Now that I am officially a Texan, it seems fitting to feature a Lone Star State author. So...introducing the books of Chris Barton.
I remember reading Shark vs Train for the bazillionth time to the youngest grandchild and marveling that the story never seemed to get old, for him or for me. I enjoyed his 2010 Siebert Honor Award-winning story of The Day-Glow Brothers. Imagine my surprise when I located Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! for Reading Style Guide resource and discovered that it was written by (yes that's right) Chris Barton.
I started to become aware of how versatile Chris is. He seems to find the most interesting projects - ones that would never occur to me. When I read his books, his special way of looking at events shines through with "energy and life” (The Day-Glo Brothers author's note).
This year Chris has published not one but two books for young readers: The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch "It's the story of a guy who in ten years went from teenage field slave to U. S. Congressman" (author's note). and The Nutcracker Comes to America: How Three Ballet-loving Brothers Created a Holiday Tradition. I wonder: Could this be a contender for longest picture-book-title of 2015?
The Nutcracker Comes to America: How Three Ballet-loving Brothers Created a Holiday Tradition by Chris Barton illustrated by Cathy Gendron
Barton uses reader friendly phrases like "the whole shebang" and “who would've thought?" to keep the text from being stuffy and sounding highfalutin. I loved learning little details including Harold's pants that were prone to slide down and the dancer in costume who had to be cut free from the sewing machine.
Careful research, extensive back matter, original photos and Cathy Gendron's artful oil glaze illustrations make ballet accessible to all readers.
Barton's description of the brothers' love of dance is also a fitting description for this book filled with "high-energy flash and dazzle as well as graceful storytelling".
I'm planning to give copies as holiday gifts. My prediction: it will be a hit with readers old and young.