Log In

Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the Table-of-Contents Database.

Get a digital subscription to Publishers Weekly for only $19.95/month.

Your subscription gives you instant access exclusive feature articles on notable figures in the publishing industry, he latest industry news, interviews of up and coming authors and bestselling authors, and access over 200,000 book reviews.

PW "All Access" site license members have access to PW's subscriber-only website content. To find out more about PW's site license subscription options please email: pw@pubservice.com or call 1-800-278-2991 (U.S.) or 1-818-487-2069 (all other countries), Monday-Friday between 5am and 5pm Pacific time.

Two Many Birds

Cindy Derby. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-250-23254-0

“Maximum Occupancy 100 Birds” says the sign on a tree—it’s a leafless specimen, but it’s also the only tree in sight, and demand among the bird community is huge. Ensuring order is a ticketing system flanked by queuing birds with fluorescent plumage and eccentric outfits, and a bird monitor dressed in contrasting black who sits in a lifeguard chair. The monitor’s initial warnings (“No running”) are not unlike what readers may hear at home and in school. Then it becomes clear that its chastening authority is both arbitrary and overreaching (“No nesting!/ No resting!/ No hair gel!/ No nudity!!!”), and the mood among those perching turns grim. The birth of two chicks proves the tipping point: when the monitor flies into a rage, the flock drives it away in a feathered, furious frenzy, becoming a single entity to be reckoned with. Now everyone is miserable: the monitor loses purpose, and the tree becomes an overcrowded mess. But Derby (How to Walk an Ant), who proves her wholly original talent once again, devises a solution that makes the most of everyone’s desires and their talents. Funny, socially relevant, and visually engrossing, this one is worth perching prominently on the shelf. Ages 3–6. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 09/25/2020 | Details & Permalink

show more
What a Lucky Day!

Jashar Awan. Norton, $17.95 (48p) ISBN 978-1-324-01552-9

Four animal anglers head individually to a waterside dock, each hoping to catch some dinner. Based solely on superstition or misinformation, each is certain that other animals they run into will stymie their efforts at fishing. A stork, seeing a black cat, worries that bad luck will follow; the cat, running into a raccoon, is sure that the “masked bandit” will steal the fish. The raccoon believes that a frog will give him warts, and the frog hopes that the stork won’t crowd the pier with infants. When fortune favors everyone with a fish—“WHAT A LUCKY DAY!” —the misconceptions are aired and corrected (“Warts are caused by a virus. Not by me,” says the frog testily), prompting sheepish apologies and a communal fish feast. Cartoonist Awan makes an A+ picture book debut that warns against assumptions—his boldly graphic pictures combine the pop and verve of classic WPA posters with a contemporary expression and top-notch comic timing. Ages 3–5. Agent: Erica Rand Silverman, Stimola Literary Studio. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 09/25/2020 | Details & Permalink

show more
Dino-Thanksgiving (Dino-Holidays #3)

Lisa Wheeler, illus. by Barry Gott. Carolrhoda, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5124-0318-3

In the latest installment of the Dino-Holidays series, a jaunty rhyme scheme (“Out back, little cousins play:/ Ping-pong, tag, and lawn croquet./ Raptor helps them fly a kite./ They’re building up an appetite!”) and bright digital illustrations depict dinosaurs coming together in chaotic community to observe Thanksgiving. The dinos, it turns out, celebrate much the same way humans do: visiting family; watching the annual Thanksgiving parade and football games; cooking and eating a variety of dishes, including “turkey, stuffing, pie, and more”; and gathering around a bonfire with their community. Colorful typography emphasizes the names of dinosaurs based on their species (Compy, Tricera, Pteros, etc.), though the full names of species are never clarified. While the holiday’s grim origins are largely omitted, aside from a parade balloon wearing a Puritan’s hat, the mention of football team “the Redscales” strikes a problematic note. Even so, this glimpse of prehistoric reptiles giving thanks should entertain young dinosaur fans. Ages 5–9. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 09/18/2020 | Details & Permalink

show more
Peyton Picks the Perfect Pie: A Thanksgiving Celebration

Jack Bishop, illus. by Michelle Mee Nutter. America’s Test Kitchen Kids, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-948703-26-0

Biracial Peyton, who has a Black dad and a white mom, isn’t picky when it comes to a lot of things—she “likes dogs and cats, scooters and bikes, pools and beaches,” Bishop writes—but she has preferences surrounding food, especially around colors and textures. Her parents put a lot of effort into hosting their annual Thanksgiving dinner, however, so Peyton decides to diversify her palate, starting with the pies that guests bring. Dense pages and lengthy pie descriptions may not interest all readers, but the group makes for a merry gathering; Nutter’s digital illustrations are richly colored and inclusive, and Peyton’s food particularities will resonate with many. A recipe for “Best-Ever Apple Pie” is included. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 09/18/2020 | Details & Permalink

show more
Friendsgiving

Nancy Siscoe, illus. by Sabina Gibson. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-295676-7

In immersive photographed scenes and dialogue-heavy narration, the handmade anthropomorphic pals from Snow Much Fun!—apricot-colored fox Ginger, white bear Berry, and cornflower blue rabbit Willow—head out for a bike ride on a “great day in fall.” After biking to the top of Lookout Hill, the trio decides to visit the farmer’s market, where they run into old friend Honey, a yellow bear, and Honey’s friend Rowan, a raccoon. The group gives thanks, goes apple picking, harvests crops, and finally throws an autumnal celebration. The story focuses more on friendly connections than on narrative arc, but it generously emphasizes the importance of meals cooked and shared with pals. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 09/18/2020 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Blue Table

Chris Raschka. Greenwillow, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-293776-6

Spare text and images center the titular cerulean table, around which a small family—and later, a second—gathers to share meals and gratitude. Instead of showing human figures, Caldecott Medalist Raschka showcases tabletop objects and dishes from a bird’s-eye view, which appear and disappear as the pages turn. In colorful illustrations crafted from watercolor and cut-paper collage, a glass of milk first signifies “a child.” Across the gutter, the addition of a coffee cup and saucer to the surface indicates another arrival—“a parent.” And a page turn later, “another parent” joins, the table now host to a second coffee cup, a plate of cinnamon rolls, and activities befitting a comfortable breakfast (a newspaper, a book, crayons and paper). “Good things/ from the garden,// the store,/ and the farm” are assembled next, among them veggies and a turkey, and a leaf is added to the blue table in preparation for “one more family.” Images include hands and forearms in a variety of skin tones as all gather, “thankful,” for a many-coursed meal. A gentle picture book that celebrates the joy to be found in both everyday routines and holiday abundance. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 09/18/2020 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Giving Day

Cori Doerrfeld. Abrams, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4419-8

In this follow-up to The Welcome Wagon, the title refers to a big community festival held in Doerrfeld’s animal-populated Cubby Hill. There are games, food, and activities, and, best of all, “everyone brought some way to give back.” Cooper the bear attends with his grandmother to distribute their beehives’ final takings; he wears a cape and declares himself “the Greatest Honey Hero in the Universe!” But he also spreads himself a little too thin, volunteering to help rabbit neighbors who need a “bunnysitter,” among other deeds. The jars of honey invariably take a hit, but Cooper’s pals are quick to advocate for him with his grandmother, who pronounces him “the greatest gift giver in the universe.” Doerrfeld deftly choreographs busy animals bustling about the fairgrounds, energized by the prospect of doing good in the company of family and friends. Ages 3–7. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 09/18/2020 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Night Before Christmas

Clement C. Moore, illus. by Kai Würbs. Arctis, $17.95 (48p) ISBN 978-1-64690-005-3

Veering from the convivial, scene-centered graphic interpretation often associated with this classic, Würbs offers a sparer take, narrowing each scene to softly focused images that are more suggestive than representational. The poem’s opening lines are accompanied by an image of a lone candle burning in a brass candleholder, and the sleigh’s rooftop landing shows two shadowy reindeer heads emerging from behind a foregrounded stone chimney. Santa’s visage is something of a mystery at first, his arrival down the chimney represented solely by sooty boot prints, and the top of his cap, surrounded by smoke, rendered alongside the description of his pipe. Building a sense of mystery until near the end, Würbs finally includes one fetching, full-frame portrait of a warmly smiling Santa. A solid choice for those in search of a sophisticated, minimalist artistic vision of Moore’s verse. Ages 6–up. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 09/18/2020 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Night Before Christmas

Clement C. Moore, illus. by Loren Long. HarperCollins, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-286946-3

In detailed art rendered in acrylic paint and colored pencil, Long adds an intriguing dimension to Clement C. Moore’s poem, visiting four families in different locales: a snow-covered farmhouse, a mobile home, a city apartment, and a tile-roofed house framed by palm trees. The artist’s introductory note explains that he took “visual clues directly from the famous text” and renders “a little old driver” and other components on a diminutive scale, to winsome effect (in one scene, Santa’s not much bigger than a group of household kitties). Readers see a diverse quartet of families asleep in their beds on Christmas Eve and view Santa soaring through the sky to deliver presents to each abode. The eclectic architecture, décor, holiday decorations, family configurations, and pet menageries shape a welcoming and inclusive portrait of Christmas Eve peace, wonder, and anticipation. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 09/18/2020 | Details & Permalink

show more
’Twas the Night Before Christmas on the Farm

Craig Manning, illus. by Sumi Collina. Sourcebooks Wonderland, $10.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-72820-625-7

Manning flavors Clement C. Moore’s Christmas chestnut with barnyard imagery, recasting the poem from a curious lamb’s point of view. As Santa’s sleigh approaches, “ ‘It’s a bird!’ the lamb thought, for what else could fly?/ She’d never seen something else soar through the sky.” She remains confused, comparing the man with the round belly, tractorlike sleigh, and horned “horses” to a farmer until she hears him say “ho, ho, ho.” If the lamb’s realization feels sudden, Collina’s digital artwork—featuring sweetly snoozing animals, each with their own fittingly filled stocking—has a snow-filled, fantasy-flavored sheen that helps give this new variation a bit of the original’s timeless feel. Ages 4–7. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 09/18/2020 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

Parts of this site are only available to paying PW subscribers. Subscribers: to set up your digital access click here.

To subscribe, click here.

PW “All Access” site license members have access to PW’s subscriber-only website content. Simply close and relaunch your preferred browser to log-in. To find out more about PW’s site license subscription options please email: pw@pubservice.com.

If you have questions or need assistance setting up your account please email pw@pubservice.com or call 1-800-278-2991 (U.S.) or 1-818-487-2069 (all other countries), Monday-Friday between 5am and 5pm Pacific time for assistance.

Not Registered? Click here.