Books by Debrah Santini

ABBY’S CHAIRS by Barbara Santucci
Released: Sept. 1, 2004

No matter what new homeowner Abby does, she just can't seem to figure out a pleasing arrangement for her chair collection. She visits the local hardware store and paints them vibrant new colors. She visits the local fabric store, then reupholsters in cheerful prints and lace. She checks out a library book on furniture placement and follows its guidance. Nothing works. "Maybe I just have too many chairs," she sighs sadly, and lugs them all to her front lawn along with a handmade sign: "Free Chairs." Soon she's visited by each of the friendly folks she met in her efforts. One by one, they each pull a chair up in the shade (chairs that, also coincidentally, fit their own personalities), and it becomes clear that empty chairs are meaningless until there's someone to sit in them. Over-stuffed with homespun country charm, the effort's simple yet tenuous lesson can't overcome its contrived plot. Ultimately, the cozy-but-slight story and repetitive watercolor art will have a tough time interesting most bored-out-of-their-seats children with its adult characters, adult situations, and adult sentiments. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
THE LAST DANCE by Carmen Agra Deedy
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

A complex, pretty story—about dancing and death—whose text and illustrations are stitched together from different fragments; poetic snatches of narrative are woven together like a series of dreams. Bessie remembers Ninny: As children, he threw buttons at her window and they would go dance on his grandfather's grave; he went off to war and returns; they have children and grow old. Now alone, Bessie dances on Ninny's grave. Deedy (The Library Dragon, 1994, etc.) pens a text that is sometimes sentimental, occasionally hard to follow, but has many resonant moments; Ninny, only glimpsed, comes across as a profound and charismatic figure. In pale, semitransparent watercolors, everything swirls and flows, as if caught in the middle of a dance; images overlap and collapse years into one spread, e.g., Bessie and Ninny dancing as children, then as young adults, and finally, at their wedding. Some of the pictures and text are imaginatively framed in swatches of fabric, stitched around the edges, and scattered with buttons. Children may have difficulty with the calligraphic typeface, making this a book more appropriate for sharing than solos. (Picture book. 8-12) Read full book review >
TULIPS by Jay O'Callahan
Released: April 1, 1992

In his first picture book, a gifted storyteller who has performed worldwide tells a tale about a practical jokester whose victims finally turn the tables on him. During biannual visits to ``Grand Ma Mere'' in her sumptuous Parisian establishment, Pierre bedevils the servants with his pranks and even, one fall, plants a single black tulip among the hundreds of red ones he has enjoyed in the spring. But on his next visit, Pierre is the one surprised: every one of Grand Ma Mere's vast expanse of tulips is black—and besides, the gardener has left a grasshopper in Pierre's sock, the butler a wet sponge in his shoe, and so on. Santini deftly illustrates this satisfying comeuppance in soft pencil and watercolor, amusingly satirizing the events and glorying in the elegance of Grand Ma Mere's mÇnage. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >