Angry Birds Playground:  Animals
National Geographic Kids, 2012 
The pigs have stolen the Angry Birds’ eggs and hidden them somewhere on earth. But where? Readers will accompany the birds on an around-the-world search. They’ll visit five different habitats, meet dozens of real-life animals, and learn that birds aren’t the only egg-laying animals. Hang with the fun-loving birds as they explore the Amazon jungle, the Pacific Ocean, the Mojave Desert, the grasslands of Tanzania and Tasmania, and the icy polar regions, all on a quest to find those eggs and bring them home where they belong!
Cherry Blossoms Say Spring
National Geographic Kids, 2012 
Cherry Blossoms Say Spring looks at the life cycle of a cherry tree and the history behind the gift of the Japanese cherry trees to our nation's capital. Vibrant scenes from the Cherry Blossom Festival and the flood of visitors to the Tidal Basin are balanced with shots of the natural beauty of these trees.
Tom's Tweet
Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2011
Tom is on the hunt for a tasty morning treat when he spies a flip-flapping, fluttery bird there for the taking. Hello, breakfast! But dagnabbit! The tweet is too skinny to eat. Tom doesn't want to get involved, but why does the little thing have to look so frightened...unhappy...alone? Consarn it! Just Tom's luck to get stuck with a tweet!

*Amazon's Best Books of the Month list 

Reviews:
Kirkus - 
"Esbaum's tweet tale will have listeners in stitches..."

School Library Journal -
"...a lot of fun and a joy to read."
Everything Spring
National Geographic Kids, 2010 
Stunning photography (baby animals, anyone?) and detailed imagery bring to life spring's spirit of renewal.
Apples for Everyone
National Geographic Kids, 2009 
This bright and breezy book will introduce young readers to America’s most popular fruit. Sure to inspire a rich appreciation of all things autumnal. 

* Chicago Public Library Best of the Best of 2009
Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie
National Geographic Kids, 2009 
This beautifully photographed book about everybody’s favorite fall treat is sure to please kids both young and old. The glossy, festive images and lively text are sure to get your family in the mood to celebrate the season.

* Chicago Public Library Best of the Best of 2009
Stanza
Harcourt 2009
There's a slobbery thug in town, and his name is Stanza. He bullies everybody. He eats chicken pot pie. And . . . he writes poetry. On the sly. At night. Because he’s extremely afraid his bully brothers will find out. But Stanza doesn't let that stop him from entering one of his poems into a jingle contest. Does he win? Well, what if he did . . . not?

* Young Hoosiers Book Award Nominee 2012-2013
To the Big Top
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2008
When the circus comes to Willow Grove, Benny and Sam are in for more excitement than they can shake a stick at:  elephants and acrobats, candied apples and a calliope, even a snake enchantress. They can't think of anything better than helping the circus men set up for the grand event - until the Big Top boss gives them two tickets for the show! But then Sam's ticket disappears, and it's up to Benny to save the best day ever.

* 2009 CCBC Choices List

Reviews:
 Publisher's Weekly (starred) -
     "Esbaum and Gordon whisk readers to turn-of-the-century days when a circus could take a small town by storm."

Kirkus Reviews -
     ". . . takes readers to Back Then, when midway and sideshow were the real deal."

School Library Journal -
     "An inviting slice of Americana."
Estelle Takes a Bath
Henry Holt, 2006
Estelle's been looking forward to a long, relaxing bath. But when a curious mouse gets a whiff of her peppermint-scented bath bubbles, he can't help himself; he has to get closer. When he and Estelle accidentally kiss, pandemonium follows.
Mary Newell DePalma's lively illustrations capture this wild romp in all its soapy glory.

Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews -
       "Colorful text dances along the pages just like Estelle, as she trips all over herself trying to catch the intruder. Young children will greatly enjoy the slightly naughty illustrations and the one uncovered fanny that DePalma allows. Prepare for a bunch of rowdy story-timers as they giggle over the never-quite-totally-nude Estelle."



Ste-e-e-e-eamboat A-Comin'!
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005
       "Ste-e-e-e-eamboat a-comin'!" The cry echoes down the street, and a sleepy river town springs to life. Townsfolk pour from every doorway, hurrying to the riverfront to witness the sights and sounds that accompany a visit from this floating palace.  Squawking chickens, shouting roustabouts, creaking drays, the reckless crush of passengers thumping down the gangplank...Twenty exhilarating minutes after its arrival, the steamboat paddles away, and the town settles back into its drowsy routine.
This book was inspired by a few paragraphs from Mark Twain's Life On the Mississippi. Adam Rex's gorgeous illustrations will transport you back to the 1860s, when a steamboat visit was an event unrivaled for noise, color, and excitement. Come along!

* 2006 IRA Notable Children's Book
* 1st place, Juvenile Literary category - Friends of American Writers
* Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year
* Kansas State Reading Circle 2006 Recommended Reading List
* PBS Teacher Source Social Studies Recommended Book

Reviews:
School Library Journal (Starred) -
     "Well-drawn details abound, making this an excellent resource for historical study. Whether as an introduction to the history of river travel or as background for a Twain classic, this salute to a bygone transportation era is sure to engage children as they, too, thrill to the sound of that once-familiar call, 'Ste-e-e-e-eamboat a-comin'!'"

Kirkus Reviews -
     "Esbaum captures the bustle and commotion attending a steam packet's arrival in a small river town. Rex depicts the hubbub with Norman Rockwell-esque realism. This makes a rhythmic, emphatic evocation of a scene from days gone by."
 


Stink Soup
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004

        Annabelle and her little brother, Willie, are spending the week at Granny's. Annabelle is supposed to keep her brother out of trouble, which isn't easy when she's there to help Granny prepare tomatoes for home canning. Annabelle can't decide which is worse:  chasing after Willie or working with tomatoes. Even the smell of tomatoes makes her gag.
        Willie escapes his sister's surveillance to lasso chickens, pitch eggs, and torment the goat. Finally he goes too far, tangling with a skunk. But his devilishness just might save Annabelle from having to taste Granny's tomato juice. Or will it?

Reviews:
Kirkus -        
        "Realistic illustrations salt-and-pepper the saucy tale with wry humor, comeuppance, and down-home flavor. Amusing."

School Library Journal -       
        "Perfectly matched to the text in tone, the watercolor-and-graphite illustrations capture the action . . . pictures are large enough to share with a group, and independent readers will enjoy the humorous story on their own."                                                                          

Publishers Weekly -
        "Roth's cheerful art echoes the energy and folksiness of the tale . . . .Whether fond of tomatoes or not, kids will find this a
flavorsome romp."
 
 

I Invited a Dragon to Dinner
and Other Poems to Make You Laugh Out Loud
Philomel, 2002
In this zany collection (by different authors whose poems were chosen in a nationwide contest), you'll find a mouse family overrunning a house, dining dragons, crazy mothers, a scary attic, an invisible guest, the biggest sandwich in the world, detestable vegetables, muddy glasses, a lady whose head screws off, the girl who swallowed a squirrel, and the tickle that went out of control. These 23 poems are guaranteed to tickle your funny bone! 

* 2003 IRA Children's Choice selection
 
art by Chris L. Demarest