September 30, 2016

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Just My Size: Favored Dimensions of Picture Book Makers

I always notice bookmakers who favor a particular size for their books – not just for a series, but for their careers. How/why does this happen? I imagine the scene goes something like this: Bookmaker: (Walks in to the offices of a major publisher, finished picture book art under arm) I make books this big. […]

The Strange Case of the Missing Read Poster Strikes Back

Just a regular old day in the library . . . Wait a second. I’m having flashbacks . . . NOOOOOO! HOW COULD IT FALL DOWN THE CRACK AGAIN?!?! THE CRACK IS SO SMALL! Stay calm, Travis, stay calm. Look on the floor . . . IT’S NOT ON THE FLOOR! Check the floor again […]


We just ordered a brand-new complete set of the Elephant & Piggie Series. So, of course, I had to find the Pigeon in each one. (Don’t even try to call this a spoiler – you’ve read all these)

This Is A Problem

Our Pokemon and Minecraft books are on the same shelf.

The Failed Presidential Campaigns of Children’s Book Characters

It’s weird. Over the years many children’s book characters have tried running for President of the United States. They announce their candidacy on the covers of books. You’ve seen them. Yet not one has successfully become President of the United States. And now none of them even mention politics at all. Who ran? What caused their […]

Who Has Published the Most NYT Best Illustrated Books in the Last Decade?

Kind of a specific question, but I wanted to know. After making my 2016 NYT Best Illustrated Children’s Books predictions yesterday, I crunched the numbers from the last 10 years of lists. I wanted to see which publishers had put out the most Best Illustrated books. There are two ways to dice up the numbers. […]

Predictions! 2016 NYT 10 Best Illustrated Books

My dream assignment is to be a judge for the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books List. While I bide my time plotting a way to get on that committee (current plan: write a blog post clearly stating that it’s my dream assignment), why not make a few predictions? Last year I managed to […]

The Geisel Award Infographic

The world needs more children’s literature infographics, I say. I’ve already tried to remedy the situation with The Newbery Medal Infographic and The Caldecott Medal Infographic. Today I put together an infographic for a fairly new award, the Geisel. (Click to enlarge)

A Tribute to the Best Picture Book Author Photo of All Time

There have been some great picture book author photos before. I’m pretty fond of Don and Audrey Wood on the back of In The Napping House: And of course, Uncle Shelby on the back of The Giving Tree: But those shots (and all other picture book author photos in recorded history) can’t touch an author […]

Notes on August 2016

In August . . . I Snapped with Hugo Cabret. Snapchat has a purpose. we added a Planet of the Apes twist to well-known children’s books. Every book is better with a decaying statue of liberty at the end. we looked at the Most Astonishingly Unconventional Children’s Books of 2016. It’s a good crop this […]

Every EVERY Book

I’ve been noticing a batch of 2016 books with “Every” at the start of the title. Have you noticed this too? It’s more YA-ish than anything, but here’s every (sorry, had to do it) 2016 example I could find:

The Most Astonishingly Unconventional Children’s Books of 2016

Pushing the envelope. Pushing boundaries. Pushing buttons. Here’s to children’s books that expand our assumptions of what a children’s book can be. Previously . . . The Wildest Children’s Books of 2015 The Wildest Children’s Books of 2014 The Wildest Children’s Books of 2013 The Wildest Children’s Books of 2012 Look Up! by Jung Jin-Ho Holiday […]

‘Fan Art’ to Finished Product: Monsters Go Night-Night by Aaron Zenz

Kids: in addition to being the beneficiary of children’s literature, they help to inspire their fair share of it too. Take, for instance, Monsters Go Night-Night, the utterly fun, funny and (dare I say?) adorable new bedtime book by Aaron Zenz. All the monsters in the book were inspired by drawings Zenz’s young son made. […]

On This Day (ish) in Scope Notes History . . .

Part of the fun of blogging is the ephemeral nature of the medium – you write a post, put it up quickly, maybe some folks read it, and then it fades away in a hurry. On to the next post. But, PROBLEM, now I’m stuck with this stockpile of ridiculous stuff that never sees the […]

Snapchatting with Hugo Cabret

I’m no technology expert, but it seems like this summer is when Snapchat really hit the mainstream. Similar to my first experience with Twitter, I set up an account (scopenotes100) but have no idea what to do now. So, while I wait to figure out what to use it for, I’ll grab the nearest copy […]

Notes on July 2016

A bit late here on the monthly greatest hits recap – I hope you don’t mind. In July . . . I went to Nerd Camp. And I have the photos to prove it. Day 1 | Day 2 we dug into the mysteries of Cardboard Schu. It gets stranger and stranger. I talked about […]

(Audio) Book Trailer Premiere: Finding Perfect

Colby: You’ve seen book trailers. You know that kids love them. My students often beg me to show their favorite trailers over and over again. Debut author Elly Swartz is trying something new: an audio book trailer. Here at The Yarn we are big fans of audio. I think Elly’s audio trailer is magnificent. Hopefully, […]

Let’s ‘Planet of the Apes’ These Picture Books

When I first saw the original Planet of the Apes it left a big impression on me, due in large part to the twist ending. For those that haven’t seen it – spoiler alert (wait, this film came out in 1968 – spoiler alert retracted) – the main character (astronaut Taylor, played by Charlton Heston) realizes […]

Death Becomes Children’s Lit: More 2016 Books on Loss

Waaay back in January, The Trend Whisperer spotted an uptick in children’s books about death and bereavement. Boy was she right. She mentioned these books in her piece: The Dead Bird by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Christian Robinson (this is a re-illustrated version of a story originally illustrated by Remy Charlip and published in 1965) Always Remember by Cece […]

The Yarn is Not Here

All Yarn operations have moved over to the snazzy new Yarn blog. Today is the first post – our interview with Dav Pilkey in a party bus. Click here to head there.