Monday, February 27, 2012

A Review of Holiday House, Inc. (Part I)

I will review 3 fiction chapter books published by Holiday House.  These are: THE BEST HORSE EVER by Alice DeLa Croix (2010), NORA AND THE TEXAS TERROR by Judy Cox (2010), and WUV BUNNIES FROM OUTERS PACE by David Elliott (2008).  I chose these chapter books from the local library.  My purpose is to learn about this publisher and get an idea of the type of stories and illustrations they are interested in. 

Holiday House is an independent publishing company.  It was established in 1935 and was the first publishing house, in the U.S.A., to only publish children's books.  John Briggs is the current owner and president of Holiday House.  He has tripled the number of books published each year (from 15 to 50). (

Holiday House does not require an agent for submissions.

Book by Holiday House Publishers:

The Best Horse Ever
by Alice DeLaCroix
Ronald Himler, Illustrator
Trade Binding | size: 51/2x81/4 | US $15.95 | ISBN: 9780823422548Themes:Animals/Fiction, Friendship
Recommendations: A, SLJ
Grade: THIRD | Age: 6 to 10 | Season: SPRING
Pub date: 2010-04-15 | Pages: 80
Summary: Nine-year old Abby acquires her first horse and almost loses her best friend because of it. Positives: The reader learns a few facts about the care of a pet horse. The illustrator Ronald Himler did an outstanding job with his pencil sketches.
     The beginning of the story was rather slow due to the wording. The words could have been     stronger to make Abby’s desire more vivid.
     I wasn’t endeared to Abby, but I liked her.
      Abby almost lost her best friend. The author should have expounded on this.
     Poor description of Mom: Mom was tall and thin-except for a few bumps here and there-and Abby was sure she would grow up that way, too.
Editorial errors:
     Slowly he moved a couple steps farther from her.
     They’re all waking up now we’re here.
     She had fed Griffin and made him happy. She had turned him out to run and graze and made him happy. (The repetitive "and made him happy" is disconcerting.)
 A review  by Kirkus Review : "Pacing uneven and conflict between best-friends forced."

Recommendation: THE BEST HORSE EVER is a book I might give to a child who likes horses, but I wouldn’t buy it. It’s not captivating.


  1. I am a big fan of Holiday House! I love the titles they publish. I have done three books with them, and they are terrific to work with!

    1. Thank you Susanna. I'm glad to hear that you've had a positive personal experience with them. Please post the title of your books here. I've got 2 more reviews to do on books they've published. Both are fiction.

  2. Mine are fiction, too: Punxsutawney Phyllis, No Sword Fighting In The House (a Holiday House Reader), and April Fool, Phyllis! My editor there has been wonderful to work with. The books have come out beautifully. I'm not sure what other kind of details you might want to know? but I think they do a terrific job.