When young Ursula Brown reaches the estate of the Vaughns (who are also recognizable as the Three Bears) to be a governess for their son, Teddy, her story becomes less a simple fairy-tale retelling and more of a mash-up of classic literary tropes.
Emily Jenkins will bring out the foodie in any reader as she traces the preparation of blackberry fool through four centuries in A Fine Dessert. Starting in 1710 in Lyme, England, a mother and daughter pick wild blackberries from the field surrounding their cottage. Then begins the labor-intensive process that includes milking the cow, skimming the cream, beating the cream with twigs, straining the berries through muslin to get rid of seeds and chilling the delightful blend of berries and cream in an ice pit in the hillside.
At the end of a birthday party, the best gift a little girl receives is her black-and-white tuxedo cat. In Tiptop Cat, author and illustrator C. Roger Mader portrays this cat’s independent and slightly mischievous new life. Seen from Tiptop’s perspective, the rich pastel illustrations depict the cat at eye-level as he explores under tables and beds, defies dizzying heights along the balcony railing and climbs neighborhood rooftops to his favorite spot: a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower from the top of the world.
In this standalone companion to the Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Award-winning Elijah of Buxton, author Christopher Paul Curtis returns to the Canadian town founded in the 1860s by former African-American slaves. Although few of the original settlers still live in Buxton in 1901, one of their descendants, Benji Alston, stands out. An aspiring newspaper reporter, Benji understands the power of the written word and enters an apprenticeship with Miss Cary, the daughter of real-life Mary Ann Camberton Shadd, an abolitionist and journalist in neighboring Chatham. Also residing in Chatham is Alvin “Red” Stockard, who is often mistreated by his bitter and racist grandmother, who suffered during the Irish immigration to Canada during “The Great Hunger.”
Milo was ready to enjoy a quiet Christmas vacation at his parents' hotel, Greenglass House, in the fictional harbor town of Nagspeake. Usually inhabited by local smugglers, the hotel receives not one but five unexpected visitors on the same snowy night. After Milo finds a map (with possible ties to Greenglass House) that was dropped by one of the hotel guests, it’s clear that they’re all looking for something—but not necessarily the same thing.
Mac Barnett, author of the Caldecott Honor-winning picture book Extra Yarn, turns a popular children’s game into a high-wire act in his latest offering. In many picture books featuring people and animals, the animal world serves as the background. In Telephone, the opening spread features a wordless panorama in which children playing outside offer a clue of what’s to come for the many birds sitting on the telephone lines high above.
There are many strange disappearances on Offley Street, from Imogen Splotts’ teddy bear to Lady Chumley-Plumley’s diamonds. And one creature has taken notice: Hermelin, a mouse that can read and write. Self-named for the cheese box in which he woke up one day, Hermelin resides in the attic of Number 33 Offley Street. Perhaps inspired by the old mysteries and Victorian garb surrounding him, the mouse sets out to find the lost items he sees on the neighborhood message board.
The creators of The Three Ninja Pigs kick up the high—or rather hi-yah—intensity with another fractured fairy tale. Starting where the previous book ended, the hungry and defeated wolf secretly enrolls in a martial arts school, where he “jackknifed and flipped / and at last felt equipped / to once again catch a good meal.” When he meets Red deep in a bamboo forest, the carnivore quickly thinks up a plan to score a treat.
Following Countdown, Deborah Wiles’ tale about the Cuban Missile Crisis and the first book in her Sixties Trilogy, Revolution spotlights the Freedom Summer of 1964. During this volatile time, black and white volunteers from four major civil rights organizations joined efforts to register as many African-American voters as possible in Mississippi, at the time one of the country’s most racist and dangerous states.
When you open a children’s book, it’s not fair to expect the characters to be ready every time. This is especially true if it’s by Hervé Tullet, the New York Times best-selling author of Press Here. When you open the equally inventive Help! We Need a Title!, you find a princess and a pig tossing a ball together until they notice that you, the reader, have arrived. “Hey! Someone’s watching us! . . . And they’ve opened our book!” The full cast of characters appear and realize that—of course—you would like a story.