It's here! And it's big! And packed full of great reviews!!! The New York Times Book Review annual holiday feature on Children's Books is really worth perusing this year. Besides featuring many books I have reviewed or am in the process or reading for review right now, there is the Best Illustrated Books of 2011 feature which, though I already mentioned it last week, is worth following the link since the slideshow provided is much better than the glimpse of artwork I gave you. Also, I am really excited about the wealth of interesting picture books, quite a few I have not heard of, that are reviewed. Topics like Picture Books About Moving, Picture Books About Unusual Animals, Variations on Aesop's Fables and Picture Books About the Alphabet all feature new works from some spectacular artists and illustrators. There is even a feature on Books About Grandparents, which includes the new book from Caldecott Honor winner David Ezra Stein (Interrupting Chicken, Love Mouserella.
Also, some great reviews of books that I am reading or about to read. Secrets at Sea by Richard Peck and The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale by Carmen Agra Deedy are discussed in an article titled Mice Twice. A book I've been hearing buzz about amongst bloggers, Bigger Than a Bread Box by Laurel Snyder. And (drumroll, please) children's book historian Leonard S Marcus (who also just annotated the 50th Anniversary Edition of Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer's masterpiece, The Phantom Tollbooth) reviews the very exciting, long awaited book that I am one story away from finishing, The Chronicles of Harris Burdick, the all-star collection of authors adding their interpretations to my favorite Chris Van Allsburg book from 1984, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. If you have never heard of or seen this remarkable book, then I suggest you run out and buy it RIGHT NOW. Or, maybe you could just read Choose Your Own Adventure, Marcus's review of the book. Or, better yet, visit Who Is Harris Burdick, the website dedicated to the book and readers' stories to go with the pictures. The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is beautifully unique and endlessly inspiring of creative thinking. Because of this, it has been a classroom staple for years. Apparently, however, this book isn't as widely known as I had assumed. Several my literate and occasionally literary co-workers had NEVER HEARD OF IT! And, while I did have a customer (a teacher) express excitement over The Chronicles of Harris Burdick, I'm not sure how well the book is selling in my store, despite the fact that it is (and will be through Christmas) on a 20% off sale table at Barnes & Noble....
The New York Times 10 Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2011
Migrant by Maxine Trottier, pictures by Isabelle Arsenault
Grandpa Green by Lane Smith
A New Year's Reunion by Yu Li Qiong and Zhu Cheng Liang
Along a Long Road by Frank Viva
I Want My Hat Back Jon Klassen
Brother Sun, Sister Moon:
Saint Francis of Assisis Canticle of Creatures,
reimagined by Katherin Paterson, illustrated by Pamela Dalton
A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka
ICE by Arthur Geisert
A Nation's Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis
by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Me . . . Jane by Patrick McDonnell