Children’s Books

Maxine Kumin is the author of 25 books for children. She began writing children’s books in 1960, with Sebastian and the Dragon, about a boy who wins a prize for capturing the most unusual animal for a new zoo. Her characters ranged from human boys and girls exploring the natural world, intelligent dogs in search of mates and their own identity, a horse who puts a bratty boy in his place, a mouse and his new friend, and a giant forester and his giant oxen who shape the earth’s mountains and rivers.

Maxine exposes children to the realities of life during the 20’s during the evolution of the women’s right to vote and the 40’s during the challenges and sacrifices of living through a world war. Her details are well researched, entertaining and funny. Her final book, Oh, Harry!, released in 2011and illustrated by Barry Moser, “(c)ombine a Pulitzer Prize–winning poet with a National Book Award–winning artist and, honestly, it’s hard to go wrong.” (Kirkus Review)

Oh, Harry! 2011

Oh, Harry! 2011

Harry isn’t the most handsome or graceful horse in the barn, but he has a knack for calming even the most excitable filly. All’s well until the arrival of six-year-old Algernon Adams the Third–a boy with a talent for mayhem. When Algernon finds himself in a pinch, will reliably helpful Harry come to his rescue or go back to sleep and let the little terror figure his own way out of a sticky situation?

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Oh Harry! – Written by Maxine Kumin, illustrated by Barry Moser. Roaring Brook Press, (New York, NY), 2011

What Color Is Caesar?  2010

What Color Is Caesar? 2010

Caesar is a large white dog with a great many black spots. Or is he a large black dog with even more white spots? That’s the trouble: he doesn’t know which, and though nobody in the family seems to care, he won’t rest until he uncovers the truth. So off he traipses, beseeching one animal after another to find out what color he is, basically. From celebrated poet Maxine Kumin comes a doggedly quizzical hero, brought comically to life by Alison Friend’s expressive watercolors — a lovable picture-book character who ultimately learns that it’s not what’s on the outside that counts.

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What Color is Caesar? – Written by Maxine Kumin, illustrated by Alison Friend, (Somerville, MA), 2010

Mites to Mastodons: A Book of Animal Poems, Small and Large - 2006

Mites to Mastodons: A Book of Animal Poems, Small and Large - 2006

From as little as the snail to as big as the giraffe, from the thundering mastodon of long ago to the ordinary backyard squirrel of today, the animals in this book inspire our imagination. Here is a fascinating cornucopia that exudes a whimsical affection and respect for the creatures with whom we share our kingdom. See more details below

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Mites to Mastodons – Written by Maxine Kumin, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, edited by Liz Rosenberg, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2006

The Microscope - 1984

The Microscope - 1984

The Microscope relates in rhyme Anton Leeuwenhoek, the famous Dutch scientist’s, penchant for viewing things with a microscope, through which he made remarkable observations.

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The Microscope – Written by Maxine Kumin, illustrated by Arnold Lobel, Harper (New York, NY), 1984

What Color Is Caesar? 1978

What Color Is Caesar? 1978

Caesar is a large white dog with a great many black spots. Or is he a large black dog with even more white spots? That’s the trouble: he doesn’t know which, and though nobody in the family seems to care, he won’t rest until he uncovers the truth. So off he traipses, beseeching one animal after another to find out what color he is, basically. From celebrated poet Maxine Kumin comes a doggedly quizzical hero – a lovable picture-book character who ultimately learns that it’s not what’s on the outside that counts.

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What Color is Caesar? – Written by Maxine Kumin, illustrated by Evaline Ness, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1978

History-Inspired Stories 1968-1971

History-Inspired Stories 1968-1971

When Great-Grandmother Was Young, illustrated by Don Almquist, Putnam (New York, NY), 1971.
Recalls the life and habits of Great Grandmother who lived on Gerrard’s Island off Nova Scotia just before the turn of the century.

When Mother Was Young, Putnam (New York, NY), 1970.
When mother was a little girl she lived in Brooklyn and it was the time of World War II.

When Grandmother Was Young, Putnam (New York, NY), 1969.
When Grandmother Kate was a little girl in Boston in the 1920’s, life was typified by pushcarts, market day, ice wagons, and Mother’s determination to cut her hair, shorten her skirts, and vote for President.

The Wonderful Babies of 1809 and Other Years, Putnam (New York, NY), 1968.
Sketches in rhyme about the lives and accomplishments of several famous people, stressing those born in 1809. Includes Braille, Darwin, Chopin, and Poe.

Written with Anne Sexton

Written with Anne Sexton

The Wizard’s Tears, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1975.
The new wizard tries to solve all the town’s problems, but carelessness with his own magic tears creates a tragedy instead.

Joey and the Birthday Present, illustrated by Evaline Ness, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1971.
A brown field mouse and a caged, pet white mouse become close summertime friends.

Eggs of Things, Putnam (New York, NY), 1963.
The story of an inventive foursome — Skippy, Buzz, Skippy’s younger sister nicknamed Pest, and their dog Cowboy — who hatch the idea of saving their neighborhood vegetable garden from cutworms by fishing out some toad eggs from the nearby pond, incubating them in their tub, then releasing the toads into the garden to take care of the worms.

More Eggs of Things, Putnam (New York, NY), 1964.
Continuing the adventures of Buzz, Skippy, Pest, and Cowboy.

Children's Books 1963-1967

Children's Books 1963-1967

Faraway Farm, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 1967.
Creates all the sights, sounds, and smells associated with the pleasure of living on a horse farm.

Paul Bunyan, Putnam (New York, NY), 1966.
This is an easy-to-read story about the time when our country was very young and very tall. Paul and Babe are resting now but someday they may make mountains and rivers again.

The Beach before Breakfast, Putnam (New York, NY), 1964.
A child and a grownup enjoy the delights of the seashore during a walk along the beach very early in the morning. Kindergarten – Grade 3.

Speedy Digs Downside Up, Putnam (New York, NY), 1964.
Speedy Larue liked to dig. It took him a whole year to do it, but he dug all the way through the world from Pennsylvania to Tasmania. The book is written in rhyme with illustrations by the well-loved Ezra Jack Keats.

Archibald the Traveling Poodle, Putnam (New York, NY), 1963.
Archibald, a bachelor poodle, travels in a new Model T through various cities in Europe and Asia in search of a French poodle wife.

Children's Books 1960 - 1962

Children's Books 1960 - 1962

No One Writes a Letter to the Snail, Putnam (New York, NY), 1962.
Whimsy and humor characterize this collection of twenty five poems about everything and anything. There are fable-like spoofs, poems to ponder, poems that tell a story.

Mittens in May, Putnam (New York, NY), 1962.
Nothing could induce Peter to remove the precious mittens sent him by his father- not the snickers of his schoolmates, not even the warm weather of May.

A Winter Friend, Putnam (New York, NY), 1961.
Spring Things, Putnam (New York, NY), 1961.
A Summer Story, Putnam (New York, NY), 1961.
Follow the Fall, Putnam (New York, NY), 1961
Maxine Kumin’s set of seasonal books couched in easy-to-read verses, illustrated by Artur Marokvia

Sebastian and the Dragon, Putnam (New York, NY), 1960.
Tells in verse how a small boy captures a dragon and wins the prize for obtaining the most unusual animal for the new zoo.