Books by Maya Gottfried

Released: Feb. 9, 2010

The third collaboration from this talented pair (Good Dog, 2005, etc.) presents an assortment of farm animals through short, humorous poems and whimsical paintings that give each animal a distinct personality. The 15 first-person poems are written in varied formats, each suited to that animal's personality or characteristics. Grandmama Moo is an elderly cow who introduces herself in the first spread, Sesame Seed and Poppy Seed are brother-and-sister ducklings and Clarabell is a wandering goat. Most of the poems are free verse, a few are rhymed and two haikus are well suited to a pair of shy rabbits. Each poem is a nugget that captures the essence of that animal and also offers some pithy comment: Ramsey, the ram, observes, "You don't look like my other sheep friends." Zakanitch's glorious watercolor paintings provide a full-length view or a head shot, with related pencil sketches and the animal's name interspersed around the margins. The combined effect of subtle poems, striking art and thoughtful design add up to a sharply fresh view of these farm friends. (author's note) (Picture book/poetry. 3-8) Read full book review >
GOOD DOG by Maya Gottfried
Released: Jan. 25, 2005

Spectacular paintings on black backgrounds, a sleek design, and charmingly understated poems add up to blue-ribbon merit in this handsome poetic tribute to man's best friend. Sixteen unrhymed poems are perfectly paired with paintings of specific breeds (and one happy-go-lucky mutt), capturing each dog's attitude or special characteristics in a way that shows great empathy and understanding of the canine world. (In a departure from standard publishing practice, Gottfried wrote the poems to accompany the paintings rather than the reverse.) Each poem offers a distinctive canine voice, from a feisty Chihuahua to a faithful Collie, and many have tongue-in-check humor that will appeal to both children and adults. The volume's sophisticated design showcases each poem on a white background with additional line drawings of the chosen breed, facing a painted portrait of a single dog against a dramatic black background. Most of the portraits are straight-on views of the dog in an expressive pose, with the breed name casually lettered in white chalk in the background, resulting in a simple but memorable artistic composition. Dog lovers of all ages will find this collection an irresistible treat. (Poetry. 4-12)Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 14, 2003

A circus fantasy comes to life in this unexpectedly dramatic work. Recounting a dream, the narrator pronounces that last night she juggled, flew, and roared. The text is a poem, really, its verses sprinkled delicately through the pages, maximizing the rhythm and pop of its lines. Gottfried's musings are abstract, made literal with Zakanitch's illustrations: the line "I spun circles round the stars" appears opposite an image of a young woman twirling from a rope amid the midnight blue of the page. The watercolor illustrations are lovely, but they are dark (with consuming black backgrounds), and could be frightening if perceived as dangerous rather than dreamlike. Both Gottfreid and Zakanitch are delving into children's literature for the first time, and while there is no doubt that the prose is inspired and the artwork enchanting, their style is quite sophisticated for a picture book audience. Luckily, the topic is familiar and interesting, thus, while this is not a good choice for children on the meek or literal side, it would be a magical experience for mature and imaginative young readers. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >