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Published: Sunday, 10/23/2011

New picture books by favorite authors and illustrators

CHILDREN'S LITERATURE

New picture books by favorite authors and illustrators

This is one in a series of monthly reviews of books for young people written by four area teachers of children's literature. Today's reviews are by Melissa Cain, professor at the University of Findlay.

Some of the "greats" of children's literature have new books out in 2011.

THE GREAT MIGRATION: JOURNEY TO THE NORTH. By Eloise Greenfield. Illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. HarperCollins. $16.99.

Between 1915 and 1930, more than 1 million African Americans left the discrimination of the South in hopes of a better life in the North. The creators of this book are both products of that Great Migration. Greenfield's poems evoke the emotions of the people who took the huge leap of faith to leave what was familiar, not knowing what lay ahead. Gilchrist's haunting collages incorporate historical photographs.

SEVEN FATHERS. Retold by Ashley Ramsden. Illustrated by Ed Young. Roaring Brook. $16.99.

This Norwegian tale is retold by the founder of the International School of Storytelling in Sussex, England. A traveler seeks shelter from a storm in a strange house, but has to seek permission from seven generations of fathers. His persistence is rewarded, reminding us of the blessings we have because of those who went before us. Young's mixed-media collages perfectly convey the quest.

MUDKIN. Written and illustrated by Stephen Gammell. Carolrhoda, $16.95.

The rain has stopped and a young girl, proclaiming herself queen, takes her stuffed animals out to play. There she encounters Mudkin, an appealing creature magically formed of mud. Off they go on a joyfully muddy adventure told in wordless double-page spreads. Gammell, the 1973 Caldecott winner for Song and Dance Man, painted this in his signature expressionistic style, liberally splashing it with mud.

THE LION AND THE MOUSE. Written and illustrated by Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley. Holiday House. $14.95.

Part of a series called I Like to Read, this is a retelling of the Aesop's fable in which a lion spares the life of a mouse, who repays him by bringing her friends to help him escape capture. This version is easy to read and illustrated with funky graphic designs in bright, contrasting colors. Children can identify each mouse by its distinctive hat and shoes.

PIRATE BOY. By Eve Bunting. Illustrated by Julie Fortenberry. Holiday House. $16.95.

Danny and his mother are reading a book about pirates when he asks her what she would do if he sailed away to be one. What follows is a series of wild "what if's" from Danny, followed by his mother's explanations of what she would do to bring him safely home, including using a magic shrinking spray on the pirates. Fortenberry's illustrations are full of texture and whimsical humor.

THE GREAT MOON HOAX. By Stephen Krensky. Illustrated by Josee Bisaillon. Carolrhoda, $16.95.

Two homeless newsboys sell the New York Sun on the streets in 1835. Their livelihood depends upon how exciting the paper is. The headline, "New Telescope Sees All: Amazing Secrets to be Revealed," leads off several weeks of tall tales about life on the moon. Suddenly, the boys can afford a good meal! They also develop an appreciation for the power of words to spark the imagination.



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