Illustrated by Wade Zahares
For some people everything always works out. Are they lucky, or do they make their own luck?
Jake and his pa are panning for gold. When Pa finds a nugget, he yells, "Yahoo!" and the duo head for town. Jake wants a dog, but all the storekeep has is a pig. Jake names the pig Dog and their adventures begin. With Dog's help, Jake and his dad turn hard work into luck.
I don't know what Wade Zahares thought when he read this tale of a boy who wants a dog and ends up with a pig. I do know he did his research. Using marvelous colors, interesting shapes, and unique perspectives, he created illustrations full of wonderful details that depict what life must have been like during California's 1860s gold rush. www.zahares.com
Booklist - a starred review: This solid story is taken to a whole new level by Zahares' amazing artwork. An intriguiging mix of old-fashioned storytelling and cutting-edge art.
Kirkus - a starred review: The patterned cadence of the prose befits this folkloric gold-rush yarn. Zahares places the rhythmic words in panels that run alongside distinctive compositions that glow with a variety of rich, deep colors. A treasure.
Illustrated by Brad Sneed
Wouldn't it be wonderful if wishing made things come true? Well, it might be wonderful, but might not.
Zeb lives in the Old West. He's surrounded by horses, so it's natural to wish for one when he has to tote a sack of flour home to his ma. Fortunately, or unfortunately, a stranger a the white Stetson hears Zeb say, "I wish I had a horse." When the stranger tips his hat, Zeb and the town of Dusty Gulch are in for a wild time!
Brad Sneed grew up with horses. His illustrations prove he knows them backward and forward, peaceful and prancing. My editor told me she'd never had anyone agree to illustrate a book so quickly. www.bradsneed.com
Kirkus Reviews: Watercolor illustrations recall the early American west; exaggerated facial expressions and horses running amok perfectly convey the chaos.
Illustrated by John Clapp
Archeologists tell us the earth has gone though drastic changes. People don't live long enough to see the effects of the planet's major earth movers, but we can see the evidence and imagine how things might have been.
John Clapp took a long time doing the illustrations for Right Here. Along with pictures for each double page spread, shadow drawings, like the flag on the cover, provide a background for the words. Small, colored "cameo pictures" accent most pages. www.johnclapp.com
Publisher's Weekly: A lyrical homage to humankind's relationship to the land. In Addy's stately text, spare language evokes the changes of seasons and of centuries, and sets the stage for artifacts Grandpa uncovers.
Illustrated by Tamlyn Akins
Available through Wisconsin Trees for Tomorrow: www.treesfortomorrow.com
Wisconsin was once covered with forests. Heavy logging in the state's early years stripped the land of trees. Eventually, people realized that growing timber was the best way to use the land. In 2004 the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources celebrated 100 years of Managed Forestry. As part of the celebration, three books were published: ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF WISCONSIN FORESTRY, a book of photos and information for adults; WISCONSIN FOREST TALES, a collection of stories spanning Wisconsin's history; and IN GRANDPA'S WOODS, a picture book for young readers.
When Chad and Amy visit Grandpa and Grandma, they think climbing trees is the best part of being in the Grandpa's woods. When Grandpa takes them for a walk, they discover the woods' wonders.
Tamlyn Akins knows the woodlands and settings she portrayed in the book. She grew up in northern Illinois and lives in Wisconsin now. Her work has been exhibited internationally. www.tamlynakins.com
Illustrated by Lydia Halverson
Cooking is fun. And, of course, cooking combines beautifully with conversation. But when a child and adult don't speak the same language they need to find another way to communicate.
Lydia Halverson visited a museum and did sketches there to make sure her illustrations of blacksmith's tools and Czechoslovakian dolls were accurate.