Many of us have had the experience of finishing a book that we loved and wanting to read more by the same author right away. Children feel that way as well. They are often drawn to books written by the same person, as they enjoyed the flow of words, the style of illustrations and/or the subject matter. In this special issue of the Growing Readers Review, we are featuring five authors who have written multiple outstanding children’s books.
Marthe Jocelyn chooses an object and weaves it through the illustrations in her wordless board books. Children enjoy looking at her creative collages to find the special object on each page.
Bill Martin, Jr. writes with different co-authors in each of the three selected books. His playful rhyming on each page makes it easy to see why his books are forever favorites with children.
Ryan T. Higgins’ books were reviewers’ top picks for humor. Both feature animals in trying situations. Higgins captures the fun in the antics of his playful creatures.
Leo Timmers’ books demonstrate great creativity. The first is a guessing game of who might be driving each of several cars while the second is a playful story of a creative mechanic who solves many problems.
Lauren Wolk, winner of the prestigious Newbery award, authored two books, each with young heroines sure to be remembered by school-age readers. Her characters struggle with tough concepts like bullying, family, honesty, loyalty, or justice.
We hope you enjoy this special issue of the Growing Readers Review.
By Linda C. Whitehead, Ph.D., Senior Advisor, Education and Development
Marthe Jocelyn is an award-winning author and illustrator of more than twenty books. She was born in Ontario in 1956 and came to writing later in life. Jocelyn says she finds the inspiration for her children’s books in her community or sorting through her collections of life’s common objects.
One Red Button (Book of Excellence, Infants and Toddlers) and One Piece of String (Infants and Toddlers) are both delightfully illustrated by Jocelyn’s paper collages that are rich with color and texture. These wordless board books engage the youngest children as they search for the “button” or the “string.” These two common objects transform into animals and other familiar items as parent and child explore page after page. Children are drawn back to these two books time and again as they discover new details with each viewing. While these board books are a hit with infants and toddlers, preschool children are often inspired to show their artistic side after seeing Jocelyn’s paper collages.
BILL MARTIN, JR.
Bill Martin, Jr. (1916-2004), is a beloved author of over 300 books for young children. Although he has worked with different co-authors, his delightful, rhyming language is consistent and much beloved. He has collaborated with Eric Carle; a well-known illustrator, who drew the pictures for Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (Infants and Toddlers). A former teacher and principal, Martin was a member of the Reading Hall of Fame.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (Books of Excellence, Infants and Toddlers) are both appreciated for their delightful and memorable rhymes. A sample from Chicka Chicka Boom Boom reads “Skit skat skoodle doot. Flip flop flee.”
The third selection by Martin, Spunky Little Monkey (Preschool), was released post humously. It has been acclaimed for encouraging movement in young children as they follow simple, engaging directions: “Ding-dong; clap, clap; stomp, stomp; shake, shake.” When choosing books for children, you can’t go wrong with Bill Martin, Jr. He is often a favorite.
RYAN T. HIGGINS
Ryan T. Higgins is the best-selling author and illustrator of the award-winning series featuring Bruce, a grumpy old black bear. Bruce has adopted various creatures who have created chaos in his life. Higgins has earned the E.B. White Read Aloud Award, the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award, and is a Kirkus Prize winner. Higgins grew up reading comics and, when asked to complete book reports in school, turned to Calvin and Hobbes as his source. He always wanted to be a cartoonist, and began illustrating at the age of four.
Bruce’s Big Move (Preschool) and Be Quiet! (Preschool) are appreciated for their humor and engaging illustrations. Be Quiet! is a fun look at what Rupert the mouse thinks a book with no words should be like. Bruce’s Big Move is the third in a series and highlights Bruce’s need to have peace without three mice, but finds that without them, it isn’t home. Higgins has a way of writing that both children and adults appreciate.
Lauren Wolk is an author, poet, and artist, and already has two major school-age honor books to her name. Beyond the Bright Sea (Book of Excellence, School-age) earned the 2018 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction. In this book, twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a small island off the coast of Massachusetts where she was left as a baby and found and cared for by a man named “Osh.” Crow’s curiosity leads her on a journey to find her birth family. While on her journey, she discovers the ability to deeply love the family she already has.
Wolf Hollow (School-age) is a Newbery Honor Book. The story recalls the childhood of young Anabelle as she experienced bullying and injustice and learned firsthand the pain it can inflict. Anabelle is moved to action as she bravely shows compassion and stands up for what is right.
Leo Timmers is a Belgium-born, award-winning author and illustrator. He started his career as an illustrator and eventually began to write his own stories. This is evident in all of his books, as the pictures bring his words to life with the most beautiful use of color and expression. Both Gus’s Garage (Preschool) and Who is Driving? (Infants, Toddlers, and Preschool) combine the best of Leo Timmers’ talents. In Gus’s Garage, Gus uses recycled material to provide creative solutions to his friends’ needs. Some vehicles are too hot, or too cold, or too slow, and Gus helps them all. The rhyming sequences are fun to read and easy for children to anticipate.
In Who Is Driving?, Timmers invites children to read along to guess who is driving what vehicle, from cats driving fancy cars to hippos driving Jeeps. What is more fun than seeing your favorite animals driving interesting vehicles?