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Featured books by Jane Yolen

Reading Rockets recommends the following books by Jane Yolen.

All Star! Honus Wagner & the Most Famous Baseball Card Ever

By: Jane Yolen
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The baseball card of "…the bandy-legged son of German immigrants" sold for almost three million dollars in 2007. Honus Wagner was an all-around player who could hit, run, and play shortstop equally well. Highlights of his life and some of the myths that swirled up around him are presented in evocative, energetic text and handsome paintings.

Birds of a Feather

By: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Jason Stemple
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Stunning, full color, close-up photographs of birds combined with evocative poems in different forms present memorable portraits of birds. Factual material about each feathered creature is inserted on every double-page spread to complete the picture.

Bug Off! Creepy Crawley Poems

By: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Jason Stemple
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Short, imaginative poems combine with brief facts and handsome, full color photographs to introduce a variety of insects. Fact or fiction can be shared independent of the other to find out about everything from the common house fly to the colorful lovebug and many more insects.

Commander Toad and the Space Pirates

By: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Bruce Degen
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Commander Toad and the crew of the Star Warts are back, this time to confront villainous space pirates. As in other Commander Toad books, puns and silliness are complemented by humorous illustrations.

Commander Toad in Space

By: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Bruce Degen
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Sort-of-serious illustrations are perfect for this comical parody of familiar science fiction films. The brave commander of the Star Warts spacecraft is a Toad who saves his ship from the dangers of a watery planet and its resident monster, Deep Wader.

Elsie's Bird

By: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: David Small
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Elsie and her father leave Boston to begin afresh after Elsie's mother dies. Elsie takes with her a pet canary. It is Timmy Tune and a host of other animals that help Elsie turn "her house into a true prairie home." Lyrical language and evocative watercolors tell a touching story.

Here's a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry

By: Jane Yolen, Andrew Fusek Peters
Illustrated by: Polly Dunbar
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A young child's world is presented in a variety of poems, each illustrated with verve and humor. The large pages support the well-organized collection sure to be appreciated by young children and the adults who share the poems with them.

Here, There be Dragons

By: Jane Yolen
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Yolen wrote all of these varied entries about the delightful dragon, and relates the poems, and short stories from a variety of genres, complete with a background as to their inspiration.

Hoptoad

By: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Karen Lee Schmidt
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A boy and his father in a big red camper come to the aid of a toad attempting to cross a desert road. This surprisingly tense story is told in few words and strong illustrations from a toad’s eye view.

How Do Dinosaurs Eat Cookies?

By: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Mark Teague
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

The ever popular dinos are back, this time making and eating cookies always using their best manners. Rhyming text and outrageous illustrations are humorous. Two recipes and "scratch & sniff" are extras presented in this brief board book.

How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?

By: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Mark Teague
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

They’re back! This time, the creators of How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? take on obnoxious and downright gross behaviors at mealtime. While kids will find delight when the Amargasaurus flips his spaghetti into the air or the Lambeosaurus blows bubbles in milk, adults will appreciate the presentation of calm and more appropriate behavior.

How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon?

By: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Mark Teague
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Short rhyming text contrasts with illustrations of huge dinosaurs who are ailing with sniffles and coughs. Of course, the dinosaurs (with their names tucked into each page) are being helped by a caring but seemingly small adult in this companion to How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?

How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?

By: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Mark Teague
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Ten sleepy dinosaurs get ready for bed in this celebration of funny, endearing, and naughty bedtime behavior. Young children will laugh out loud as they recognize themselves in this larger than life silliness.

How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You?

By: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Mark Teague
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

While parents may be miffed when young dinosaurs test limits, they are always reassured of their parents' cunfailing love. Told in rhyme, this latest addition to the series by this talented writer/artist team is sure to please young children as they cuddle with their parents.

Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs

By: J. Patrick Lewis, Jane Yolen
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Enter into a cemetery for animals, read their epitaphs, learn their fates. Though not for the faint-hearted, the sometimes gory tales are always darkly humorous and enhanced by appropriately gloomy illustrations.

Least Things: Poems about Small Natures 

By: Jane Yolen
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Short poems (haiku) were written in response to but also evoke creatures shown in crisp close-up photographs of small animals and insects in their natural surroundings. This collection and others by Yolen/Stemple introduce information about nature, and could be used as part of the science curriculum.

Lost Boy: The Story of the Man Who Created Peter Pan

By: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Steve Adams
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Jamie Barrie was always a storyteller. Here his life and selections from his work — including Peter Pan — are presented in a handsomely illustrated and formatted book. Sources consulted as well as a selection of Barrie's work are included.

Mightier Than the Sword: World Folktales for Strong Boys

By: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Raul Cohen
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Instead of brawn, imagination and intelligence save the day in these tales from various countries around the world.

Mirror to Nature: Poems about Reflection

By: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Jason Stemple
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A variety of animals in their natural habitat are presented here in handsome full color photographs accompanied by a range of short poems that they inspired. Both words and pictures present reflections, literal and figurative, and will likely generate discussion.

Miz Berlin Walks

By: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Floyd Cooper
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Miz Berlin tells wonderful stories as she and young Mary Alice walk together around the block.

My Uncle Emily

By: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Nancy Carpenter
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Thomas (aka Gib) Gilbert's aunt, Emily Dickinson, gave him a poem and a dead bee to share in school. Because no one understands it, Gib defends his aunt (who jokingly tells him to call her "uncle") and gets into a fight. Gib learns, however, to tell the truth, "but tell it slant…" This engaging glimpse of a poet and her family is based on actual events revealed in free verse and delicate illustration.

Naming Liberty

By: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Jim Burke
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The story of a Russian family's emigration to the United States parallels the travel from Paris of Bartholdi’s statue of Lady Liberty. Both tell moving sagas and intersect in a unique way. poignant illustrations make this a memorable presentation.

Nocturne

By: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Anne Hunter
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A mother and son celebrate the gentle coming of nighttime as they walk in the countryside. Textured illustrations are as poetic as the simple text.

Owl Moon

By: Jane Yolen, John Schoenherr
Illustrated by: John Schoenherr
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A father and daughter go out "owling" on a cold, snow-filled evening with only moonlight to guide them. An introduction by the author to this edition opens the now-classic, luminously illustrated story in which hope "…flies on silent wings under a shining Owl Moon."

Sea Queens: Women Pirates Around the World

By: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Christine Joy Pratt
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Not all pirates did their dirty work on the sea and not all of them were men. The stories in history and lore of the Sea Queens are presented in an evocative format with bold illustrations, separating fact from fiction.

Sleep Black Bear Sleep

By: Jane Yolen, Heidi Stemple
Illustrated by: Brooke Dyer
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

The long, cold nights of winter are the time when bear, frog, and a host of animals hunker down for sleep. Soft watercolors illustrate the drowsy text as the animals await spring and hibernate. Humorous touches augment the tone of the lullaby as everyone — including the listener — settles down.

Sleeping Ugly

By: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Diane Stanley
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

What is beautiful and how beauty is demonstrated is the subject of this funny and rather surprising Sleeping Beauty parody. Comic illustrations augment the humor and satire.

Switching on the Moon: A Very First Book of Bedtime Poems

By: Jane Yolen, Andrew F. Peters
Illustrated by: G. Brian Karas
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A large format is used to present a variety of nighttime poems by a variety of poets, neatly organized in three sections: "Going to Sleep," "Sweet Dreams," and "In the Night." Gentle, whimsical illustrations enhance the mood of each poem that will be appreciated especially when shared aloud.

Take Two!: A Celebration of Twins

By: J. Patrick Lewis, Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Sophie Blackall
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Since each poet has a personal connection to twins (Lewis is one; Yolen has twin grandchildren) the poems in this oversized collection ring true. Lighthearted illustrations capitalize on the appealing poetry which plays with words and ideas.

The Barefoot Book of Ballet Stories

By: Jane Yolen, Heidi Stemple, Rebecca Guay
Illustrated by: Rebecca Guay
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A brief history of classical ballet opens this handsome, richly told collection of seven stories from ballets. Each story is introduced with information on the production and time period in which the ballet was first performed.

The Devil's Arithmetic

By: Jane Yolen
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

In this historical fiction novel, 12-year-old Hannah find herself transported back in time. As she experiences the horrific events of the Holocaust that were often recounted by her grandparents, Hannah finds new reasons to embrace her family and culture.

The Emperor and the Kite

By: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Ed Young
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Though largely ignored by her family, it is the youngest daughter, tiny Djeow Seow, who saves her father, the Emperor, from imprisonment. Handsome illustrations evoke traditional Asian art to create a memorable portrait of love and loyalty.

The Perfect Wizard: Hans Christian Andersen

By: Jane Yolen, Dennis Nolan
Illustrated by: Dennis Nolan
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Life as fiction comes together in this attractive and engaging picture book biography of the man who is known for his fairy tales. Excerpts from these tales are juxtaposed with real events in Andersen’s life to provide a fresh look at the stories and their creator.

This Little Piggy: Lap Songs, Finger Plays, Clapping Games & Pantomime Rhymes

By: Adam Stemple, Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Will Hillenbrand
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Even the uninitiated adult will be able to follow the clear directions and language in this handsome oversized book, ideal for sharing one to one, adult and child. A lively music CD of select rhymes from the text accompanies the book but is not essential for the sharing.

Waking Dragons

By: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Derek Anderson
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Morning routines may never seem the same after sharing day's start with a small, chubby knight in armor and his long-eared dog who climb a ladder to wake up large dragons. Cheerful, bright, amusing illustrations and catchy rhymes propel readers to the satisfying start of the day.

Wild Wings: Poems for Young People

By: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Jason Stemple
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This book contains artful photographs in full color with the rich images evoked by short poems. The result is a handsome and memorable aviary for young people.

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"There is no substitute for books in the life of a child." — May Ellen Chase