Picture Books

Hello, Washington, D.C.! by Candice RansomHello, Washington, D.C.!
Illustrated by David Walker
Sterling, 2011 (June)
Ages 2 to 5
ISBN:  978-1402767122

Calling all patriotic kids!  America’s capital beckons!  Say hello to the White House and a black bear at the National Zoo, soft cherry blossoms and a hard spider sculpture at the National Gallery, the big Lincoln Memorial and a small thrush, the D.C. city bird.  Come back soon!

George Washington and the Story of the US Constitution by Candice RansomGeorge Washington
and the Story
of the U.S. Constitution

Illustrated by Jeni Reeves
Millbrook Press, 2011
Ages 7 to 9

Late in the spring of 1787, fifty-five men gathered at the Pennsylvania State House.  They came to write a new constitution for the United States.  George Washington led the group, guiding the delegates through quarrels and debates during that long summer.  A Reader’s Theater script is included.

Hello, Virginia! by Candice RansomHello, Virginia!
Illustrated by David Walker Sterling, 2010
Ages 2 to 5
ISBN 978-1-4027-6671-8

What’s up in Virginia?  Fast Thoroughbred horses, slow wagons in Colonial Williamsburg, tall ships at historic Jamestown, and much more.  Spend a very special Virginia day with a little girl as she covers the state from dawn to dusk, ending as the moon rises over the gently rolling Blue Ridge Mountains.


The Old Blue Pickup TruckTwelve Days of Christmas in Washington, D.C
Illus. by Sarah Hollander
Sterling, 2010
Ages 5 and up
ISBN 978-1-40276-394-6

Christmas in the nation’s capital is marvelous—and Olivia’s getting to se it all, from the gorgeous trees sparkling near the White House to the fabulous Sculpture Garden where she and cousin James ice skate on the frozen fountain.  And of course, there are plenty of monuments, memorials, and museums—like the amazing Smithsonian, with the ruby-red slippers from The Wizard of Oz and adorable pandas in the zoo, too!

The Big Green Pocket BookThe Big Green Pocketbook
Illustrated by Felicia Bond
HarperCollins, 1993
Ages 3 to 5
ISBN 978-1-0602-0849-3

On errand day in town with her mother, a little girl starts off with an empty big green pocketbook.  Along the way she collects pieces of her day to put inside, along with stories for each treasure.  All seems lost on the return trip when the little girl leaves her pocketbook “with her whole day in it” on the bus.  The friendly bus driver saves the day in this simple slice-of-life story.  The pictures by Felicia Bond (If You Give a Mouse a Cookie) are charming and cheerful.

“A cozy, satisfying tale of an orderly world—simply told and illustrated with pictures in which the cheerful faces and tidy, spacious design nicely reflect the text’s sunny flavor.” Kirkus

“Youngsters will be entirely satisfied with the expected happy ending to this sprightly narrative, which is studded with inventive imagery . . .  [Bond’s] whimsical, cartoony pictures [offer] a playful and most suitable setting for this winsome story with its timeless theme.” Publisher’s Weekly


The Old Blue Pickup TruckThe Old Blue Pickup Truck
Illustrated by
Jenny Mattheson
Walker Books for Young Readers, 2009
Ages 3 to 5
ISBN 978-0-8027-9591-5

One Saturday morning, a little girl and her father climb into their old blue pickup truck and rattle off to run errands. They stop at a bakery, the hardware store, the home store, the plant nursery, and a farm. At each place, they pick up an item that transforms the old blue pickup truck into a restaurant, a tool shed, a feed store . . . and a barnyard!  The Big Green PocketbookThe little girl makes a secret purchase along the way, which comes in handy when a rainstorm threatens to ruin their day. This book is Ransom’s Valentine to her stepfather and their old truck, as The Big Green Pocketbook celebrated a real-life trip with her mother.

“This enjoyable story is accompanied ... by illustrations that have a bright and clean feel.  Pair this title with The Apple Pie that Papa Baked for a father-themed storytime.” School Library Journal

“Young children, even those who have never ridden in a pickup truck, will take satisfaction in this simple family story and its happy outcome.” Booklist

Liberty StreetLiberty Street
Illustrated by
Eric Velasquez
Walker Books for Young Readers, 2003
Ages 6 to 9
ISBN 978-0-8027-8869-6

They must work all week except on Sunday afternoons.  Glorious Sundays, when slaves throughout Fredericksburg walk along the dirt path they call Liberty Street.  Soon Sundays take on an even deeper meaning when Kezia joins a secret school to learn to read.  Meanwhile, Mama works frantically to earn extra money to buy Kezia’s freedom before she is bonded to another family far away.  She must risk everything to give her daughter a chance to feel like Liberty Street every day of the week.

“Told by Kezia in the present tense, the story is intense and powerful.  Strong and compelling.”  Kirkus


Pony IslandPony Island
Illustrated by Wade Zahares
Walker Books for Young Readers, 2009
Ages 4 to 8
ISBN 978-0-8027-8088-1

Here are the famous wild ponies of Assateague and Chincoteague Island, presented in stunning Technicolor.  Centuries ago, a Spanish shipwreck left dozens of horses stranded on Assateague Island, off the coast of Virginia.  For years they were free to roam on their new island home until the neighboring island, Chincoteague, suffered a series of fires that devastated the town.  The volunteer firefighters held a special event to raise money for a new fire truck, and so began the Wild Pony Swim that continues to this day.

“ . . . sparse simple words . . . are intent upon telling their story . . .  often a scene will be described in a mere eleven words, but every syllable will be necessary in telling this tale  . . . Ransom’s words find purchase with this expressive picture book artist . .  . both Ransom and Zahares have done a good job of making this book friendly to even the smallest child and horse fans of every age will take pleasure in the job done here.  A fun and informative tale.”    Elizabeth Bird, Fuse #8 Production

The Promise QuiltThe Promise Quilt
Illustrated by Ellen Beier
Walker Books for Young Readers , 1999
Ages 5 to 8
ISBN 978-0-8027-8694-4

Addie’s father promised that she would learn to read and write her name. But when he doesn’t return from the Civil War, it seems as if Addie’s dreams might be lost with him.  Addie’s mother struggles to find food for her children.  Finding the money for desks and books for their schooling seems impossible.  Addie and her mother find a way, though Addie must sacrifice something she treasures for something she longs for.  Addie’s story is sure to make its mark on the hearts and minds of all who understand her thirst for knowledge.

“This realistic tale, told from the point of view of a Southerner, is very touching.  Like the pieces of the quilt, historical details are seamlessly interwoven into the story, bringing to life a troubled time.”  School Library Journal


Tractor DayTractor Day
Illustrated by
Laura J. Bryant
Walker Books for Young Readers, 2007
Ages 3 to 5
ISBN 978-0-8027-8090-4

Tractor naps.
Time to plow.
Cover off.
Wake up now!

Climb aboard the big red tractor.  It’s time to get ready for spring.  Raking, plowing, and planting the fields is hard, but doing it together makes everything more fun.  Ride along and join the fun!

“Youngsters will delight in this fresh seasonal story.  A great choice for reading aloud or sharing one-on-one.”  School Library Journal

“Life on the farm never looked so good.” Booklist
There’s more to explore in Candice Ransom’s world of books and writing:
flower    Ellsworth’s Journal
Under the Honeysuckle Vine Blog   flower
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