Books by Alice Low

CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 15, 2009

Need a clever book on sports to entice boys—and one of poetry, at that? These 19 poems, each for a different sport, score a goal. Under the title, a short paragraph establishes a context for the origin of the sport. "RUNNING: They Ran for Their Lives" posits that running began as a form of survival and self-defense; the fine line drawings humorously depict a wooly mammoth chasing cave people across the spread to a finish line. From soccer to surfing, the poems are tightly phrased and put a spin on the historical information of how the sport has evolved. O'Brien's signature style of dappled watercolors-over-ink comically underscores the theme that sports are fun. "Sing a song of Frisbie, / A pie plate in the sky. / Hungry college students / Purchased a pie. / When the pie was eaten / One hurled the plate away. / Another caught it, wasn't that / A super game to play?" Informative and entertaining, this is an all-around winner. One nit: The font of the explanatory paragraph is quite small. (author's note, other anecdotes, timeline) (Poetry/informational picture book. 6-10)Read full book review >
AUNT LUCY WENT TO BUY A HAT by Alice Low
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 1, 2004

Poster Lady for the easily sidetracked, Aunt Lucy, thinking her brand-new blue one has gone missing (it's actually hanging from its ribbon down her back), goes out to buy a hat and comes back with a cat, goes out for milk (for the cat, silly) and returns with silk, seeks thread but finds a bed, and so on. Finally, her new pet sees her supposedly lost old hat blow by, and fetches it back—behavior more likely for a dog, to be sure, but call it poetic license. Huliska-Beith gives Aunt Lucy a tall beehive and purple-rimmed glasses, placing her, along with scatters of domestic bric-a-brac and tippy buildings, against flattened planes of color, for a postmodern look. It's a droll bit of nonsense that should draw a chuckle from Old Mother Hubbard fans. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
SPOOKY STORIES FOR A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT by Alice Low
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Oct. 31, 1994

Low (The Family Read-Aloud Christmas Treasury, 1989, etc.) has collected scary tales from all walks of life. Many cultures are represented here: African-American, Russian, Chinese-American, Norwegian, and more. In addition to original stories, there are adaptations of traditional folktales. Some of the greats appear, like ``the Headless Horseman,'' but all of these spookers are excellent. George Harland's retelling of Charles Dickens's ``Captain Murderer'' has little Charles's nursemaid giving him a truly gruesome account of a man who married many women and then ate them. The nurse concludes with, ``And he went on swelling, and turning bluer, and screaming louder than ever, until...at one o'clock in the morning...he BLEW up with a loud explosion. `Good night, Master Charles, and pleasant dreams.' '' Penelope Lively's ``Uninvited Guests'' are a bunch of ghosts who are more annoying than terrifying to the children they haunt. Laurence Yep contributes a funny and horrifying tale, ``Bedtime Snacks,'' in which the evil monster Dagger Claws kills the hero's Auntie and younger brother and claims to be eating chestnuts as he chomps ``crunch, crunch, crunch'' on their bones. (One quibble: Why did Wilson choose to depict the two Chinese brothers as blonds?) Fantastically spooky and literate. (Fiction/Stories. 8+) Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

An enormously talented Chinese painter, born in 1975, is the subject of this profusely illustrated biography. ``Yani'' is especially fortunate in her father, also an artist, who firmly believed (despite tradition) that Yani's art should be allowed to develop naturally, with minimal instruction and no classical exercises such as copying others' work. From her first promising scribbles at two, he provided the materials she needed; by the time she was three, she was recognized as a prodigy—a judgment that the beguiling art so beautifully reproduced here fully justifies. At six, her work was exhibited in Europe; she had a one-person show in 1989 at the Smithsonian. The authors touch lightly on Yani's apparently privileged background, focusing on the evolution of her art in response to her increasing skill, maturing interests, and enriching experiences (including travel) deliberately provided by her father. Dimensions and Yani's age at the time of painting are cited for each picture reproduced (though not locations—were some of the thousands of paintings sold? Is Yani also a commercial success?); two foldouts allow a better view of more extensive works; photos show the happy, intent girl at work at many ages; a detailed appendix describes the tools and techniques of the traditional style that Yani adapts to her highly individual work. A handsome book—and a fascinating, lucidly written portrait of a uniquely creative artist. Glossary; maps; index. (Biography. 9+) Read full book review >