Books by Dana Kessimakis Smith

A BRAVE SPACEBOY by Dana Kessimakis Smith
Released: April 1, 2005

Using a big box and a colander "helmet," a lad turns the stress of moving-in day into the excitement of a rip-roaring space adventure—but this promising premise runs afoul of inexpert execution in both writing and pictures. As a versifier, Smith has trouble keeping her word stresses and syllable count consistent, as well as remembering that rhyme should serve meaning, not vice versa: "I pop the hatch, the rocket door / We wave good-bye to our team / We climb on board, we buckle in / The engines smoke and steam." (No, rocket ships don't smoke or steam.) While this repeat visit might be welcomed by those who enjoyed A Wild Cowboy (2004), the contrast between the boy's imagination in the text and the reality in the pictures is less pronounced and doesn't have the fresh surprise of occupational idioms used to bring a smile upon recognition. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
A WILD COWBOY by Dana Kessimakis Smith
Released: April 1, 2004

The pictures tell one story while the text reveals the youngster's inner fancies in this ode to cowboy enthusiasts. Readers see that this "real live buckaroo," as he calls himself, lives in the city with his little brother, Asian mother, and African-American father. As they prepare for an outing, our hero dons his range hat with his "pardner" (little brother) by his side. "Out West" is Grandma's apartment, where rounding up the cattle involves catching several escaping puppies. Cowboy vittles are hotdogs and popcorn devoured in Grandma's living room. When he's tucked in and asleep, readers glimpse the boy's dream of life on the range. A cheerful foray into a youngster's powerful imagination, this story does justice to a child's ability to use what's at hand to feed inventiveness. This device, however, may be lost on the youngest readers. The rhyming verse rings with the little boy's buoyant voice. Freeman's chalk-like computer graphics, drawn with charm in bright, tangy colors match the fantasy well. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >