Books by Loretta Krupinski

PIRATE TREASURE by Loretta Krupinski
Released: April 1, 2006

"Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky at morning, sailors take warning." Dispensing these and other chestnuts of weather wisdom, a pirate captain discovers what real treasure is after saving the residents of a flooded town. Forced ashore temporarily while making repairs to their damaged ship, Captain Oliver and first mate Rosie are shunned by the timorous folk of nearby Mousam until, forewarned by gathering clouds ("When mountains and cliffs appear, a lot of showers and rain are near"), the two sail to the rescue. Krupinski casts the entire episode with mice who are clad, mostly, in toddler clothes (except for his blue jacket, Captain Oliver isn't particularly piratical, and Rosie even less so), and for extra measures of cuteness, look directly up from the page with shiny, widely set black eyes. Captain Oliver's final comment makes the "friends are the true treasure" lesson explicit. Nothing subtle here, but that may be the best course for some young audiences. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
THE ROYAL MICE by Loretta Krupinski
Released: Sept. 1, 2004

Faster than youngsters can learn to spell Despereaux, a troupe of brave little mice save themselves from a cat-for-hire in this tale both pretty and silly. The Queen of All You Can See is not happy that there are mice sleeping inside her shoes and scaring her guests. So she puts out a call and in comes Max the Magnificent, a Maine coon. The mice hide and trick the cat, but decide they must get Max to depart. A family legend of a sword and horn used to summon the brave spirits of departed mice is told, the artifacts rediscovered, the ghost-mouse hordes appear, and Max gives up. The Queen learns to live with the royal mice, and they with her. Krupinski's own Maine coon, pictured on the flap, is the model for Max; for the rest, illuminated borders, medieval pattern, and lots of purple, gold, and pink create a place for mice in robes and peaked hats to scamper among suits of armor and the Queen's bright robes. Mildly amusing and shiny to look at. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
NAMES FOR SNOW by Judi K. Beach
Released: Oct. 1, 2003

A child's question ("Mama, what is snow?") launches a high-toned reply, illustrated with wintry, elaborately detailed rural scenes. Beach answers with a series of abstractions: in November, snow is "Welcome," in April, it's "Trickster," in between those times, it's "Sheet"—and at other points throughout the year, it's "Kitten when it sleeps / in the crook of a window," "Eyelet / when it embroiders spruce," "Mother / when it dusts," "Prayer," "Tickle," and "Magician." Krupinski frames the text on alternating pages with scenes of a warmly dressed mouse family engaged in seasonal activities. The quiet verbal and visual rhythms makes this feasible bedtime reading, but children may wonder when Mama is going to get around to answering the question, feeling left out in the cold by what she does say. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
CHRISTMAS IN THE CITY by Loretta Krupinski
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

Two charming country mice reprise the Nativity story with a New York City setting. In her well-written story, Krupinski (My World of Color, p. 487, etc.) introduces Mr. and Mrs. Mouse, who live in a hole in a gigantic Christmas tree that becomes the tree at Rockefeller Plaza. Mrs. Mouse is expecting babies any time, but she and Mr. Mouse set out each night from their cozily decorated home to explore the city. They view the holiday store windows, skate at Rockefeller Center, and take a carriage ride through the snow in Central Park. On that snowy night, they take shelter in a Nativity scene outside a church, and their three babies are born in the manger under the light of a particularly bright star. The mouse family returns with their tree to the country, where they find a new home in a dollhouse. Krupinski surrounds her holiday city scenes with cheery decorated borders, many inspired by quilt patterns for a country-flavored contrast. Children in the New York area are a natural audience for this merry mouse tale, but the appealing illustrations and country mouse-city mouse connection make will help this story travel to cozy story times in any location. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
MY WORLD OF COLOR by Margaret Wise Brown
Released: April 1, 2001

When painter mouse and his young apprentice leave their castle to explore, they touch, smell, and observe, immersing themselves in the experience, and then wield their paintbrushes to capture some of the colors they find. "Pink as pigs / Pink as toes / Pink as a rose / Or a rabbit's nose." They see orange trees and setting sun, or yellow daisies and cabbage butterflies in busily detailed paintings that luxuriantly cross two-page spreads. The mice look with wonder at the beauty around them, and finally, after traveling in a teacup, hiding in the greenest ferns, and sketching from a birdhouse, the apprentice mouse stands triumphant, grasping paint-soaked brushes: "Now I can color!" In a closing summary, a few of the paintings included were not involved in the mice's visual adventure, but were added to enable the rhyme. The mice are satisfied with their romp through colors; at last, back in their cozy castle, the two gaze up at their own artwork now framed and hung for their enjoyment. Not as satisfying are the illustrations themselves. Background colors—yellows, greens, and purples—don't work with the rest of the art. Crowded scenes and the overdressed animals' frills, buttons, and bows, though painted with a skilled hand, detract from Brown's simple rhythms, compelling onomatopoeia, and perfect rhymes. Stealing the spotlight in this way weakens rather than complements the text, resulting in an awkward mix of art and literature. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
INTO THE WOODS by Loretta Krupinski
Released: April 30, 1997

A personal nature diary from Krupinski (Bluewater Journal, 1995, etc.) that includes drawings of familiar woodland plants and animals, as well as nature lore, folk tales, and observations, all in brown typeface that resembles hand- lettering. The overall effect is a charming clutter that does not always distinguish between superstition and science: ``When the woolly bear caterpillar is more black than brown, the winter will be worse. However, brown at both ends means a mild winter.'' There are few warnings, e.g., when she mentions that ``the shape of a snake's head is sometimes used to identify whether it is poisonous or not,'' she does not tell readers that if they are close enough to observe the shape of a snake's head, they may already be too close for safety. The lilac fairy (as part of an explanation of fairy rings) may be too cute for some naturalists, but others will find Krupinski's delicate approach an airy, refreshing alternative to more exacting accounts. A walk in the woods, touched by whimsy. (index) (Picture book. 7-11) Read full book review >
Released: April 30, 1996

To her series of retellings (The Egyptian Cinderella, 1989; The Korean Cinderella, 1993) Climo adds this Irish version featuring a large-footed male character sometimes called Billy Beg and here named Becan. The magical being that aids the cinderlad is a speckled bull that, like the fish in the Chinese variant, Yeh- Shen, dies, leaving Becan with its tail as a weapon of extraordinary power. Becan wins the heart of Princess Finola by rescuing her from a sea serpent in a scene reminiscent of the story of Perseus and Andromeda; the princess traces him by means of his giant-sized boot; they live happily ever after. The sturdy, forthright telling is accompanied by pretty, predominantly blue, green, and purple paintings that show simply drawn human figures surrounded by highly detailed animals and landscape. Thousands of brush strokes render flower-spangled turf, the downy feathers of geese and seabirds, and the shaggy hides of cattle, horses, and donkeys. With an author's note on sources, this is a good addition to folklore collections and a must for collectors of Cinderella variants. (Picture book/folklore. 5-10) Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 30, 1995

This revision of Cooney's Christmas (1967) is aimed at a religiously diverse audience. The word Christian has been all but eliminated; the New Testament quotations have been omitted. Herod's charge to the Wise Men, the Slaughter of the Innocents, and the Flight into Egypt are gone. What remains is a good brief history of ancient midwinter festivals and how they became melded with the Christian celebration. Present-day European and American customs are described (Santa's visits are presented as fact); end matter includes a recipe and directions for making a clove-studded orange and a pinecone bird feeder. Krupinski's pretty illustrations are appropriately nostalgic. Institutions concerned about the religious content of their materials will be comfortable with this presentation; Christian readers may find it somewhat blunt. (Picture book. 6-9)Read full book review >
Released: May 30, 1995

Krupinski (A New England Scrapbook, 1994) notes that she pored over old logbooks and letters to create this fictional journal of a 19th-century boy's sea journey from Mystic, Conn. to Hawaii. The result reflects a love of land- and seascapes, beasts both marine and domestic, and all aspects of the sailor's life. The story begins with the christening of the ship; the narrator only introduces himself after cataloguing the cargo. There are dynamic portraits of whales, parrots, and mountains, and depictions of slipknots are actually more intriguing than the rather lifeless faces of the people. A wealth of detail and robust plot keep the pages turning; Krupinski spices up the story by including a race with a rival ship. Even if the human element takes a back seat to maritime Americana, there's more than a whiff of the exotic blowing through these pages. A worthwhile adventure, and a small slice of nautical history. (glossary) (Picture book. 6-9) Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1992

A celebration and natural history of the helpful ``underground gardeners.'' In warm brown, pale greens, and bright touches of pink and orange, Krupinski uses double-spread cross sections to depict both the soil surface with its plants, animals, and people and the busy earthworms below, effectively focusing attention with her sparse detail, flat shapes, and eye-on-the-ground perspectives. Glaser's brief, child-centered text tells just enough for reading aloud: ``Worms feel sounds with their whole bodies. They feel thunder when I walk.'' The author concludes with more facts in question-and-answer format: ``Do earthworms bite people?''; ``Do worms have a top side and a bottom side?'' A welcome contribution to ecology for the very young. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 3-7) Read full book review >
SAILING TO THE SEA by Mary Claire Helldorfer
Released: May 1, 1991

A small boy recounts his three-day voyage on a sailboat with an aunt and uncle, going to join the rest of his family for a beach vacation. Though no place is mentioned, the location seems to be Maryland's Chesapeake region. Despite the obligatory storm, sights and events are realistic rather than adventurous. Krupinski's serene, delectably colored illustrations are just the right match for the text's tone of quiet enjoyment. An effective evocation of a happy experience. (Picture book. 3-8) Read full book review >