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Lord and Lady Bunny—Almost Royalty One Year in Coal Harbor Mr & Mrs Bunny
Northward Adventures Corps
Pepins The vacation The Canning Season
Everything on a Waffle The Trolls When the Circus Came to Town
The happy Yellow Car An Occasional Cow

 

Lord and Lady Bunny—Almost Royalty

 

In this hilarious sequel to Mr. and Mrs. Bunny—Detectives Extraordinaire!—that even includes a guest appearance by J. K. Rowling a.k.a. "Oldwhatshername"—Madeleine wants nothing more than to save money for college, but her impractical, ex-hippie parents are broke.

When the family unexpectedly inherits a sweet shoppe in England that has the potential to earn serious profit, they see an answer to all their problems. . . .

Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Bunny—formerly of the detecting persuasion—are looking for new professions, and Mrs. Bunny decides she would like to be Queen. Soon they, too, are headed across the pond. Brought to you by National Book Award-winning author Polly Horvath and illustrator Sophie Blackall, the adventures of Madeleine and the Bunnys are zanier than ever.

Visit Random House Audio to hear Mrs. Bunny herself read the opening pages.

Awards

  • The Canadian Library Association's 2015 Children's Book of the Year (Shortlist)
  • The Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book of the Year (Shortlist)

Reviews

"The plot is unapologetically preposterous, but the truly witty banter, near-constant conflict and palpable love between Mr. and Mrs. Bunny are both genuinely affecting and uproariously funny. Blackall’s elegant, expressive black-and-white illustrations add whimsy to an already effervescent adventure.
A purely Horvath-ian (meaning hilarious) hop across the pond." Kirkus Reviews

"Wildly funny, meticulously crafted . . . As in the first book, author, er, translator Horvath includes plenty of satire . . . and, again, more lunacy than you can shake a carrot at . . ." The Horn Book

"Exploits abound, including hedgehog disguises (quills and superglue) and trained magical candy shops. Horvath holds all of this folly together with affectionate characterizations, dazzling wit, and an unflagging commitment to the winding narrative . . . " Booklist

"The comic elements of the story wind and unwind, just as Mrs. Bunny's long furry ears do when she is waltzing, resulting in an extremely funny and dear novel for 8- to 14-year-olds." The Wall Street Journal

"Imagine if Tina Fey wrote a middle grade novel . . . National Book Award-winning novelist Polly Horvath puts laughs and excitement on every page. Her latest is a page-turner, but be sure to take time to savor every bit of her wacky, yet sophisticated humor." BookPage

One Year in Coal Harbor

 

Readers rejoice: Primrose Squarp is back!

Primrose—the invincible heroine of the Newbery Honor Book Everything on a Waffle—returns for another adventure-filled year in Coal Harbor.

Her parents, once lost at sea, are safe at home, just as she always believed they would be. But now other people and places that Primrose loves are in precarious circumstances. For one thing, Uncle Jack and Miss Bowzer can’t—or won’t—connect, no matter how hard Primrose tries to move their romance along. There’s also the logging of Mendolay Mountain, which threatens the woods Primrose has always known. 

And then there’s her new friend Ked, the foster kid who has just moved in with Bert and Evie. Ked has been picked up and plunked down in different homes his whole troubled life. And even though Evie has explained that it’s not possible, Primrose wishes there were some way Ked could stay in Coal Harbor forever.

Through a year of turmoil, Primrose is undaunted as she tries to save what matters most to her. Profound and insightful, hilarious and smart, National Book Award and Newbery Honor winner Polly Horvath’s new novel features an unforgettable heroine, a cast of unpredictable, irresistible characters . . . and recipes!

  • The Toronto-Dominion Children's Literature Award for 2013
  • The Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize for 2013
  • A School Library Journal Best Children's Book of the Year (2012)
  • A Boston Globe Best Children's Book of 2012
  • A Bankstreet College of Education Best Children's Book of the Year

Reviews

"Excellent fun surrounds nuggets of wisdom, making for a great read or read-aloud to be enjoyed on multiple levels . . . " School Library Journal, Starred Review.

“…the author delivers a gothic tragicomedy that is both a worthy sequel and as able as Primrose to stand on its own.” Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review.

"Horvath skillfully balances the story's light and dark moments, leaving readers with an ending both satisfying and honest." Publishers Weekly, Starred Review.

"This novel is funny from top to bottom . . . laugh-out-loud comments on the human condition to the edges where humor merges with wisdom and sadness. Nobody does middle grade like Horvath." The Horn Book.

"Primrose’s voice is wise yet vulnerable as she continues to decipher the human condition . . .  [Horvath's] loyal followers will welcome the follow-up to a beloved modern classic." Booklist.

"Horvath’s sequel to her Newbery Honor book, “Everything on a Waffle,” is a perfect charmer — in fact, an even better, funnier, smoother novel than the first ... Hilarious and touching by turns, “One Year in Coal Harbor” shows Horvath at her best — with mini-marshmallows on top." The Boston Globe.

“Woven throughout are glimpses of just what it means to be alive, of how to discern what you truly value and cherish, how to find beauty, even when it’s wrapped in anger and pain. Brimming with wit, imagination, and insight, One Year in Coal Harbour is at once contemporary and timeless.” Jurors for the Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize.

“Horvath returns with a valuable contribution to the Canadian canon of children’s literature… One Year in Coal Harbour is a timeless story of life in a charming Vancouver Island fishing village… Filled with quirky characters and infused with both humour and astute commentary on human nature, this delightful book is destined to become a Canadian classic… There is an honesty to the writing which doesn’t shy away from difficult issues, but navigates them with a gentle optimism… This book is everything that we want and believe children’s literature should be.” Jurors for the Toronto-Dominion Children's Literature Award .

 

 

Mr and Mrs Bunny Detectives ExtradinaireMr. and Mrs Bunny—Detectives Extradinaire!

Madeline's parents have gone missing. Her only clues? A note tacked on the fridge from someone called The Enemy, a file card covered in a squiggly secret code, and dozens of red eyes staring out the blackened windows of a car she saw speeding down her driveway.  And Madeline could swear the driver was a fox . . .

Luckily, Madeline encounters two bunnies who have decided to take up detective work (detectives get to wear fedoras) and are willing to come to her aid—pro bono. And if her parents' kidnappers are foxes, who better than rabbit detectives to sniff them out?

Together, Madeline and Mr. and Mrs. Bunny confront evil foxes, a marmot named The Marmot, and the dreaded Bunny Council to solve the Case of the Missing Parents. Here's a madcap, hilarious romp that is also a touching story about family and trust.

Written by Mrs. Bunny, translated from the Rabbit by Polly Horvath, and beautifully illustrated by Sophie Blackall, Mr. and Mrs Bunny—Detectives Extradinaire! is published by Random House/Schwartz and Wade.

Mrs BunnyAbout the author: Mrs. Bunny lives in Rabbitville in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. She is married to Mr. Bunny and has twelve children. This is her first book.

Special: Mrs. Bunny converses.

 

Reviews:

  • An  Amazon 2012 Best Books of 2012
  • A Washington Post Best Kids Book of 2012
  • An Indigo Top 10 Kid's Book for 2012
  • The Gold Award in the Fiction category of the 2013 Spring Parents’ Choice Awards

 

“An instant classic, with a contemporary resonance and a tone of yesteryear, fairly begging to be read aloud.” Booklist, Starred Review.

". . . a profusion of non sequiturs that are, in themselves, worth the price of admission: “‘How you do run on and on,’ said Mrs. Bunny dismissively while knitting winter underwear out of used dental floss. She had greatly reduced their carbon footprint that year doing this alone.” Look not for logic; this is a romp." The Horn Book, Starred Review.

"Energetic pacing, witty prose, and snappy dialogue (“Why don’t you come to our hutch for lunch, dear?” Mrs. Bunny says to Madeline. “It’s just over those thirty-seven hills”) coalesce in what is hopefully the first of many escapades for these unforgettable, bumbling would-be sleuths." Publishers Weekly, Starred Review.

"Horvath takes on the world of talking animals with all the absurdist, satirical panache fans have come to expect from the award-winning author . . .  A wickedly funny ramble. With bunnies." Kirkus Reviews.

"Hilarious, wickedly clever and completely nutty. And thoughtful and wondrous as well. Highly recommended!" Toronto Star

"Hilarious . . . begs for a sequel.'  New York Daily News.

"The look and feel of a classic children’s book . . . Brilliant, absolutely brilliant!" Washington Post.

"Even older children in your house will be drawn in. And don't be afraid to read this one aloud. It's important for our sons and daughters to realize that Mom or Dad or Grandma or Grandpa can, on occasion, be a screwball extraordinaire." The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

"Horvath's vivacious pacing keeps readers tuned in and turning pages. Sophie Blackall's illustrations add a perfectly suited old-fashioned stamp to the modern tone of this harebrain tale. Yes, it's kooky, but it's also about kindness, family, and trust. Read it alone, or aloud, but just read it." Parent's Choice

NorthwardNorthward to the Moon

Jane and her family have moved to Canada . . . but not for long.

When her stepfather, Ned, is fired from his job as a high school French teacher (seems he doesn’t speak French), the family packs up and Jane embarks on a series of new adventures.

At first, she imagines her family as a gang of outlaws, riding on horseback in masks, robbing trains, and traveling all the way to Mexico.

But the reality is different: Setting off by car, they visit the tribe of Native Americans with whom Ned once lived, head to Las Vegas in search of Ned’s magician brother, and wind up spending the summer with his eccentric mother on her ranch out west.

As Jane lives through it all—developing a crush on a ranch hand, reevaluating her relationship with Ned, watching her sister Maya’s painful growing up—she sees her world, which used to be so safe and secure, shift in strange and inconvenient ways.

from My One Hundred Adventures:

You can hear the waves crash more loudly when it is dark. You can smell the sharper smells of the sea. Maybe the wind will take us this time, I think, as a gust shakes the foundations of the house. Maybe we will be blown apart to the many corners of the earth, but then I feel a sharp stab of something, excitement maybe. It is the prospect of adventures to be had.

Reviews

Northward to the Moon has been selected for Oprah's 2010 reading list. You can find it here. It also has been named a Parent's Choice Gold Award recipient for 2010.

"[A] poignant sequel to Horvath's My One Hundred Adventures continues to trace the physical and emotional journeys of Jane's unconventional family . . . A dynamic montage of dark and light moments, this novel shows rather than tells Jane's changing moods, her ambivalent feelings about being uprooted, and her quiet observations of her unpredictable yet endearing family members." —Publisher's Weekly Starred Review

" . . . characters here are distinct, wonderfully idiosyncratic individuals, and Horvath’s fine-tuned observations are conveyed with subtlety and precision. " —Booklist.

"Horvath's inimitable voice, sense of fun and quiet belief in the power of tolerance—here applied to the odyssey of a plucky young heroine and her family—showcase the writer at the height of her powers." —The Smithsonian Magazine.

"Horvath once again writes with the humor, compassion, and sensitivity that keep readers turning pages. Underlying all the adventures is the longing for elusive true family life." —School Library Journal.

"A detour-rich road trip well worth the ride." —Kirkus Reviews.

"'There is nothing like finding out things you have never known about members of your own family," muses Jane—a statement that underlies author Polly Horvath's entire extraordinary oeuvre." —The Washington Post.

"In her rakish, tart and joyous way, B.C.’s Horvath blends the comic and the lyrical" . . . —The Toronto Star

"Horvath's novel is thoroughly engaging, once again combining sympathy, humor, rich characterization, and quirky plot twists." —Parents' Choice

Watch the trailer

Read an interview: Deborah Hopkins0n Interview for BookPage

Adventures My One-Hundred Adventures

Adventures.

Jane is twelve years old, and she is ready for them. She yearns to move beyond the world of her younger siblings and single mother and their cozy house by the sea, and to step into the "know-not-what"—the place where your heart buzzes with excitement and things happen.

And over the summer, whether she looks for them or not, adventures keep finding Jane. There's the thrilling solo ride in a hijacked hot-air balloon; the out-of-the-blue appearances of a slew of possible fathers; a weird new friendship with Nellie Phipps, preacher and wannabe psychic; the accidental crime Jane may have committed involving a Bible and a baby named Gourd; and, finally, her discovery of the truth that lies at the heart of all great adventures: that it's not what happens to you that matters, but what you learn about yourself.

National Book Award and Newberry Honor winner Polly Horvath has written her richest, most spirited book yet, filled with characters that reader will never forget.

Awards

    • A 2008 Booklist Editors’ Choice
    • A Best Book of 2008 (Kirkus Reviews)
    • A Best Book of 2008 (School Library Journal)
    • A Best Book of 2008 (Amazon)
    • 2008 New York Public Library List of 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
    • NAPPA Gold Award Winner
    • Parent's Choice Gold Award
    • A Junior Library Guild Selection
    • The Sheila Egoff Prize for Children's Literature
      A 2009 Capitol Choice Noteworthy Book for Children and Teens
    • An IRA-CBC Children's Choice

Reviews

"Jane’s poetic, philosophical musings capture a child’s logic with an adult voice in this witty, wise and wonderful novel. " —Kirkus (starred review)

"Horvath’s most luminescent, beautifully written novel . . . a gifted writer, a word alchemist. . . This is Horvath at the top of her game, and that’s saying something." —School Library Journal (starred review)

“This quietly captivating novel marks a new course for National Book Award–winner Horvath.” . . . A compassionate spirit infuses this luminous tale." —Publisher's Weekly (starred review)

"Sometimes Jane's duped, sometimes she's played; but if hope fades, it returns, and adventure still beckons. . . . Writing that can be as foamy as waves, as gritty as sand, or as deep as the sea." —Booklist (starred review)

"A masterful novel of considerable beauty." —The Globe and Mail.

"Full of sweetly memorable moments." —Parenting Magazine

"A great read aloud."— The Chicago Tribune.

"Horvath is at her finest here . . . highly recommended.—CM Magazine

"This beautifully crafted tale will appeal to thoughtful readers who appreciate gemlike prose. "— The Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Lovely, fresh, ambitious, subversive, sharp and generous, My One Hundred Adventures is a splendid novel for wise children; world-weary teens; and adults, young and old. Reading Horvath is good for the mind, the body and the heart. "—BookBrowse

Listen to a sample

CorpsThe Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane

When an accident leaves teenage cousins Meline and Jocelyn parentless, they come to live with their unknown and eccentric Uncle Marten on his private island.

They soon discover that the island has a history as tragic as their own: it was once an air force training camp, led by a mad commander whose crazed plan to train pilots to fly airplanes without instruments sent eleven pilots to their deaths.

Jocelyn, Meline, and Uncle Marten are soon joined on this island of wrecked planes and wrecked men by an elderly Austrian housekeeper, a very mysterious butler, a cat, and a dog. But to Jocelyn and Meline, being in a strange new place around strange new people only underscores the fact that the world they once knew has ended.

Reviews

"Horvath's exploration of the nuances of grief is pitch perfect."—Booklist

"Richly idiosyncratic writings."—Booklist

"A gripping, chilling tale perfect for leisure readers who demand action and insight"—Children's Bookwatch

“Readers will sink deeply into the story.”—Kirkus Reviews

"A remarkable examination of the extremes of emotional distress."—The Horn Book

"Horvath is a gifted writer."—School Library Journal

"Horvath's prose has rarely been more incisive: she understands the workings of grief and conveys them with uncanny accuracy and sympathy."—Publishers Weekly

"This haunting story is balanced with the author's usual detached and quirky humor . . . Taut and weird and sad and funny."—The Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books

PepinsThe Pepins and Their Problems

You're invited! Help the plight of a problem-prone family . . .

Whether it's waking up to find toads in their shoes, becoming trapped on the roof, or searching for cheese when their cow makes only lemonade, the Pepin family always seems to get into the most bizarre scrapes.

Lucky for them they have an author with large psychic antennae and great problem-solving readers.

Join the Pepins on their hilarious adventures. They need all the help they can get!

Reviews

"Following her National Book Award-winning dark comedy The Canning Season, Horvath reprises the unalloyed giddiness of Everything on a Waffle-and ups the ante with some outrageous, Pirandello-like flourishes...the sly running jokes about place names and brazenly funny developments keep the conceit and the comedy energetic all the way to the finish line." — Starred, Publishers Weekly

"Distinctive and decidedly hilarious...Young readers won't be able to turn the pages fast enough to discover the Pepins' newest predicament...A delight."—Starred, Kirkus Reviews

"Horvath spins deliciously silly stories about a family rivaling Hale's Peterkins for foolishness and Cresswell's Bagthorpes for effervescent wit. Each preposterous event holds fresh surprise...Haftner's line drawings visualize the shenanigans with comic amiability. Here's one reader beaming thoughts to both author and illustrator: Thanks for the laughs! More, please!" — Starred, The Horn Book

"Fans of Polly Horvath have known for quite some time that there is not another author with her unique talents for madcap lunacy and wacky fun ... The Pepins and Their Problems will no doubt join Pippi Longstocking and Amelia Bedelia as perennial children's favourites. This reader is sending Horvath a wish for more Pepin problems and adventures." —The Globe and Mail

"The sly humor is just right for upper-elementary-school kids, and this book should be a fun read-aloud for younger listeners." —School Library Journal

"Horvath spins a delightful yarn . . . the wordplay is a great argument for reading this aloud; adults will enjoy the story almost as much as children." —Booklist

"...Horvath is a genius at devising comic scenarios that end in absurd but unforgettable punch lines. Try to imagine the madcap plot preceding this urbane sentence: " 'Ah, a camel. Are we having a Bedouin meal?' asked Mr. Bradshaw as he approached the Pepins' house with his amour at his side."—Washington Post.

Listen to a sample (on YouTube)

Listen to a sample (on Audible Books)

 

The vacationThe Vacation

When his mother decides on a whim to be a missionary in Africa and drags his unwilling father with her, Henry is left in the care of his Aunts Magnolia and Pigg.

Henry’s sure they dislike him and he’s trying to keep his distance, but that becomes more difficult when Mag decides they should take a destination-less road trip.

Mag, convalescing from an illness that makes her look like death, is downright crabby. Pigg, tense from driving, is becoming more assertive and less willing to submit to Mag’s whims. And while they poke each other – literally – Henry is finding it hard to keep his resolution.

They go to Virginia Beach (it’s too hot); try camping in the Everglades (Henry accidentally spends four days floating in a swamp); visit their daddy, Henry’s granddaddy (Henry’s never met him!); and lose Pigg to love in Oklahoma (what would the radio psychologist Daly Kramer say?) before they finally receive word that Henry’s parents are coming back and will meet them in Tulsa to finish the trip with Mag and Henry.

But his parents are bickering and Henry is in despair – until he surrenders to the road and decides to let whatever happens happen, but to be there in it all.

Complete with her signature cast of eccentric characters, absurd situations, and heartfelt moments, Polly Horvath writes an on-the-road epic like no other!

Reviews

"At once poignant, funny, and wise, this book gives new meaning to the phrase, 'The best journeys never end.'"—Starred, Publishers Weekly

"Horvath spins another delightfully offbeat yarn, complete with her signature cast of eccentric characters, wacky situations, poignant moments, and snappy dialogue. Another hit for Horvath."—Starred, School Library Journal

"A new offering from the queen of offbeat is always a welcome holiday."—Kirkus Reviews

"Bitingly funny. A celebration of the clarity that can come when one simply decides just to be."—The Horn Book

"Horvath's unhurried eccentricity is perfectly suited to this kind of picaresque novel. Horvath fans ... will want to grab a seat on this weird yet compelling road trip."—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

 

Listen to a sample

 

The Canning Season

The Canning Season

One night out of the blue, Ratchet Clark's ill-natured mother tells her that Ratchet will be leaving their Pensacola apartment momentarily to take the train up north. There she will spend the summer with her aged relatives Penpen and Tilly, inseparable twins who couldn't look more different
from each other.

Staying at their secluded house, Ratchet is treated to a passel of strange family history and local lore, along with heaps of generosity and care that she has never experienced before. Also, Penpen has recently espoused a new philosophy – whatever shows up on your doorstep you have to let in.

Through thick wilderness, down forgotten, bear-ridden roads, come a variety of characters, drawn to Penpen and Tilly’s open door. It is with vast reservations that the cautious Tilly allows these unwelcome guests in. But it turns out that unwelcome guests may bring the greatest gifts.

By turns dark and humorous, Polly Horvath offers adolescent readers enough quirky characters and outrageous situations to leave them reeling!

Awards

      • The National Book Award for Young People's Literature
      • 2004 Young Adult Canadian Book of the Year
      • The Horn Book's Honor List
      • Kirkus Editor's Choice
      • An American Library Association's Best Book for Young Adults Fanfare
      • NYC Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
      • Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year
      • School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
      • Chicago Tribune Best Books of 2003
      • Washington Post Best Books of 2003

Reviews

"Horvath outdoes herself . . . Offbeat, slapstick humor is mitigated by poignancy in Horvath's distinctive rollicking style. . .Ratchet, Tilly, and Penpen become larger than life and unforgettable." —School Library Journal Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

"Horvath tops even Everything on a Waffle (2001) with this hilarious, heartrending tale of two unwanted children left with a pair of eccentric old ladies. .. .Once again Horvath displays a genius for creating multigenerational, interestingly extended families, and for blending high and low comedy into a tale rife with important themes and life-changing events." —Kirkus Reviews

"Unruly, unpredictable and utterly compelling, Horvath's newest is even more startling than her Everything on a Waffle . . . Horvath's descriptive powers are singular . . . her uncensored Mad Hatter wit simply delicious, her storytelling skills consummate."— Publisher's Weekly

Watch the trailer

Hear Chapter 1

Everything on a WaffleEverything on a Waffle

"My name is Primrose Squarp. I am eleven years old. I have hair the color of carrots in apricot glaze (recipe to follow), skin fair and clear where it isn't freckled, and eyes like summer storms."

Readers will know right from the start that the narrator of Everything on a Waffle is going to tell her story straight and pull no punches. Primrose's parents have been lost at sea, but she believes without an iota of doubt that they are still alive, somewhere.

She moves in with her Uncle Jack, but feels generally friendless. Her only real refuge is a local restaurant called The Girl on the Red Swing, where the owner, Miss Bowzer, serves everything on waffles — except advice and good sense, which come free of charge and are always reliable.

Food in general plays an important role in Primrose's journey toward peace and understanding (a recipe dictated in her unmistakable voice is appended to each chapter), and readers will eagerly cheer her on through this funny, bittersweet novel.

Awards

      • Newbery Honor Book
      • Boston Globe- Horn Book Award Honor Book
      • ALA Notable Book
      • Child Magazine Best Book Award
      • Parents' Choice 2001 Fiction Gold Award
      • Parent's Guide to Children's Media Award
      • International White Ravens 2002
      • Mr. Christie Book Award
      • Sheila Egoff Award
      • New York Times Bestseller
      • Publisher's Weekly Bestseller

Reviews

"A laugh-out-loud pleasure from beginning to triumphant end." —Publisher's Weekly

"Subtlety and slapstick is a challenging combination; Horvath pulls it off beautifully." —The Horn Book

"...full of subtle humor and wisdom, presented through the eyes of a uniquely appealing young protagonist." —School Library Journal

"Told with wit and tongue-in-cheek humor, Horvath's vivid tale is grounded in tenderness and wisdom." —Kathleen Odean, Newbery Awards Committee Chair

"A wonderful story about the eruption of joy even in the midst of misery." —MacLean's

Watch the trailer

Listen to a sample

 

The TrollsThe Trolls

Aunt Sally is beyond any of Melissa, Amanda, and Pee Wee's expectations. She has come all the way from Vancouver Island, Canada, to take care of the children while their parents are away, and right from the start Aunt Sally enchants them with tales of her childhood with their father.

Odd characters figure largely in the stories, like Maud, a hunter rumored to have killed eighty cougars; Great-uncle Louis, a health nut who insists everyone should gnaw on sticks for extra fiber; and Fat Little Mean Girl, the star of a cautionary tale involving witchcraft and candy.

All of Aunt Sally's reminiscences lead up to a crucial story about trolls, sinister creatures who supposedly lurked along the shore at night. The trolls had the power to change Aunt Sally's life forever, and their legacy may change the lives of the three present-day children as well.

Awards

      • National Book Award Finalist
      • Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book
      • ALA Notable Book
      • Riverbank Review Book of Distinction
      • Booklist Editor's Choice
      • Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book
      • Horn Book Fanfare
      • A Rosie O'Donnell Pick and featured on her television show

Reviews

"Polly Horvath has produced a small gem.... she draws her characters with such precision that they peak without ever going over the top." —The New York Times Book Review

"This is a brilliant book . . ." —The Globe and Mail

"Horvath, a master storyteller herself, skillfully parallels the two generations as she conveys the unthinking cruelty older siblings often bestow upon younger ones". — The Horn Book

See the trailer

When the Circus Came to TownWhen the Circus Came to Town



It all started with the Halibuts. Then came Elmira the Snake lady. Then the Flying Gambinis--all seven of them and their mother. And Mrs. Harrison the fortune teller, and Mr. Wydel the strong man . . .

These are the new residents of Springfield, the formerly peaceful small midwestern town where things for Ivy had been pretty quiet until now.

Ivy becomes fast friends with Alfred Halibut, a young aspiring writer like herself, and she finds her new neighbors certainly make life more interesting. But many of the townspeople are of another mind about this invasion of ex-circus people.

Tensions somersault into a climactic tangle at the Springfield base-off. In the midst of hurtling pies, can anyone bring peace and tolerance back to the community?

Reviews

"[A] rollicking ode to silliness . . . Horvath remains a master of the middle-grade comedy." —Publishers Weekly

"With snappy dialogue and a witty text, Horvath makes a point about discrimination and tolerance, yet keeps the tone animated and humorous . . . The many comic twists will leave readers in stitches."—Starred, School Library Journal

The Happy Yellow CarThe Happy Yellow Car

When Betty Grunt's father comes home one day in a glamorous yellow car, her family--from Gretel to Grant to Garth--is thrown into a tizzy. After all, there's a depression on, and who can even afford gasoline?

But Betty has more important things to worry about: Her sixth-grade class has elected her Pork-Fry Queen, and she must somehow come up with a dollar for flowers or else forfeit the title.

Could the answer to her problem lie in a rumor of hidden treasure on the family farm?

And if the legend is true, can she find it before the rest of her kith and kind do?

Reviews

"Horvath's sharp, ingenious country-bumpkin humor is sheer delight, though it will be the more sophisticated readers who'll appreciate the roots from which it's derived. Her mere wisp of a plot gets its zing from the cornball characters (even Betty takes a turn at being a buffoon), and from the slapstick family dynamics that snare readers on the very first page and keep 'em chuckling till the end".
—Stephanie Zvirin , American Library Association.

No More CornflakesNo More Cornflakes

When ten-year-old Hortense discovers her parents pretending to be rabbits, she knows something is up.

Then, all her mother seems interested in doing is taking naps and eating cornflakes. Hortense can see that her family must be going nuts—and she must do something about it, immediately!

Reviews

"Fifth-grader Hortense, drifting away from her prim best friend, Doris, toward the livelier and more interesting Virginia, is also attempting to forge a friendship with caustic, worldly Aunt Kate. It is the author's foot-off-the-brakes literary style that gives the novel its distinctive flair." — Copyright © 1991 The Horn Book, Inc. All rights reserved.

"A funny, flowing, sharply observed portrait of family life."
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Original, captivating characterizations . . . The Hemples lively antics will keep readers in stitches." —Publishers Weekly

See the trailer

An Occasional CowAn Occasional Cow

"What do you do all summer, then?" asked Imogene.

"The same things we do in the winter," said Josephine. "Only there are more mosquitoes and we teach the new pigs to walk on their hands."

Mosquitoes and freakish pigs? If this is Iowa, Imogene wants nothing to do with it!

Imogene's summer camp has burned down, and typically, her parents won't let her stay in New York. Instead, they are sending her to visit relatives in Iowa. Imogene can hardly believe her fate.

Reviews

"A clever story that heralds a promising new writer."— Starred/Booklist

"Horvath has made a neat blend of slapstick humor, sophisticated, witty dialogue, and the ups and downs of kids learning to get along in a new situation." —Kirkus Reviews

"The spirit of this anything-goes comedy is wholehearted fun."— Publishers Weekly

"Imaginative . . . droll" —The New York Times Book Review