November 21, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

The Return of Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, Paddington Bear, and More | Refreshing Reissues

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ALEXANDER, Lloyd. The Book of Three. 240p. (The Chronicles of Prydain: Bk. 1.) Holt. 2014. Tr. $24.99. ISBN 9781627791229.

Gr 4-7–While the general public may be more familiar with the second book in the series, The Black Cauldron, due to the 1985 Disney film adaptation, true fantasy lovers know The Book of Three as one of the most iconic and influential works of middle grade fiction from the 20th century. Based on Welsh mythology, the tale stars Taran the Assistant Pig-Keeper on a hero’s quest, joined by a comic cast of supporting characters. Filled with wit, wordplay, and an epic battle of good vs. evil, Alexander’s novel helped pave the way for countless fantasy adventures. Included in this 50th anniversary edition is an introduction by Shannon Hale, an author’s note, a rather helpful pronunciation guide, an interview with Lloyd Alexander, a story from The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain, and the first chapter of The Black Cauldron. The physical presentation will appeal to collectors; this edition features a deep red cloth binding accented with ornate gold and black illustrations on the cover, and deckled edges, befitting a classic. An absolute must-have for fantasy fans.

Barrie, J.M. Peter Pan. illus. by Trina Schart Hyman. 208p. S. & S./Atheneum. 2014. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781481426053.

Gr 3-6–The story of Peter Pan, that little boy who just wouldn’t grow up, has been a childhood staple for years. Though countless film and musical adaptations ensure that most children will be familiar with the basic story of how Peter arrives on the scene, taking Wendy, John, and Michael Darling to Neverland for adventures with mermaids, pirates, and Indians, the original story is in many ways darker and more poignant (as well as more whimsical) than many will remember. Barrie is also droll, and many adults will appreciate his piquant jabs at Edwardian society and mores, which will fly over the heads of most children. This particular edition of the classic, originally published in 1980 and now in print again, features mesmerizing, nostalgia-inducing illustrations from Caldecott winner Hyman. Black-and-white images rendered in India ink and full-color acrylic paintings depict well-known scenes—the Darling children taking flight, Peter in combat with the villainous Captain Hook—mixing in just a hint of menace (the pirates are certainly fearsome, and even Peter looks quite feral, more fairy than boy). This enchanting version soars.

Bond, Michael. A Bear Called Paddington. 2014. ISBN 9780062312181; ISBN 9780062312198.

––––. More About Paddington. Feb. 2015. ISBN 9780062312204; ISBN 9780062312211.

ea vol: illus. by Peggy Fortnum. HarperCollins. 176p.
Gr 2-5–The story featuring the marmalade-loving bear was first published in 1958 by William Collins & Son (now known as HarperCollins). The classic tale begins when a bear from Peru winds up in London’s Paddington Station and is subsequently adopted by the Brown family (humans from the Notting Hill area). Unfailingly polite and affecting a rather shabby charm—accomplished in no small part by Peggy Fortnum’s delightful line drawings—Paddington went on to have dozens of adventures over the years, spawning more than 50 titles translated into over 30 languages. A Bear Called Paddington covers the initial discovery of the bear at the train station and his first few days acclimating to life with the Browns as well as numerous episodic chapters filled with humorous mishaps. More About Paddington continues on a similar theme and includes episodes of the bubbling bear attempting to help with interior decorating, assisting at a bonfire party, and celebrating his first Christmas. With a major motion picture coming out in January 2015, a whole new generation of young readers will be introduced to the well-meaning, but ever accident-prone, bear.

Brown, Margaret Wise. The Golden Bunny. illus. by Leonard Weisgard. 32p. Random. Jan. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780385392747; lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 9780375973727; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780385392754.

PreS-Gr 1–Out of print since the mid-1980s, this whimsical collection features short tales and poems from the great Margaret Wise Brown, complemented by lush and richly detailed illustrations by Leonard Weisgard. Though not nearly as groundbreaking or eye-popping as their 1946 collaboration on The Little Island (Doubleday), which snagged the Caldecott medal, these sweet stories of a land in which “there were nothing but bunnies” will work nicely as one-on-one or bedtime reads. The production value is high, with saturated jewel tones and an attractive cover design; this would also make a lovely gift. From Weisgard’s collagelike endpapers featuring a colorful array of leaves to Brown’s evocative verse (“By the dark gray river in the soft white snow/I caught a little Rabbit and let him go/Bounding deep in the deep soft snow.”), this collection certainly stands the test of time.

Burton, Virginia Lee. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. illus. by Virginia Lee Burton. 56p. Houghton Harcourt. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544279926.

PreS-K–Mike and his trusty steam shovel, Mary Anne, are back in this 75th anniversary edition. First published in 1939, Virginia Lee Burton’s classic picture book has remained a staple in library collections for generations. Beyond the fascination almost all young children have with extra large machines that “crowd,” “hoist,” “swing,” and “dig,” the deeper tale about a man battling against the relentless march of technological change is one that still resonates more than half a century later. This new edition features a snazzy red foil dust jacket and some brief back matter that relates how Burton came up with the ending to the story (with a little creative help from a friend’s grandson.) As an added bonus, a free downloadable audiobook is available, read by stage and screen actor, Matthew Broderick. A perfect choice to replace well-worn copies of this beloved book.

Chew, Ruth. Magic in the Park. ISBN 9780449813751. LC 2013004953.

––––. The Trouble with Magic. ISBN 9780449813799. LC 2013004951.

––––. The Witch at the Window. ISBN 9780449815632. LC 2013035054.

––––. The Would-be Witch. ISBN 9780449815670. LC 201303503.

ea vol: illus. by Ruth Chew. 144p. (Matter-of-Fact Magic). Random. 2014. Tr. $15.99.
Gr 2-4–Fantasy author Chew knew how to tempt kids: spells, witches, wizards, and sea serpents were all to be found in her burgeoning bag of tricks. Starting in 2013, with No Such Thing as a Witch, and Three Witch Tales, and What the Witch Left, Random House has been rereleasing her books, jazzed up with new jacket art, under the series title “A Matter-of-Fact Magic Book.” These offerings all retain Chew’s classic black-and-white illustrations, and there’s even an Easter egg for readers with a love of all things vintage (removing the dust jacket reveals the old covers by Chew, still intact). Each of these latest rereleases follows a different boy-girl pair through an exhilarating adventure, packed with whimsical details and kid-friendly thrills. In Magic in the Park, Jennifer, a newcomer to Brooklyn, explores Prospect Park with her friend Mike, discovering a strange—and possibly magical—old man who feeds the birds, while in The Would-be Witch, siblings Andy and Robin shrink down to the size of mice and ride a magical flying dustpan, only to find themselves in the company of witches. These titles will attract a new generation of budding fantasy fans. Look for new editions of Chew’s other books, still to come.

FATIO, Louise. A Doll for Marie. illus. by Roger Duvoisin. 32p. Knopf. Mar. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780385755962; lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 9780385755979. LC 2014003766.

PreS-Gr 1–First published in 1957 but long out of print, this rediscovered title by the remarkable husband-and-wife creative team is available again, ready to be read by a new generation of children—and their dolls (a mini book is included). Roger Duvoisin illustrated more than 100 books, many by his wife, Louise Fatio. He won the Caldecott Medal in 1947 for White Snow, Bright Snow and a Caldecott Honor in 1966 for Hide and Seek Fog, both written by Alvin Tresselt. Louise Fatio is probably best known for her “Happy Lion” books, all illustrated by her husband. In this story, a fancy, beautifully dressed doll sits on a shelf in an antique shop in Paris, surrounded by a Persian vase and a Chinese teapot, but longs for a different fate. “‘This is no way for a doll to live,’ she sighed. ‘If only I had a little girl to play with.’” One girl, the mailman’s daughter Marie, walks past on her way to school and regularly admires the doll, but could never afford such a pricey item. One day the doll is purchased by an old woman, but her home is not much different from the antique shop. However, once the old woman’s pets get a hold of the newcomer, her fancy clothes and accessories are ruined and the doll is left in the gutter, only to be rescued by Marie and given the kind of home she’s always longed for. The three-color artwork is appropriately old-fashioned, expressive, and as appealing as ever. A satisfying read for anyone who has ever had a special attachment to a toy.

Green, John. Looking for Alaska. 368p. Dutton. Jan. 2015. Tr. $19.99. ISBN 9780525428022.

Gr 10 Up–The Printz Award-winning novel that kickstarted John Green’s career and introduced a whole generation of teens to a new era of YA literature is turning 10 this year. Though the text itself remains the same, there are many extras included in this edition. There is an introduction by Green himself, a helpful Q & A section, and, perhaps most interesting for scholars, portions of the original manuscript that didn’t make it into the final book, along with correspondence between Green and his editor. Purists may gasp to hear that the now-iconic “smoking” cover has been redesigned. But take heart; the new jacket, created by Rodrigo Corral, pays homage to the original with a deep black background and a subtle wisp of smoke. Replace worn copies and introduce a whole new crop of teens to this new classic.

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Harris, Robie H. It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health. 112p. lib. ed. $24.50. ISBN 9780606358637; Tr $22.99. ISBN 9780763668716; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780763668723.

––––. It’s So Amazing!: A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families. 88p. $22.99. ISBN 9780763668730; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780763668747; ebk. $12.99. ISBN 9780763669980.

ea vol: illus. by Michael Emberley. (Family Library). index. notes. Candlewick. 2014.
Gr 1 & Up–These highly acclaimed titles have been go-to guides for a whole generation of children, teens, and their parents wishing to address these delicate, often difficult-to-discuss topics. They are noteworthy for their straightforward and accessible style, reliable information, and warm, inclusive artwork. It’s Perfectly Normal, which is geared toward children nearing puberty, has sold more than one million copies, been translated into more than 35 languages, and has been endorsed and used by teachers, librarians, clergy, health care and mental health professions across this country. It also has the distinction of being listed as #7 on the American Library Association’s list of most frequently challenged books of the 21st century. This edition has been revised for a new generation, including updates in scientific and medical information about reproduction, birth control, abortion, sexual abuse, and sexually transmitted diseases. Harris and Emberley have also included information on gender identity and online safety. It’s So Amazing!, written for a younger audience, has also been revised to include up-to-date scientific and medical information and also addresses being online and using the Internet.

Lionni, Leo. An Extraordinary Egg. illus. by Leo Lionni. 40p. Knopf. Jan. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780679858409.

PreS-K–Leo Lionni, that picture-book master who was always a bridesmaid (he recevied four Caldecott Honors, but never the Medal), has been a favorite among librarians and children for generations. After a successful career as an art director and graphic designer, Lionni began creating children’s books at the age of 50. From the startling simplicity of his first book, Little Blue and Little Yellow (1959), to the exquisite compositions and thoughtful storytelling in Swimmy (1973), Inch by Inch (1960), Frederick (1967), and Alexander and the Wind-up Mouse (1969), Lionni’s style is characterized by textural collage work, naturalistic palettes, and straightforward, child-friendly text. His last children’s book, An Extraordinary Egg, was completed in 1994, when Lionni was 84 years old. It’s the charming tale of Jessica, a frog “full of wonder,” and her extraordinary pebble that turns out to be an extraordinary egg. Jessica and her froggy friends insist that the hatchling is a chicken, depite clear visual evidence to the contrary. Back in hardcover, this classic picture book is a delightful read-aloud and deserves a spot on the shelf along with Lionni’s other great works.

McBratney, Sam. Guess How Much I Love You. illus. by Anita Jeram. 32p. Candlewick. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763641757.

PreS–It’s been more than 20 years since readers were first introduced to Little Nutbrown Hare. Since then, countless children have been soothed by Jeram’s calming ink and watercolor illustrations and McBratney’s simple and tender story about a young rabbit and his parent in an “awww”-inducing competition to explain how much they love one another. The original edition has spawned numerous offshoots, including a board book version, various concept books, book and toy sets, calendars, and pop-up editions. This special anniversary edition includes notes from the author and illustrator looking back over the last two decades and revealing a bit about their creation process. This reissue also features an elegant new dust jacket with gold foil accents, small touches that lend the package a bit of sparkle. This would make a lovely new baby gift, or as a fresh replacement for copies that have been well loved and well used.

Little, E. Mary . Old Cat and the Kitten. 128p. S. & S./Aladdin. 2014. pap. $6.99. ISBN 9781481419383.

Gr 1-3–This poignant story revolves around the seemingly unlikely but strong bond that develops between a boy and a cat. Described by SLJ as “beautifully told,” the story follows 14-year-old Joel, who eventually wins over Old Cat, a hardened, tough street cat who depends only on himself. After learning to trust Joel, Old Cat brings the boy a starving kitten who needs their help, and they successfully nurse the creature back to health. However, Joel’s family must move, and the boy cannot take the cats he’s come to love along with him. He finds a home for the kitten but must make a devastating decision about Old Cat. Both heartwarming and heartbreaking, this touching tale is one readers won’t soon forget.

Ollivant, Alfred. Bob, Son of Battle: The Last Gray Dog of Kenmuir. retold by Lydia Davis. illus. by Marguerite Kirmse. 320p. New York Review. 2014. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781590177297; ebk. $17.95. ISBN 9781590177464. LC 2013050865.

Gr 3-6–What’s a childhood without dog stories, such as Lassie, Old Yeller, and Shiloh? With this new version of Ollivant’s Owd Bob: The Grey Dog of Kenmuir, Davis ensures that Bob, son of Battle, is a name to be added to that list. First published in 1889, Ollivant’s work follows two sheepdogs and their masters: prickly Adam McAdam and his brutish dog, Red Wull, who herds by force; and kindly James Moore, whose equally skilled but more gallant Bob keeps order through an intuitive understanding of sheep. These two arch rivals are about to go head to head in a contest that will prove which is the superior sheepdog. Adding to the drama, Adam’s son, David, who recently lost his mother, attempts to court James’s daughter, while by night, sheep are menaced by what appears to be a rogue sheepdog. Though this reissue keeps the original art by Marguerite Kirmse (best known for illustrating Eric Knight’s Lassie, Come-Home), Davis translates the Cumbrian and Scottish dialect of the original into modern English, ensuring that this classic canine tale will once more find a home among readers.

Ormerod, Jan. 101 Things to Do with Baby. illus. by Jan Ormerod. 32p. Groundwood. 2014. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781554983797.

PreS-Gr 1–This charming and innovative sibling story came out in 1984 and is back in hardcover to celebrate its 30th anniversary. With homey, pastel-hued illustrations arranged in graphic novel–esque panels, a new big sister demonstrates for readers 101 daily activities that she can do with her baby brother, from sharing her morning egg to helping keep baby entertained while Mom does the wash. Ormerod ingeniously captures intimate moments in this family with authenticity and tenderness. The frontice page, for example, depicts Mom nursing baby brother in bed while big sister cuddles up to read a book. Later, when Dad attempts to join the girl as she demonstrates some gentle yoga stretches to do with baby, his face turns an alarming shade of pink as he struggles to accomplish what babies and agile kids can do with ease. Realistically, there’s some jealousy and frustration represented here. The girl sometimes clings to her parents when their hands are full and their attention is on her brother. Later, the sister is shown covering her face in shame after she shouts at the baby in frustration. Mom and Dad come to the rescue, enveloping the girl with hugs, reassurance, and some special time. The text is minimal; the art tells the deeper story here. One of the very best books for new siblings.

Silverstein, Shel. Don’t Bump the Glump!: and Other Fantasies. 64p. HarperCollins. $17.99. ISBN 9780061493386.

––––. A Giraffe and a Half. 48p. HarperCollins. $16.99. ISBN 9780060256555.

––––. The Giving Tree. 64p. HarperCollins. $16.99. ISBN 9780060256654.

––––. Lafcadio: The Lion Who Shot Back. 112p. HarperCollins. $16.99. ISBN 9780060256753.

––––. Where the Sidewalk Ends. 183p. HarperCollins. $18.99. ISBN 9780060572341.

––––. Who Wants A Cheap Rhinoceros? 64p. S. & S. $17.99. ISBN 9781481415934.

ea vol: illus. by Shel Silverstein. 2014. Tr.
K Up––Several classic tales from Silverstein are celebrating anniversaries, most notably The Giving Tree, still popular at 50. Though this spare but tender allegory for the parent/child relationship still occupies a celebrated place on bookshelves, it’s a divisive title, with some critics finding the boy selfish and narcissistic and others even positing that the work represents our destructive relationship with nature. Other new releases employ Silverstein’s trademark humor, such as Lafcadio, a laugh-out-loud tale of a sharpshooting lion, now in its 50th year. Dreamers, wishers, liars, hope-ers, pray-ers, and magic bean buyers are in for a treat: Where the Sidewalk Ends, Silverstein’s funny, lyrical, and downright bizarre poetry collection, turns 40, and this newest edition contains 12 extra poems. At 50, A Giraffe and a Half and Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros? have yet to show their age; these picture books are ridiculous in all the best ways. Finally, meet the Wild Gazite, the Pointy-Peaked Pavarius, and the Long-Necked Preposterous, in Don’t Bump the Glump!: And Other Fantasies, Silverstein’s first poetry collection—and the only one in full color—whose arresting wordplay and images are wonderfully disconcerting.

Spier, Peter. The Book of Jonah. illus. by Peter Spier. 40p. Doubleday. Jan. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780385379090; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780375982385.

K-Gr 3– Last available in hardcover over 15 years ago, this beautifully retold Bible story is again available. Like his Caldecott-Medal winning Noah’s Ark, Spier’s The Book of Jonah features detailed line drawings with eye-catching watercolors. Jonah is a man on the run, afraid to fulfil the task God has set before him. With panels reminiscent of graphic novel–style storytelling, Jonah’s tale unfolds with the requite drama and tension. Helpful information about the Assyrian Empire in the eighth century BC and a labeled drawing of the Ship of Tarshish are included in the back matter. A fantastic addition for Bible story collections.

Travers, P.L. Mary Poppins: 80th Anniversary Collection. illus. by Mary Shepard. 1024p. Houghton Harcourt. 2014. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780544340473; ebk. $24.99. ISBN 9780544574755.

Gr 3-6–The tale that has captured the imaginations of generations of children and spawned a beloved and classic motion picture starring Julie Andrews as well as a dazzling Broadway musical, begins with the eponymous nanny blowing in to Number Seventeen to care for the Banks children just in the nick of time. From a tea party on the ceiling to riding on peppermint horses, rather unusual and surprising adventures await Jane and Michael whenever Mary Poppins pops in. This 80th anniversary edition includes the four original books, Mary Poppins (originally published 1934), Mary Poppins Comes Back (originally published 1935), Mary Poppins Opens the Door (original published 1943), and Mary Poppins in the Park (originally published 1952) grouped into one convenient volume. Beyond the handsome package—a rich brick red cover accented with black and gold spot-gloss decoration—the deeper gems of this edition are the extras. There’s a foreword by Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked (HarperCollins, 1995) and Egg & Spoon (Candlewick, 2014), that relates the story of his nerve-wracking, but ultimately illuminating, meeting with the great P.L. Travers when she was in her nineties. Maguire accurately captures the difference between the silver screen versions and the original tales: “The books…show glimmers of a far more mysterious and even dangerous world. For thirty years before the nanny began to sing on the screen, she stalked the pages of these books with ferocity, vanity, and power.” At the end there’s a brief excerpt from a talk Travers gave at the Unversity of Connecticut in 1974 entitled “On Not Writing for Children.” Librarians and students of children’s literature would do well to think on Traver’s reluctance to call herself a “children’s book author,” for, as she states, “every book is a message, and if children happen to receive and like it, they will appropriate it to themselves no matter what the author may say nor what label he gives himself.” A must-have for diehard fans and, though a tad bulky for little hands, nevertheless an excellent addition to home, library, and school collections.

Ungerer, Tomi. The Beast of Monsieur Racine. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9780714860817.

––––. One, Two, Where’s My Shoe? Tr $14.95. ISBN 9780714867984.
ea. vol: illus. by Tomi Ungerer. 32p. Phaidon. 2014.
PreS-Gr 2–Two charmers from this inimitable picture-book artist. The first title, which was dedicated to Maurice Sendak, features a retired tax collector with a prized pear tree. When the man awakens one day to find his precious fruit has been stolen, he is determined to capture the culprit. He succeeds in catching the thief, but instead of vengeance, he is consumed with curiosity about and affection for gentle, lumpy beast. “I lost my pears but found a companion” says the old tax collector. When he takes his rare, unusual specimen to Paris to present to the Academy and a hoax is revealed, a media circus of monumental proportions ensues. This quirky story defies expectations and charms with its wit and subtle wisdom. The art is uproarious and as appealing as ever. One, Two is as playful and engaging as it is brilliantly executed, making a visual seek-and-find game of the simple rhyme. Kids will never look at shoes the same way again. Both stories were originally published in German in the early 1970s and have been out of print in the U.S. for years.

Wild, Margaret. Let the Celebrations Begin!: A Story of Hope for the Liberation. illus. by Julie Vivas. 40p. Candlewick. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763670139. LC 2013953504.

Gr 2 Up–Originally published in 1991 and only available in paperback for some time, this is a touching—almost overwhelming—story that details a celebration for the liberation of Bergen-Belsen at the end of World War II. The women and children in Hut 18 have heard that the liberation is coming. Miriam, our narrator, describes the camp: no food, everyone sad, everyone hoping to be freed. A party is planned for the opening of the gates and toys will be made for each child for the celebration. The toys are made from scraps of cloth, often from someone’s rags: a sleeve, a button, a piece of yarn. It is a secret; a surprise for the children. In a book about antique toys, that mentions toys made for the children of Bergen Belsen, Margaret Wild created a story that is frightening in its truth but hopeful for the future. The illustrations, done in watercolor, spare no truth: the clothes are rags that barely cover them, children and women (there are no men) are stick-thin, and everyone’s hair is just a scrim of stubble. Despite this heartrending realism, readers will see and feel the hope in the prisoners’ eyes and recognize how they believed the toys would help them heal. While the topic of the Holocaust and the camps has become familiar to students and families, this small, bright, and incredibly hopeful story provides a gentle introduction for young and sensitive readers.–Susan Lissim, Dwight School, New York City

This article was published in School Library Journal's January 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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Comments

  1. PETER PAN isn’t “enchanting.” It’s full to the brim with racist depictions of Native Americans, along with the word “R*dskins.” As a POC I cringed as a child every time I saw that book or anything inspired by it. I would never recommend this book. There are so many better.

    • Kiera Parrott says:

      Hi Anon. I hear you. Many children’s literature “classics” have not aged well and upon a second, educated read will indeed be cringe-inducing and even offensive to modern sensibilities. Every library and community is different—many may choose not to purchase or make PETER PAN available to their patrons, given the issues you raise. Others may wish to stock it for that very reason—in order to explore those issues with students and discuss why they are problematic. For those who are looking for reissues of these “classics,” this one caught our eye because of the artwork—the “enchanting” aspects are the absolutely stunning illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman. Even if you despise the story or the characters, her artwork alone is worth a look.