Arthur’s Nose by Marc Brown

, ,

Today for Great Books Week (October 6-12) , I’d like to look at a modest picture book that launched an empire: Marc Brown’s Arthur’s Nose. In 1976 a failed television weatherman, Marc Brown, published his first picture book under the astute guidance of Emilie McLeod of Atlantic Monthly Press. Emilie, one of those most respected […]

Animals, Friendship, Humor
Featured on October 7

On the Farm by David Elliott
Illustrated by Holly Meade

, ,

Since the eighties the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi has been honored with World Farm Animals Day. If I were to pick a single book that celebrates living farm animals, it would have to be On the Farm, an inspired collaboration between poet David Elliott and illustrator Holly Meade. David once actually worked on a farm—although […]

Featured on October 2

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

, ,

September 25 has been designated National Comic Book Day. From Jennifer L. and Matthew Holm’s Babymouse series to Jeff Kinney’s Wimpy Kid offerings, comic books (sometimes called graphic novels) have been the hottest publishing phenomena of the past few years—including in books for children. Entire imprints, like First Second, have been established to explore what […]

Humor, Imagination
Featured on September 25

Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill

, ,

September has been designated World Animal Remembrance Month—and today I’m going to talk about one of the dogs most loved by the preschool set, Eric Hill’s Spot. It is hard to believe that this pooch has only been around for thirty-one years. The ongoing saga of Spot began not with Spot himself, but his mother […]

Animals, Dogs
Featured on September 16

Grandpa Green by Lane Smith

, ,

Since 1978 the first Sunday after Labor Day has been celebrated as National Grandparents Day to encourage grandchildren to tap into the wisdom and heritage of their grandparents. Encapsulating both the spirit and the intent of this holiday, our book-of-the-day is Grandpa Green by Lane Smith. As editor of The Horn Book Magazine I watched the […]

Art, Gardening, Imagination
Featured on September 11

Rah, Rah, Radishes! by April Pulley Sayre

, ,

Toward the end of August, those of us with vegetable gardens find ourselves with an abundance of crops—and those who don’t grow their own vegetables can delight in all of the produce available at local Farmers’ Markets. August has been designated Celery, Fennel and Cactus Month along with Mushroom and Onion Month. But for me […]

Food, Gardening
Featured on August 29

Kindergarten Diary by Antoinette Portis

, ,

Our book of the day yesterday, Wemberly Worried, has been around for a decade. But last year, Antoinette Portis added a new book to read during Get Ready for Kindergarten Month. Kindergarten Diary explores what a young child might think and experience each day in a new school. Portis, the very creative inventor of Not […]

Humor, Imagination, School
Featured on August 20

Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes

, ,

For some children, the end of August means preparing to go to school for the very first time. For them August has been designated Get Ready for Kindergarten Month. If you are hunting for a book that might help the very young overcome some of their anxieties about school, today we’ll look at Kevin Henkes’s […]

Animals, Humor, Mice, School
Featured on August 19

Corduroy by Don Freeman

, ,

On August 11, 1908, Don Freeman was born in San Diego, California. Freeman showed early skills as both a musician and an artist. In the late twenties he moved to New York City to make a living. He arrived a few days before the stock market crash and always carried a guilt complex about the […]

Bedtime, Teddy Bears, Toys
Featured on August 11

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

, ,

July has been designated National Blueberry Month, to alert the public that this is the best time for fresh blueberries. I hope you can pick up some today—and while you are doing so, take a look at a classic children’s book that celebrates this delicious fruit. One of the most beloved children’s books of all […]

Animals, Family
Featured on July 29

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

, ,

July 28, 1866, one year after the end of the American Civil War, a baby girl was born into an affluent English family. She would eventually create the world’s bestselling picture book. Helen Beatrix Potter loved drawing as a child, both images of the natural world and of the multitude of pets her family kept—rabbits, […]

Animals, London, Rabbits, Science
Featured on July 28

The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog by Mo Willems

, ,

Today is National Hot Dog Day, and July is National Hot Dog Month. So it seems a good time to focus on hot dogs, one of America’s favorite and “most patriotic” foods according to promoters. Although the book of the day seems like a natural for publication, Mo Willems’s first book about the pigeon, Don’t […]

Animals, Birds, Food, Humor, Imagination
Featured on July 23

The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrated by Clement Hurd

, ,

For National Rabbit Week, we’ll look at several books, starting with two bunny books ideal for preschoolers.  We have a bumper crop of rabbits in my neighborhood this year, and my Bernese Mountain Dog Lancelot is obsessed with them. Possibly he is a candidate for both books of the day. A graduate of Bank Street […]

Animals, Family, Imagination, Rabbits
Featured on July 17

My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann

, ,

July 15–21 has been designated National Rabbit Week to pay tribute to this animal for being such a great companion for humans. What is it about rabbits that so inspire children’s book authors and illustrators? Ever since Peter Rabbit went lippety, lippety down the road, rabbits have multiplied like—well—bunnies in children’s books. I’ll be talking […]

Animals, Award Winning, Caldecott, Humor, Imagination, Rabbits
Featured on July 16

Zoo-ology by Joëlle Jolivet

, ,

On July 1, 1874, the first zoo in the United States opened its doors to visitors in Philadelphia. A quarter for adults and a dime for children allowed visitors to view 813 animals housed there. Three thousand people traveled by foot, horse and buggy, or steamboat to look at the wonders. Thousands of books about […]

Art, Nature, Science, Zoology
Featured on July 1

Camp Babymouse by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

, ,

June has been designated the Great Outdoors Month, to celebrate our nation’s natural beauty and renew our commitment to protecting the environment. In June many people and families head to the great outdoors, often to camp out. Many children go to camp for a week or two, giving them experiences that they might not have […]

Adventure, Seasons, Summer
Featured on June 27

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin
Illustrated by Betsy Lewin

, ,

On June 23, 1868, the first American typewriter was patented by Luther Sholes. Beginning in 1937 the dairy industry has dedicated June as National Dairy Month, a time to call attention to the important role that milk and milk products play in our diets and the outstanding contributions made by dairy farmers. So how do […]

Animals, Cows, Humor
Featured on June 23

Curious George by H. A. Rey and Margret Rey

, ,

Seventy years ago in 1941, three days before Hitler’s army marched into Paris, two German Jews who had come to the city on a honeymoon and stayed for a couple of years, found themselves trapped in Paris. Although Hans and Margret Rey had secured railroad tickets, the trains stopped running. So Hans scoured bicycle stores, […]

Animals, History, Humor, Imagination, Monkeys, World War II
Featured on June 11

Duck on a Bike by David Shannon

, , ,

Organizers of National Bike Month—established to celebrate bicycling for fun, fitness, and transportation—estimate that five million people will participate in biking activities across the country during May. Certainly for many people, nothing says “good weather” and “good times” as much as the idea of a bike trip, however long or short. I just wish the […]

Animals, Ducks, Humor
Featured on May 26

First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

, ,

May has been designed Egg Month—dedicated to the versatility, convenience, and good nutrition of “The incredible edible egg.”TM Children’s book writers and illustrators have always been bullish on eggs—at least as the subject matter for books. Just think of classics like Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hatches the Egg or Oliver Butterworth’s The Enormous Egg. But my […]

Animals, Award Winning, Caldecott, Nature
Featured on May 25

Margaret Wise Brown by Margaret Wise Brown

, ,

Today marks the birthday of one of the greatest children’s book creators of the twentieth century, Margaret Wise Brown. Although she died suddenly of an embolism at the age of forty-two, Brown wrote more than one hundred books, including Runaway Bunny and her classic Goodnight Moon. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Brown grew up on Long […]

Animals, Bedtime, Rabbits
Featured on May 23

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss
Illustrated by Crockett Johnson

, ,

In May of 1945—around the time of Victory in Europe Day in World War II—a small book appeared on the list of Harper and Brothers. A quirky, offbeat title, it was not advertised that year and did not seem a likely candidate for celebrity status in the picture book world. But when it comes to […]

Family, Gardening
Featured on May 17

A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams

, ,

Today we celebrate Mother’s Day, a time to remember all of the sacrifices and kindnesses of our mothers. As a body of stories, children’s books are probably kinder to fathers than mothers. But our Book-of-the-Day is about a memorable mother and a child who appreciates her. Vera Williams grew up in a household where her […]

Award Winning, Caldecott, Family, Multicultural, Women
Featured on May 8

Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton
Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

, ,

May has been designated Get Caught Reading Month, a campaign launched in 1999 by the Association of American Publishers. The month has been set aside to remind people how much fun it is to read; posters for the event show favorite children’s book characters or celebrities celebrating books and reading. I’m going to feature two […]

Humor, Imagination, Toys
Featured on May 2

Red-Eyed Tree Frog by Joy Cowley
Illustrated by Nic Bishop

, , , ,

April 29 has been designated Save the Frogs Day, a day of amphibian education. Although there will be an event in Washington, D.C., the third annual Save the Frogs Day organizers encourage people to recognize the day in their own communities. Their website contains lesson plans and activities that can be adapted by teachers and […]

Animals, Award Winning, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Frogs, Nature
Featured on April 29

Brontorina by James Howe
Illustrated by Randy Cecil

, ,

From April 26- May 5, we celebrate National Dance Week, a time to reflect on the benefits and beauty of dance and its ability “to enrich our lives, our bodies, our spirits and our culture.” Dance, dancers, and ballet have always proved fertile ground for children’s book creators. Angelina Ballerina  and Ballet of the Elephants […]

Dance, Dinosaurs, Humor
Featured on April 28

In the Small Pond by Denise Fleming

, ,

Since 1970 Earth Day has been celebrated worldwide on April 22. With an emphasis on the resources of the planet and renewable energy, Earth Day reminds us to take a closer look at the world around us. Suggested activities and local events can be found at the Earth Day Network. Today I’d like to take […]

Animals, Award Winning, Caldecott, Nature, Seasons
Featured on April 22

Mr. Gumpy’s Outing


Today,  I want to talk about two of our classic books for babies and toddlers. As Julie Roach, Manager of Youth Services of the Cambridge (MA) Public Library, has told me on many occasions, the best titles for this age group include a text with few words that encourages participation and simple images and plots […]

Animals, Award Winning, Caldecott, Trains, Transportation
Featured on April 11

Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant
Illustrated by Suçie Stevenson

, ,

April 1 marks a lot of holidays. It begins Laugh at Work Week and International Pooper Scooper Week and has been designated Reading is Funny Day and National Fun Day.  April has been set aside to celebrate National Humor, Pets Are Wonderful (PAW), and Dog Appreciation. When I saw all of these events, I had […]

Animals, Dogs, Family, Seasons
Featured on April 1

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead
Illustrated by Erin E. Stead

, ,

Today marks National Doctor Day, when we should show our personal doctor appreciation with a card or a gift. It commemorates March 30, 1933, the first use of anesthesia in surgery. If by any chance you want to give a book as a gift, for yourself or your doctor, I can think of no better […]

Animals, Award Winning, Bedtime, Caldecott
Featured on March 30

Busy, Busy Town by Richard Scarry

, ,

Today has been designated International Goof-Off Day—a day to relax, be yourself, and avoid what you are supposed to do. If you are in the position to celebrate International Goof-Off Day, you first might want to read Tony Fucile’s Let’s Do Nothing for tips. But I myself am happiest when working at something I like […]

Animals, Humor, Imagination
Featured on March 22

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.