Books by Faustin Charles

Released: Feb. 1, 1999

A weak story that has echoes of familiar folktales, but no resonance. A selfish crocodile who lived "deep in the forest" commands all the other animals to stay away from the river, which he considers his. "I'll eat you up!" he warns. The animals have to walk "for miles out of their way" to find drinking water. One day the crocodile has a toothache, and when the others are too frightened to get close, a mouse pulls the tooth and promises to help him in the future. Consequently, the crocodile invites all the creatures to enjoy the river, although the connection between having a friend and declaring open house is left vague. The illustrations have a greeting-card charm, with 13 animals trudging off for water bearing the same pop-eyed, frowning expression. When the crocodile groans in pain, the animals don't look toward the source of sound, but up in the air at the words "GROAN . . . GROAN." (Picture book. 3-7) Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1996

Cheerful collages with tropical colors match the spirit of these counting chants, games, and skipping rhymes; those wishing to build or add to multicultural collections will value this rhythmic compilation. Charles translates rhymes from the Spanish of Cuba, the French of Martinique, and the Dutch of the Dutch West Indies. The rhymes are identified by their places of origin; Jamaica, Trinidad, Tobago, Bahamas, Barbados, and the Virgin Islands are all represented. Lively humor informs the rhymes and songs, and the language is witty and surprising (``De pawpaw swell,/De pawpaw burst,/But it didn't stop de mosquito thirst''); readers inexperienced in the lilting island rhythms may want to practice before reading these pieces out loud because the cadence can be tricky. Arenson's pictures crackle with color; bold forms sashay happily across vibrant backgrounds. (Picture book/poetry. 4-8) Read full book review >