“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!: A Sonic Adventure ▪ Picture book

Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!: A Sonic Adventure
by Wynton Marsalis 
  illustrated by Paul Rogers
October 2012  Candlewick Press  Ages 4-7
The creators of Jazz ABZ are back for an encore! With infectious rhythm and rhyme, musical master Wynton Marsalis opens kids’ ears to the sounds around us.
Story: What’s that sound? The back door squeeeaks open, sounding like a noisy mouse nearby – eeek, eeeek, eeeek! Big trucks on the highway rrrrrrrumble, just as hunger makes a tummy grrrrumble. Jazz Legend Wynton Marsalis combines the everyday sounds of doors creeking and clocks ticking, with the whomp’s and tlawk’s of classic jazz instruments to create a culmination of sounds that turns a lazy neighborhood into a concert in this exciting new book.
Story behind the story: Five years after illustrator Paul Rogers’ and musician Wynton Marsalis’ first collaboration with Jazz ABZ: An A to Z Collection of Jazz Portraits, the creative duo present their new children’s book, which suggests the musical qualities of everyday sounds. By presenting two everyday sounds, and then an instrument that has a similar sound with accompanying poems, the story encourages children to take a closer listen. Marsalis reveals his inspiration, “When I read books to my kids I always animate the stories with sounds. So I started thinking about how everyday sounds we hear in our homes or on the street relate to the sounds of musical instruments.” Rogers hopes that the book inspires readers beyond its pages. He says “This is a book for children written by a jazz musician, and the poems are hip. I hope the drawings measure up to the words. We both hope children and their families enjoy it and listen to the sounds around their own neighborhoods in a new way.”

Read a conversation with Wynton and Paul here.

Praise for Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!:

“Loud and clear, the creators show how tuning into everyday sounds can inspire music. Clap, clap, CLAP!” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review
 “Who better to lead children in a celebration of sound than jazz virtuoso Wynton Marsalis? From the “tluck…tlock” of a dripping faucet and the “Chrrick chrrrick” of toast being buttered to the noises of trucks, drums, and washboards, the musician gives voice to the sounds enveloping an African American boy throughout the day…  This exuberant articulation of sounds both subtle and grandiose is sure to inspire closer listening and creative responses.” – School Library Journal, starred review

Order your reviewer's copy now.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Jaguar Stones Trilogy ▪ Middle-grade fiction

The Jaguar Stones Trilogy
by J & P Voelkel
September 25, 2012  ▪  Egmont USA  ▪  Ages 10 and up
 “A fact-packed, thrilling ride. Rick Riordan fans will love it.” –Booklist (on the second book in the trilogy)
Story: As the world awaits the outcome of the Mayan Prophecy calling for the end of the world on December 21st, 2012, what better way to spend ones time than reading? And what better series to delve into than The Jaguar Stones by J&P Voelkel?Featuring 14-year-old Max Murphy from Boston, and Lola, the quick-witted Maya girl who teaches him to survive in the perilous rainforest, this nail-biting, middle-grade adventure introduces readers to Central American culture, history and so much more, all in a fun engaging manner. As we all await that looming date three months from now, Max and Lola must find the five legendary Jaguar Stones that gave ancient Maya kings their power-and save the world from the evil, cheating Lords of Death.

Story behind the story: As entertaining as the Jaguar Stones books are, so too are their creators, Jon and Pam Voelkel. Check out their web site for loads of interactive activities for the classroom—educational fun that will have students clamoring for more information as they countdown to the (possible) end of the world.

While Jon Voelkel was growing up in South and Central America, his wife-to-be, Pamela, had an altogether tamer childhood in England. They met while working at an advertising agency in London (The Financial Times named him one of the top fifty creative minds in Britain) and now live in Vermont. To research the Jaguar Stones books, the Voelkels and their three children have explored over forty Maya sites in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico; canoed down underground rivers; tracked howler monkeys in the jungle; and learned to make tortillas on an open fire. Jon’s most frightening experience was being lost in a pitch-black labyrinth under a Maya pyramid. Pamela’s most frightening experience was being interviewed by Al Roker on the Today show.

Author info, including blogs on their world travels, research for their novels and more: http://www.jaguarstones.com/Authors.html

Resources, including information on the prophecy, Mayan history, and FREE lesson plans: http://www.jaguarstones.com/Teachers2.html

The Jaguar Stones by J&P Voelkel (Egmont Publishing)
Book 1: Middleworld: In The Jaguar Stones, Book One, Max leaves his comfortable life in Boston far behind and heads for Central America in search of his archaeologist parents who have gone missing on a dig. Set against a backdrop of haunted temples, underground rivers and Maya magic, The New England Booksellers Council called Middleworld “funny, fast paced and entirely original.”
ISBN: 978-1-60684-179-2 (pb)

Book 2: The End of the World Club: In The Jaguar Stones, Book Two, the action moves from Central America to Spain, as Max and Lola set off on the trail of the conquistadors. As the rest of the world panics about the end of the Maya Calendar, only Max and Lola can avert the coming doomsday as they continue their battle against the Maya Lords of Death.  ISBN: 978-1-60684-307-9 (pb)

 “A fact-packed, thrilling ride. Rick Riordan fans will love it.” –Booklist

Book 3: The River of No Return: In The Jaguar Stones, Book Three, Max and Lola are back in the jungles of the Maya and the Death Lords are on the warpath. Can video-gaming, pizza-loving Max Murphy and Lola, his modern Maya sidekick, save the world one more time? Not if they can’t get past the zombie army, the mutant-cave spiders, the subterranean hotel, and some very dark family secrets.
ISBN: 978-1-60684-073-3 (hc)

Order your reviewer's copy now.  We can't wait to hear what you have to share...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Who's In My Family?: All About Our Families ▪ Non-fiction Picture Book

WHO'S IN MY FAMILY?: All About Our Families (Let's Talk About You and Me series)
by Robie H. Harris  illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott
Available now  Candlewick Press  Ages 2-5
Trusted New York Times best-selling author Robie H. Harris continues her series for preschoolers with a look at the many kinds of families that make up our world.
Story: "Harris and Westcott, who previously collaborated on Who Has What? All About Girls' Bodies and Boys' Bodies (2011), return with another matter-of-fact and sensitive informational book, this time not about the human body and sexuality, but about human families and relationships." (Kirkus Reviews) Join Nellie and Gus and their family -- plus all manner of other families -- for a day at the zoo, where they see animal families galore! To top off their day, Nellie and Gus invite friends and relatives for a fun dinner at home. Accessible, humorous, and full of charming illustrations depicting families of many configurations, this engaging story interweaves conversations between the siblings and a matter-of-fact text, making it clear to every child that whoever makes up your family, it is perfectly normal -- and totally wonderful.

Story behind the story:  I've known Robie Harris for years, ever since the publication of now mega-award-winning and bestselling IT'S PERFECTLY NORMAL, her first book with Candlewick Press.  So I gave her a ring and asked her about how this one came about:  "Ever heard a young child, who's looking at animal families at the zoo, blurt out questions such as: "Who's in my family?" "Was I adopted or not?" "Is our puppy and are my friends in our family?" I wrote WHO'S IN MY FAMILY? All About Our Families to answer those kinds of questions because we all also know that books can help to answer those perfectly normal questions and concerns that most young children have," says the author. 

Of course, since I can't draw for beans, this book would not have worked at all without the entertaining and age-appropriate art created by Nadine Bernard Westcott. We are just finishing up WHAT'S IN THERE?, the third book in our series. WHO HAS WHAT? is the first book. WHO'S IN MY FAMILY? is the second. All three books feature Gus and Nellie and their parents. We've become very fond of this family. Bet you will be too! 

You, the children's book librarian and teacher community, have been champions of my earlier books. Our community of children's book authors needs you. Without you, our books would not be accessible to children and their families. Thank you so much for that!"

Robie H. Harris is the highly acclaimed author of numerous books for children, including IT'S PERFECTLY NORMAL, IT'S SO AMAZING! and IT'S NOT THE STORK!, essential guides for younger children on bodies, babies, families, and health. She lives in New York City. Nadine Bernard Westcott is the illustrator of more than a hundred books, including WHO HAS WHAT? She lives in Massachusetts.


“This book sets out to reassure children: “Wherever you live, wherever you go, there are all kinds of families.” As readers journey to the zoo with Nellie, Gus, and their family, they learn about where people live, what they eat, their habits and hobbies, and how their families are composed, including references to single parents and same-sex couples. The prose is unadorned and economical, but gentle, and perfect for very young children. Digitally created images are bright and welcoming and feature a host of multicultural characters and diverse families. The conversations between Nellie and Gus featured in speech bubbles alongside the illustrations sweetly reinforce the messages in the broader text: “Right, Gus. Don’t worry. I can be your big sister and your friend. And I am!” This book should find a place in classroom libraries, guidance offices, and public libraries.” –Alison Donnelly, Mississippi Valley Library District, Collinsville, IL
“Narrative text and speech balloons introduce diverse family constellations in a celebratory spirit of inclusivity and community… the tone remains positive and affirming even as it acknowledges that “sometimes, families have mad times. And sometimes, families have sad times....A welcome addition."
Want a copy to review? Order your reviewer's copy now.  We can't wait to hear what you have to share...

[Robie Harris author photo credit:  Susan Kuklin]

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Tooth Mouse ▪ picture book

The Tooth Mouse
Susan Hood    illustrated by Janice Nadeau
Available now  ▪  Kids Can Press  ▪ Ages 3 - 7
This finely rendered fable introduces readers to France's version of the tooth fairy.
Story:  In many countries around the world, there is no such thing as The Tooth Fairy.  Instead, there is the Tooth Mouse!  This modern fable, set in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, tells how an aging French Tooth Mouse names her successor.  Can little Sophie meet the three contest challenges?  Can she prove she is the right mouse of the job of La Petite Souris?  Illustrated in gorgeous watercolors, the book includes information about tooth traditions around the globe.
The Story Behind the Story:  Author Susan Hood explains: "When I worked at Nick Jr. Magazine, I wrote a regular feature called “Kids Like You,” in which I interviewed young children around the world about their everyday lives. My husband connected me with the French family he lived with as an exchange student years ago and I interviewed six-year-old Sophie. Given her age, I asked, “What happens when you lose a tooth in France?” She said, “Well, you give it to the Tooth Mouse, of course!” I had never heard of such a thing! The more I researched, the more I found that many, many countries all around the world (Algeria, Argentina, Belgium, Dominican Republic, Morocco, Russia, Spain, Slovenia, South Africa, Switzerland, Venezuela and more) have a Tooth Mouse instead of a Tooth Fairy. Italy has both! In my research, I also found a 17th century story about the Tooth Mouse, La Bonne Petite Souris, written by Marie-Catherine d’Aulnoy, one of the most prolific fairy tale writers of the French Salons. It’s quite a long story and like many fairy tales, it’s filled with murder, deceit and revenge. I wanted to write a younger, gentler story—my own modern fairy tale—and yet include the quests and challenges I loved in books as a child. Et voilà! The name of my Tooth Mouse comes from the little girl who first introduced me to her. Merci beaucoup, Sophie!"

Formerly the content director for NICK JR. magazine, Susan Hood has written more than 200 children's books -- including two other picture books due out this fall: JUST SAY BOO! and SPIKE:  THE MIXED-UP MONSTER, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, winner of both the 2012 Sibert Award for nonfiction and a Caldecott Honor Award.  Illustrator Janet Nadeau lives in Montreal and is a three-time recipient of the Governor General’s Award for Illustration,

Canada’s most prestigious literary prize.  


"How charming is this?.... a unique ending that listeners and their parents will smile with the cleverness of it all. Nadeau’s art is clever as well. Using delicate ink lines and soft-shaded watercolors, she offers pictures that seem truly set in a world of mice. There is a lightness and sweetness to the art that makes every full-page picture and vignette a tasty yet smart confection. Those who’ve believed in the Tooth Fairy will happily make a place for the Tooth Mouse." (STARRED REVIEW)


"Beautifully executed…. Hood masterfully spins her story with lush language sprinkled with some French (which further impresses when read aloud). … Readers will pore over the exquisitely drawn details on each page.... With a nod to classic titles of years past, this provides a fresh, modern take on an itty-bitty heroine's achievement of her seemingly impossible goal."  
"Like Katharine Holabird’s Angelina Ballerina, this effervescent story from Hood (the Pup and Hound series) stars a dainty, ballet-loving mouse, but Sophie’s life is a little edgier than Angelina’s. ... Sophie’s ballet skills come in handy, but her courage and intelligence win the day. Hood’s confiding tone and French asides are part of the book’s charm, while Nadeau’s (Cinnamon Baby) ink-and-watercolor paintings, with their delicate tracery and moody pink and gray washes, temper the story’s frilliness with just a hint of dark humor."

A 2013 ReadBoston’s Best Read Aloud Book Award Finalist!


Monday, August 27, 2012

ROYAL PRINCESS ACADEMY: Dragon Dreams Chapter book (illustrated)

by Laura Rennert  illustrated by Melanie Florian
Available September 13, 2012   Dial  Ages 6 and up
She's sporty, funny, and brave -- meet the one-of-a-kind Princess Emma!
Story: Emma is not your typical princess. She dislikes pink, would rather play soccer than go dancing, and secretly dreams of being a dragon rider. And so, when she hears the news that dragons in the kingdom are becoming ill, does Emma quietly wait around for her fairy godmother to save the day? Of course not! She makes a plan to solve the dragon mystery herself. With a helping hand from her best friend, Rapunzel, and a surprising new pal, Emma might actually manage to save her favorite mythic creatures...and possibly even the whole kingdom.
Story behind the story:  ROYAL PRINCESS ACADEMY is Laura Rennert's second book (her first, a picture book, BUYING, TRAINING AND CARING FOR YOUR DINOSAUR, was illustrated by Marc Brown -- yes of Arthur fame!) and I spoke with her about  the "why" behind this one: "Lots of girls go through a princess stage. My daughter Emma was no exception. First, Em adored everything princess-y, and then she wanted to be the least princess-y girl ever. This funny, relatable switch inspired ROYAL PRINCESS ACADEMY, DRAGON DREAMS.

Princess Emma comes from a long line of princesses (some of whom you'll know). She’s in her first year at the Academy, and, with the All-School Princess Contest looming, she doesn’t have a lot of faith in herself, because she is not your typical princess. For starters, Emma has a secret: she really wants to be a Dragon Rider!

Girls will root for and relate to Emma. She’s sporty and funny and still finds a way to be royally and truly herself. 

I love talking to kids, librarians, and booksellers, and am available to do events in person or via Skype." 

When she's not working on her own books, Laura Rennert puts on her agent hat -- she thinks of herself as a "literary omnivore" and specializes in all categories of children's books, from picture books to young adult, and in up-market women's fiction and narrative nonfiction. She represents award-winning and best-selling authors, including #1 NYT bestsellers Ellen Hopkins, Jay Asher, #1 NYT bestseller and Printz Honor Finalist Maggie Stiefvater, and National Book Award Finalist Kathleen Duey, as well as brand new, first-time authors.  You can connect with Laura via Facebook -- and to read a bit about what she has to say about agenting and writing, take a peek at mediabistro.com, A View from the Top, and Cynthia Leitich Smith's blog Cynsations.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Nicholas Sparks
Available now  Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group  ▪ Ages 12 and up
Bestselling author Nicholas Sparks creates the brand new NOVEL LEARNING SERIES to assist teachers in aligning to the English Language Arts (ELA) Common Core Standards and help teens prepare for college entrance exams.
Story:  We know that teens don’t like to be told what to read or how to prepare for exams.  When it comes to both reading and prepping for national tests, many teens groan over both.  We do know, though, that when kids like what they’re reading, they’re more likely to have reading and writing success.  They need 
to be moved by a book and its characters.

With over 80 million copies of his books sold worldwide, Nicholas Sparks is a household name to a generation of teens who have grown up devouring his books and eagerly seeing his films upon release.  With accessible language, emotionally resonant storytelling, and compelling moral questions, his books make excellent reading choices for both struggling and advanced teen readers.

Now four of Sparks' acclaimed and bestselling titles -- THE NOTEBOOK, THE LAST SONG, A WALK TO REMEMBER and THREE WEEKS WITH MY BROTHER -- have been reissued in special Student Guide Editions which feature the full text of the beloved works along with learning guides interspersed throughout the text, providing ELA skill-building questions for the students while introducing and familiarizing them with SAT and ACT style question-and-answer formats.  Developed in conjunction with a high school English teacher, THE NOVEL LEARNING SERIES also addresses the needs of teachers as each title in the series has been aligned with the ELA Common Core State Standards and fulfills protocol requirements used by 
almost every state.

Each of the editions includes:
·      questions and explanations about the text after every few chapters to check comprehension, vocabulary, grammar and usage, style and characterization and literary terms
·      standard test questions format style throughout to help students prepare for standardized tests with SAT- and ACT-style questions using vocabulary and grammar from the books
·      step-by-step sample writing prompts and essays and evaluation rubrics to guide students through the elements of an above-average, average and below-average essay – and explain why
·     ELA Common Core State Standards alignment

Story behind the story:  Research has shown that students who read for enjoyment become more proficient readers.  Motivated readers tend to read more, which, in turn, leads to improved vocabulary and comprehension skills.  "Part of the way to get students to love to read is to get them reading novels they're familiar with, novels with language and themes similar to what they find in real life or in the movies, and ones where they feel they can related to the characters," says author Nicholas Sparks.  "We hope that the NOVEL LEARNING SERIES student guide editions make it easy for the teacher and delightful for the student."

Perhaps you'll hear Nicholas Sparks talking about his work and this series when he delivers the keynote at this year's National Council of Teachers of English conference (November 18, Las Vegas)?  If not, take a peek at this video: 

"The Novel Learning Series ... goes far beyond regular study guides or Cliff's Notes type of stuff. It encourages students to think on a deeper level thematically and analytically, not just in terms of plot memorization and obvious interpretations. It guides them toward asking the right types of questions, which is much more important than finding oversimplified answers."
 -- Steve McGill, English teacher, Ravenscroft School, Raleigh, NC
By using relatable, high interest high school level novels, the NOVEL LEARNING SERIES can help English teachers overcome their first big obstacle with students—getting them to read.  The series can also add value and help teachers with their 
second hurdle—teaching students ELA skills.

Order your reviewer's copy now.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bill the Boy Wonder ▪ Nonfiction (illustrated)

by Marc Tyler Nobleman  illustrated by Ty Templeton
July 2012  Charlesbridge  Ages 8 and up    
This is the true story of how Batman began.
Story:  Every Batman story is marked with the words “Batman created by Bob Kane.” But that isn’t the whole truth. A struggling writer named Bill Finger was involved from the beginning, helping to invent Batman, his foes, and his haunting origins. Bill the Boy Wonder is the first book about the unsung man behind the Dark Knight. With the release of the new Batman movie this summer, this book is sure to be a hit with readers.
The Story Behind the Story: Marc Nobleman explains:  "The last line in the first panel of the first Batman story refers to Batman, but for at least a quarter century, it also applied to the man who wrote it: “His identity remains unknown.”

Until I began to dig, a lot of the little we knew about Bill was thanks to Jerry Bails, the enterprising comics fan and independent publisher who died in 2006. His pivotal 1965 interview, in which Bill explained just how much he’d done at the dawn of Batman, resulted in a fanzine article called “If the Truth Be Known or ‘A Finger in Every Plot!’”

Jerry Robinson, who began working with Bill and Bob shortly after Batman’s debut, said, “[Bill] had more to do with the molding of Batman than Bob. He just did so many things at the beginning, . . . creating almost all the other characters, . . . the whole persona, the whole temper, the . . . origin of Batman.” In another interview, he was even more direct: “Bill Finger deserves co-credit for the creation of Batman, simple as that.”

Bob’s greatest talent may have been the ability to recognize other talent. His greatest flaw may have been the inability to honor that talent. Bill’s greatest flaw may have been the inability to defend his talent. His greatest talent was the ability to forge legends. Simple as that."

Find out more online:

Charlesbridge’s Bill the Boy Wonder page 

Check out the book trailer:


Monday, April 9, 2012

Love & Haight ▪ YA fiction

Available now    Henry Holt / Macmillan    Ages 14 and up
Even in the land of easy love, some things aren't so easy.
Story: It's about old love and new love and free love. And what happens when two girls spend two weeks in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury in 1971, and one of them is pregnant and wants to be unpregnant.  Seventeen-year-old Chloe and her best friend MJ head to San Francisco to ring in the New Year, circa 1971. But Chloe has an ulterior motive—and a secret. She's pregnant and has devised a plan not to be. In San Francisco's flower-power heyday, it was (just about) legal to end a pregnancy.

As soon as the girls cross the Golden Gate, the scheme starts to unravel amid the bellbottoms, love-beads, and bongs. Chloe's secrets escalate until she betrays everyone she cares about. Her best friend who has doubts about Chloe's plan. Her groovy aunt who offers the girls a place to crash. Her self-absorbed mother meditating back in Phoenix. And, especially, the boy she wishes she'd waited for. 
Story behind the story:  Author Susan Carlton tells us "LOVE & HAIGHT is set in the waning days of San Francisco’s hippie movement, started as a valentine to my hometown. I grew up in the city and its suburbs, although I was too young for the Summer of Love by a good decade. Still, as a teenager in the ’70s I spent many weekends with friends getting lost in Golden Gate Park or thumbing through albums at Tower Records. And I was raised in a politically active family with protests and petitions served up alongside tofu stew and clove tea. I drew on these memories—the serious and the not-so—for Love & Haight.

So place came to me first. As for the abortion storyline…well, I didn’t set out to write a book about abortion. I set out to write about seventeen-year-old Chloe, a girl who views life as a series of either/or choices (either a fox or a prude; either a hippie or a square). When Chloe finds herself pregnant after a one-night stand, she is resolute—she will find a way to get an abortion without telling anyone but her best friend, MJ.

As it turns out, abortion in 1971 isn’t as easy as Chloe thinks, especially when MJ starts voicing her opposition. Chloe’s decision is complicated by the convoluted laws governing abortion in the year before Roe v. Wade. To get all the details as right as I could, I read state statues, spoke with women who had had abortions in that period, and interviewed editors of the original Our Bodies, Our Selves, the manifesto of early ’70s sexuality. And I spent many afternoons combing through the Hippies Collection at the San Francisco Public Library Archive—boxes of hand-written scrapbooks and peace poems and copies of the Haight Ashbury Free Press

Maybe all this makes Love & Haight sound super serious. It is serious in that the issues I write about are real and important, then and now. But the book is also funny, I hope, with its cast of trippy characters and ‘happenings’, such as a Nude Relay. And there’s a lot of love in Love & Haight too, especially between Chloe and the boy she wishes she’d waited for."

"Daring, insightful, romantic, and wonderfully honest. Carlton has created characters that feel so real, you'll be thinking about them long after you finish this fascinating book."
   —Candace Bushnell, author The Carrie Diaries

"Caught between 'An Old-Fashioned Love Song' and 'Stairway to Heaven,' Chloe's trying to figure out her own morality in the midst of Haight-Ashbury, ground zero for trippy hippies in 1971. Carlton's novel is lyrical, honest and moving."
   —Ellen Wittlinger
"What a gorgeous book. It turns out your heart isn't all you can lose in San Francisco. Brilliantly, Carlton captures the heady pace and jubilation of an era and the heartache of a girl who must pay the consequences for letting it all hang out. Ah, but there isn't an ounce of moralizing here. Carlton's writing is so smart and funny and vivid and...well, I give it a 9.0 on the Richter Scale of Fabulosity!"
   —Tim Wynne-Jones, author of Blink & Caution

SUSAN CARLTON says "one of the best parts of writing Love & Haight was cueing up old albums on the turntable. This playlist is heavy on the San Francisco sound—bands that came of age along with drugs and love and peace and happenings. It's the music of the Grateful Dead but lots more (I cheated with Tom Waits—his album came out a year later—but he's too awesome to leave off). Here's my dream line up. (PLAYLIST) These are songs to write to, dance to, cook to, make out to."  

Order your reviewer's copy now.

Monday, March 26, 2012


by Orel Protopopescu ▪  illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf
Available now   FSG/Macmillan Kids   Ages 4 - 7 
Story:  Thelonious the mouse has got so much rhythm in him he can’t help letting it out. To his family’s horror, he won’t stop scatting and shimmying around the house, teasing deadly Fat Cat instead of collecting crumbs like the rest of them. But just as Thelonious's games become too dangerous, he find a most unexpected musical partner in this jaunty picture book with art and text that truly sing!
Story behind the story:  
Dear Reader,

Wrap your tongue around the rollicking rhymes in my newest picture book, THELONIOUS MOUSE, and you'll soon be scatting to the beat of his dancing feet. This jazzy mouse risks his tail and more to fierce Fat Cat, because Thelonious has "too much music in him to stuff into a mouse hole." Teased for being different from other mice, Thelonious dares all to let his music out, even when Fat Cat is "in the air, claws screaming, teeth gleaming!" Yet beneath the sometimes scary hilarity, young readers will discover a vital message: It takes courage to be all we can be. 

My little mouse is named for Thelonious Monk, American composer and jazz pianist, who showed that creative courage. Now, on the thirtieth anniversary of his death, I hope my book would have made him smile. 

I'd love to hear how your read-aloud went, so visit my website and let me know!

Happy Reading, 
Orel Protopopescu 


"Children will cheer for this rascally oddball revel." —Booklist 

"Replete with scat-y, cat-and-mouse-y wordplay, this is giggle worthy fun." —Kirkus Reviews 

"Getting the beat and the tongue-twisting phrases just right takes some practice, but the outcome is well worth the effort." —School Library Journal