THE GINGERBREAD DOLL by Susan Tews
FICTION
Released: Aug. 15, 1993

"Lloyd's sharply observed realistic watercolors—in a palette somewhat grayed as if to recall old b&w photos—beautifully reflect this well-told story's warmth and focus on essential values. (Picture book/Young reader. 5-9)"
When the extended family gathers for its annual cookie baking, great-grandma Rebecca tells about her ninth Christmas, in 1930 during the Depression. Read full book review >
THE FIVE-DOG NIGHT by Eileen Christelow
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 15, 1993

"A good-natured, entertaining yarn. (Picture book. 4-9)"
A story with a premise that's bound to amuse: Old Betty, Ezra's neighbor, is forever pestering him, when she calls to bring cookies and make him tea, about his need for extra blankets. ``Not me,'' he insists, refusing to elaborate beyond remarking, next day that ``It was only a two-dog night.'' As fall moves into winter, the number rises until the curious Betty peers in Ezra's window—and sees what Christelow's cheery, cartoon- style illustrations have revealed all along: as it gets colder, Ezra just pulls on another of his five dogs. Read full book review >

FISH STORY by Katharine Andres
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 10, 1993

"Sophisticated whimsy, not for every taste but sure to find an audience. (Picture book. 4-10)"
Craig isn't a fisherman, but he's sitting in a boat musing about wishes when he strikes up a conversation with a huge fish. ``Otto'' has just realized he can grant wishes; he goes home with Craig (``graceful[ly] skimming along on his tail''), stays for dinner (on wife Ann's invitation; Craig cooks), and engages in gentle discussion—with mild philosophical overtones—about what wishes would be appropriate. Read full book review >
UNCLE JED'S BARBER SHOP by Margaree King Mitchell
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Aug. 10, 1993

"A fine, unusually engaging debut for Mitchell, celebrating the courage and humanity of men who could survive hard times and injustice without rancor. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Great-uncle Jed, Sarah Jean's ``favorite relative,'' travels from house to house as ``the only black barber in the county.'' When he comes to cut her daddy's hair, he explains that he's saving for a shop. Read full book review >
THE GIRL WHO LISTENED TO SINKS by Justine Rendal
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Aug. 10, 1993

"Offbeat and rather long, this may do best as a young reader. (Picture book. 6-9)"
The premise here is childlike: lonely because Mother's preoccupied with a job she hates and the kids at school are ``mean,'' a little girl finds solace in conversations with things—a sheet that says ``Ouch!'' if she pulls too hard, toothpaste that giggles when squeezed, and especially the friendly bathroom sink. Read full book review >

WHAT IS A WALL, AFTER ALL? by Judy Allen
MUSIC AND THE ARTS
Released: Aug. 1, 1993

"With much intriguing detail— and a particularly intriguing title spread of a many-cornered wall that, in Baron's artful perspective, makes a straight line across the pages: excellent nonfiction, sure to amuse. (Nonfiction. 5-9)"
A lighthearted but searching and intelligent exploration of the concept and lore of walls, from dry-stone structures to honeycombs and tin cans. Read full book review >
TEN TALL OAKTREES by Richard Edwards
FICTION
Released: Aug. 1, 1993

"It's a clever idea, neatly phrased in verse but imperfectly developed in the rather ordinary illustrations, where the changing periods and activities are indicated competently enough but the trees never age or grow in 400 years. (Picture book. 4-8)"
From a Scottish author, an environmental/historical countdown, beginning with a scene in Tudor Britain: ``Ten tall oaktrees/Standing in a line,/`Warships,' cried King Henry,/Then there were nine.'' In the 18th century, one tree goes for charcoal; lightning, firewood, barrels, and the wind account for others, with the last succumbing, in this century, to a builder, a council (``unsafe''), ``progress'' (a highway), and a farmer (though why he finds the last tree a ``nuisance'' in a field of sheep remains a mystery). Read full book review >
DOCTOR KNICKERBOCKER AND OTHER RHYMES by David Booth
POETRY
Released: Aug. 1, 1993

"Kids will love finding old favorites and picking up some new ones. Indexes by first line and by 12 ``types''—''autograph,'' ``skipping,'' ``superstitions,'' etc. (Folklore/Picture book. 8-11)"
In an attractive counterpoint to the Opie/Sendak I Saw Esau (1992), Booth offers a broad, large-size collection of schoolyard rhymes grouped by period: ``Out Loud, Right Now!'' (contemporary); ``Mama Said It and I Say It Too'' (the largest, which by rights could include much from the first group); and ``Echoes from Long Ago.'' By their nature, these chants, taunts, and jokes have appeal; Kovalski adds to it with her detailed b&w illustrations of scamps and mischief-makers, combining bits of 19th-century woodcuts with her own lively crosshatched pen drawings and adroitly arranging several rhymes and images on each page with much of the text hand-lettered in cartoon-style balloons or incorporated into the art. Read full book review >
ONE STORMY NIGHT by Ruth Brown
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 1, 1993

"A truly charming, offbeat alternative for Halloween or anytime. (Picture book. 4-8)"
The wind is howling, but a full moon shines the night the little white dog comes in the wrought-iron gate to explore a stately home dating back to Elizabethan times. Read full book review >
KANGAROOS by Kathy Darling
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 1, 1993

"Kangaroo Facts''; index. (Nonfiction. 8- 12)"
Another in the Darlings' excellent ``On Location'' series (Walrus, 1991, etc.)—a survey of the ``sixty different kinds of kangaroos,'' including wallabies, quokkas, and pademelons, with outstanding color photos taken at seven Australian locations. Read full book review >
LEAVING HOME WITH A PICKLE JAR by Barbara Dugan
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 1, 1993

"Still, unusually perceptive, well-told, and likable. (Picture book. 4-8)"
The author of Loop the Loop (1992, ALA Notable) tells another story remarkable for its sensitivity and deft interweaving of themes. Read full book review >
CHIPMUNK! by Jessie Haas
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 1, 1993

"Just right to share with the younger preschoolers, as well as a book beginning readers will enjoy. (Picture book. 3- 7)"
``All Puss wanted was a place to put her chipmunk so it couldn't get away,'' begins this comically succinct reprise of a conflict of interests in a country household. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Vanessa Diffenbaugh
September 1, 2015

Vanessa Diffenbaugh is the New York Timesbestselling author of The Language of Flowers; her new novel, We Never Asked for Wings, is about young love, hard choices, and hope against all odds. For 14 years, Letty Espinosa has worked three jobs around San Francisco to make ends meet while her mother raised her children—Alex, now 15, and Luna, six—in their tiny apartment on a forgotten spit of wetlands near the bay. But now Letty’s parents are returning to Mexico, and Letty must step up and become a mother for the first time in her life. “Diffenbaugh’s latest confirms her gift for creating shrewd, sympathetic charmers,” our reviewer writes. View video >