Books by Joanne Fitzgerald

YUM! YUM!! by Joanne Fitzgerald
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 15, 2007

Classic nursery rhymes with food themes are the focus of this delightful compilation. Fitzgerald ingeniously ties together the diverse collection with her richly detailed, pastel-colored illustrations. Readers will follow father piggy as he goes to the farmer's market to prepare for the party featured on the final page. Along the way, he meets other nursery-rhyme characters—a black hen, Tommy Tucker, Peter Piper, Jack Horner, Jack Sprat and Little Miss Muffet, among others—who are either shopping or selling their own wares. The artwork will put children's powers of observation to good use as they scour the pictures for their favorites. The clever way the rhymes are tied together makes this collection stand out above the rest—"Yum, yum," indeed. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
CIRCUS PLAY by Anne Laurel Carter
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2002

What's a boy to do when his mother is a trapeze artist, she practices in the living room, and all he wants to do is watch TV with his friends? "Everyone calls my house The Big Top," Carter (Under a Prairie Sky, not reviewed, etc.) begins. "Kids knock at the window, wanting to play. Today it's Dan and Nisha, little Stuie holding his bear." Fitzgerald's (The Little Rooster and the Diamond Button, 2001, etc.) expressive watercolor vignettes depict the neighbor children with wide eyes; when they join the boy narrator in the living room, they look a little nervous. Meanwhile, the boy sits staring at the set. "Why can't I have an ordinary mom?" he wonders as the children watch his mother's moves. Despite her larger-than-life presence, Fitzgerald shows the mother only in shadow, inviting readers to imagine the graceful shapes she takes on her swing above the sofa. She comes into full view—albeit in the background—when the children discover the boy's "Circus Costume Box," and are transformed, literally, into an elephant, lion, and lion tamer. A series of wordless double-paged spreads depict the trio in action. However, the boy is transformed as well. While he initially opts out, he joins in the activity when he hears the children's blasphemous plan to enter outer space ("A circus has cannons, not rocket ships"), upholding the integrity of the family business. The first-person perspective makes the telling slightly awkward, but the story may resonate with children who feel set apart from their peers, especially with an offbeat parent. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
THE LITTLE ROOSTER AND THE DIAMOND BUTTON by Celia Barker Lottridge
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

The Canadian author and illustrator of Ten Small Tales (1994) have teamed up again to make the delightful Hungarian folktale from Kate Seredy's The Good Master (1935) available to a younger audience. While scratching in the road for something to eat, a rooster who lives with a poor old woman discovers a diamond button. Just as he is about to pick up the button to give to her, the imperial sultan comes along and snatches it. Ignoring the rooster's protests, the sultan takes the button back to his treasury, with the rooster in pursuit. Children will laugh aloud at how the persistent rooster bests the greedy ruler and his three foolish servants. The story creates anticipation as it builds to its climax, and invites audience participation through its repetition of the rooster's cry: "Cock-a-doodle-doo! Sultan! Sultan! Give me back my diamond button." Fitzgerald's soft line and watercolor illustrations are nicely framed in borders reflecting the story's setting and action, with just enough detail to highlight the tale's absurdity. An author's source note identifies variants and connects the tale to other "stories of extraordinary swallowing." (Folktale. 4-8)Read full book review >
JACOB'S BEST SISTERS by Teddy Jam
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 1997

A replica of a log cabin, the prize for answering a question on the back of a cereal box correctly, arrives at Jacob's house; when he lifts off the roof, he sees four sleeping girl dolls. That night, after Jacob wishes his parents good-night, the dolls come to life, and they are an exacting bunch: They're hungry, they want a bath, they want new clothes made for them, etc. Jacob notes that they aren't behaving like stalwart pioneers, so he takes on the role, ingeniously satisfying the girls' demands. Then comes an unexpected hint of sadness when Jacob tells the girls a story: ``Once upon a time there was a little boy who wanted a log cabin. He was a very lonely little boy and when he got the log cabin he was going to pretend he lived there.'' The book ends on an ambiguous note—was Jacob dreaming? Jam's story is a rich stew, by turns charming and disarming, sweet and clever, and touched with melancholy. Fitzgerald's illustrations are amiable confections that do their best to capture the many layers of the tale. (Picture book. 3-6) Read full book review >
TEN SMALL TALES by Celia Barker--Adapt. Lottridge
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 1994

Nursery tales from around the world—Russia, Africa, India, China, Indonesia, and more—adapted by an experienced storyteller who is also a gifted one. Whether it's a Malaysian tale about a little boy who insists on being ``in the middle'' when he and his father sleep out in the jungle resulting in such a tangle of arms and legs that it frightens away a hungry tiger; or an engaging restructuring of the more familiar ``The Turnip,'' these fresh, simple renditions are beautifully paced and full of the kind of nuanced repetitions that build suspense and invite participation. Fitzgerald's plentiful watercolors come in all sizes, from vignettes to full pages; they have an ingenuous sweetness of tone appropriate to a collection notable for its lack of violence (and without bowdlerizing any old favorites). The excellent source notes reveal that in some cases restructuring is substantial- -e.g., in two cases a brief rhyme becomes a full story. In the same spirit, the illustrations are in a single harmonious style rather than reflecting the cultures of earlier versions. A grand resource, especially for sharing aloud. (Folklore/Young reader. 3-9) Read full book review >