Books by Karin Cates

Released: July 1, 2003

Halperin's great gift is to make expressive and exquisitely detailed pictures: large ones to cover the page; and smaller related vignettes, often in a row along the sides or top or bottom like an ancient altarpiece. She does this to excellent effect in Cates's gentle story of Lolly, who at last gets to spend a month with Auntie Zep but finds she misses her parents terribly. Auntie Zep takes her to the attic to retrieve from an old trunk the Secret Remedy Book, bound in flowered wallpaper and written in a spidery hand. There are seven remedies that must be done before the first hoot of an owl. Lolly and Aunt Zep savor a glass of apple juice, until they can almost taste the very tree it came from. Other remedies include planting, observing, and reading that very special passage in a favorite book. By bedtime and the owl's hoot, they have done all seven, including the last, which is "Dream of doing great things. You must think of one small, great thing you can do tomorrow." Solace, ritual, simplicity, tenderness, and care for the natural world are offered on each page as naturally as breathing, and the pale radiance of Halperin's illustrations bring comfort and joy. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 2002

Grandmother knows a long, hard winter is coming and she wants one more armful of firewood. One at a time, she sends the family—son, daughter, mother, father, and baby—out, but they each come back without any wood and their clothing shredded, unraveled, or clawed. Each one claims to have been attached by a creature: "I barely escaped with my life!" To which Grandmother retorts, "That's a far-fetched story," and tosses the ragged item into the empty wood box. A rush of cold air prompts her to start a fire with the rags, but the cloth colors and the softness of the fabrics are so comforting that instead she reaches for needles and scissors, creating the solution for the cold winter: a "far-fetched" story quilt. Like a real quilt, this book is layered, with a satisfying story on top, good padding of pacing, rhythm, and humor in the middle, and a backing that ties the whole together, which is the actual stitching of wonderfully creative fabric and thread illustrations. A note from Carpenter (Fannie in the Kitchen, p. 410, etc.) explains that she transferred drawings and ironed them onto white linen and used colored thread to define and add details. An original tale just waiting to be told, the coloration and patterns in paisleys and plaids piece together this cozy and fetching story, one that is a delightful fabrication. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >