Books by Ken Kuroi

Released: May 18, 1998

This collection of poems celebrates Alaska's spring and summer seasons, when daylight lasts 24 hours, and when the usually white landscape is transformed into an abundance of flora. Carlstrom (Raven and River, 1997, etc.) has composed brief, direct poems in which the sun, trees, rivers, and animals sing, pray, question, warn, and wonder at a world released from snow and ice. The verses often make effective use of two voices or a repeated refrain, e.g., in the evocative "Song of the Aspen Aunties," the trees shake their leaves throughout the long evening of midnight sun: "Whispering/Whispering/All night long./Where is the darkness?/ Where has it gone?/ Why does the day/Go on and on?" Most poems are presented in double-page spreads with Kuroi's haunting paintings; they occasionally become sentimentally soft and fuzzy, but more often lyrically conjure a sunny Alaskan landscape. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
Released: April 21, 1993

Mama Otter won't play, so Joshie sets out on his own; but the other arctic animals are too drowsy to play (like the seal pups) or too busy (like the puffins). When night falls, Joshie hears his mother's song calling him home; next day, she's glad to play. Mama's reason for her day off—which seems more human than otter-like—goes unexplained; still, Joshie's independent foray is nicely shaped, with second glimpses of the same animals (now sleeping) as he swims home, while White's lilting cadence is just right for this lyrical bedtime story. Kuroi (who's illustrated 100 titles in Japan) uses colored pencils for art with almost an airbrush effect; his rounded, pillow-soft forms are organized into pleasing decorative spreads. The animals—especially the round-faced otters—have a slightly cartoonish cast, but that's a small defect in an attractive offering. Carlstrom includes a melodious tune for her three-stanza song. (Picture book. 2-6) Read full book review >