Forget-Me-Nots: poems to learn by heart – 2012
By Mary Ann Hoberman Illustrated by Michael Emberley
“Emberley’s art is an unassuming wonder”
“A joyous collection.”
* The Bulletin, starred review – “…Emberley’s art is an unassuming wonder, a playful masterclass in using the page to support and extend the verse visuals. Watercolor lined with pencil and touched with pastel, the illustrations perform their job with assurance, taste, and humor, subtly linking spreads across the gutter and framing verse in negative or even positive space. For instance, the first anthological spread is a clever perpendical, subtly framing the verses with a focused vertical downpour on the side (which falls on a mournful, umbrella-wielding auk) and an oceanic horizon line on the bottom (the auk bobs in a tiny boat). The subsequent spreads plaster poems on the broad backs of animals, illuminate them in the diagonal lightspill from a flashlight, or curve around them with snowy footprints. Small jokes, visual stories, and sneaky allusions to the poems add to the visual entertainment, insuring that kids will want to return to the book even when they’ve tucked the poems into memory.” full review here
Booklist - For those who lament that young people are no longer taught to memorize poetry, here’s a handsome compendium of verse well suited to that purpose and chosen with children in mind. The Children’s Poet Laureate from 2008 to 2010, Hoberman chose 123 poems that are memorable in both senses of the word. They’re “easy to remember” (though she concedes that the longer ones will take more time) and “worth remembering.” In an appended section, she discusses an approach to learning poems by heart, making the process a game with a specific prize: owning the chosen poem and keeping it for a lifetime. The selection of verse is broad, representing 57 poets, including Alarcón, Belloc, de la Mare, Esbensen, Frost, Greenfield, Grimes, Hoberman, Lear, McCord, Milne, Sandburg, Silverstein, Stevenson, Tolkien, and Worth. Created using pencil, watercolors, and pastels, Emberley’s appealing illustrations brighten every page of this large-format book. A handsome anthology of poems that children can learn by heart. Grades 3-5. –Carolyn Phelan
New York Times — “A joyous collection.” The New York Times Sunday Book Review – March 2012
Kirkus Reviews – Julie Danielson – April 6, 2012
National Poetry Month is upon us, and one way that former Children’s Poet Laureate Mary Ann Hoberman would have us celebrate is by memorizing some poems. And I couldn’t agree more.
I may be in the minority here. Many teachers and school librarians feel swamped enough and may not feel they have the classroom time to devote to children memorizing and reciting poems, but it’s actually good for the cognitive development of young children. There’s also a particular kind of magic in giving oneself over to the rhythms and music of verse. I still remember with great clarity the poems I memorized in school as a child, as well as how much I enjoyed doing it.
Read the last Seven Impossible Things on ‘Life in the Ocean‘ about ocean explorer Sylvia Earle.
In fact, during my freshman year of college, my then-roommate told me I sat up in my bed one night and started quoting Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.” (Just a wee bit creepy for her, you think?) Fear not, no one died the next day. That poem just lingered in the corner of my mind, its musicality and effective spookiness never quite forgotten. I had memorized it in fifth grade after all.
In her newest picture book anthology, Forget-Me-Nots: Poems to Learn by Heart, Hoberman teams up with illustrator Michael Emberley—they also joined forces for the successful You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You series—to suggest poems for memorization and recitation. There are more than 100 poems here, the anthology divided in over 10 sections (poems about happiness, the weather, longer poems, “strange and mysterious” treats, etc.).
“When you learn a poem by heart, it becomes a part of you,” Hoberman writes in the introduction. “You know it in your mind, in your mouth, in your ears, in your whole body. And best of all, you know it forever.” She goes on to make a great case for memorization. If you memorize, she writes, it’s like solving a puzzle, coming to an understanding of why the poet made the choices he or she did in crafting the poem. We also learn the particular rhythms of poems, and it’s no accident, she writes, that we speak in the language of learning poems “by heart.” “Like our hearts, most poems have a steady beat.”
Hoberman includes a wide range of poetry here, covering all kinds of moods (from light-hearted to cryptic) and many types of poetry (from limericks to free verse to haiku). From contemporary poets (Eloise Greenfield, Kristine O’Connell George, Lee Bennett Hopkins) to those who have passed on (Langston Hughes, Tolkien, Roald Dahl), there’s something for everyone. There’s a handy Index of First Lines at the book’s close right after a section with suggestions from Hoberman about memorizing poetry: “I like to think of the process of learning a poem by heart as a game, with the memorized poem as the prize. In any game, there are rules to follow, and you improve with practice.”
Emberley’s expressive and loose-lined watercolors are a good match for this anthology. He can hit just the right notes when it comes to atmosphere, seamlessly matching the spirit of these poems without overpowering the text. He also knows when to let spot illustrations be small and let white space speak instead, such as in the spread that includes Sara Teasdale’s poem about “[s]tars over snow,” the poem “Night.”
This is a wonderful anthology for classrooms, school and public libraries, and homes where eager children are game for exploring the musicality of poems.
Julie Danielson (Jules) has, in her own words, conducted approximately eleventy billion interviews and features of authors and illustrators at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, a children’s literature blog focused primarily on illustration and picture books.
A Year of Reading - Blog review April 17, 2012
“…My memories of memorizing poems in school are not good. When I had to do this, I had to choose a poem, memorize it and say it out loud to the class. I don’t remember much else. But this book introduces the idea of memorizing poetry in a fresh and inviting way. Not only is Hoberman excited about the idea herself but the illustrations by Michael Emberley make poetry performance look like such fun! The book makes this idea of memorizing poetry something kids might choose to do!
“This book definitely needs a place in classrooms and libraries. I think it will be the perfect invitation for kids who want to give memorizing poetry a try. Not only does Hoberman give great tips but she has chosen a great many engaging poems. Such a great variety too! And for those readers who want nothing to do with memorizing poetry, this is still a great anthology to enjoy!” - Frankie
Sweet on Books :
“There’s something for everyone in this compilation of more than one hundred poems. …She says that they are memorable either because they are “easy to remember” or because they are “worth remembering” and I have to say that I think each piece that she chose fits that bill. These are all valuable works to share with our children.
“The illustrations are entertaining on their own, and offer excellent visual representations of the poems. Forget-Me-Notsis one of those books that you can refer back to again and again. …It would be an excellent addition to a classroom or school library.”
An Annoying ABC
2011 By Barbara Bottner Illustrated by Michael Emberley
*Winner National Parenting Awards 2011
“The hilarity lies in the illustrations – typical Emberley style” - Kirkus
“Hilarious - Delightful” – Amazon, 5 stars
“Terrific” - Publisher’s Weekly – star review
“Awesome” - Kirkus Reviews – Star review
National Parenting Publications – 2011
“Why it-s a Winner – Sure to be a classic. Hysterical depictions of an alphabetical cast of characters all of whom are not having their best of days. Annoying fun from A to Z. A book to read again and again.”
* Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, July 25, 2011:
“Anyone who thinks life is a breeze for abecedarians should check out this knowing and very funny primer from Bottner and Emberley, whose previous pairing resulted in the wonderful Miss Brooks Loves Books! (And I Don’t). The book describes, in alphabetical order, a chain reaction of unpleasant and unfortunate behavior. "It was a quiet morning until… Adelaide annoyed Bailey. Bailey blamed Clyde. Clyde cried. Dexter drooled on Eloise. Eloise elbowed Flora, and so on until the action comes full circle with Zelda, pushed to the edge by a clumsy Yves, & Adelaide with a hose. Is there any hope for this living alphabet of woe? Yes, thanks to Miss Mabel, the savvy, supportive teacher whose name puts her smack in the middle of it all. Expertly implementing a chain of apologies, Miss Mabel achieves the classroom equivalent of a State Department peace accord: a tranquil story hour (the featured book is Miss Brooks). Bottner’s deadpan, minimalist text inspires Emberley to some terrific portraits in extremis—this isn’t just an alphabet book, it’s an encyclopedia of kindergarten deportment, from aggression to zealotry. Ages 2–6. (Sept.)”
* Starred Review, School Library Journal, October 2011:
“Miss Mabel’s class roll includes an alphabetical assortment of children’s names. Readers meet each child in consecutive order, unfortunately engaged in a domino effect of unneighborly behavior. “It was a quiet morning until… Adelaide annoyed Bailey. Bailey blamed Clyde. Clyde cried. Dexter drooled on Eloise. Eloise elbowed Flora. Flora fumed,” etc. The great chain of misbehavior culminates in Adelaide’s head-to-toe soaking, having been “zapped” by Zelda with a hose. Everyone is astonished, and, finally, everyone apologizes. Emberley keeps the action rolling along with his horizontal chain of charismatic youngsters, set against long white pages and illustrated in his sketchlike pencil-and-watercolor style. He has a knack for portraying each child’s emotion in all its precocious intensity. Touches of whimsy, such as Adelaide’s tiger costume and Miss Mabel’s floral tank top over cargo shorts over polka-dot leggings ensemble, keep the whole crew endearing despite the chaos. Each letter is highlighted by a colored box, but a swiftly moving narrative that practically demands the insertion of a few sound effects during read-aloud broadens the appeal of this ABC beyond mere concept book. While storytime audiences will appreciate this well-paced tale, individual children may wish to slow down and take a closer look at Emberley’s spunky classmates than a large group reading would allow. Fortunately, the whole effect is much more pleasing than annoying.–Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI
“A perfectly peculiar picturebook for practical use. I can’t think of a better book to use for older kids. Yes, older. I know, I know, it’s an alphabet book, but this book doesn’t simply state that a is for apple. This book lends itself to lessons on verbs, proper nouns, alliteration and even natural consequences! … The illustrations are lively and the content is unique and thrilling…
“Whether you’re looking for an excellent book to read with your child, or a book that lends itself to a plethora of lessons, I highly recommend An Annoying ABC to you!” - http://writtenpigeon.wordpress.com
* Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2011
“What’s annoying? Adelaide annoys Bailey when she runs at him wearing her tiger costume, scaring him and causing him to let the gerbil out of its cage.
So begins a rollicking preschool/early-elementary romp featuring kids who appear in alphabetical order with a corresponding action as Adelaide sets off a domino effect. “Bailey blamed Clyde. / Clyde cried. / Dexter drooled on Eloise. / Eloise elbowed Flora. / Flora fumed.” The pandemonium that ensues is a clever visual narrative loaded with details, such as the gerbil-escape subplot. The hilarity lies in the illustrations, typical Emberley style, done in mechanical pencil and watercolors. Children (and Miss Mabel, the teacher) in the alphabetical spotlight are rendered in full color, while the other characters are in black and white against colored backgrounds. The kids sport a variety of skin colors, hairdos and clothing, with one girl (Ida) in a wheelchair. How does the mayhem resolve? When Zelda zaps Adelaide with the water hose, Adelaide, as instigator, apologizes, and so does everyone else. For the trickier letters, Q is Quentin; X is Xavier; Y is Yves. One read-through will simply not be enough to enjoy all the fun. This would make a splendid project for a classroom to make up their own alphabetical list of names.”
“A is for one awesome, amusing, antic alphabet book.” (Alphabet picture book. 4-8)
ANYTHING BUT ANNOYING –Amazon.com review – - October 18, 2011
The team of Bottner and Emberley have done it again. First they did it with “Miss Brooks Loves Books” and now they’ve done it with “An Annoying ABC”–through Barbara Bottner’s hilarious text and Michael Emberley’s delightful images, these two wonderful talents have created another book that is fun, funny, but mostly, meaningful. Bottner has managed to create characters that are both unique and relatable. In a chain reaction of behaviors that will be familiar to any child, Miss Mabel’s class goes from peaceful to chaotic and back to peaceful…well almost. –Amazon review – By G.R. Davidson
Waking Brain Cells - Blog — Take a very funny trip through the alphabet in a series of mishaps in this silly picture book. When Adelaide starts the story off by annoying Bailey the chain of events carries all the way through the classroom from A to Z. Children are crying, fuming, howling, and evening stumbling and tumbling before it reaches the end. But then, when everything is done, Adelaide apologizes! Bottner has created a zany way to do the ABCs filled with plenty of action and nonsense. This is a modern classroom filled with characters that are depicted in detail by Emberley. He manages to imbue each of them with their own sense of personality and style, all 26 of them. It is a book that races along thanks to the pacing of Bottner’s words, but readers who linger on each page will get a better sense of the story itself as told through the illustrations. It’s a pleasant mix of words that are welcoming and fast, and pictures that are worth exploring.
A thrilling ABC, this is one of those books where children act like children and laughter abounds. Appropriate for ages 3-5. — Tasha Saecker, assistant director – Appleton Public Library in Appleton, WI - Sept. 2011
Booklist/Bookends Blog – Jan. 26, 2012
Lynn: “It was a quiet morning at preschool until Adelaide annoyed Bailey.” An escalating alphabetic chain reaction follows right up to the drenching moment when Zelda zaps Adelaide. Miss Mabel asks Adelaide to apologize and soon calm returns to the school as everyone settles in for story time.
“Bottner’s delightfully droll disasters are cleverly captured by Michael Emberley’s illuminating illustrations, executed excellently in pencil and watercolors. Each sequential scene is seriously sidesplitting. Readers will love watching the merry mayhem multiply. OK – sorry – the book seems to be infectious! This little gem is a hoot, clever and funny and each illustration rewards repeat reading. Oops – I’m doing it again.”
“Our focus group who consider themselves waaaay to old for alphabet books loved this one anyway and I think it is going to become a family favorite. Ack – I can’t stop. I’m handing this off to Cindy before I’m permanently alliterized!”
Bookends Blog - Middle-school librarians Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan
Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.
Miss Brooks Loves Books,
(and I don’t)
by Barbara Bottner, illustrated by Michael Emberley
* Winner– READBOSTON 7th annual best read aloud awards
* Winner –The Olympian – “Best Books” list of 2010
*Winner–Chicago Public Library – “Best of the Best ” list of 2010
*Winner–Parent’s Magazine – ”Best Kids Entertainment” 2010 (one of four picture books picked)
*Winner – Bank Street School – “Best Children’s Books of the Year” list 2011
*Winner – International Reading Association- “Teacher’s Choice” list 2011
*Winner – IRA/CBC “Children’s Choice” list 2011
Oblong Books & Music “Kids Picks” list April 2010
Kentucky Bluegrass Award short list
– Read Smead
“Miss Brooks LOVES books and everyone should love this book! For starters, the illustrations by Michael Emberley are utterly adorable and the story by Barbara Bottner is wonderfully relatable to any reluctant reader. Miss Brooks wears all sorts of costumes for every book she reads. I couldn’t help but want to do the same. Missy’s reluctance towards reading never dissuades Miss Brooks from finding the perfect book for this little girl. She knows there is a story with Missy’s name on it.
Will Miss Brooks find the book? Will Missy LOVE books by the end? (I hope so!)
Jessica LOVES this new picture book!” — Read Smead
“Seven Cheers (Make That Fist Pumps) for Miss Brooks“ “A real charmer. Not to be missed. Kirkus wrote, “In a word: lovable.” That pretty much covers it. Love. Love. Love. I adore this book.” –Jules – Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, children’s Book blog. http://blaine.org/sevenimpossiblethings/?p=1932
“In a word: lovable“ — Kirkus Reviews
“Guaranteed to be warmly welcomed by librarians everywhere, this paean to the joys of reading will find an enthusiastic audience among kids and parents as well. The first-grade narrator is clearly an iconoclast and a curmudgeon. She wears the same scruffy overalls and striped hat (pulled down to her eyes) throughout, turns away from reading circle to pursue her own interests and doesnít even bother with a Halloween costume. She looks askance at Miss Brooks, the tall, lanky (and, in her opinion, overenthusiastic) librarian who dresses up for storytime and urges her listeners to share their favorites with the group. After the narrator rejects her classmates picks, Miss Brooks sends yet another pile home, with similar results. When her remarkably patient mother opines that she is as stubborn as a wart, however, a seed is planted. A book with warts (Shrek) is found, loved and shared with great success. Bottnerís deadpan delivery is hilarious, while Emberleys exaggerated illustrations, executed in watercolor and pencil by way of computer, bring her charmingly quirky characters perfectly to life. In a word: lovable.“ — Kirkus Reviews.
“Lots of fun for avid and reluctant readers alike.” – BookList
“The Heroine makes an indelible presence…
Emberly’s slice-of-life cartooning is funny, empathetic, and of-the-moment.”-–Publishers Weekly
“…Clever and Quirky.” — Amazon’s Best Books of March(2008) -
“Bottner’s deadpan humor and delicious prose combine with Emberley’s droll caricatures to create a story sure to please those who celebrate books. ” —School Library Journal – * Starred Review
“Barbara Bottner and Michael Emberley pay playful homage to the diverse tastes of child readers and valiant librarians.” -–Powell’s Books
Booklist/ Bookends Blog - March 10, 2010
Cindy: For every enthusiastic librarian or teacher, there’s a kid out there with a “prove-it-to-me” attitude. Miss Brooks is a costumed, puppet-wielding vortex of book-loving, book-promoting energy but one of her young students is not buying any.
I ask Miss Brooks why she dresses up for reading circle.
“I want you to get as excited about books as I am,” she says.
I think Miss Brooks gets a little too excited. And I bet her costumes itch.
When the girl asks her mother if they can move to a new town her mother replies, “…there’s a librarian in every town.”
Book Week comes and the librarian gets even more excited while the little cynic rejects the gusto with which a variety of books are offered. It’s finally a wart and a snort that wins the girl’s affections for books. Yes, William Steig’s brilliant Shrek. Miss Brooks Loves Books(Random/Knopf) is sure to become a March is Reading Month staple.
Each fall I start the school year by challenging my students at orientation to play “Stump the Librarian.” I tell them that I know that not everyone likes to read as much as I do, but that I can help them to find at least one item in the library that they will like. They are encouraged to come to me during the first few months of school and say “I dare you to find me a book I will like.” They love hearing that I’ve never been stumped and think that they will be the one. I love that I’ve eliminated a few barriers to getting them to talk to me about books, and, so far, my record stands. We excitable book-loving librarians are hard to outlast.
Lynn: I’m not sure who is going to laugh most at this charming book – kids or librarians. We librarians all know this skeptical child who scornfully rejects every book we offer. Illustrator Michael Emberley captures the very essence of resistance that oozes from this bespectacled child. In contrast, the energetic Miss Brooks seems to spark enthusiasm from the ends of her wild hair. It is clear from Emberley’s warmly comedic pictures that Miss Brooks is not going to give up till the reluctant narrator is converted. Thank goodness for warts and snorts and all the “funny and fantastic and appalling” books in the library and for all the Miss Brooks fighting the good fight.
Bookends Blog– Middle-school librarians, Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan
Welcome Back Sun
by Michael Emberley
Little Brown & Co./Hachette (New York)
*A Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books, 1994 Blue Ribbon Award winner.
Both an enlightening glimpse of another culture and a lyrical, heartwarming story, this volume also stunningly showcases Emberley’s ( The Present ; Ruby ) elegant, emotion-charged art. The tale takes place in Norway during murketiden , the “murky time” between September and March when the sun disappears behind the mountains. Emberley’s likable young narrator recalls a legend about another girl in another murketiden , who could no longer bear the darkness and trekked through the mountains until she found the long-lost sun and led it back into the valley. The story stokes the narrator’s imagination during the oppressive darkness, until she finally persuades her parents that it’s time to climb the same mountain, find the sun and “show it the way home”–a local custom, but Emberley allows his heroine (and the reader) to believe that her adventure has indeed brought the sun. Emberley’s pictures deftly convey the story’s ambience. In addition to the traditional Norwegian garb of his characters, he renders the twilit gloaming of the murketiden , delicately contrasting shadowy landscapes and interiors with the first light of spring. Ages 4-8.
School Library Journal
Grade 1-3-The power and simple beauty of sunshine are eloquently evoked in this charming tale about the long-awaited arrival of spring. A young Norwegian girl describes the long, dark winter days, known as the murketiden, and confesses her yearning for the return of the sun. Her mother also finds the long winter oppressive, though her father seems to fare somewhat better. As the darkness drags on, however, even he begins to feel the strain. It is then that the child succeeds in convincing her family to follow the footsteps of a legendary girl and climb the nearby Mount Gausta in search of the sun. As the family trudges upward, they meet friends and neighbors, all of whom gather at the mountain pass to welcome the bright light. Captivating artwork illuminates the text. Using colors and techniques reminiscent of Ed Young’s work, as well as more defined and detailed drawings, Emberley captures the feel of both the cold, gray “murky time” and the brilliant, clear sunshine. The illustrations reflect the warm affection among family members and place the story firmly in its cultural context. A most welcome seasonal selection.
Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Ages 5-8. This is a special story, and it’s very different from Emberley’s acclaimed Red Riding Hood spoof, Ruby. Here, the setting is a small Norwegian village; the time is murketiden, the dark winter months. The young narrator describes how the hunger for sunshine makes her Mama “fret and stare and snap at me.” Inspired by the legend about the little girl who found the sun the first time it was lost, the narrator longs to climb Mount Gausta to bring the sun back home. After such hopeful signs as the noontime brightening of the village sky and newspaper reports of the sun’s rising in Oslo, her close-knit family sets out on a hike that begins in a deeply shadowed bedroom and ends on a summit wreathed in sparkling yellow and orange sunlight. In contrast to the striking impressionistic grounds that reflect the ever-changing light, the precise, detailed figures of the people are in light, warm colors. With its secure tone and satisfying ending, this evocative and beautifully illustrated story is an ideal choice to share with any child experiencing a difficult, dark time. Julie Corsaro
A little girl who lives “wedged deep in a narrow mountain valley” far in the north describes the weary months Norwegians call “murketiden”–“the murky time” when the sun has disappeared–and the joyful March day when she and her parents make the steep climb to glimpse its first reappearance. Emberley captures the effect of the darkness on these villagers with unusual sensitivity, touching on the hunger for sunshine that most people hold off until Christmas but that affects even patient, stoical Papa before spring; the eager trek up Mount Gausta to find the glorious explosion of “brilliance [that] flashes off snow and ice” makes a tellingly dramatic conclusion. Emberley’s beautifully composed illustrations, with expressive, delicately limned characters that recall Lena Anderson’s, are especially fine. A perfect antidote to a dreary winter week.
MAYBE A BEAR ATE IT!
Scholastic/Orchard Books(New York)
* A 2009 American Library Association Notable Book
* A 2008 National Parenting Publication Gold Award Winner
“Emberley obviously knows just how toddlers move and react, and every feeling blasts right out across the page. The picture of the critter gleefully skipping across an empty white expanse with his book in hand is priceless. Even adult readers will be hard pressed not to smile when the lost is found.” Pair this with Mo Willems’ Knuffle Bunny books.”-Stephanie Zvirin, Booklist(USA)
“…aside from the quick-to-read story, (there are) wonderful, colorful illustrations by Michael Emberley This book will teach kids to love books. It’s obvious that the little guy in the striped jammies can’t live without his book and will do anything to find it. He hugs it when he finds it, which just melted my heart. It’s a subtle message, but one that children will undoubtedly pick up on.
If you’ve got a kid who hates to be put to bed but loves to have a bedtime story, “Maybe a Bear Ate It” is one he or she will ask for again and againAny 3-to-6 year old is going to eat this book up.By Terri Schlichenmeyer, The Westerly Sun
Michael Emberley provides energetic illustrations. It’s perfect for story time, bedtime, or library time, and it’s a great book to introduce young readers to the vital importance of books.“Lori O’Toole Buselt, The Wichita Eagle,
MAIL HARRY TO THE MOON
LITTLE BROWN/HACHETTE (NEW YORK)
*School Library Journal Best Book of the Year for 2008
* Bank Street College/Irma S. & James H. Black Book Award 2008
“Harris and Emberley are old hands at striking the right balance between comic Sturm und Drang and genuine poignancy and their considerable talents make this otheriwse familiar tale feel
fresh and funny and psychologically true. Emberley’s cartooning brims with terrific shitck–he gives the hero some slow burns and outbursts worthy of Ralph Kramden. Kids will particularly appreciate Emberely’s gift for staging: the final sequence… blows out any vestige of sentimentality with its full-throttle energy.“
– Publishers Weekly, 2008 STARRED REVIEW.
“ Emberley’s strong visual punch lines bring the (story’s) humor to life, and the older boy’s expressions clearly get his feelings across.”
-School Library Journal, Starred review
“Author Harris nails big brother’s emotional tirades, but Michael Emberley nearly steals the show with his funny illustrations. His cartoon-like drawings in bright colors capture every nuance in big brother’s angry eyes, slumped shoulders and gritted teeth, telegraphing his mondo irritation over baby vomit on his face, baby in Grandma’s lap and baby screaming.“
-Judy Green, The Sacramento Bee
“This is a good-quality book – an important consideration in children’s reading material. Good fonts, good color and illustrations. Michael Emberley‘s engaging cartoony style puts the mood and emotions right there on the page with a sense of wry amusement.”
-Maryan Pelland, www.suite101.com
“the (Emberley’s) illustrations, are simple yet wacky and whimsical, and go well with the story. This is a book that will especially appeal to little boys”
Mayra Calvani, Armchair Interviews
“This is one of the most fun children’s books I’ve ever (seen)! …perfectly complemented by Michael Emberley’s drawings.”
-A Book Blogger’s Diary 2009
“enlivened by Michael Emberley’s emotive illustrations, The ending is perfect.”
-Hilary Williamson, Book Loons
by Michael Emberley
Little Brown & Co./Hachette (New York)
In this droll though somewhat wordy tale, Emberley ( Ruby ) introduces readers to the difficulties of gift-giving. Looking like Happy of Snow White fame, an endearing Uncle Arne finds the perfect gift for Tove, his young nephew–so perfect, in fact, that Uncle Arne decides to keep it for himself. Feeling slightly guilty, he then constructs a bicycle for Tove, a gift he himself will surely not covet, for bike riding is hardly his forte. Or is it? Emberley’s gentle, homey watercolors are particularly winning in their use of an innovative technique in which multiple small images convey the impression of movement and ongoing action. Whether or not children will understand this concept does not really matter, for they are sure to enjoy the busy scenes–especially the chaos that Uncle Arne causes at the market. Ages 4-8.
The author of Ruby (1990) creates another charmingly original story, this time set in rural Denmark. Arne, proprietor of a fix-it shop, is reminded by the postman (who seems to have read Arne’s mail) that his nephew Tove’s 12th birthday is coming up; Arne will need to find a present. In the busy village market, he finds a 17-blade knife, fixes it up–then, deciding to keep it, repairs an old bike as a substitute. He’s so fat that he’s a precarious rider, but off he wobbles on his present–only to be greeted by Tove with his fine new bike. Never mind; the knife still in Arne’s pocket makes the perfect gift, and now they can ride bikes together. Told with wry good humor and some comical repetitions (a true Dane, Arne consumes pickled herring at every opportunity), but the illustrations are the most fun: dogged, a little foolish, but endearing, Arne searches the market, labors in his shop, or careens on the bike, sometimes appearing dozens of times across a double-spread landscape as if appearing in the frames of a film sequence. Lighthearted and innovative: a story to amuse older children as well as its intended audience. (Picture book. 4-11)
You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You/
Very Short Stories to Read Together
Megan Tingley Books, Little, Brown & Co.(New York)
Illustrated by Michael Emberley
*Fifteen weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List. Reaching #2 on the list.
*Notable Book, American Library Association 2002
*A Best Book, 2001, Chicago Parent
“Michael Emberley’s pictures often have visual jokes of their own, which refresh the reading moment.”
“exuberant illustrations…“, Booklist
You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You
/Very Short Fairy Tales to Read Together
Megan Tingley Books, Little, Brown & Co.(New York)
Illustrated by Michael Emberley.
* 2005 Notable Children’s Book in the Language Arts by the Children’s Literature
Assembly of the National Council of Teachers of English
*2004 Gryphon Award Honor Book by the Center for Children’s Books.
By Michael Emberley
*An ALA notable book of the year
“A delightful modern take-off on Red Riding Hood : …Hilariously depict(ing) urban blight and it’s denizens…A deft cartoon-like style to rival Stevensen’s or Marshall’s; dozens of imaginative comic details (the animal caracatures of city dwellers going doggedly about their business are especially wonderful); and Emberley’s brisk pungent telling make this one of the year’s most deliciously amusing picture books.” — Kirkus Reviews
“In transplanting “Little Red Riding Hood” from the country to the streets of Boston, Emberley plays fast and loose with some of the traditional elements of the story. The bizarre collection of creatures stalking Beantown’s streets look a lot like the motley crew from the bar scene in Star Wars…Emberley brings this urbanized Red Riding Hood vividly to life, with multi-colored, intensley detailed paintings capturing the clutter and constant motion of city life. …Ruby is a folk hero for the nineties…” — Booklist
Ruby and the Sniffs
Little Brown /Hachette
By Michael Emberley
“both story and illustrations work wonderfully together to create a hilarious romp that will keep older children laughing and rereading.“
– Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT
HAPPY BIRTH DAY!
Candlewick Press Boston/Walker Books London
Illustrated by Michael Emberley
* Booklist Editor’s Choice (starred review)
* School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
* Parents Best Book of The Year winner
* Parenting Reading Magic Award winner
* Children’s Literature Choice List title
* New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing selection, 1996
* Recommended by Parenting, Parents and Parent’s Choice
“A warm, tender picture book. Emberley’s illustrations in pencil and pastels fill the oversized pages with soft-focused, cozy colors and true-to-life detail.”
-School Library Journal, (starred review)
“Tenderness flows like a current throughout the warmhearted prose and the gentle, sweeping lines of Emberley’s realistic artwork. With its oversize format and large-as-life illustrations, this book telegraphs a sense of immediacy that makes it all the more appealing.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Emberley’s paintings are spectacular. Large, realistic, and softly colored, they literally glow as they catch the tender moments: the baby girl naked, eyes barely open, umbilical cord still attached; squalling, fingers clutching; at mother’s breast; in father’s arms; peacefully asleep encircled by Mom and Dad. The book will be a hugely appealing library item, with potential for small-group use as well as lap sharing. this touching book, speaks with joy and wonder to young children and their parents.”
-Stephanie Zvirin, Booklist, (starred review)
” …children will love the two-page close-up pastel drawings by Michael Emberley. ”
-The New York Times Book Review
” Large, softly glowing pictures of the tiny, wrinkly baby reinforce how wrapped in love it is and how thrilled is the family.”
-The Huckleberry Bookshelf
“(A) beautifully conveyed drama. Especially noteworthy are Michael Emberley’s pencil-and-pastel illustrations, which are tender without being sentimental. In my favorite, the infant peers out at the world for the first time, looking surprised and a little disgruntled at the lights and noise. The soft tones and emphasis on close-ups of mother, father and baby highlight the miracle of birth.”
“(the)Large, full-page paintings a(re) realistic and tender ”
-New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing selection
“Emberley’s dramatic large-format pencil and pastel drawings have the joyful intimacy of a family photo album.”
“Tender illustrations. (A) celebration of the joy and love felt when a baby is born.”
-The Dallas Morning News
HI NEW BABY!
Candlewick Press Boston/Walker Books London
Illustrated by Michael Emberley
- Parenting Reading Magic Award
- New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing selection
- Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award 2000 Gold Seal Award
“Reprising the family first introduced in Happy Birth Day!, Harris and Emberley return with another sensitive and visually sumptuous portrayal. Working in full-bleed spreads in glowing peach tones, Emberley creates warm, intimate pictures (the audience is often just beyond the characters’ noses); by frequently framing the action at the girl’s eye level, he captures the full force of her stormy emotions. ”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The family first introduced in Happy Birth Day! returns for a sensitive and visually sumptuous portrayal of a domestic milestone: the arrival of a second child.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“(A) reassuring, emotionally on-target book.”
-Parenting magazine, Reading Magic Award
“…marvelously realistic, often life-size oil pastel illustrations.”
“The best children’s books respect young people. They don’t oversimplify, demonize, or cute-ify. Judging from two titles that have recently come my way from Candlewick Press of Cambridge, Mass., someone or several someones have taken their mission as publishers of high quality juvenile books very seriously… illustrated by Michael Emberley with soft but realistic pictures of a family with a new baby. Emberley’s illustrations are a welcome change from two types of art that often accompany books for children – the cartoon and the vaguely romantic. Though Emberley’s illustrations are done in loving detail, he doesn’t glamorize anyone. Both parents have double chins. The very new baby’s anatomy is unmistakably male, and his new cord stump still has its plastic clamp attached. He has the unfocused, wrinkled, drooling look of the typical newborn, and his head lolls to the side while one eye squinches shut.
-Francette Cerulli, The Times Argus
“(A) glorious team. Emberley’s realistic oil-pastel pictures are utterly wonderful. A slightly balding dad, a round-faced mom, the little girl, the baby, and the grandparents are seen mostly in tight close-ups, a genuine kid’s-eye view: Mom nurses while she munches a pickle; the grandparents change the drooling infant. The emotions on the faces, from bemusement to fear to anger to delight, are rendered with pitch-perfect precision. Pair this with Kevin Henkes’ Julius, the Baby of the World (1990) for a siblingfest of reassurance and joy.”
-GraceAnne A. DeCandido, Booklist
“Perceptive, amusing and touching, …the gorgeous illustrations in pastel colors convey the sweet moments after the little girl accepts her sibling.”
Simon & Schuster(New York)
“Emberley infuses his artwork with a spontaneity and humor that’s perfect for the mood of the text. He renders the rapture of new parenthood as confidently as he does the skepticism of new siblinghood, ”
-Publishers Weekly, (starred review)
“Emberley’s large-scale artwork, rendered in watercolor, pastel, and ink, brims with warmth.”
-Booklist, (starred reviews)