Books by Ezra Jack Keats

Released: Feb. 1, 1995

"With visuals as original and euphoric as the day they were created, and a narrative that is poignant but never pitying, straightforward without being dry, this is a grand work, for all collections. (Nonfiction/biography. 8-12)"
Based on "conversations with him and on autobiographical essays," Engel and Freedman reconstruct the key scenes of Jack Ezra Katz's childhood and adult years, from his first inking of a tabletop through his discovery of news clippings about his art in his deceased father's wallet, to his success selling art in Paris, to his joyful creation of children's books. Read full book review >
THE KING'S FOUNTAIN by Ezra Jack Keats
Released: Oct. 31, 1989

"The result is both overwhelming and uninviting."
The clever have no courage, the strong no sense, and the scholar is of no practical use — so the poor man goes himself to the king and, without learning or brawn or a silver tongue, convinces him not to build the palace fountain that would divert water from the city below. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1982

"It's harmless for a look-through—but as evanescent as the rainwater."
Wordlessly, a sun-bonneted tyke drags a lanky, bearded gent toward a cactus (in appearance, a prickly sack of potatoes). Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1981

"Given Louie's solid in with kids, most of them will at least want to have a look: when the monster rocks are careening about, especially, there's a three-dimensional, trompe l'oeil quality that's never been known to fail."
"Junk?" says Louie's junkman foster-father Barney, told that the kids have been teasing Louie. Read full book review >
LOUIE'S SEARCH by Ezra Jack Keats
Released: Sept. 1, 1980

"Hooey in high colors."
Far and away the most inflated, quaint, and hokey of the Louie stories to date. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 1979

"Still, after some of his recent, more somber-looking picture books, it is cheering to see the sun come out in these blurry, rainbow-colored pages."
Unlike Keats' city slums, this palm-treed, riverside shantytown has a ramshackle insouciance. Read full book review >
THE TRIP by Ezra Jack Keats
Released: March 27, 1978

"A pleasing, neatly dovetailed adjustment fantasy, nicely tuned to the garish make-believe mood of the holiday."
Keats begins abruptly with Louie, lonely in a drab new home, unaccountably constructing a peepshow city in a shoebox. Read full book review >
LOUIE by Ezra Jack Keats
illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
Released: Sept. 29, 1975

"If the older children's sensitive generosity is a lucky break for Louie, Keats' way of seeing through the little boy's eyes will inspire the same empathic understanding from his audience."
A child's total captivation by a puppet show character is the subject of this small but touching story. Read full book review >
KITTEN FOR A DAY by Ezra Jack Keats
Released: Nov. 15, 1974

"The puppy of course doesn't make it though his playmates are tolerant, and neither does the book except on a cutesy level we thought Keats was above exploiting."
This is one of Keats' practically wordless picture books, and truth to tell there isn't much to the pictures either. Read full book review >
DREAMS by Ezra Jack Keats
Kirkus Star
illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
Released: Sept. 30, 1974

"And though it's almost all seen from outside the building, Keats — who shifts momentarily to Roberto's view of the dog and cat — makes it easy to share the boy's perspective and the muted sense of reverie."
In a drab tenement building beneath a moody, marbleized sky that changes color as the pages turn, everyone goes to sleep except Roberto — and as each child begins to dream, a different swirly, smoky light fills his window. Read full book review >
SKATES! by Ezra Jack Keats
illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
Released: Oct. 5, 1973

"It ends on a note of typical Keatsian harmony, with the pair treating a quartet of dressed-up kittens to a doggy-back roller skate ride, and as long as you don't expect the sustaining warmth and personality of the Peter books (and can overlook the kittens' wide-eyed cuteness) it's a fetching enough free-wheeling diversion."
Keats' two dogs on roller skates, dressed in trousers, scarves and caps, are shaped very much like boys, the gestures they make with their "arms" underline the resemblance, and at the end of their calamitous experiment they even say a few words: "'I've had it!' 'Yeah! Read full book review >
PET SHOW! by Ezra Jack Keats
Released: April 17, 1972

"Even Keats' ubiquitous row of background doors appear in popsicle colors for the jubilant occasion."
Archie of Hi Cat (1970) is back and so is the Keats of brightly patterned collage, exuberant thick-smudged paint, and general good will — but the cat is nowhere to be found and Archie needs him for the pet show. Read full book review >
APT. 3 by Ezra Jack Keats
illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
Released: Aug. 23, 1971

"It's too bad that the story he invents here is just a sentimental occasion for his backgrounds, but the backgrounds are impressive as usual, and the tone as well as the hero are mature enough for new readers too sophisticated for the usual picture book fare."
Proceeding further in the direction set by Goggles of smudgy, darker, here almost somber backgrounds, Keats turns From the well known Peter to portray an older, white (or racially neutral) boy in an equally dingy setting. Read full book review >
HI, CAT! by Ezra Jack Keats
illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
Released: Aug. 10, 1970

"But if Peter has graduated to the primary grades, he's in good company — likely 'that crazy cat' last seen on Archie's doorstep will be back — and great spirits."
Breezy, clowning... an older Peter, a more prominent Archie, and a rather different Keats. Read full book review >
NIGHT by Ezra Jack Keats
Released: Oct. 17, 1969

"In black and silver and shadow—resonant full-blooded illuminations."
"Once it was, the repose of Night,/ was a place, strong place, in which to sleep.// It is shaken now. It will burst into flames./ Either now or tomorrow or the day after that." Read full book review >
GOGGLES by Ezra Jack Keats
illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
Released: Sept. 15, 1969

"And you are glad that Peter, who's shown he can stand up for himself, tricks the bullies and gets away with his prize."
Goggles is not Glasses for Peter nor, like earlier books in the series, centered on a singular catalytic incident on the way to growing up and thus capable of broad application: the motorcycle goggles Peter finds and manages to keep from the neighborhood bullies — with the help of friend Archie, dog Willie and a ruse — might have been anything attractive to kids and the episode might have happened yesterday and might recur tomorrow. Read full book review >
A LETTER TO AMY by Ezra Jack Keats
Released: Oct. 9, 1968

"In toto, a top artist in top form."
"It looks like rain. You'd better stay in, Willie," warns Peter dashing out to mail the letter inviting Amy to his birthday party, and the storm—lowering clouds, explosive lighting, wind and water and glistening sidewalks—is as vital here, transforming the look and feel of the city, as the snow in The Snowy Day. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 30, 1968

"Collage that's characteristically Keats, drapery that's almost El Greco, detail and design that draw the eye to essentials, expressive skies —a glowing entity of certain appeal to children who know the song, with a right-hand piano accompaniment appended."
To the words and pa-rum beats of a popular Christmas song (by Katherine Davis, Henry Onota and Harry Simeone), a sun-flecked procession lays gifts before the King; the drummer boy, with no gift to bring ("I am a poor boy too"), plays on his drum, plays his best while silhouettes of ox and lamb paw on the sunset horizon, sees, sidelong, the Child smiling quietly, then marches off in the deepening lavender and rose and gold. Read full book review >
PETER'S CHAIR by Ezra Jack Keats
Released: May 1, 1967

"A soupcon of security for displaced preschoolers, and a glowing companion to The Snowy Day and Whistle for Willie."
Peter has a new baby sister and she preempts his old cradle, his crib and his high chair, each newly painted pink. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 26, 1966

"Only the pull of the Keats name will create any demand for this book outside the obvious Sunday School market."
Twenty-four quotations from a variety of different religions and cultures (Judaism, Taoism, American Indian, Islam, Sikhism, Aztec, Hinduism, Shintoism, African, etc.) proclaim the presence of God. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1964

"The heat of a city summer is caught in the combination of oranges, yellows and pinks Mr. Keats' technique can only be inadequately described as cutouts in college—bright and beautiful."
The Caldecott prize winner has captured in words and eye-stopping pictures a big day in a small boy's life—the day that he produces without mechanical aid his first, recognizable whistle. Read full book review >
MY DOG IS LOST! by Ezra Jack Keats
Released: Sept. 15, 1960

"With a little help a second year reader could manage this- and his younger brothers and sisters will like it read aloud."
A big city can be desolation for a small foreigner. Read full book review >