October 2002

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Upcoming Events for Children's Librarians

NEWS AND NOTES

Dorothy Dohm Dies: Longtime ACL member Dorothy Dohm died on October 9, 2002, at the age of 96. She died at home in San Francisco, and is survived by her sister Judith Dohm. There will be a tribute to Miss Dohm in the next issue of BayNews.

Glen Rounds Dies: Author/Illustrator Glen Rounds, known for his distinctive books on tall tales, cowboys and the American West, died at age 96 in September.

Reference Book Author Dies: Joseph N. Kane, author of several reference books including "Famous First Facts," has died at age 103.

Karen Hesse Receives Genius Grant: The MacArthur Genius Grants were announced on Sept. 25, and recipients included Newbery Award-winning author Karen Hesse (Out of the Dust). Each year, 24 people receive half a million dollars as MacArthur Geniuses. The only other children's author to ever receive this honor was Virginia Hamilton.

Textbooks Challenged: As the Texas Board of Education decides which new history textbooks will be adopted, many interest groups are lobbying them from both the left and the right. To find out more about the history of how history is taught, check out Whose America? by Jonathan Zimmerman, Harvard Univ. Press, 2002.
Erratum: There was an error on page 22 of the Sept. 2002 issue of BayViews. In the review of Susie Morgenstern's Princesses Are People, Too, one sentence read: "These are slight, pleasant stories about princesses, written in a controversial, humorous style, but they are nothing special." "Controversial" should have been "conversational." Our apologies to the reviewer, Nicole Reader.


BETTY JO PETERSON, 1932-2002

Betty Jo Peterson died September 23, 2002, in Fresno, California. She was born in Paso Robles, California. She received her M.L.S. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1956. She worked as a children's librarian and later as children's services coordinator at the Kern County Library in Bakersfield. She retired in 1996, after working 23 years as the Curriculum/Juvenile Librarian at the Henry Madden Library at California State University, Fresno.

In the American Library Association, she served on many committees, including the Newbery, Caldecott, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Notable Children's Books Committees. She served also on the John and Patricia Beatty Award Committee of the California Library Association and was an active member of several other library associations.

She was the founding vice president of the Arne Nixon Center Advocates, the support group of the Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children's Literature at California State University, Fresno.

Survivors include her brother, J. Paul Peterson; nephews, John and Craig Peterson; niece, Wendy Peterson; and four great nieces and nephews. Her family has donated her personal collection of 600 children's books to the Arne Nixon Center and they respectfully request that remembrances be made to the Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children's Literature, Henry Madden Library, 5200 North Barton Ave., M/S ML34, Fresno, CA 93740-8014.
Angelica Carpenter, Arne Nixon Center, CSUF

SALLY WATSON'S HISTORICAL FICTION

A favorite book coming back in print is always a cause for celebration. Several titles by local author Sally Watson will be available again this fall, and they can be purchased and autographed at a celebratory tea sponsored by the Sonoma County Central Library on Sunday, November 17.

I discovered these books by happy accident, browsing the fiction stacks of my branch library when I was 12. The beautifully written historical fiction, with spirited female protagonists, suspense, humor, a marvelous sense of time and place, and just the right amount of romance for an adolescent reader so captivated me that I was compelled to write my first author fan letter. It was graciously answered, in a beautiful calligraphic hand on thin, pale blue paper, all the way from England.

But Sally Watson is American, and when a colleague visited my home a few years ago and saw my few cherished Watson books, she told me that ten years earlier, while working at the Santa Rosa library, she and Sally had become friends.

Sally is my friend now, too. Past 75, a black belt in judo, she is involved with feral cat rescue, and writing again. Her books, rare copies of which command high prices on the internet, will be available to all, in quality paperback, published by Image Cascade (www.imagecascade.com), for $12.95. The first five titles, available in November, are:

HIGHLAND REBEL (1-930009-63-1); set in Scotland in 1745.
MISTRESS MALAPERT (1-930009-64-X); a glimpse into Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.
LARK (1-930009-65-8); a cross-country adventure in Cromwellian England.
HORNET'S NEST (1-930009-66-6); colonial Virginia at the onset of the Revolution
JADE (1-930009-67-4); on board Anne Bonny's pirate ship in the Caribbean.

The tea in Sally's honor will be held at 2:30 PM on Sunday, November 17, in the Forum Room at the Sonoma County Central Library, on the corner of Third and E Streets in downtown Santa Rosa (707-545-0831). Please come, and meet a wonderful writer and a delightful person.
I'll gladly field any questions, or wax poetic, about Sally and her books!

Carla Kozak
[email protected]


Board Book Round-up

It has been six months since BayNews had its last Board Book Round-up (May, 2002 issue), so it's time for the Fall round-up of these useful but rarely reviewed books. The Fall publishing output offers a few new board book series, some board books inspired by television, and more in the growing list of picture books published in this format.

New Series

Falconer, Ian. OLIVIA COUNTS. Atheneum, 2002. $6.99. ISBN 0-689-85087-5.

Falconer, Ian. OLIVIA'S OPPOSITES. Atheneum, 2002. $6.99. ISBN 0-689-85088-3.
Falconer's OLIVIA, first seen in the Caldecott Honor picture book, is one of the most popular new characters in children's literature. Do her antics translate to the board book audience? Yes! And parents and older children will find them as funny as the picture books.

In OLIVIA'S OPPOSITES, our heroine depicts opposites clearly and simply: she wears a long and short red dress, yawns to depict "open," and closes her mouth for closed. Falconer's signature shaded pencil sketches with red painted highlights on white backgrounds work as well in board book format as they do in picture book.

In OLIVIA COUNTS, both the numeral and the word for each number appears next to the items to count. Most children will identify with the items: 1 ball, 2 bows, even the 7 "accessories;" as you may remember, Olivia fancies herself a fashionista. I especially appreciate that Falconer has created all new pictures and situations for these two original board books. They have a very broad age appeal; toddlers will enjoy them for the simple concepts, first graders can read and laugh at the situations.

Simmons, Jane. DAISY SAYS "IF YOU'RE HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT." Little, Brown, 2002. $7.95. ISBN 0-316-799-40-8.

Simmons, Jane. DAISY SAYS "HERE WE GO ROUND THE MULBERRY BUSH." Little, Brown, 2002. $7.95. ISBN 0-316-79811-8.
The popular song, "If You're Happy and You Know It," is given an original twist here - instead of clapping or stomping your feet, Daisy the duck invites you to buzz like a bee, baa like a sheep, etc. This variation is very successful; we all know that toddlers enjoy animal stories where the animals make their signature sounds.
In "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush," the forest variations include pouncing like a kitten and leaping like a frog, instead of washing one's clothes, etc. Again, young listeners can participate by making animal sounds and movements. Both of these "Daisy" books will be used at baby bounce or toddler storytimes.
The illustrations are in Simmons' customary deeply colored paintings, featuring a soft-focus quality and visable brush marks. The books also include tabs, like a dictionary, so the reader can skip to a favorite animal featured in the song.

Acredolo, Linda and Goodwyn, Susan. BABY SIGNS FOR MEALTIME. HarperFestival, 2002. $6.95. ISBN 0-06-009073-1.

Acredolo, Linda and Goodwyn, Susan. MY FIRST BABY SIGNS. HarperFestival, 2002. $6.95. ISBN 0-06-009074-X.
My associate uses sign language quite frequently in the toddler and baby storytimes at my library, and these books went over very successfully when used with those groups. I am sure they would be equally successful when used by a parent and toddler in the home.
Each of these simple instructional books feature a color photograph of a baby demonstrating the simple sign and the item that the sign represents. For example, a baby is shown looking at a book, then the same baby is shown demonstrating the sign for book. The word "Book" dominates the text, and in smaller print is a brief written instruction for doing the sign. The photos show the baby and object against a white background. Many experts encourage sign language instruction to all babies as a prelude to vocal speech, so you have parents already requesting these books. It's nice that the books successfully do what they set out to do.

Gliori, Debi. TICKLY UNDER THERE. Orchard, 2002. $5.95. ISBN 0-439-24404-8.

Gliori, Debi. CAN I HAVE A HUG? Orchard, 2002. $5.95. ISBN 0-439-27602-2.
These over-sized board books feature a mother bear and baby bear in simple situations that human toddlers will relate to. In TICKLY UNDER THERE, mother plays with baby who is having a bath, eating, etc. In CAN I HAVE A HUG? Baby Bear finds his friend bee, owl, and bunny too difficult to hug, but Mother Bear is just perfect.
The rhyming text and colorful paintings are just right for this audience. The pictures have only one or two dominant characters, lots of white space, and are done in "close-up," depicting what the text describes. Originally from England, these will work just as well with American toddlers as they did with British children.

Television Spin-off

All by Else Holmelund Minarik, illustrated by David T. Wenzel. "Maurice Sendak's Little Bear" series, HarperFestival, 2002:

TO GRANDMOTHER'S HOUSE, $5.99, ISBN 0-694-01688-8.
FATHER'S FLYING FLAPJACKS, $5.99, ISBN 0-694-01687-X.
LITTLE BEAR MAKES A SCARECROW, $5.99, ISBN 0-694-01686-1.
LITTLE BEAR'S SCARY NIGHT, $5.99, ISBN 0-694-01685-3.

Many of our young patrons first experience Little Bear, not in the easy reader format he originally came in, but through the Nick, Jr. cable television series. These board books are based on the TV series, which was based on Minarik's easy reader series. The original books were illustrated by Maurice Sendak; these board books are done by another illustrator in soft watercolors and colored pencil.

The stories are very age appropriate for toddlers, with simple plots, lots of repetition and rhythm in the text, and with events relevant to a toddler. Little Bear visits his grandparents, helps Father make pancakes, acts like a scarecrow, and goes out on "goblin night." These simple stories and clear illustrations seem just right for toddlers and preschoolers.

However, I have mixed emotions about these books. They are sweet like the original easy readers, but the illustrations have more of a "greeting card" style than Sendak's original pencil and cross-hatched pictures. Also, will first graders find Little Bear too "babyish" and thus avoid the original easy readers, because the TV series and these board books are clearly for young preschoolers? Libraries may want to get these to fill a need, but I hope first graders will still enjoy the originals.

Picture books as Board Books

Crews, Donald. SCHOOL BUS. Greenwillow/HarperFestival, 2002. $6.99. ISBN 0-694-01690-X.
Crews has always been one of the best at conveying a concept for the younger audience, with his wonderful Freight Train, Ten Black Dots, and other picture books. His illustration style is very appropriate for the board book audience, with deeply saturated color blocks. This seems to contain all the words and illustrations from the original School Bus, so it will be equally popular, if the younger children will understand what a school bus is. This is a successful crossover.

Sweet, Melissa. FIDDLE-I-FEE. Little, Brown, 2002. $5.95. ISBN 0-316-75861-2.
Originally published as a picture book ten years ago, this works as a board book. And since the picture book version is out of print, this is the only version available for purchase. Although this doesn't contain the sheet music, all the lyrics are included and the watercolor and ink pictures convey a lot of charm. Compared to Galdone's version (which is the one I use in storytime), this is very similar, with just one obvious difference. In Sweet's the hen goes "chipsy-chopsy," in Galdone's, it says "chimmy-chuck." Overall, this should be very popular and appeal to babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and their parents.

Yolen, Jane. OFF WE GO! Illustrated by Laurel Molk. Little, Brown, 2000. $5.95. ISBN 0-316-90972-6.
Each baby forest animal is going to his or her grandmother's house in this charming rhyme. The watercolor illustrations depict realistic looking animals; the frog could have jumped out of a science book. The combination of rhyme and the pictures are a great marriage, and the theme of going to grandma's should appeal to toddlers. A pleasant surprise, this is no longer in print in the picture book edition, so libraries may want this version even if they don't buy many board books.

Aruego, Jose and Dewey, Ariane. WE HIDE, YOU SEEK. Greenwillow/HarperFestival, 2002. $6.95. ISBN 0-694-01597-0.
Also out of print in the picture book edition, WE HIDE, YOU SEEK works better in picture book because the reader has to search for the animal hidden in the picture, and the larger illustrations in the picture book help in the hunt. It is page for page the same as the original, only the board book does not contain the chart of animals that are on the picture book's endpapers.
It is funny that a picture puzzle book would come in a smaller, not larger version, for the younger child. Older children will find the pictures readily in either version, but toddlers and preschoolers will find the old picture book much easier to use to find the animals in the pictures.

Carle, Eric. DOES A KANGAROO HAVE A MOTHER, TOO? HarperFestival, 2002. $7.95. ISBN 0-694-01456-7.
Carle's picture books often translate well to the board book format; KANGAROO is no exception. In this simple story, each spread shows an animal mother with her offspring, and the chant, "Yes! A (animal) has a mother. Just like me and you," followed by a new query on another animal. Carle's signature color collages also work for the younger child, as only the mother and baby animals are pictured without a lot of extraneous detail.
One nice extra is the glossary that concludes the book. After the animal name, there is a listing of what the baby is called, the herd or group name, and the parent names. For example, a baby swan is a cygnet, mother a pen, father a cob, and a group is called a wedge or herd of swans.

Individual Hits

Prelutsky, Jack. HALLOWEEN COUNTDOWN. Illustrated by Dan Yaccarino. HarperFestival, 2002. $6.99. ISBN 0-06-000512-2.
Yaccarino's stylish retro-paintings are a great compliment to Prelutsky's humorous counting rhyme. Ghosts take over a little boy's house, and he counts them from ten to one. The illustrations add to the humor - the "five along the hall" are in a conga line with party hats.
The rhyme was first published in 1977, but it has certainly stood the test of time. The only drawback is that the numeral for each number isn't shown, just the word for the number and amount of ghosts to count. Too bad, as that is the book's only negative.

Boelts, Maribeth. LULLABY, LULLABOOK. Illustrated by Bruce Whatley. HarperFestival, 2002. $5.95. ISBN 0-694-01593-8.
In this unusual rhyme, different animals lull their young ones to sleep, ending with a human mother and baby. The rhyme pattern is A, B, C, C, instead of the more common song pattern: "Mama cat in cardboard box, five new kittens by her side, tenderly, she cleans their fur, sings her babes a lulla-purr." The text appears on white background, with a small detail picture, and faces a page with a full-color watercolor illustration. A nice bedtime board book.

Imershein, Betsy. RESCUE TRUCKS. Little Simon, 2002. $5.99. ISBN 0-689-84710-6.
Fourth in the series that show photos of various vehicles that are captioned with information about the vehicle. Babies and toddlers can enjoy these books just for the photos, and older children can appreciate the brief but clear captions that describe what that vehicle is used for. The others in the series include TRUCKS, FARM TRUCKS, and CONSTRUCTION TRUCKS. In RESCUE TRUCKS, we see several different fire trucks, an ambulance, and police car.

Capucilli, Alyssa Satin. BISCUIT GOES TO THE PARK. Illustrated by Pat Schories. $4.95. ISBN 0-694-01523-7.
Puppy Biscuit appears in both board books and easy readers. Here, he is seen playing at the park with a cat and several children. The very simple story will appeal to toddlers as well as those younger first graders just learning how to read. The colored pencil and watercolor illustrations remind me of greeting card artwork, but they do serve the text. You may want to buy this if the other Biscuit books are popular in your library.


Strike-outs

Valet, Pierre-Marie. OPPOSITES. Scholastic, 2002. $4.95. ISBN 0-439-35592-3.

Valet, Pierre-Marie. THINGS THAT GO! Scholastic, 2002. $4.95. ISBN 0-439-35593-1.
Two new entries in the "First Discovery Look-Inside Board Books," these are as cumbersome as their series title. The concepts are fairly straightforward, but the little flaps that open will be too difficult for toddler fingers to manipulate. In OPPOSITES, to find the opposite of short, you need to open a postage stamp-sized flap to see the puppet's nose grow, and I don't believe the intended audience will be able to do it.
Also, the illustrations are very "Dick and Jane," with unappealing Stepford-like children on white backgrounds. THINGS THAT GO is a little more appealing, showing a variety of vehicles from tricycle to jet plane, including something that resembles a BART train. But the little cutouts don't really offer any surprises.

Black, Sonia. ANIMALS AT HOME. Scholastic, 2002. $4.95. ISBN 0-439-35590-7.

Mills, J. Elizabeth. WHAT DO ANIMALS EAT? Scholastic, 2002. $4.95. ISBN 0-439-35591-5.
In this series, Scholastic has made simple nonfiction board books with tabs, like a dictionary. Unfortunately, the "First Discovery Look-It-Up Board Books" seem better suited to primary graders, not preschoolers, so the board book format would not be my first choice for these books.
In ANIMALS AT HOME, pets are shown in various situations. Simple information, such as where that pet normally would sleep, what it would eat, is paired with photo-realistic paintings with white backgrounds. In WHAT DO ANIMALS EAT?, animals are described as herbivores, carnivores, etc. Some of the information is questionable - is a chimp's favorite food bananas, or is that only true of chimps in captivity? This information would be more suitable in a non-board book format.

Penny Peck,
San Leandro PL

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