Author Archive for Casey Maynard



Mock Caldecott Review: Now

by Casey Maynard on December 15th, 2017

Image result for now antoinette portisAntoinette Portis consistently creates delightful read alouds for children and her latest, Nowis a treasure. A young girl shows us her favorite things including a paper boat, a song, a worm and mud. As we follow her throughout her day it becomes apparent that everything she does and has is her favorite, because it is what she is experiencing in the moment.

The exception emerges at the end of the title with her “favorite now”. Pay particular attention to Portis’s masterful use of negative space, vibrant colors and exaggerated brush strokes encouraging breath and space throughout.  Not only is this picture book a joy to read, but much like Wait before, it serves as a reminder to slow down and live every moment to its fullest potential.

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Mock Caldecott Review: Full of Fall

by Casey Maynard on December 8th, 2017
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Librarians and educators are constantly seeking books about seasons and revisit perennial favorites for storytimes and classroom use year after year. Full of Fall has quickly become one of those favorites.

Utilizing short rhyming text with breathtaking photos of fall foliage, animals and scenes, April Pulley Sayre gives readers a lush reminder of why fall is so lovely. Combined with a hearty amount of backmatter including information regarding why leaves change color, how animals prepare for winter and which trees are marcescent, this title is perfect for older readers looking to glean more information about seasonal change as well. A photo illustrated book has never won the Caldecott, Full of Fall would be a perfect first.

On a personal note, as a fellow Hoosier, from the northwest part of the state, I loved seeing some of my childhood stomping grounds represented here. In particular Sayre has used fantastic scenes from Potato Creek State Park and Warren Dunes . Also, sometimes I really miss seeing the red pine squirrels featured in this title–they’re just so cute!

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Mock Caldecott Reviews: Little Fox & Little Cat

by Casey Maynard on December 1st, 2017

Since last week was Thanksgiving, I am starting the reviews of our ten mock Caldecott titles with a two for one. This week I will be taking a look at Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin and Big Cat Little Cat by Elisha Cooper. With these reviews I aim to discuss why a book has been chosen for mock Caldecott consideration without giving too much away–I want you to form your own opinions about these wonderful titles. Without further ado let’s take a look at Little Fox in the Forest  and Big Cat Little Cat. 

Earlier this year I posted a short blog about Stephanie Graegin’s Little Fox in the Forest. Not only is this wordless title absolutely adorable, but the message is heartfelt. Graegin’s use of color as narrative structure is lovely and the movement between spreads and panels sets the pacing of this title apart. Clearly written with children’s sensibilities in mind, the intricate details wrought on every page lend depth to characters and the world Graegin has made. Immensely successful artistically and emotionally, the emotive power of this text is palpable without becoming pedantic.

However, library packaging is problematic here. The endsheets are paramount to the narrative, since the dust jackets have been taped down for circulation some of the intricacies of the story can be lost. I suggest being very gentle and taking a peek under the beautiful wrap around jacket to get a glimpse of both the cover and the endsheets.

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Elisha Cooper’s Big Cat Little Cat is a beautiful homage to love, loss and the nature of change. Set in black and white, utilizing deceptively simple illustrations and large negative spaces, Big Cat Little Cat also serves as an exploration of Yin and Yang.

A black kitten is brought into a family with an adult white cat. We see these two learn, play, grow and of course nap together. The cats are opposites in many ways, coloring, size, age, personality and yet are also completely complementary much like Yin and Yang. The visual reference to the ancient Taoist symbol is made more than once with full bleed illustrations on a striking yellow background. Like Yin and Yang, the cats are separate entities yet create balance and harmony together. The dualistic and transformative nature of Yin and Yang comes into play by the end of the narrative as well.  Simple, powerful and universal, Big Cat Little Cat tackles a tough issue with beauty and tenderness.

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ICPL Mock Caldecott Awards

by Casey Maynard on November 17th, 2017

Last year we did our first ever ICPL Mock Caldecott Awards  and had more than 100 votes for the 15 titles nominated by staff. This year we have narrowed the field to ten titles released in 2017 by authors currently living in or citizens of the USA. Voting will be online this year and will be open from December 1st through January 31st. I will also be posting a review of a nominated title once a week for the next ten weeks, so be sure to check back in!

Without further ado and in no particular order, here are ICPL’s Mock Caldecott nominees:

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Image result for jason chin grand canyonImage result for antoinette portis nowImage result for cordell wolf in the snowImage result for over and under the pondImage result for oliver jeffers here we areRelated image

 

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More information regarding the Caldecott Award rules and eligibility can be found here.

Check Out These New Books!

by Casey Maynard on October 23rd, 2017

“Rapunzel”, by Bethan Woollvin is a cut above. Prepare for a delightful and unconventional heroine. Much like her first picture book, “Little Red”, Woollvin’s next installation is a joyful romp. Be sure to look under the dust jacket for a fun surprise.

 

 

 

 

 

Image result for duncan tonatiuh danzaDuncan Tonatiuh’s “Danza” is a lovely biography of Amalia Hernández, the founder of El Ballet Folklórico de México.  If you are unfamiliar with the Folkloric Ballet this is a wonderful place to start.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image result for sam the most scaredy cat kidMo Willems took his time giving us a sequel to “Leonardo the Terrible Monster”. “Sam, the Most Scaredy-Cat Kid in the World” is a fun extension for these beloved characters and, per usual, Willems delivers high quality frivolity. Look for pigeon cameos, and read back to back if you want to see the play between the two books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 “In Your Hands” by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Brian Pinkney, is not only timely but beautifully rendered. It encompasses what we all hope for our children, brothers and sisters as they set out into the world. While God and prayer are central here, this title resonates on a truly humanitarian level.Related image

Why I Love Kim Krans

by Casey Maynard on September 14th, 2017

For those of you who are unfamiliar with author/illustrator, Kim Krans, I highly recommend her picture books. Not only are they stunning, but her work is highly original and full of whimsy. Both ABC Dream and 123 Dream are wordless, however, Krans uses the format to allow audiences to explore her artwork and discover all the ways her choices align with the numbers and letters represented. They are also a challenge to see how much you and your little ones know about your numbers and letters.

Her most recent picture book, Whose Moon is That? differs from the Dream series in that it’s a short narrative conversation regarding ownership of the moon. The story is sweet, insightful and will get your little ones excited about looking up at our night sky. Image result for kim krans

 

Looking for more fabulous Kim Krans artwork? She is also the creator of the highly acclaimed Wild Unknown Tarot.

Friday Night Movie Series

by Casey Maynard on August 30th, 2017

Friday Night Movies (Sept. 2017)Our new Friday Night Movie series is starting this upcoming Friday, September 1st! Every Friday evening starting at 5:30 we will be showing a movie in the Children’s Storytime Room. While we will not be serving snacks you are always welcome to bring your own.  Floor cushions, stuffed friends, pillows and blankets are welcome as well.

This month we are showing Ponyo, Bridge to Terabithia, The Little Mermaid, Matilda and The Great Mouse Detective.For a sneak peak at the other films we will be showing this fall be sure to check out the ICPL Online Calendar.

Nightlights

by Casey Maynard on August 18th, 2017

nightlights-coverNightlights by Lorena Alvarez is a delightfully creepy and beautiful graphic novel. Part fairy tale, part nightmare with an ending open enough for sequels, this is journey you won’t want to miss. While the visuals are enough of a hat tip to other artists to catch and enjoy–Cartoon Saloon, Vera Brosgol, Emil Carroll etc.–Alvarez’s use of color, negative space and overall pacing are unique and memorable.

 

Nightlights is Alvarez’s first graphic novel, so be sure to watch for more from her in the future!Nightlights

 

The Elephant’s Garden

by Casey Maynard on July 28th, 2017

Image result for JANE RAY ELEPHANTS GARDENJane Ray’s new folktale retelling, The Elephant’s Garden is absolutely stunning. Not only is the tale itself lovely, but Ray’s illustrations show her understanding and respect for the folktale’s origins. Be sure to check this one out!

Jane Ray has also been nominated for the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award for her body of work.

 

Pajama Storytime Returns!

by Casey Maynard on June 12th, 2017

Would you love to bring your children to storytimes at ICPL but don’t have time during the morning? Have no fear, Pajama Storytime is here! Stop by the children’s storytime room from 6:30-7:00 on the second and fourth Monday of the month in June, July and August where we will be getting roudy and loud before we settle back down for bed. Pajamas are encouraged and stuffed friends, blankets and pillows are all welcome to attend this special evening program!

 

Pajama Storytime is designed with the whole family in mind, babies, toddlers and older siblings are all welcome.