Horn Book Picture Book Awards
2014
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Marla Frazee

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-Frazee's controlled palette of subdued golds, browns, and grays offers a fitting backdrop for the hard-working farmer foregrounded in this wordless tale. Bent over his wheat, he misses the drama above as sweeping cloud formations bleed off the page. A swiftly moving circus train on the horizon introduces color and an unexpected visitor, when a bump on the tracks ejects a young clown. Exuberance meets quiet responsibility as the whirlwind in a red one-piece, the small clown, embraces the legs of the old man. Their similar silhouettes invite comparison, while their hats (one black and wide-brimmed, the other red and conical) suggest contrast. Hand in hand, they enter the farmhouse, where softly textured gouache and black pencil scenes in panels of varying shapes and sizes depict shared meals and ablutions, a protective night watch, and unanticipated antics as rust-colored long johns seem to conjure the farmer's playfulness. The bond, conveyed visually through mirrored motions, continues to develop until the train returns. Readers will wonder how to feel in the penultimate scene until they notice a clown with a black hat waving from the caboose, and the final page contains another surprise. This is a tender look at light and shadow, the joy and comfort in companionship, the lift that laughter provides, and the friendship possible among generations (and species). The poignant relationship calls to mind the quiet potency of scenes in Raymond Briggs's The Snowman (Random, 1978) and Sarah Stewart's The Gardener (Farrar, 2007). Lovely.-Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list In this wordless picture book, a bearded farmer is alarmed to see a young clown tumble out of a passing circus train. The farmer takes the lost big-top performer home and feeds him, but then, as they wash their faces before bed, the young clown loses his makeup and his moxie. The next morning, the farmer works hard to cheer up the boy by making funny faces, and the boy enlivens the farm chores with a series of tricks. Eventually the circus train passes again, and the boy and the farmer rush to get the little clown back to his clown family, who clearly miss him. Frazee uses a muted color palette that matches the quiet, gentle mood of the story. Her simply drawn characters with minimal facial features beautifully convey emotions, particularly when the dour farmer has more pep in his step after he and the clown go separate ways (but trade hats first). Little ones will delight in the farmer clowning around to the last page, which promises a fun surprise for the old man.--Kan, Kat Copyright 2014 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2013
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by Peter Brown

Publishers Weekly In a gratifying parable about self-actualization, Mr. Tiger lives in a drab society where bipedal animals dressed in fairly Victorian apparel exchange terse salutations, while adhering to rules of etiquette. Though similarly attired in a handsome suit coat and top hat, Mr. Tiger disrupts Brown's (You Will Be My Friend!) manicured spreads, which are colored in the ashy browns of daguerreotypes; he's the color of a mango, has lime green eyes, and faces readers with an expression of barely constrained disgruntlement. Mr. Tiger mechanically runs through the motions (stiffly lifting his hat to greet Mr. Deer), but, "He wanted to loosen up. He wanted to have fun. He wanted to be... wild." Mr. Tiger's expression turns to delight as he scampers on all fours, sheds his clothes, and heads to the wilderness-"where he went completely wild!" His eventual return to civilization reveals that liberation is on the rise. Readers who prefer the view from underneath the dinner table will find a kindred soul in Brown's brightly burning character who knows that the wilderness is always waiting, should the need arise. Ages 3-6. Agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal K-Gr 2-Mr. Tiger lives in a perfectly fine world of prim and proper ladies and gentlemen. One day, the stiff suits, dainty teas, and Victorian manners begin to bore him. and he has a very wild idea. This "it's okay to be different" story stands out from other picture books on the topic thanks to Brown's delightfully clever illustrations and masterful compositions. From the tiger-striped cover that begs to be petted to the ingenious pops of bright orange (Brown's new signature color?) amid muted browns and grays, the award-winning illustrator does not disappoint. Children will appreciate Mr. Tiger's transformation and the way his friends eventually accept his (and their own) uniqueness. Several wordless spreads encourage audience participation while subtle visual clues gently build his character. A full spread featuring the newly liberated Mr. Tiger au naturel is delivered with pitch-perfect comedic timing and is guaranteed to inspire wild giggles. Sure to be an instant read-aloud classic in classrooms and libraries.-Kiera Parrott, Darien Library, CT (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* Opening endpapers of orderly gray bricks introduce a community of proper Victorian animals getting about their business with smileless politesse. But Mr. Tiger, his bright-orange face a sore thumb among the elephant grays and mule-deer browns, dreams of freedom. First, he drops to all fours. His neighbors are nonplussed. Then, he rampages and roars. His neighbors are frightened. Finally, he gets naked. The village members suggest he head into the wilderness, which he thinks is a magnificent idea. He loves the wilderness, with all its wildness, but, in time, he misses the city and his friends. He returns only to discover that things have loosened to a happy medium. He dons some aloha attire, and all is right with the world. Closing endpapers of haphazard greenery celebrate the welcome change. Brown highlights the differences between municipal propriety and savage abandon with color and composition. The city is all upright, sepia, rectilinear precision; the wild, sweeping vistas of lush, verdant paradise, and their final amalgam form a nice balance. With its skewed humor and untamed spirit, this joyous exploration of quasi-reverse anthropomorphism will delight listeners again and again.--Barthelmess, Thom Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2013
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Jonathan Bean

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-A year-and-a-half-long adventure of building a cozy home in the countryside involves an entire family of four. The oldest child describes the construction of the house, expertly shown in appealing soft-colored illustrations that vary in size from full spreads to small vignettes. Water and electricity are shown being connected to a temporary home in a trailer so the family can live on the property while the work is being done. Friends and family help out from time to time during the creation of the small timber-frame home, but the girl's parents perform the majority of work on their own (a third child arrives in the course of the story). Engaging pictures are reminiscent of Lisa Campbell Ernst's charming illustrations and are based on the building of the author/illustrator's childhood home. An author's note includes Bean's family photographs. Lovingly told, this captivating tale will help satisfy a child's curiosity of what it takes to create a building from scratch.-Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Not unlike Dan Yaccarino did in All the Way to America, Bean (At Night) turns family history into something larger, in this case a romantic portrait of the rewards of diligence, teamwork, and a DIY mentality. In a concluding note accompanied by family photos, Bean explains that the story is based on his family's experience of building a farmhouse when he was a toddler. A sense of familial dedication and cohesiveness fills the pages, with narration coming from a character modeled after Bean's older sister. The pale, matte illustrations are a flurry of activity (and filled with the sort of construction details that children adore), as the family equips a trailer to serve as temporary digs, buys lumber, builds a foundation, hosts a frame-raising party, and eventually turns to interior work. Bean's pictures provide a supplementary visual narrative (Mom becomes pregnant, an infant appears), and the father offers suitably dadlike truisms like "The right tool for the right job" throughout. A warm look at the nuts and bolts of building a house and turning it into a home. Ages 3-6. Agent: Anna Webman, Curtis Brown. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list An author's note reveals that this picture book is based on personal experience, as Bean's parents built their own house when he was a young child. Here we follow a mother, father, two children (and, eventually, a new baby) over the course of a year and a half through a harsh winter and plenty of lumber pickups all the way to move-in day at their new abode. Told from the point of view of the oldest child, a girl, the challenges and rewards involved in constructing from scratch become clear. The kids are not exempt from the do-it-yourself action, and they happily help fill the loud mixing machine. Bean (At Night, 2007) makes use of every inch of the tall trim size here, filling his pages to the brim with heavily lined illustrations of bustling people and activity often as a series of four vignettes across a spread. What's heartwarming throughout is the depiction of a tight-knit family ( My family makes up a strong crew of four ). The author's concluding personal photos add to the loving feel.--Kelley, Ann Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2012
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Mac Barnett

Publishers Weekly Understated illustrations and prose seamlessly construct an enchanting and mysterious tale about a girl named Annabelle, who lives in a world "where everywhere you looked was either the white of snow or the black of soot from chimneys." After Annabelle finds a box filled with yarn of every color, she immediately sets out to knit sweaters for everyone she knows. Barnett's (Mustache!) story is both fairy tale lean and slyly witty. No matter how many sweaters Annabelle knits, the box always has "extra yarn" for another project, until the entire town is covered with angled stitches in muted, variegated colors-people, animals, and buildings alike. (Fans of Klassen's I Want My Hat Back may suspect that a few of the animals from that story have wandered into this one.) A villainous archduke offers to buy the box, but Annabelle refuses. He steals it, but finds it contains no yarn at all, and with the help of just a bit more magic, it finds its way back to Annabelle. Barnett wisely leaves the box's magic a mystery, keeping the focus on Annabelle's creativity, generosity, and determination. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* This understated picture book is certain to spark the imagination of every child who comes upon it, and what could be better than that? Annabelle lives in a black-and-white world, where everything is drab, drab, drab. So imagine her surprise when she finds a box filled with yarn of every color. Armed with the yarn and knitting needles, she makes herself a sweater, but after she finishes, she finds that she has extra yarn left over. After knitting a sweater for her dog, her classmates, and various (hilariously unsurprised) bunnies and bears, she still has extra yarn. So, Annabelle turns her attention to things that don't usually wear wool cozies: houses and cars and mailboxes. Soon an evil archduke with a sinister mustache who was very fond of clothes hears about the magic box of never-ending yarn, and he wants it for his own. Reading like a droll fairy tale, this Barnett-Klassen collaboration is both seamless and magical. The spare, elegant text and art are also infused with plenty of deadpan humor. Klassen (I Want My Hat Back, 2011) uses ink, gouache, and digital illustration to fashion Annabelle's world out of geometric shapes, set against dark, saturated pages, and against white as the town comes to colorful, stitched life. Quirky and wonderful, this story quietly celebrates a child's ingenuity and her ability to change the world around her.--Kelley, Ann Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal K-Gr 3-In a snow- and soot-covered town, Annabelle discovers a small black box filled with colorful yarn. She knits a sweater for herself, but there's still yarn left over. From the seemingly inexhaustible supply, she knits sweaters for her dog, a boy and his dog, her classmates, her mean teacher, her parents, and people in town. In an astounding feat of urban knitting, she covers the buildings in sweatery goodness, but the yarn does not run out. Disaster strikes when a mustachioed, piratical archduke arrives, demanding that the child sell him the magic box. When she declines, he steals it but does not benefit from his crime, as he finds it empty. In a fit of rage, the archduke curses Annabelle and flings the box into the sea. Happily, it finds its way back to her full of yarn again. Klassen's deadpan, stylized illustrations impeccably complement Barnett's quirky droll writing. Small details like a dog's sneer or sweater-covered mailboxes add to the subtle humor. The cheerful colors of the yarn contrast with the somber grays and blacks of the town. Give this one to fans of offbeat stories like Florence Heide's Princess Hyacinth: (The Surprising Story of a Girl Who Floated) (Random, 2009) or to young knitting enthusiasts.-Yelena Alekseyeva-Popova, Chappaqua Library, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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