Forthcoming picture book, Thunder Underground, is a collection of poems written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Josée Masse detailing the various activities and objects that exist underground, ranging from buried treasure to burrowing creatures to the subway. Booklist recently wrote a great advance review of the picture book. They describe Thunder Underground as a “thoughtful collection” and praised Yolen’s “vivid” poems. They wrote of Josée’s illustrations that, “Masse’s drawings of a boy and girl tell stories on their own…The warm, naturalistic illustrations of underground scenes and cutaways often contain an element of charming whimsy.” Thunder Underground comes out in March of 2017. You can order it online here.
Elise Gravel‘s newest book, Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere, tells the story of an aspiring scientist, Olga, who loves animal and longs to be a zoologist. One day she discovers a mysterious, smelly creature and sets out to discover whether it’s an entirely new, undiscovered animal species. This hilarious book comes out in March of this year, and it already has a great advance review from Booklist! Booklist praises Elise’s, “hilarious comics-style illustrations,” and the equally funny dialogue and narration, which often takes the form of scientific observations. Booklist writes that, “This laugh-out-loud book is a perfect pick for transitioning readers with a penchant for silly stories.” Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere comes out in the spring, but for those who can’t wait, you can pre-order it online here.
As 2016 comes to a close, it’s time for Best Books of the Year lists! Huffington Post recently published their list of the Best Picture Books of 2016, including two of our author/illustrators as honorable mentions. In the Best Concept Book Category, Il Sung Na‘s The Opposite Zoo, which illustrated the concept of opposites through the medium of a zoo at night, was included as an honorable mention. In the Best Poetry category was Echo Echo: Reverso Poems About Greek Myths, written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Josée Masse, which retold Greek myths through a unique poetic form. Congratulations, Il Sung and Josée! The Huffington Post’s full article can be read here. The Opposite Zoo can be purchased online here and Echo Echo can be purchased here.
Coming out in February 2017, Waiting for Pumpsie, written by Barry Wittenstein and illustrated by London Ladd, is the story of an African American boy in the 1950s who longs for his favorite team, the Red Sox, to add an African American player to their team at least. Promising minor league player Pumpsie Green seems like his greatest hope. Publishers Weekly recently reviewed this upcoming picture book. They praise the book for both accurately portraying racism and including moments of hope and triumph, writing that, “Although Wittenstein and Ladd never sugarcoat instances of racial prejudice, the story’s moments of triumph sound the loudest notes.” They also praise, “Ladd’s…expressive, dramatically framed acrylics.” The full review can be found online here. Waiting for Pumpsie can be preordered online here.
Muhammad Ali: A Champion is Born, written by Gene Barretta and illustrated by Frank Morrison, tells the story of how a young Muhammad Ali – then called Cassius Clay – got his start in boxing when he began working out after his bike was stolen. It comes out this January, but is already receiving praise from Publishers Weekly. They compliment the extensive historical information included by Ali and write that, “Working in acrylic, Morrison…creates visceral, dynamic action shots.” The full review can be read here. Muhammad Ali can be pre-ordered online here.
The Legendary Miss Lena Horne, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Liz Zunon, isn’t coming out until early 2017, but it’s already receiving a lot of buzz, and here’s another great new review from Publishers Weekly! The Legendary Miss Lena Horne tells the true story of groundbreaking actress, singer, and civil rights activist Lena Horne. Publishers Weekly praised it for its use of source material and its portrayal of Horne’s struggles, and write that, “Zunon’s warm-hued, multi-textured oil-and-collage images emphasize the determination of a woman who found her voice on stage as singer, actor, and activist.” The full review can be found here. Miss Lena Horne can be pre-ordered online here.