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100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Exclusive Cover Reveal: The Skunk by Mac Barnett and Patrick McDonnell


Trying something new around here – revealing a book cover. Patrick McDonnell won a Caldecott Honor for Me…Jane, Mac Barnett is the author of Caldecott Honor Extra Yarn. You know these guys. Talented guys. Now they’re teaming up for The Skunk, which arrives on May 5, 2015. Here’s a first look at the cover… (click [...]

Biography Section Hall of Shame

Hall of Shame

I don’t know when it hit me exactly, but at a certain point I realized that our biography section was filled with athletes who have been through either a legal or personal scandal. Each time a new athlete is shamed, I think about their book in our collection. In every case I can think of, [...]

Ben Hatke on Gnomes and Fairies

Julia's House

It’s rare that I hand off the reigns of the trusty steed 100 Scope Notes, but how can I pass up the chance to spread the word about a book that I think is wonderful? Ben Hatke’s Julia’s House for Lost Creatures arrives today, and he’s visiting some blogs to talk about the creatures that inhabit the [...]

The Rationale: Some New Books and Why I Bought Them


I bought some books for my school library recently – let’s talk about them. Minecraft: Combat Handbook There is nothing, I repeat NOTHING hotter than Minecraft in my school library. We would get daily requests for Minecraft books until this series came to save the day. This is the third book in the series and [...]

A Birthday Book Giveaway: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Chances are, you know about Watch. Connect. Read.-er and Picasso of Twitter John Schumacher. Chances are, you’re better off for knowing him. I know I am. Well, today is his birthday and it seems to me the best way to celebrate is by giving away a book. As luck would have it, John shares his date [...]

Summer Scope Notes

Summer 2014

Due to summer travels, I’ll be largely M.I.A. this week. I have a few posts scheduled to run, including reviews of two books I’m very excited about. Catch you next week.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Was Just the Beginning…


The following is a work of fiction. While the online debate rages about the cover for the upcoming Penguin UK Classics edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (pictured above), I’m excited to announce that I’ve been granted access to the covers of upcoming Penguin UK Classics. It appears Charlie was just the tip of the iceberg. [...]

It’s a Wild, Wild, Wild, Wild Giveaway

You know that book I was talking about yesterday? The one with the crazy/unexpected/forgotten/fascinating stories of children’s literature days past? Would you like to win a copy? Today is your day:

Children’s Lit Questions From Beyond the Grave: A Wild Things! Interview with Jules Danielson and Betsy Bird

Wild Things

Today (August 5, 2014) marks the release of Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature by Betsy “Fuse #8” Bird, Julie “Seven Imp” Danielson, and the late, great Peter D. “Collecting Children’s Books” Sieruta. Full of historical perspective and behind-the-scenes dirt, the book is a joy to read. Go get yourself a copy. Go. [...]

The State of Photography Illustration in 2014

Fall Leaves

What is the summer if not a time for short blog posts about random things? Today we have a classic case of “Am I just noticing it more, or is it happening more?” The topic? Photography as picture book illustration. While commonly used in works of nonfiction, it’s pretty rare in the fiction picture book [...]

Notes on July 2014

Notes on July

In July… …I set a 192 page limit for middle grade novels. It was fun to play What If, and hear what you had to say in the comments. …we got wild. The Wildest Children’s Books of 2014 brought the odd and unusual. …we remembered the American Library Association annual conference. Newbery, Caldecott, doughnuts and [...]

An Endorsement: Comic Collections


Growing up, comic strip collections were as important to me as any single book. I’ve talked about Roald Dahl’s influence (in this Nerdy Book Club post), but I could just as easily talk about The Far Side and Fox Trot collections that piled up next to my bed during that same time period. It wasn’t [...]

Creepy Library Statue Status Update

Statue Status Update

If you’re confused, click here for the creepy library statues backstory. Created with

All Middle Grade Novels Should Be 192 Pages. No Exceptions.

192 Pages

Imagine a world… Where all middle grade fiction is 192 pages. No exceptions. There’s been talk for a few years now about the expanding page counts in books for young people. Some point to Harry Potter as the reason. One type of book that hasn’t ballooned is the humble picture book. There are exceptions, but [...]

The Wildest Children’s Books of 2014

Jim Curious

The amount of cleverness in children’s literature never ceases to amaze me. While some decry the sameness of picture books, I believe that there are plenty of bold and unique books coming out, once you start looking around. What follows are a few 2014 books that made me and Salvador Dali double take – in [...]