Our friends’ daughter just bought this book, The Day the Crayons Quit, at her school book fair. I saw it when we went to their house for dinner last night, and I liked it so much that I sat there reading it instead of being good company. It’s so clever, and the illustrations are great.


Our friend and colleague Lucinda Scala Quinn recommended a great new memoir, Still Points North, by Leigh Newman. Newman, the deputy editor and online books editor at O Magazine, traces a childhood bifurcated by divorce—the several thousand miles between Baltimore and Anchorage and the gulf between those physical and emotional landscapes. The product of a fragile […]

fox 8

Everyone in our office is obsessed with George Saunders (Tenth of December), and if you’re a Dinner a Love Story follower (how not?!), chances are, your kids are fans too (here’s an awesome George Saunders reading list from DALS if you aren’t familiar with his work). We are psyched to buy his new eBook, Fox […]


Zero the Hero is a math-lesson picture book that doesn’t feel anything like a lesson, because it actually tells a story. Author Joan Holub and illustrator Tom Lichtenheld (who clearly has a talent for this sort of thing, having also illustrated the similarly clever letter book E-mergency last year) make the titular digit a sympathetic outcast […]


Most holiday-themed children’s books, let’s face it, aren’t very good. Most are conceived and created mainly to be promoted at their respective times of the year, and accordingly aren’t terribly inspired. And Presidents’ Day would seem, if anything, an even worse holiday than usual for kids’ books; the preponderance of those pegged to it that […]

i'm fast

We have two young boys, so trains have been a major theme of our home for quite some time. The three-year-old grows more fascinated with them daily, his interest waxing conveniently apace with his older brother’s moving on to other things, like the new Wii that Santa brought this year. (This has all worked out […]

think global

Graphic novels have gained a great deal of respectability since I was a kid. With the possible exception of Herge’s Tintin books—and those had European cred!—back then, the genre was linked more with its cousin, the comic book, than with other children’s books. And comic books were distinctly not respectable in a literary sense: Even the […]


Picture books for the youngest readers can be many things—beautiful, moving, offbeat. But sometimes children (and their parents, too) are just looking for something, well, silly. Satisfying this common craving is Stephen Shaskan’s new A Dog Is a Dog, a series of rhyming couplets illustrated in a pleasantly upbeat faux-retro style. The book begins as […]


Brian Selznick’s debut children’s book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, followed the path of every new author’s fantasy: It got magnificent reviews full of words like groundbreaking; it won a Caldecott; it became that book every parent tells every other parent about; and—just to make sure Selznick would be pinching himself—now it’s a major motion […]

wagon drawing

A friend called me recently and said “I sent you a book! Call me as soon as you’re done reading it!” The next day, a brand new copy of The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure appeared in my mailbox. If you have any fondness for the […]


Every now and then, you run into a book that establishes its author—someone whose work you weren’t familiar with—as a force to be reckoned with. It happens with books for adults, and it certainly happens with kid lit; we’ve all heard the stories of Maurice Sendak’s meteoric entry into the pantheon with Where the Wild […]

Charting the World

It figures that as soon as I write about how difficult it can be to find standout children’s nonfiction, a slew of books come along to prove me wrong. The latest discovery is Richard Panchyk’s, and where Winter’s Tail placed its real-life subject matter into a children’s-book format, this is more an adult-style book made […]

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