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Children’s books

Winter 2013

A poor showing in children’s books

Jane Kelley pulls a picture book from a shelf in her office and, flipping through the pages, shows a story of a little girl living in a graffiti- and trash-covered apartment complex. The book, Something Beautiful, tells how the girl takes charge of her own environment and cleans up her home to make it more beautiful.

Such depictions of poverty in realistic children’s fiction are unfortunately rare, says Kelley, an associate professor in the College of Education and a scholar of children’s literature. Despite the historically high prevalence of poverty in the United States, that fact of life for many kids is underrepresented in the … » More …

Summer 2013

WSU Cougars from A to Z

WSU_Cougars_A__to_Z_cover
Carla Nellis ’90
Green Beanie Books, 2012

Young future Cougars and current fans of the University will enjoy this volume of WSU facts, stories, and profiles put together in an alphabetical “A is for…” format and illustrated with full-page watercolors. Nellis, a 1990 communications graduate, dug through WSU’s history to tell the tales of “F for Ferdinand’s,” “G for Go Cougs!,” “N for Neva Abelson,” and so on. The book covers a lot of ground … » More …

That One Spooky Night cover
Spring 2013

That One Spooky Night

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Dan Bar-El, illustrated by David Huyck
Kids Can Press, 2012

Strange things can happen on a Halloween night, as the young protagonists find out in the three stories of this illustrated book. Populated by sea monsters in the bathtub, witches, vampires, and pranks, author Dan Bar-El’s funny and, of course, scary tales get an excellent graphic treatment by David Huyck, an instructor at Washington State University and Moscow, Idaho-based artist.

With stories titled “Broom with … » More …

Winter 2010

Mrs. Annathena Gilly Gully From Puddle Rumple Tilly Willy

annathena

Chellis Swenson Jensen ’53
Fairwood Press, Inc., 2010

Chellis Swenson Jensen has created a quirky lady backed by her pet parrot, Maurice. Tired of the neighborhood children’s teasing, the lead character decides the solution is to change her name. Only when she recognizes that she, too, can laugh at her name and accept it does she decide to talk with the children.

The story is a collaboration amongst Chellis, her son, Paul Swenson (illustrator), … » More …

Winter 2009

Olive the Little Woolly Bugger :: Olive and the Big Stream :: Olive Goes for a Wild Ride

olivebugger-cover

Kirk Werner ’85
Johnson Books, 2007, 2009

Flyfishing— a sport and an art practiced for centuries—fascinates me with its smooth casts and rhythm, but I had never connected flyfishing with kids. At least not until Olive the Woolly Bugger, a cartoon “streamer” fly starring in a series of three books that introduce flyfishing to children.

oliveridePlaying off goofy fly names—like zonker, yellow sally, and gold-ribbed hare’s ear—author … » More …

Winter 2003

Unique Monique: Moki Time

Young readers of Unique Monique: Moki Time, by Corinne Tyler Isaak ’92, Karen A. Cooper, and illustrator Don Nutt will scarcely notice that they’re learning to tell time and acquire new words, as they follow five-year-old Monique—or Moki—through her day on the family farm.

From the moment she rises at 7 a.m. until bedtime 12 hours later, Moki revels in the simplest and most immediate of pleasures. A mock talent show. A picnic on the lawn. Flying “Mama’s” kite. Daydreaming in the hayloft. Playing dress-up. The role of imagination is important here—and it’s handled so deftly that adults will scarcely notice how deeply rooted this … » More …

Summer 2008

Recess at 20 Below

Perhaps more than most books for children, Cindy Lou Aillaud’s Recess at 20 Below has its feet firmly planted in the real world. The reason for that, of course, is that it’s illustrated with the author’s own photographs of children at the school in Delta Junction, Alaska, where Aillaud teaches physical education. And it’s probably for that reason too that the book makes the most of what some might consider an unlikely subject—the way kids cope with sub-zero temperatures in the far north. Through a combination of first-person narrative—presumably spoken by one of the schoolchildren—and engaging images, Aillaud walks her readers (5 to 10 years … » More …

Summer 2008

Dizzy

Stacy A. Nyikos and Kary Lee ’86
Stonehorse Publishing, Tulsa, OK, 2007

Meet Dizzy, a Pacific white-sided dolphin who romps through the pages of this book at a—well, at a dizzying pace. Aimed at a readership of 3- to 8-year-olds, the story, such as it is, follows Dizzy through days spent flying among the clouds, high-diving, and “porpoising” frenetically about his watery world. But then he catches sight of a sea lion, a “fish shepherd” … » More …