on January 8, 2004
I'm a children's book editor, and run a web site called "The Purple Crayon," where I review this book in detail. Here are some excerpts from that review:
The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators is a handy one-volume reference for anyone working in the field, and also both fun and informative to browse....
Set up like an encyclopedia, the Guide includes more than 475 entries and an index in 500 pages. It opens with a great "Basic Reading List" and then goes to the A-Z listing, which mostly consists of entries about specific authors and illustrators of children's books. Most are American, most are 20th century, but there are people from the 19th century and other countries (for example, George MacDonald, Carlo Collodi, Astrid Lindgren, Margaret Mahy). Some entries on living writers and illustrators are followed by a first-person statement, "Voices of the Creators."
I count 31 feature articles on other subjects, mostly types or genres of books. Examples: "African-American Children's Books," "Alphabet Books," "Series Books," "Middle Grade Fiction," and "Information Books."
I think few readers will quibble with the selections: the authors and illustrators who appear here belong here. Of course, I did find some personal favorites missing, as may just about anyone who has read many children's books....
On the whole, though, this is an excellent and compact reference. You'll find well-written and informative essays on the artists and writers you look up, and random browsing is amply rewarded. If you aren't familiar with American children's literature, this is a good place to start to learn. If you already know the field, you'll still find things you don't know.
(This book is derived from the longer and more expensive Children's Books and Their Creators (1995), which Anita Silvey edited while she was still editor-in-chief of the Horn Book magazine. This edition includes a selection of entries from that book, plus 100 new entries to bring it up to date.)
on December 1, 2002
This is a fabulous resource for anyone interested in children's books. It includes 475 biographical/critical entries on current and classic writers and illustrators as well as essays on topics such as chapter books, poetry, fantasy, and book design. A special "Voices of the Creators" feature presents thirty personal essays from writers such as Katherine Paterson, Kevin Henkes, and Lois Lowry. There's also a useful graded booklist. Highly recommended for parents, writers, readers, and school and public librarians.
on October 8, 2002
Essential Guide To Children's Books And Their Creators is a recommended pick for any parent or teacher who wants a comprehensive survey of contemporary children's literature. A single volume of recommendations covers the best books and authors for children - the ones which are tested as making the most impression on kids. Over 100 new essays include newcomers from Harry Potter to Lemony Snicket, along with the latest publishing trends for kids.