FIND A BOOK

Brave Chicken Little by Robert Byrd

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August has been designated Get Ready for Kindergarten month, so this month’s Almanac entries focus on books that discuss the kindergarten experience. When I think about what reading heritage all kindergarten-bound children should be familiar with, I think of folklore and fairy tales. Robert Byrd’s Brave Chicken Little, a variation on the familiar tale, was […]

Animals, Fairy Tale
Featured on August 28, 2014

Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell
Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

Today I’d like to wish a very happy birthday to Helen Oxenbury, one of our most accomplished children’s book illustrators. Helen turned to illustration as a second career when her own child was born. An accomplished set designer for theater, television, and film, she had already observed the pleasure her husband, John Burningham (whom she […]

Animals, Ducks, Politics, Social Conscience
Featured on June 2, 2014

World Rat Day by J. Patrick Lewis
Illustrated by Anna Raff

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Today I would like to wish a happy birthday to J. Patrick Lewis. Among the many things Pat and I share in common is a Hoosier childhood; he grew up with a twin brother in Gary, Indiana, and attended Indiana University and Ohio State, where he received his doctorate in economics. But Pat left the […]

Animals, Holidays, Poetry
Featured on May 5, 2014

Pug and Other Animal Poems by Valerie Worth
Illustrated by Steve Jenkins

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April is National Poetry Month; on the Almanac site I have already talked about one of my favorite books of poetry, Valerie Worth’s All the Small Poems and Fourteen More. Today let’s look at a picture book of Worth’s poems illustrated by Steve Jenkins, Pug and Other Animal Poems. A graduate of Swarthmore who worked […]

Animals, Poetry
Featured on April 21, 2014

Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives by Lola M. Schaefer
Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

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February has been designated Plant the Seeds of Greatness Month. Of course, any time we connect children with a good book, seeds are being planted. But certainly children of the twenty-first century will need both math and science skills for the duration of their lives, and exciting books in this area are far too hard […]

Animals, Science
Featured on February 17, 2014

The Bear’s Song by Benjamin Chaud

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From January 19–25, we celebrate Hunt for Happiness Week. A perfect book for this week has been sitting on my shelf for months: Benjamin Chaud’s The Bear’s Song. A large picture book at 14 ½ inches tall by 9 ¾ inches wide, The Bear’s Song first appeared in France and has been published in the […]

Animals, Bears, Imagination
Featured on January 20, 2014

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

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Today we celebrate a little-recognized holiday, “Thank Goodness It’s Monday,” and an event that lasts for all of January, The Celebration of Life. These two seemingly incongruous observances remind me of one of my favorite picture books of 2013, Peter Brown’s Mr. Tiger Goes Wild. Now, for want of a better term, I am a […]

Animals, Humor
Featured on January 6, 2014

Wendell Minor’s America by Norman Rockwell Museum
Illustrated by Wendell Minor

Every now and then on the Almanac, I like to discuss a book about children’s books, written for adults. Today, for Read a New Book Month, the Almanac features Wendell Minor’s America: 25 Years of Children’s Book Art, published by the Norman Rockwell Museum in conjunction with their current Wendell Minor exhibit. In this gorgeous […]

Animals, Art, History
Featured on December 9, 2013

Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner

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December has been designated Read a New Book Month. Often in December, we hunt for something recently published that will make the perfect gift. Now, I admit that I favor dog books. And my readers have been patient with me as I rhapsodize over titles like Love that Dog or Homer, month after month. But […]

Animals, Cats, Humor, Imagination, Technology
Featured on December 2, 2013

Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe
Illustrated by Alan Daniel

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Around this time of year, I prepare myself for Halloween madness. I’ve never enjoyed scary nights or stories. So today my recommendation is for anyone who wants a quasi-horror story that uses the elements of horror but blends them with a lot of humor. First published in 1979, Deborah and James Howe’s Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale […]

Animals, Humor, Rabbits
Featured on October 28, 2013

Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
Illustrated by Barry Moser

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Today we celebrate the birthday of an illustrator who can list among his many accomplishments creating art for The Bible. Barry Moser was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and then came East to teach. While living in western Massachusetts, he met and worked with Leonard Baskin, premier illustrator and printmaker. Moser himself became renowned […]

Animals
Featured on October 15, 2013

Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
Illustrated by K.G. Campbell

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October is National Reading Group Month, and our author of the day, Kate diCamillo, has always been one of my favorite choices for reading groups. Now, I admit I am a sucker for a Kate DiCamillo story. From the beginning of her first book Because of Winn Dixie to the last page of Flora & […]

Animals, Squirrels
Featured on October 8, 2013

Lulu and the Duck in the Park by Hilary McKay
Illustrated by Priscilla Lamont

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During the week of August 11–17 a relatively new cause is celebrated: feeding the pets of the homeless. The philosophy behind the Give a Dog a Bone campaign is that “No pet should go hungry or suffer.” In a book of the day, Lulu and the Duck in the Park by Hilary McKay, the heroine […]

Animals, Ducks, School
Featured on August 12, 2013

Where Is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox
Illustrated by Judy Horacek

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Around this time of year Ohio celebrates Sheep Day! In Wayne County at the Sheep Research Unit, Ohio State University faculty, staff, and students convene to discuss how to successfully raise sheep. If I were anywhere near this event, I’d go because I have a soft spot for sheep. Instead I’ll pick up the book […]

Animals, Bedtime
Featured on July 13, 2013

Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert

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Today we celebrate Butterfly Day, a time to go out and gaze at some of nature’s most beautiful creatures. They lift their wings and our spirits. My favorite butterfly book since 2001 has been Lois Ehlert’s Waiting for Wings, an oversized volume that highlights butterflies and the plants that sustain them. Lois Ehlert always knew […]

Animals, Gardening, Insects, Science, Zoology
Featured on June 19, 2013

Lucky Ducklings by Eva Moore
Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

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At the Natural History Museum in Rotterdam on June 5, they acknowledge Dead Duck Day and discuss ways to prevent these winged city dwellers from colliding into windows. I, however, don’t like to use Almanac pages to feature dead ducks or dead dogs. But our book of the day, Eva Moore’s Lucky Ducklings, does explore […]

Animals, Ducks, True Story
Featured on June 5, 2013

One-Eyed Cat by Paula Fox

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Today marks the birthday of writer Paula Fox, born in New York City. Her memoir Borrowed Finery tells the haunting story of her childhood and her rejection by her mother who left her in an orphanage. Paula was initially raised by Reverend Elwood Corning and his bedridden mother; later Fox’s Cuban grandmother took care of […]

Animals, Award Winning, Cats, Family, Great Depression, History, Newbery
Featured on April 22, 2013

Book of Animal Poetry by J. Patrick Lewis

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April 15 is, of course, tax day—but I have never found a suitable book on the subject for the Almanac. Some concerns really are not appropriate for children. Instead I will focus on a perfect title for Poetry Month, J. Patrick Lewis’s Book of Animal Poetry. In March at the Charlotte Huck Festival in Redlands, […]

Animals, Science, Zoology
Featured on April 15, 2013

Stardines Swim High Across the Sky and Other Poems by Jack Prelutsky
Illustrated by Carin Berger

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Happy April Fools’ Day! As someone quite gullible, I find this day taxing. But since April is also Poetry Month, I have a reason to celebrate today. In a new offering that will appeal to both adults and children, Jack Prelutsky has teamed up with the talented Carin Berger to create a book that provides […]

Animals, Art, Science
Featured on April 1, 2013

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

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Today marks the birthday of Peggy Rathmann. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Peggy studied commercial art and crafted picture books at the Otis Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles. In 1991 she published her first book, Ruby the Copycat, and was immediately hailed by Publishers Weekly as a “Promising New Author.” Promising indeed. Within […]

Animals, Bedtime
Featured on March 4, 2013

Road Trip by Gary Paulsen and Jim Paulsen

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February has been designated Responsible Pet Owners Month. The book of the day, Jim Paulsen and Gary Paulsen’s Road Trip, has been dedicated to “everyone who’s ever loved and been loved by a really good dog.” It was pressed into my hands recently by Carol Stoltz of Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when I […]

Animals, Dogs
Featured on February 11, 2013

The Tree House by Marije Tolman and Ronald Tolman

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In the first week in February, we celebrate Children’s Authors and Illustrators Week. Of course, on the Almanac I celebrate them every day of the year. But still I appreciate a week where everyone can focus on these extraordinary people. After being in the field for more than forty years, I love finding an author-illustrator […]

Animals, Art, Award Winning
Featured on February 4, 2013

Homer by Elisha Cooper

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November has been designated Adopt a Senior Pet Month. Most families want to find a puppy or kitten when they chose a pet, but there are so many benefits in bringing a more mature animal into the house. My own senior pet, a Bernese mountain dog named Lady, turns twelve this month. Two years ago […]

Animals, Dogs, Family
Featured on November 6, 2012

Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Animals by Ed Emberley

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Today marks the birthday of Ed Emberley. Ed was born in Malden, Massachusetts, graduated from the Massachusetts School of Art, and then painted signs for the army and worked in commercial illustration. In the late fifties he began publishing books with the then-Boston firm of Little Brown and Company. For Ed Emberley, working on books […]

Animals, Art, Nature
Featured on October 19, 2012

George and Martha by James Marshall

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Were he still living, I’d be sending  birthday greetings to Jim Marshall today. He died at the age of fifty, much too young and with too many great books still to come. And I have missed him, personally and professionally, for twenty years. A highly sophisticated human being, Jim grew up in San Antonio, Texas, […]

Animals, Friendship
Featured on October 10, 2012

The Fire Cat by Esther Averill

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October happens to be Fire Pup Month. But even old dogs can learn new tricks—and today I will be writing about a cat, not a dog! This year I’ve been meeting with a group of children’s book experts and enthusiasts to choose a small library of the best children’s books. Through this project I have […]

Animals, Cars, Cats, Transportation
Featured on October 1, 2012

The Animal Family by Randall Jarrell
Illustrated by Maurice Sendak

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Born on May 6, 1914, Randall Jarrell did not publish his first children’s book until he was fifty. By that time he had established himself as one of America’s premiere poets for adults and was also renowned for his brilliant literary criticism. Michael di Capua, then at Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, lured Jarrell into children’s […]

Animals, Family
Featured on May 6, 2012

Step Gently Out by Helen Frost
Illustrated by Rick Lieder

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In April we’ve been celebrating Poetry Month. I actually wish every day were Poetry Day for children and that a poems were part of their daily literary diet. In the last couple of years, single poetry volumes for children ages two through eight—the work of Joyce Sidman and books like Marilyn Singer’s Mirror Mirror—have increased. […]

Animals, Insects, Nature
Featured on April 24, 2012

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine A. Applegate
Illustrated by Patricia Castelao

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April has been designated Pets Are Wonderful Month (PAWS), which all pets are, of course. As I write, my dear Lance snoozes not far from my feet. They provide inspiration and attention. People have kept all kinds of animals, as pets or objects of curiosity, over the years. And the treatment of these animals lies […]

Animals, Social Conscience
Featured on April 18, 2012

A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond

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March has been set aside to celebrate the idea that “Humorists are Artists.” Funny books are among the hardest things to write for children—and often the writers get less respect than their more serious counterparts. I am, therefore, always happy when the Almanac can celebrate humor and humorists. Published in 1958, Michael Bond’s A Bear […]

Animals, Bears, London
Featured on March 26, 2012

And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano
Illustrated by Erin E. Stead

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It has been an unusually difficult winter in New England this year, with several feet of snow arriving in the region. Although my Bernese Mountain Dog Lance has enjoyed every flake, I find myself longing for the first day of spring. That sense of joy, of the brown, dry earth coming to life has been […]

Animals, Nature, Seasons, Spring
Featured on March 20, 2012

Daily children’s book recommendations and events from Anita Silvey.

Discover the stories behind the children’s book classics . . .

The new books on their way to becoming classics . . .

And events from the world of children’s books—and the world at large.