By Chris Van Allsburg (EB Taylor)
A retired, out of work Charm School teacher named Annie Taylor contemplated her future in 1901 and was discouraged by the prospects. Fearful that she would end up in the poorhouse, Taylor decides to ride over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Like the reality TV wannabees of today, Annie thought her stunt would bring fame and fortune. In his first work of nonfiction, two-time Caldecott winner Van Allsburg captures the grit and determination of the sixty-two year old woman. His sepia tone illustrations are reminiscent of the newspaper photos of the time period. Van Allsburg has proven once again that his books possess an ageless appeal. Annie’s death defying feat lives on in this fine work.
By Jon Scieszka (Author) Lane Smith (Illustrator) (E Scie)
Every story has two sides and in this hilarious retelling, Scieszka gives the infamous Wolf the chance to defend himself. Smith’s lighthearted illustrations enhance the comical rendition of this beloved fairy tale.
By Allen Say (E Say)
Allen Say won the Caldecott Medal for this autobiographical look at three generations of his family. His grandfather journeyed from Japan to America at sixteen years old. His fond feeling for his newly adopted country grew, but the longing for his childhood memories never abated. Grandfather returned to his native Japan with his wife and daughter. The story comes full circle with Allen Say’s return to California. Poignantly told with photo like illustrations, the conflicting emotions of the immigrant’s experience are lovingly portrayed.
By Mordicai Gerstein (E Gers)
On a clear morning in August, 1974, tight rope walker Philippe Petit, stunned New Yorkers as he walked on a cable strung between the two towers of the World Trade Center. Not only did he walk, he danced, knelt, and ran back and forth across the wire to the dismay of the police who ordered him back to the tower. After almost an hour, he returned and was promptly arrested. Gerstein’s ink and oil painting illustrations deftly portray the enormity of Petit’s stunts. Gerstein wrote this after the Towers were destroyed, preserving the memory of the World Trade Center and Petit’s amazing accomplishment in the sky. Caldecott Medal winner.
By Ellen Levine (Author) Kadir Nelson (Illustrator) (J Levi)
In this compelling story of the Underground Railroad, Henry “Box” Brown is a slave who was twice separated from his family and devises an ingenious plan of escape. Aided by abolitionists, Henry packs himself in a crate & mails himself to an abolitionist physician in Philadelphia. Nelson’s powerful illustrations portray the agonies of slavery, while his cut away illustrations show the misery of being mailed in a crate. Based on a true story.
By Brian Floca (J385.0973 Floc)
In this non-fiction picture book, Flocca recounts the journey of a young family riding on the transcontinental railroad soon after its completion in 1869. Soft water colors bring to life; the workers, the beautiful American landscapes and the intricacies of this mighty train which connected Omaha to California. Fans of trains and American History will relish this well-researched and richly detailed account of the opening of the American West.
By Kirby Larson & Mary Nethery (Authors) Jean Cassels (Illustrator) (E Lars)
The devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina on the city of New Orleans in 2005 is brought to life by Lars & Nelson in this story of two abandoned pets, a cat and a dog. Close to starvation, they are eventually rescued, taken to a shelter where it is quickly discovered that the cat now named Bob-Cat is blind. Dog pal, Bobbi has led the blind kitty through weeks of hardships and danger. Inseparable at the shelter, Bob-Cat and Bobbi were eventually adopted together and are living happily ever-after. Based on a true story.
By Maria Rockliff (Author) Jacopo Bruno (Illustrator) (E973.3 Rock)
In this whimsical look at a true moment in History, Rockliff recounts the story of how Ben Franklin’s application of the “Scientific Method” challenged the mysterious curing powers of a certain Dr. Mesmer. Visiting the court of Louis XVI to procure aid for the Revolutionary War, Franklin was asked by the King to observe Dr. Mesmer with his patients. The premier scientist of his day, Frankiln easily exposed Mesmer as a charlatan. Lavishly illustrated, this book has it all; History, Science, Medicine and the excesses of the French Court.
By Lois Lowry (Author) Bagram Ibatoulline (Illustrator) (J Lowr)
Based on her own childhood, this is the story of eight year old Lizzie, who reacquaints herself with her father who has been at war for four long years. The year is 1945 and Father & daughter embark on a hunting trip, because the crows are eating the corn. The tentativeness, between Father and daughter are beautifully expressed as they share cherry pie for breakfast, and head for the Pennsylvania hills to find the hungry crows. Sensitive to his daughter's fear, Father never raises his gun. Beautifully illustrated in golden fall hues, the book captures the meaning of a family growing together after a long absence.
By Harry Allard (Author) James Marshall (Illustrator) (E Alla)
Miss Nelson is the sweetest teacher in the school. Her unruly students in Room 207 take full advantage until one day Miss Nelson disappears only to be replaced by the witch-like Miss Viola Swamp. Suddenly the students realize what they have lost. Allards’ understated text along with the humorous illustrations of James Marshall combine to create a book which appeals to the young and young at heart.