Books by Keiko Kasza

Released: Aug. 11, 2015

"With silly scenarios and a surprise ending to tickle young readers, this circular story makes a terrific storytime read. (Picture book. 3-5)"
When is a hat not a hat? When it finds its way into the hands of Kasza's lively cast of woodland creatures! Read full book review >
Released: May 2, 2013

"Kasza's lively signature watercolor illustrations are the icing on this brightly colored cake. (Picture book. 2-7)"
Birthdays should be great fun. How awesome will Alligator Al's be? Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2012

"Children will relish the scene of the happy reunion with a grateful Goose, who begins a new story about his best friends. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Goose's friends beg him to tell them his wonderful stories, which they then act out when they play. The trouble is, Goose is always the hero. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

Optimism prevails in this gentle read. When fun-loving Duck invites anxious Raccoon on a picnic, he panics. Raccoon imagines the most outrageous situations: They could be chased by killer bees or caught in a turbulent thunderstorm. Though Duck is initially worried, he counters every perceived disaster in turn. After all, there may be butterflies, a lovely swim and a light breeze instead. Raccoon gains security through extreme preparation and eventually saves their picnic plans. The dialogue nicely balances the pair's interactions, focusing equally on each character. Spare language charts Raccoon's heartfelt progression as the two encourage each another: "Your what-ifs are wonderful, Duck." Gouache cartoons display the animals' expressive emotions; their half-hidden faces peek from the bottom of the page as they imagine potential outcomes. Dynamic illustrations extend the humor throughout: While Raccoon imagines a fire-breathing dragon, Duck describes a baby dragon, holding a teddy in his arm. Bring along your picnic basket for this one. (Picture book. 3-7) Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2007

Badger can't look another offering from storage bin or root cellar in the eye, let alone stomach the worms that crawl all over them. Said eye turns, as the eyes of badgers do, on his neighbors. Kasza knows his Badger—that baby face hides a grizzled personality, long of tooth and claw, beholden to none, disposed like a jumped rhino—and that he would be happy to turn a mouse into a taco, or a rat into a cheeseburger, or a rabbit into—why not?—a banana split. But each makes a fast getaway, zipping down the same convenient hole in the ground. In a clever design, as Badger loses his grip on his victim, the page looks as though it's peeling back to show how each lands in Badger's burrow. Badger meets his match in Horse, who kicks him all the way home, from which Mouse, Rat and Rabbit have just departed, after reducing Badger's larder to zero. They did, however, leave a thank-you note for the "fancy meal." A quick, comic yet enjoyably unexpurgated story about just deserts. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

Moka's a good dog, and he loves his young owner Michelle. Life seems perfect until she reads a book about wolves to him. Moka takes a critical look at his life: the leashes, the dog food and particularly the tea party dresses. He decides life as a free wolf is preferable in every way, so he runs away and finds freedom fun until dinnertime. Every animal he chases gets away or laughs at his attempts to hunt. He decides he misses Michelle, but he wants to try howling at the moon. When real wolves answer, Moka races for home. Everything is perfect again . . . until Michelle reads a book about monkeys. Kasza's simple story and expressive watercolor and ink illustrations are spot-on. Young listeners will see themselves in Moka's discontent and wish it were as easy for them to try freedom. In the end, this tale of home and comfort will make everyone sigh with happiness. (Picture book. 3-8)Read full book review >
MY LUCKY DAY by Keiko Kasza
Released: Sept. 1, 2003

It's become predictable, this story of the pig outfoxing the fox, but Kasza's version does sport his lively art and a measure of dry humor. When a piglet comes knocking on Mr. Fox's door, the fox can't believe his luck; he's not used to delivery service. The piglet is just about to be tucked in the oven, when he suggests a few improvements to Mr. Fox. Wouldn't he taste better if he were washed first—"Just a thought, Mr. Fox"—and plumped up and perhaps massaged to tenderize the meat? The fox agrees that he would, rushing madly about scrubbing, feeding, and working the piglet's tissues, and promptly falling into an exhausted swoon. The pig is last seen back in his pen, thumbing through his address book—Mr. Bear, Mr. Wolf, Mr. Coyote—getting ready to work the same ruse on another carnivore. Fun enough, though no self-respecting four-year-old will be very worried about this little porker's fate. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
THE MIGHTIEST by Keiko Kasza
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

No need to strut when you have the stuff, as a little old lady demonstrates to a bunch of would-be kings of the forest. A lion, a bear, and an elephant stumble across a golden crown perched on a rock. Inscribed on the rock are the words "For the Mightiest," and of course, all three think that makes it theirs. To prove it, they decide to see who can scare that little old lady as she walks through the woods. Each manages to scare the daylights out of her, to about the same degree, and they start squabbling all over again until a great ogre falls upon them, swoops them in his arms, and says, "I think I'll drop you off a cliff." That has the three shaking in their respective paws and feet until a voice booms over the hubbub: "George!" It's that little old lady. George the giant jumps and drops his quarry. Once it is clear who is the mightiest, the lady declines the crown—"How flattering. But, I really don't need this"—in a refreshing turn of the tables. Kasza's drawings are plain and effective, none more so than that last page in which a new crew comes upon the crown and starts the endless bickering about power and prestige all over again. A new lesson from the mistress of gentle teaching. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
DON'T LAUGH, JOE! by Keiko Kasza
Released: April 14, 1997

Kasza (The Rat and the Tiger, 1993, etc.) serves up another humorous anthropomorphic tale told in a predictable pattern just right for reading aloud to preschoolers. Playing dead has never been harder than when Mother Possum tries to teach Joe ``the most important lesson a possum can learn,'' and he can't stop laughing. In the safety of their own home, Mother Possum sniffs him like a hungry fox, pokes him like a nasty coyote, and shakes him like a wildcat. All Joe can do is laugh. On the day his skill is tested in the wild, tension mounts, arriving in the form of a grumpy old bear who rushes from the woods growling at Joe. Joe plays dead perfectly, but a twist reveals that the bear was not unfriendly after all. The watercolors alone will have children giggling, and there is no better audience with an understanding of the difficulties of sitting still. (Picture book. 2-5) Read full book review >
Released: March 24, 1993

Kasza (A Mother for Choco, 1992, etc.) depicts two friends successfully renegotiating an unequal relationship. Meek little Rat patiently endures his best friend always taking the role of the ``good guy'' when they play cowboys, his grabbing a tiger's share of any treat, and being sent for hard-to-reach flowers; but when Tiger kicks down Rat's block castle, it's the last straw- -fortunately. Rat angrily tells Tiger what a bully he is and refuses to make up until the contrite Tiger (he's nice, just oblivious) has taken his turn as the bad guy, let Rat divide a doughnut (unevenly!), and fetched him a pretty flower. Friendship is restored; but, lest it all seem too easy, on the last page there's ``a new kid''—a rhino—who seems to need the same lesson. Kasza's lively, deftly painted animals are as expressive as ever. An appealing package for an ever-important message. (Picture book. 3-8) Read full book review >
Released: March 25, 1992

The talented creator of The Wolf's Chicken Stew (1987 ALA Notable) provides a warmhearted contemporary surprise ending for the time-honored formula of a little creature searching the animal kingdom for its appropriate mother. Choco, a small yellow bird with a big blue bill, tries a giraffe (she has no wings, she says), a penguin (no ``big round cheeks''), and a walrus, but no one seems to look just like him. Comfortable Mrs. Bear is wiser: ``If you had a mommy, what would she do?'' And since she's quite able to hold him and kiss him, regardless of appearances, he's soon the new member of her happy family—joining the little pig, hippo, and alligator already in her affectionate brood. The timely point is hardly subtle, but it's made with notable good humor, especially in Kasza's marvelous animal caricatures of comically human states of mind. Just right for the preschool group or beginning reader. (Picture book. 3-7) Read full book review >