gloves, a tea cup, a boot, a paper towel roll, a lampshade and a faucet to recreate the reassuring darkness of their hole. Seeing little, they grossly misinterpret every juncture of their journey. A mud puddle could only be the vast ocean; a desk, a mountain; a pile of dirt, a desert; the edge of a rusted-out dryer must be the end of the world. Intermittently, one little guy blindly calls out, "Brother?"—a sweet touch and a dependable giggle. Hysteria builds and readers hustle to keep up with the jumpy dialogue between seven furry speakers and the often-cluttered illustrations, which somehow seem both static (all the head pieces appear in yellow, all the animals' bodies look very similar) and also busy with incremental changes. When a dog snatches one of the brothers, effective double-page spreads bring great dramatic crescendos, laughs and a rest for readers' eyes. Kids will cheer as the brothers use their heads (and head gear) to subdue the beast and finally muster the courage to find a home out of the junkyard, out in the open.

Fast-paced with wit and heart, this ridiculous rodent road-trip will appeal to future comic-book lovers—and anyone part of a tight band of brothers (or sisters). (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2010

Schwarz's follow-up to the well-received, interactive There Are Cats in this Book (2008) falls short of the mark. Tiny, Moonpie and André are back, but from the get-go, they're packed and itching to escape the narrative's confines to "see the world." They try pushing, jumping and wishing themselves out, with corresponding interactive pages that fold out, pop up and invite readers—addressed throughout—to help wish the feline trio "out into the world." Three ensuing double-page spreads—nearly a quarter of the volume—depict, against dingy white space, respectively: pale spangles of dematerializing-cat-shaped stars, a small, attached postcard to the reader and a word-bubble: "Meow." That alluring world appears only as a brick-walled alley on the postcard. The slight story arc and all those nearly-blank spreads undercut the momentum—a shame, given the illustrator's vibrant way with brush and ink. The final two spreads deliver a passel of cats into the mix—"They all wanted to meet you!"—but it's too little, too late for readers, who are much easier to spring from books than cats. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 2008

Interactive flaps and a chatty, informal text in speech balloons ("Hello. Who are you?" / "Are you nice?" / "You look nice") invite readers to play with felines Tiny, Moonpie and André. The pages overflow with everything cats love: blankets to hide under, yarn to tangle and boxes for jumping into and out of. When a tidal wave of fish threatens to sweep the animals out of the book, the cats command the reader: "TURN…" / "THE" / "PAGE!" / "You did it! You saved us. Phew!" / "…Can you dry us, too?" / "Just blow on the page…" Sequential flaps—multiples overlap on many pages—make the game potentially endless, as readers are given permission to go back as well as forward. The eye-catching art features highly expressive cats in black line and red, yellow and blue watercolors, contrasting with collages depicting a knitted quilt, realistic fish, vibrantly patterned fabric, bright balls of yarn and highly decorated cardboard boxes. With a sense of immediacy and fun, this will provoke giggles and demands for numerous re-reads. A great choice for group sharing as well as one-on-one reader empowerment. (Lift-the-flap picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2008

Timothy Smallbeast wants desperately to be strong. Every evening before bed he follows a routine to make himself superhero strong: fortified cookies and milk, exercises and strong-thought meditation. All that is hard on his favorite pajamas. Mom suggests new ones, but new ones wouldn't be favorite ones. She mends his old pajamas and suddenly Timothy is superstrong. He puts his powers to good use with the help of his sock monkey, Monkey. They save an elephant lady, sailors, a princess and several others. Just before bedtime, Timothy helps a giant bear find the forest to hibernate. The bear accidentally falls asleep on Monkey and tears Timothy's pajamas. His super strength gone, Timothy doesn't know how to save Monkey. Good thing he has made plenty of new friends. Half of the team behind the surreal Adventures of a Nose (2002) has created an absolute winner. The comic-inspired thick-line illustrations are a perfect marriage of the sense of humor of Lauren Child's Charlie and Lola and Kevin Henkes's Lilly for toddler boys (and girls). (Picture book. 2-8)Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2006

An undersea tale with a distinct Aesopian flavor, bound at the top so that it opens vertically. Having heard that tigers are "full of teeth and stripes," a frightened shark enlists Lobster and other marine denizens to construct a fortress—but then, still apprehensive, pulls a sleeping monster up from the deep for further protection. Bad move, as Shark learns when the benthic behemoth awakes. The illustrations' tall, narrow shape enhances that deep-sea feeling, and the cartoon creatures that float past (spouting comments in dialogue balloons) add a surreal air—particularly the monster, which sports long eyelashes, oddly placed fins and a chorus line of female human legs on a rubbery, sickly green body. A merry chase later, Shark realizes that sharks are also toothy, and that Lobster is striped, so there's really nothing to fear from tigers. There's a moral there, somewhere. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 2001

Schwarz and Stewart, in their first effort, have created a charming, original twist on the old "where-do-I-fit-in" theme, with a runaway nose looking for his special place in the world, "a place to fit in and stick out." He trots along in proper gray slacks and brown lace-up shoes (with his legs extending from his nostrils), traveling around his town (a library, a restaurant, a theater) and then sniffing out new locations around the world (a mountaintop, an iceberg, a Middle Eastern market). In each setting, as the nose pauses, elements of the background provide eyes and a mouth, subtly showing that he does indeed fit in wherever he goes. At last, he consults a doctor, who explains that the world must fit around a nose, who is by nature in the middle, sticking out. The final spread shows the nose in an exuberantly existential tabletop dance, celebrating with characters from the previous pages. Stewart's stylish, witty illustrations offer one full-page illustration (with the fun of finding the eyes and mouth) and smaller, related illustrations on the facing pages that complement the text. Will this beautifully designed story help children on their own existential journeys to both fit in with the crowd and yet stand out as individuals? Who knows? (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >