Not-very-oldies and still-very-goodies...recommendations from 1999 to the present! All recommendations are teacher-tested, kid-approved. Click on images or links in red for further reviews and information.

Featured Artist Archive

Featured Artist: Jane Ray

From Grimm's Hansel and Gretel to Wilde's The Happy Prince , nobody does a fairy tale like Jane Ray. Her gold-illuminated illustrations makes opening one of her books like peeking inside a gilded box. I especially like the princesses with eye glasses in her rendition of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and her dramatic drawings move mountains in Earth, Air, Fire, Water . Everything she illustrates lends itself very well to read-aloud, and her pictures are perfect for sharing either one-on-one or with a large group. Her artwork conveys classic literature reverently, but at the same time is informed with a contemporary perspective. Check her out!

Just look at all the books illustrated by
Henry Cole!

Henry Cole has exploded onto the children's literature scene like an uncorked bottle of champagne! The first book I ever read illustrated by Cole was A Little Bit of Winter, in which a rabbit is asked by a hibernating hedgehog to preserve for him a little bit of the season. The profound characterization of the animals in this book evokes a comparison to the great Warner Brothers animator Chuck Jones; just as funny and expressive. I found the best work by Cole, however, to be when he is coupled with Pamela Duncan Edwards, teaming up to hit the target of exactly what kids want at storytime: Honk! Tale of a Prima Swanerina; Some Smug Slug; Dinorella: A Prehistoric Fairy Tale; Warthogs in the Kitchen: A Counting Book; The Worrywarts and my latest favorite, Ed and Fred Flea, in which a manipulative flea feigns illness to get the bigger share of dog. If you pick up a book illustrated by Cole, you can be assured of visual wit, like in Four Famished Foxes and Fosdyke(how many things can you find in the illustrations that begin with the letter "F?") and the hilarious Moosetache. While I am partial to Cole's expressive cartoon style, he is versatile, using a smoother touch for Little Bo by Julie Andrews Edwards (yes, the Julie Andrews of Sound of Musicfame and an excellent children's author in her own right!) and Livingstone Mouse . What luck that someone with such talent is so prolific. Take your pick of any title to test... if it's Henry Cole, you'll be picking a winner every time. Titles recommended for children 5 to 8, and older picture book enthusiasts.

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