Books by Paul Tong

A LITTLE AT A TIME by David A. Adler
Released: Aug. 1, 2010

A little boy takes a walk with his Grandpa through a city, and they see many things: tall buildings, a construction site and a museum with an enormous dinosaur skeleton. As they walk, the boy asks questions: about how the buildings got so tall, how the streets got so dirty or how the dinosaur got put together. Grandpa answers all the questions with the same refrain: "a little at a time." The concept slowly sinks in, and toward the end the boy is able to answer his own question with the same line. Grandpa keeps it going all the way to naptime, however, which makes one wish that the refrain were used more sparingly and less predictably for greater punch. What does work is how the phrase is applied to both good and bad—the putting together of the skeleton versus pollution, for instance. Tong's painterly images communicate exactly what the boy and his Grandpa see but come off a bit stiff and old-fashioned. Still, Adler clearly navigates an important and often-forgotten concept for little thinkers growing up in a world full of immediate gratification. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
MAMA, WILL IT SNOW TONIGHT?  by Nancy White Carlstrom
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

Three children—a fox, a rabbit and a human girl—each ask their respective Mamas the title question. Carlstrom's gently repetitive, more-or-less rhythmic delivery abets a sense of inevitability to the proceedings, appropriately: "The wind is brrrr. / The bushes bare. / The berries picked." Even though the Mamas' initial answers are in the negative, they help their children see the signs that indicate the arrival of winter: "Our fur is thick. / Our brown turns white. / Our jam is made." Tong's fuzzy-edged oils complement the soft text appropriately, but all together the result is more doughy than cuddly. The text lacks the infectious quality of the author's Jesse Bear books, and the composition and execution of most of the illustrations are only adequate. Highly additional. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
SOME BABIES SLEEP by Cynthia Cotten
Released: Jan. 1, 2007

Cotten's latest is cleverly formatted to suit different audiences. Relating the different ways and places that animal babies sleep, the gentle rhymes make this perfect for bedtime. At the same time, the text provides clues that point to animals that are not pictured, making this ideal for wakeful times and group readings. "Some babies sleep / in a warm, cozy nest. / Some babies find / that a stall suits them best." Featuring mammals and marsupials, there are also allusions to some aquatic and avian animals. Tong's oil paintings use soft colors and moonlight illumination to set the mood for sleep. But his animals are rather fuzzily rendered, putting a curtain between the readers and the scene, and keeping them from truly getting into the same somnolent state as the red-pajama-clad baby who sleeps among the creatures in each spread. This has some appeal for group readings, but doesn't come close to equaling Mem Fox's Time for Bed. (1993) (Picture book. 2-6)Read full book review >