Works for Children


First Snow, Magic Snow by John Cech with illustrations by Sharon McGinley-Nally.  Four Winds Press / Macmillan: 1992. Named an Outstanding Book in the Field of Social Studies by the Children's Book Council and the National Council of Social Studies.

"A sprightly adaptation of the Russian story of the snow maiden, this picture book glows with love of winter and children. When a childless woodsman shapes a mound of the first snow into the form of a child, she comes to life, and he carries her home to his wife bundled in his coat...John Cech's text is a rare blend of sweetness and vigor." -- Hungry Mind Review


Product Description (from

What a special Christmas gift this will be: the beloved holiday fantasy, beautifully retold by John Cech (author of our Classic Fairy Tale series) and illustrated by Eric Puybaret, whose imaginative art helped turn Puff, the Magic Dragon into a blockbuster. Cech bases his version on E.T.A. Hoffman’s original, which features not only the story familiar to all ballet lovers, but other wondrous adventures—including the tale of Princess Pirlipat and an explanation of the origins of the Nutcracker himself.

Lavishly and elegantly packaged, this belongs under every child’s tree. 

My Grandmother's Journey, with illustrations by Sharon McGinley-Nally. Bradbury Press/Macmillan: 1991. Named an Outstanding Book in the Field of Social Studies by the Children's Book Council and the National Council of Social Studies.


Django by John Cech with illustrations by Sharon McGinley-Nally. Four Winds Press / Simon and Schuster, 1994.

Django (pronounced “Jango”) is a modern fairy tale set in the countryside of  North Florida.  The actual location used in the book is the homestead at Cross Creek, Florida, of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author of The YearlingDjango draws its inspiration from Florida’s long tradition of extraordinary, some say even magical folk fiddlers -- about whom they still tell stories today.

The Southernmost Cat, with illustrations by Kathy Osborne. Simon and Schuster, 1996. Winner of the Silver Storybook Award from Parents' Choice Magazine.

This book is inspired by the works of Earnest Hemingway and his circle of friends, the ambience of Key West Florida, the town’s habit of naming everything within the city limits the “southernmost,” the famous six-toed cats who have taken up residence  at the Hemingway house and in every shady nook on the island, and years of teaching American Literature.

Jacques-Henri Lartigue: Boy With A Camera. Four Winds Press/ Simon and Schuster, 1994.

"Jacques-Henri Lartigue was given his first camera in 1902 for his seventh birthday, and he went on to take hundreds and hundreds of pictures during his childhood. Lartigue had the gift of knowing exactly when to click the shutter of his camera to capture people and things in motion -- a ball in the air, an uncle diving into the water, a glider clearing the edge of a dune and becoming... a bird!

These remarkable photographs reveal Jacques-Henri Lartigue's playful exploration of the world around him and, as selected and presented by John Cech, offers young readers an introduction to this major twentieth-century artist."

Starred review in Booklist for Grades 3-5

The above books are out of print, but if you are interested in copies, please contact John Cech.

Classic Fairy Tale Collection  from Sterling Publishing. 

Each volume contains a fresh,  contemporary retelling of the traditional story by John Cech, along with a historical note that explains the origins of tale.  Each of these familiar stories  is brought to visual life through the vibrant illustrations of a well known or emerging artist in the field of children’s books -- including Lucie Corvino (The Twelve Dancing Princesses), Robert Mackensie (Jack and the Beanstalk),  Martin Hargreaves (Rumpelstiltskin) Germany’s Bernhard Oberdieck (The Princess and the Pea, Puss ‘n’ Boots),  and Russia’s Kirill Chelushkin (The Elves and the Shoemaker).

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 4—Cech's fluid text sparkles in this well-crafted retelling. He fleshes out the character of the prince with a refreshing addition in which the young man tells the Queen, "I didn't need a pea to tell me she is a real princess. I could see it in the gentleness of her eyes, hear it in the softness of her voice, and feel it in the kindness of her heart." The illustrations, created with colored pencils, pastels, and acrylics, glow with lustrous yellow-gold, blue, and green tones. The court clothing is portrayed in splendid detail, and bold foregrounds dominate the pictures. In one lovely spread, the prince, dressed in blue knee breeches and a doublet trimmed with green ribbon, is lying on a couch; the Queen, wearing a lace-decorated yellow gown, is gazing at him from the background; behind her are the muted figures of dancing couples. An interesting historical note informs readers that similar story elements have appeared in tales from Sweden, Italy, and Kashmir. Children will enjoy this delightful rendition of an old favorite. For readers who prefer a more playful and humorous approach, suggest Lauren Child's fabulous version (Hyperion, 2006).—Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma County Library, CA

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Product Description (from

One of the earliest volumes ever printed in English was Aesop’s Fables, and these delightful, instructive little parables have never gone out of style. Though originally meant for all ages, it is generally considered the first real book to have an audience of children. Noted author John Cech—whose Classic Fairy Tale Collection has received wide critical acclaim—retells some of these best-loved stories in his own inimitable way. Martin Jarrie (illustrator of the bestselling ABC USA) enhances the tales as never before with his unique folk-style art, making this anthology one of the most beautiful and necessary volumes for any child’s bookshelf.


Aesop’s Fables, retold by John Cech, illustrated by Martin Jarrie.  Sterling.  Spring 2009.

About The Elves and the Shoemaker

Poet and professor John Cech offers a smooth, transparent retelling of the Grimm brothers' The Elves and the Shoemaker, lit by touches of lyricism: "The elves finished their work, lined up the shoes on the bench, and left the shoemaker's shop like two whispers in the wind." But Russian illustrator Kirill Chelushkin depicts a much murkier world, all blood-red and shadow-gray, whose topsy-turviness reflects the disorienting effect of these supernatural visits on the down-on-his luck tradesman and his wife.            

                                                                                           -- Elizabeth Ward, on

The Nutcracker by E. T. A. Hoffman, retold by John Cech, illustrated by Eric Puybaret.  Sterling.    Fall 2009.

Detail from the dance sequence from The Nutcracker, illustrated by Eric Puybaret.

If you are interested in purchasing the above books from Sterling Publishing, visit your local bookstore or, if there isn’t a bookstore nearby, they are available for order online from