A Handful of Highlights from Candlewick’s 2009 Spring/Summer List

Alison Morris -- January 15th, 2009

It has occurred to me on many occasions that right after I’ve read a publisher’s new list I should just jot down a few quick notes about books that surprised or impressed me — especially when they’re by less-familiar talents. For once I actually remembered to do that! What follows are seven quick picks from Candlewick’s 2009 Spring/Summer List.

Leslie Patricelli‘s got a simple new picture book on the list that works like a charm. It’s called Higher! Higher! (March) and stars a girl whose requests to be pushed "Higher! Higher!" on the swings take her to some VERY impressive heights! The scences on these pages are rendered in Patricelli’s usual blocky and colorful style, but they tilt at a dizzying angle, making it feel like you really might be leaving the ground. What fun!

I also loved John Lechner‘s picture book The Clever Stick (July), in which a clever (but silent) stick has to find his own voice, metaphorically. You might think it’d be hard to feel much sympathy for a stick, but…? Not this one.

Stan Fellows‘s watercolor illustrations for The Cuckoo’s Haiku and Other Birding Poems by Michael J. Rosen (March) are STUNNING. This bright and beautiful book will make the *perfect* gift for birders of age. (And poetry fans too!)

First-time author/illustrator Tony Fucile will have kids rolling on the floor with his picture book Let’s Do Nothing! (May) in which two boys attempt to do just that (with zero success). Comic genius!

The same reaction should greet Alison McGhee‘s Song of Middle C (illustrated by Scott Menchin, May) in which a piano-playing girl finds that even her lucky underwear can’t save her from stage fright during her first recital. As the child in this book would say, "Hoo boy!"

Young gumshoes and budding secret agents will love the laughs and suspense in The Dunderheads (June), a lengthy picture book written by Paul Fleischman and illustrated by David Roberts (what a pair!). Here, a pack of mistreated students finds a way to steal back the items taken from them by their tyrannical teacher who thinks they’re no better than (of course) dunderheads. The distinct personalities and unique talents of each student all but guarantee that this memorable pack will amuse both children and adults. And oh the details in David Roberts’ illustrations! My favorite is a movie poster for East Side Anecdote, which parodies a film I feel quite certain I’ve seen before… someday. Somewhere.

I love the poems in Avis Harley‘s African Acrostics: A World in Edgeways (July). Accompanied by bold (and sometimes very entertaining) photographs by the multi-talented Deborah Noyes, the playful pieces on these pages more than ably capture their subjects, in wonderful language that make them a true cut above the most poems I’ve read in this form. I predict that teachers will go ga-ga for this one.

Of course there were other books on the Candlewick list that I enjoyed in addition to these, but at least this gives you a quick peek at what what they’ve got in store for the upcoming season.

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