From this Caldecott Honor–winning duo (Song of the Water Boatman, 2005) comes another breathtaking picture book eight years in the making in large part due to its 4.6 billion-year-old subject—Earth and its hardiest creatures. Asked how a discussion of beetle wings with her biologist sister led to this brilliant evolutionary timeline of Earth’s survivors, ranging from 3.8 billion-year-old bacteria to mere 100,000-year-old humans, Joyce Sidman says that “the Big Question that led to the book was: Why do some organisms thrive while others die out?” Beckie Prange’s arresting hand-watercolored
The creator of The Snow Day (2009), which explored a preschooler’s pining to experience the pleasures of new-fallen snow, here taps into the contradictory feelings of a young rabbit with a strong bond to Mommy even through those first assertions of independence. Once again, a slightly downturned mouth and tilt of the ears ingeniously serve as indicators of the youngster’s shifting moods. Through a series of panel illustrations and full-bleed, sometimes wordless spreads, readers gradually learn what’s at the root of the protagonist’s anger. “Komako Sakai gives voice to the desires . . .
Of this sly feline’s debut in Binky the Space Cat (2009) Kirkus wrote in a starred review, “Spires’s mix of sly, dry and slapstick humor in her first graphic novel is perfect.” In this new adventure, Binky and Ted fall into “OUTER SPACE!” Children will savor knowing that Binky and his stuffed mousie have simply tumbled outdoors, but that doesn’t lessen the threat of a bee hive (aka “an alien warship”)—especially after Binky and Ted become separated. “Anyone who has lived with a cat knows that there are a lot of things going on in their lives that we humans aren’t privy to,” says . . .
Amos McGee may be a geezer, but he’s a content one—serene, if a bit pensive. Amos is a zookeeper and a friend to his charges. He plays chess with the elephant, sits quietly with the shy penguin and ministers to the nasal products of the rhinoceros’ allergies. When he must stay home one day with the sniffles, his chums take the bus to his residence and do unto him, in sweet reciprocation, what he has done unto them. The story is pared down to Zen simplicity, as friendship ought to be. In counterpoint, the artwork wows. The woodblock foundations carry forward the
Sy Montgomery has written many award-winning books for readers of all ages, including the international bestselling memoir, The Good Good Pig (2006). With photographer Nic Bishop, she’s contributed to the Scientists in the Field series, garnering two Sibert Honor recognitions, for The Tarantula Scientist (2004) and Quest for the Tree Kangaroo (2006). Their most recent collaboration recounts the dramatic, often-heartbreaking efforts to save New Zealand’s tame, flightless, oversized parrots—the kakapo. Here, Montgomery discusses their book Kakapo Rescue.
One of the most offbeat and winning picture books of 2010, Bunny Days chronicles the misadventures of a flock of bunnies that lives on Mr. and Mrs. Goat’s farm. They by turn get splattered with mud, are sucked up into a vacuum cleaner and find their cottony tails lopped off! Tragedy? Not at all, not when Bear is around: He always “knows just what to do.” He pops them in the washing machine and hangs them out to dry, unzips the vacuum cleaner bag and blows the dust off the bunnies (and fixes Mrs. Goat’s vacuum) and re-attaches the bunny tails—“very gentl[y]”—with an old sewing machine.
Chiru, small, sheep-like animals in Tibet, have a unique plight—they cannot be shorn to use their luxurious wool, but must be slaughtered instead. In this arresting picture book, The Chiru of High Tibet, Jacqueline Briggs Martin and illustrator Linda Wingerter handle this delicate topic with much care. Their lyrical text and ethereal illustrations chronicle the work of conservationist George Schaller, the first of several men whose heroism saved the species from poaching. Here, Martin talks about the bravery at the heart of this story.