Books by Wendell Minor

SEQUOIA by Tony Johnston
Released: Sept. 23, 2014

"Minor's paintings are glorious; the textual conceit is a little overdone. (Picture book. 3-7)
A giant sequoia experiences the world around "him" in Johnston's romantic, image-laden, anthropomorphic rendering of the life experiences of the largest tree on the planet. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 19, 2014

"Well-researched and carefully paced, this is an enduring and inspiring book that will help kids to understand the why and the how of an artist at work. (Picture book/biography. 5-9)"
Two masters of illustrated, brief biographies for young people reunite (If You Spent a Day with Thoreau at Walden Pond, 2012) for this accessible introduction to an iconic 20th-century American realist. Read full book review >
GALÁPAGOS GEORGE by Jean Craighead George
Released: April 8, 2014

"A heartfelt if imperfect tribute to one George by another who will also be missed. (key terms, timeline, resources) (Picture book. 5-8)"
The passing of Lonesome George, the last of the saddleback tortoises from the island of Pinta, provides the occasion to demonstrate how different species might descend from a common ancestor. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 15, 2013

"Playing with scale and prompting readers to think big ensures a quick and entertaining tour to awesome sights. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Minor focuses his attention on the symbolic gourd of fall, juxtaposing national landmarks or record-setting structures with visions of impossibly enormous pumpkins or jack-o'-lanterns. Read full book review >
IF YOU WERE A PANDA BEAR by Florence Minor
Released: June 25, 2013

"A lovely title to engage the imaginations and interest of budding animal enthusiasts. (bear facts, resources) (Picture book. 2-6)"
A global array of bears parade by in this delightful story for the very young. Read full book review >
THE EAGLES ARE BACK by Jean Craighead George
Released: March 21, 2013

"A heartwarming culmination to a distinguished career. (Picture book. 5-9)"
George, who chronicled the return to America's wild places of wolves and buffalo in two similar titles, now celebrates the comeback of the American bald eagle with a combination of fact and imagination. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 16, 2012

"A fine introduction to the value of Thoreau and the natural world. (Picture book. 4-9)"
What would it be like to spend a day with Henry David Thoreau, observing and appreciating nature? Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 25, 2011

"Even with attractive illustrations and a Christmas setting, a plodding story doesn't create any magic. (Picture book. 4-7)"
The prolific mystery writer turns her hand to children's Christmas stories with a sentimental tale of a beloved family heirloom that is restored just in time for reappearance under the Christmas tree. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 22, 2011

"An afterword provides a brief account of Earhart's life, giving some necessary context to the episode dramatized in the main text. (technical note, bibliography, selected quotes) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)"
This gorgeous book presents a lyrical account of Amelia Earhart's 1932 solo transatlantic flight, taking readers from the runway at Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, at 7:12 p.m., through an initially calm and eventually harrowing flight in which weather and equipment failure almost condemn Amelia's small craft to the dark waters of the Atlantic, to daybreak and a safe landing in a pasture in Ireland. Read full book review >
MY FARM FRIENDS by Wendell Minor
Released: Jan. 1, 2011

"Whimsical facts at the back extend the information offered, and a list of Internet sources includes several farm and farm-sanctuary websites. (Informational picture book. 2-5)"
Inspired by childhood visits to family farms, Minor shares descriptions and facts about different farm animals and their behaviors. Read full book review >
HENRY KNOX by Anita Silvey
Released: Nov. 15, 2010

"First-rate. (bibliography, suggested further reading, artist's note, endpaper map) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)"
This admirably researched biography of little-known patriot Henry Knox introduces an unlikely hero who played a pivotal role in the American Revolution. Read full book review >
THE LAST TRAIN by Gordon Titcomb
Released: Sept. 14, 2010

"3caJkMjGLiw). (foreword by Arlo Guthrie, author's note, Web resources) (Picture book. 3-8)"
"Now the tracks that shone like silver, have turned to rusty brown. / Thirty years ago the last train rolled through town." Read full book review >
THE BUFFALO ARE BACK by Jean Craighead George
Released: May 1, 2010

"Environmental good news. (Informational picture book. 5-10)"
Beginning and ending with the joyous birth of a calf, George describes the eradication of bison from the American plains, subsequent ecosystem damage, return of the species and restoration of the tall grass prairie in this companion to The Wolves Are Back (2008). Read full book review >
THE LAST POLAR BEAR by Jean Craighead George
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

"Ultimately, though, this is troublingly didactic. (Picture book. 5-7)"
Returning to the Arctic, George presents a tale that is simultaneously a warning about global warming/pollution and a surreal meeting between a boy and Nanuq, the polar bear. Read full book review >
LOOK TO THE STARS by Buzz Aldrin
Released: April 1, 2009

"More inspirational than informational, this may please aspiring space explorers but has the potential to leave many listeners in the dark. (Nonfiction. 7-9)"
There's no doubt about Aldrin's passion for his subject nor his very specialized firsthand knowledge. Read full book review >
IF YOU WERE A PENGUIN by Florence Minor
Released: Jan. 1, 2009

"Not a standout as either a rhyming picture book or a beginning nonfiction title about penguins. (Picture book. 3-7)"
The second from this husband-and-wife team (Christmas Tree!, 2005) explores the many things that penguins can do and suggests to readers that they can also share in these activities. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 2008

"The contemplative story is supported by an afterword and 'interesting facts' about the train's journey through the grieving nation. (notes, resources) (Picture book. 7-10)"
Two picture-book veterans choose a unique way of demonstrating President Lincoln's impact upon the people of the United States. Read full book review >
THE WOLVES ARE BACK by Jean Craighead George
Released: April 1, 2008

"For reading aloud or reading alone, this is a splendid way to share an appreciation for the natural world. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-12)"
Lush, naturalistic paintings and gentle, carefully chosen words celebrate the return of wolves to the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2007

"Useful only as an introduction to the history. (Picture book. 6-10)"
Minor's well-rendered, gorgeous illustrations beg for a text that informs and emulates the lyric language of the Sioux. Read full book review >
GHOST SHIP by Mary Higgins Clark
Released: April 3, 2007

"While it could be useful for teachers needing read-alouds about American history, this is not a necessary purchase. (Picture book. 7-10)"
The prolific author of adult novels turns her hand to children's literature with a ghostly picture-book story. Read full book review >
NIBBLE NIBBLE by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: Feb. 1, 2007

"Minor's furry, natural-looking animals and flowery meadows have an almost tactile reality, and his illustrations add movement, drama and context to the poems, making this book a treasure for a new generation. (Picture book/poetry. 2-6)"
Five poems, originally published in 1959, are newly illustrated with lovely, detailed illustrations of bunnies, mice and other animals in natural surroundings. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2006

Striking pictures make this patriotic alphabet particularly memorable. Read full book review >
LUCK by Jean Craighead George
Released: May 1, 2006

"Although an author's note more fully describing current thinking on the way migratory birds 'map' their routes would be welcome, this nevertheless stands as an engaging look at a process with which most kids are probably unfamiliar. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-8)"
A very dim sandhill crane earns his name as he migrates from Texas to Siberia and back again. Read full book review >
CHRISTMAS TREE! by Florence Minor
Released: Oct. 1, 2005

"A final page of supplementary information offers some interesting facts about the history of Christmas trees. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Imaginative Christmas trees of unusual sizes and materials are the focus of this holiday story for younger children with retro art that points adult readers back to the 1950s. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2005

"Pair this with Don Brown's One Giant Step for a child's-eye view on space exploration. (Flight/space exploration chronology) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)"
In first-person voice, Aldrin highlights points from his childhood that led to his dream of being an astronaut and making the historic moon landing. Read full book review >
FIRE STORM by Jean Craighead George
Released: Sept. 1, 2003

"Despite the danger, and Axel's keenly felt pleasure at being immersed in the natural world, this is unlikely to draw young readers away from their armchairs. (Picture book. 6-8)"
A rafting expedition down the Middle Fork of Idaho's Salmon River turns suddenly deadly for the outdoorsy lad introduced in Cliff Hanger (2002). Read full book review >
RACHEL by Amy Ehrlich
Released: March 1, 2003

"Maybe Carson's sense of wonder will inspire future environmentalists. (bibliography, epilogue) (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-8)"
Ehrlich's biography of the noted environmentalist covers much ground, from her early years in Pennsylvania, to research at Woods Hole Marine Laboratory, to Maine and her environmental writings. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 2003

"The two are quite compatible in this feast for bird lovers. (author's note) (Picture book. 6-12)"
A tribute to the naturalist and artist John J. Audubon pairs verse by the author with quotations from Audubon's journals. Read full book review >
CLIFF HANGER by Jean Craighead George
Released: May 1, 2002

"Despite its lightweight treatment of what could have been a compelling story, dog-lovers, weather-watchers, and budding adventurers may appreciate this additional purchase. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A disappointing effort from this well-respected pair. Read full book review >
WE WERE THERE by Eve Bunting
Released: Sept. 17, 2001

"An uneven execution, but an eye-opening, consciousness-raising addition to the plethora of 'animals at the manger' tales nonetheless. (Picture book. 6-8)"
The indefatigable Bunting (Gleam and Glow, above, etc.) looks "beyond the light / to darkness / and the corner" where shadows hide spider, scorpion, bat, rat, cockroach, and snake, all of whom have come to join the cattle and other livestock gathered around baby Jesus. Read full book review >
CAT, WHAT IS THAT? by Tony Johnston
Released: Aug. 1, 2001

"Truly a celebration of the grace and complexity of the cat, each luminous painting will appeal to both children and adults. (Picture book. All ages)"
Fascination, admiration, respect, and love for the inscrutable cat are evident on every page of this beautifully designed tribute. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 31, 2001

"Memorable. (Picture book/biography. 6-10)"
This handsome and genuinely appealing collaboration transcends the usual picture-book biography genre. Read full book review >
GRAND CANYON by Wendell Minor
Released: Sept. 1, 1998

"Less a systematic tour of the Grand Canyon than a visual and verbal appreciation of its large- scale and small-scale beauties, this will delight young armchair travelers and naturalists. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)"
The fruit of a 12-day visit to the Grand Canyon, Minor goes solo in this departure from his usual meticulously detailed art for an album of watercolor sketches. Read full book review >
GRASSROOTS by Carl Sandburg
Released: March 1, 1998

"An ode to a place, and a worthy introduction to Sandburg's poetry. (Picture book/poetry. 6-11)"
Minor's signature watercolors, limpid and bright, make a visual hymn to the Midwest and thereby echo the poems of Carl Sandburg. Read full book review >
JULIE'S WOLF PACK by Jean Craighead George
Released: Sept. 30, 1997

"The wolf's-eye view will draw new readers to the books, but fans of the first books, already well-versed in wolf society, may find many of the situations repetitive. (Fiction. 11-13)"
Completing the switch in narrative view begun in Julie (1994), the sequel to Julie of the Wolves (1972), George continues her tale of the Avalik River pack entirely from the standpoint of its members: Kapu, the young new alpha; his daughter and successor, Sweet Fur Amy; Ice Blink, a lone wolf who carries rabies—and Willow Pup Julie, who lives in town but puts in appearances to inspect new pups or perform rescues. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 30, 1997

The Shaker motto ``Hands to work, hearts to God'' is depicted in twelve four-line verses and seventeen acrylic paintings as elegant and serene as the buildings and artifacts they show, from Hancock Shaker Village in Massachusetts. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1995

"This celebration of his art includes scores of Minor's book covers as well as an appreciation by David MuCullough and interviews by Minor with his mentor, Paul Bacon, and Simon & Schuster's longtime art director, Frank Metz."
Jinxed perhaps by the old bromide that you can't judge a book by its cover and by row after row of books shelved spine out in the stores, book-jacket art has become the unglamorous and unglorified stepsister of the world of commercial art. Read full book review >
EVERGLADES by Jean Craighead George
Released: May 30, 1995

"Get Off Our Train (1990), but has powerful moments, including a convincing message, poetically told. (Picture book. 5+)"
"I am going to tell you a story....It's a story about a river," says a storyteller to several children in a boat in this tale. Read full book review >
JULIE by Jean Craighead George
Released: Sept. 30, 1994

"Interesting Eskimo village lore, and more lupine detail, but the unifying theme here—Miyax saving the wolves—is not nearly as arresting as the original. (Fiction. 10+)"
This sequel to 1973 Newbery Medal-winning Julie of the Wolves continues the story of Julie Edwards Miyax Kapugen, the girl who traveled across the tundra with her adoptive wolf pack. Read full book review >
THE SEASHORE BOOK by Charlotte Zolotow
Released: May 30, 1992

"A graceful, handsomely produced tribute to a favorite childhood experience. (Picture book. 3-8)"
Responding to her son's questions, a mother describes the sea he has never seen—what it's like to run in the surf in the early morning mist, marvel at the "smooth, pearly pink" of a shell, observe the sea birds, or feel the sun's warmth and the waves' chill. Read full book review >
SIERRA by Diane Siebert
Released: March 15, 1991

"Minor, however, captures some of the high peaks' awesome nobility in his broad, carefully detailed paintings. A valid plea for the environment that will move those not put off by the pretentious text.~(Picture book. 5-10)"
As in Mojave (1988) and Heartland (1989), the land speaks here in first-person verse enumerating its qualities, fauna, geological history, etc. Least successful of the three, this text is awkward and over-earnest. Read full book review >