Stars Illuminate Fall Lists

Among the children's books featured in these pages are several penned by authors who are—or were—accustomed to being in a spotlight of a different kind. Five titles hail from celebrities in the music world. Due from Little, Brown's Megan Tingley Books is

New Baby Train, a song by Woody Guthrie accompanied by art by Marla Frazee. Recently recorded by Kim Wilson for the first time, the song combines two loves of Guthrie's—babies and trains—as it answers the question about where babies come from. Milk & Cookies Press will issue a picture book based on another song,

Chelsea Morning by Joni Mitchell. Alongside the lyrics, illustrations by Brian Froud reveal a girl who spends the day with various pixies before bidding goodnight to a moon enchantress. The book is packaged with a CD featuring Mitchell singing her song. Another book-and-CD offering will introduce youngsters to a Billy Joel tune,

Goodnight, My Angel: A Lullabye, which Joel wrote for his daughter when she was young. This Scholastic Press release is illustrated by Yvonne Gilbert. On Dutton's fall list is a picture book by country singer LeAnn Rimes, who wrote

Jag's New Friend with her husband, Dean Sheremet. A sequel to Jag, this tale of friendship and trust features pictures by Richard Bernal. And young friends are invited aboard

Yellow Submarine, a Candlewick title presenting images from the1968 animated film based on the song by the Beatles.

A trio of authors well known for their on-camera or stage performances will this fall make additions to their children's book oeuvre. Actor Jamie Lee Curtis teams up with illustrator Laura Cornell for the sixth time in

It's Hard to Be Five: Learning How to Work My Control Panel, a Joanna Cotler Book from HarperCollins. The Today Show 's Katie Couric brings back her young heroines of The Brand New Kid in

The Blue Ribbon Day, a story about dealing with disappointment and discovering one's special talent. Marjorie Priceman provides illustrations for this Doubleday release. And film, stage and TV star John Lithgow once again dons his author chapeau in

Carnival of the Animals Book and CD (S&S), which he originally wrote for a New York City Ballet production of Camille Saint-Saën's composition of the same title. Boris Kulikov illustrated the text, which Lithgow recites on the CD, accompanied by the Chamber Music of Los Angeles playing the composition.

A trio of politically well-connected authors is also represented in these listings. Second Lady Lynne Cheney's third children's book,

When Washington Crossed the

Delaware: A Wintertime Story for Young Patriots, recounts this pivotal episode in the Revolutionary War. This S&S title includes art by Peter Fiore. Political consultant James Carville has teamed up with Patricia C. McKissack to write

Lu and the Swamp Ghost, due from Atheneum/Schwartz. Set during the Depression, the tale was inspired by an episode in the Louisiana childhood of Carville's mother. David Catrow contributes the artwork. And former NYC mayor Ed Koch paired up with his sister, Pat Koch Thaler, to pen a tale celebrating the special bond that Ed shared with their older brother. Due from Putnam,

Eddie: Harold's Little Brother is illustrated by James Warhola.

Presidential Hopefuls

Publishers are obviously banking on youngsters' interest in all things presidential this election season. Soon to be found on bookstore shelves are a handful of books focusing on would-be Presidents or former White House residents. Due from Philomel as election fever heats up is a revised and updated edition of the Caldecott winner,

So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George, illustrated by David Small. The new version of this compilation of facts and pictures of Chief Executives includes information and art featuring George W. Bush. In

What Presidents Are Made Of, an Atheneum release, Hanoch Piven collects anecdotes and trivia about American Presidents, whom he brings to life in portraits created out of a wide array of materials. Gallopade offers a paperback title:

The Here & Now Reproducible Book of John Kerry by Carole Marsh, which rounds up facts about this candidate and election-related activities.

Kids curious about the behind-the-scenes goings-on over the years at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will want to put their ears up to

If the Walls Could Talk: Family Life at the White House by Jane O'Connor, with art by Gary Hovland, a Paula Wiseman Book from Simon & Schuster. A Scholastic title provides a glimpse of non-human inhabitants of the presidential digs. Among the animals Gibbs Davis tells of in

Wackiest White House Pets, illustrated by David Johnson, are John Quincy Adams's alligator, which lived in the East Room, and the pair of grizzly bears Thomas Jefferson kept in a cage on the South Lawn.

And women in politics are the focus of two fall titles: Walker's

A Woman for President: The Story of Victoria Woodhull by Kathleen Krull, with art by Jane Dyer, profiles this 1872 Presidential candidate; and

Madame President: The Extraordinary, True (and Evolving) Story of Women in Politics by Catherine Thimmesh, illustrated by Douglas Jones, spotlights such individuals as Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret Chase Smith, Carol Moseley Brown and Sandra Day O'Connor.

Fall's Happy Anniversaries

Sprinkled throughout these listings of publishers' fall offerings are books marking memorable milestones. Celebrating the 200th birthday of raconteur extraordinaire Hans Christian Andersen is a pair of titles from Philomel's minedition imprint.

The Little Mermaid is newly translated by Anthea Bell and features art by Lisbeth Zwerger, who—in a fitting twist—is a recipient of the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for her lasting contribution to children's literature. And

The Emperor's New Clothes is dressed up with new illustrations by John Alfred Rowe. Scandinavia Publishing House, whose books are distributed in the U.S. by NBN, is also commemorating Andersen's birthday with the release of new editions of

Thumbelina and

The Ugly Duckling.

A century has passed since Peter Pan first flew through the Darlings's nursery window; Orchard is observing the occasion with the publication of

Peter Pan

and Wendy, which contains J.M. Barrie's original, unabridged text accompanied by new art by Robert Ingpen.

Sixty years ago, Newbery Medalist Rachel Field's

Prayer for a Child, with art by Elizabeth Orton Jones, was awarded the Caldecott Medal. Due from Simon & Schuster is a Diamond Anniversary Edition of this title, a paper-over-board book with a larger trim size. Also celebrating its 60th anniversary is a novel by another Newbery Medalist, Eleanor Estes.

The Hundred Dresses, a Newbery Honor book with illustrations by Louis Slobodkin, which has never been out of print since its 1944 release. Harcourt's new edition features restored art and an introduction by Helena Estes, the author's daughter, explaining the true story behind this tale.

Another Harcourt release reaches the half-century mark:

Half Magic by Edward Eager, illustrated by N.M. Bodecker. A 50th-anniversary edition sports the original jacket and a ribbon marker, as well as a new introduction by Jack Gantos.

For 40 years, readers have been eagerly devouring the tale of Charlie Bucket's tour of Mr. Wonka's chocolate factory. Due from Knopf is a hardcover 40th-anniversary edition of Roald Dahl's

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, enhanced by full-color spot art by Quentin Blake. Holt is bringing back into print another story first published 40 years ago: Rebecca Caudill's

A Pocketful of Cricket, a Caldecott Honor Book illustrated by Evaline Ness.

Reaching the three-decade mark are two books due out in 30th-anniversary editions: Robert Cormier's

The Chocolate War, which will make its first appearance in trade paperback under Knopf's Readers Circle imprint; and Gerald McDermott's Caldecott-winning

Arrow to the Sun, due from Viking.

And bookstore browsers will also find new anniversary editions of the following titles: Atheneum's

Bunnicula by James and Deborah Howe, illustrated by Alan Daniel (25th);

The Christmas Alphabet by Robert Sabuda, an Orchard release (10th); Annick Press's

Out on the Ice in the Middle of the Bay by Peter Cumming, illustrated by Alice Priestly (10th); and Robie H. Harris's

It's Perfectly Normal (10th) and

It's So Amazing! (5th), both Candlewick publications illustrated by Michael Emberley.

Happy anniversary to one and all!

Climbing Aboard the Subway

A pair of fall titles pays tribute to a speedy mode of transportation that countless kids in those reaches of the U.S. where underground trains do not roll would undoubtedly love to ride.

Young readers can hop aboard the New York City subway in the pages of

My Subway Ride by Paul Dubois Jacobs and Jennifer Swender, a Brooklyn-based husband-and-wife author team. Another Brooklyn resident, Selina Alko, illustrates the book, which presents verse recreating the rhythm and energy of subway trains as they zoom from station to station. Released in the year the New York City subway system celebrates its centennial, this Gibbs Smith book is published in conjunction with the New York Transit Museum.

And another city—one whose underground transit system predates that of New York—is the focus of another book celebrating the subway. In

Beneath the Streets of Boston: Building America's First Subway, Joe McKendry brings readers into the subterranean realm of the workers who, over a century ago, used picks and shovels to dig miles of tunnels by hand. This David R. Godine book includes first-hand accounts of the turn-of-the-last-century public's perception of and fears about this novel form of transportation as well as descriptions of how Boston's system served as a model for subsequent subways. And parents as well as children may be amazed to learn that this subway's first riders were able to get where they wanted to go—and quickly—for a mere nickel.

Wily, Wacky Winners

As we perused this roundup of fall releases, several books gave us pause—or a chuckle—for one reason or another. Herewith are some we deem, in the spirit of lighthearted humor, worthy of commendation.

Double Dose of Alliteration Award:Zigzag: Zoems for Zindergarten by Lois Lesynski. (Annick Press)

Title Most Likely to Tick Off Second-, Third- (and Beyond) Born Children:My Firstborn: There's No One Like You by Kevin Leman and Kevin Leman II, in which a mother bear tells her firstborn cub how special he is. (Baker Book House/Revell)

Most Fitting Book Title/Author Matchup:Animal Jokes, Monster Jokes, School Jokes and Silly Jokes by Laura Howell. (EDC/Usborne)

List Most Heavily Weighted with Books About

Bodily Emissions : Frog, Ltd., whose three fall releases are Little Lord Farting Boy, The Spitting Twins and Canis Inflatus, a Latin translation of Walter, the Farting Dog

Runaway Repeated Letter Award:Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes by Margaret Atwood, illus. by Dušan Petrièiæ, which the catalogue calls "a rare recipe for ridiculously rambunctious reading!" (Bloomsbury)

Title Most Apt to Snag the Attention of Jealous Siblings of Newborns:Barfburger Baby, I Was Here First by Paula Danziger, illus. by G. Brian Karas. (Putnam)

Picture Book Most Likely to Make Kids Think Twice When Putting on Their Socks—and Parents Extra Cautious When Doing the Laundry:Jacques & Spock by David Michael Slater, illus. by Debbie Tilley, the story of two sock brothers' struggle to unite after one is thrown in the wrong wash, bleached and thrown out. (Clarion)

Title Delivering the Biggest Promise:A Guy's Guide to Life: How to Become a Man in 208 Pages or Less by Jason Boyett. (Transit Books)

Plot Adults Will Most Hope Kids Will Avoid Acting Out:The Best Bottom by Brigitte Minne, illus. by Marjolein Pottie, in which animals stage a contest to determine who has the best derrière. (Milk & Cookies Press)

Return to Fall 2004 Children's Books Main Page