Books by R.G. Roth

EVERYBODY GETS THE BLUES by Leslie Staub
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 9, 2012

Staub, a native of New Orleans, cloaks a worthy message in obscure metaphor. Read full book review >
BUSING BREWSTER by Richard Michelson
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 2010

Brewster is nervous and excited about starting first grade at Franklin, but, shortly before the big day, he and his brother Bryan find out they are to be bused to Central, the white school. Though Bryan is unhappy about waking up at six o'clock for the long bus ride, his mother is enthusiastic about the indoor swimming pool, special art and music rooms and well-stocked library. A less-than-warm welcome by the adults in the white community confuses Brewster, but Mrs. O'Grady, the white librarian, saves the day. Roth's collage and mixed media work together to create a modern-but-retro feel that clearly shows emotions from fear and anger to pride and hope. The story of busing in the 1970s will likely be a new one for most young readers, and this story provides nothing in the way of context to separate it from the more familiar accounts of the integration of Southern schools; this tale, according to the CIP, is set in Boston. Well-meaning but incomplete. (author's note) (Picture book. 6-10)Read full book review >
THIS JAZZ MAN by Karen Ehrhardt
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 1, 2006

Ehrhardt offers her version of the classic song, "This Old Man," with a few surprises. Ten two-page spreads update the sing-along favorite, each of the first nine devoted to a different jazz legend, from Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong to Charlie "Bird" Parker to John Burks "Dizzy" Gillespie to Charles Mingus and others. (On number ten, naturally, they jam.) In addition to the revision of the verses themselves—"He plays solo with his sticks / With a bomp-bomp! Bubbuda-bomp!" for example—additional scat phrases dance across the pages in a riot of color. Brief, concise biographies of the nine jazz men are a bonus surprise at the end (although they won't be accessible to the very young target audience). Roth's illustrations, in mixed-media collage and printmaking on watercolor paper, fill the pages with interesting shapes and multiple colors. His nifty patterned outfits for the jazz men get prime exposure when they take a bow after their jam session. Slight but snappy. (Picture book. 3-6) Read full book review >
TANUKI’S GIFT by Tim Myers
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2003

An extensive author's note details the origins of this somewhat bland story of a priest who takes in a creature (Tanuki) suffering from the cold. After returning each evening for ten winters, Tanuki begs the priest to request something from him so he can repay the priest for his kindnesses. After some reluctance, the priest requests three riyo of gold—gold that would allow him to hire more prayers to be said to insure his entrance into Paradise. The next evening and many more after, Tanuki does not come back. All winter and summer and into the following winter, there is no sign of Tanuki. The priest is concerned. Finally one winter's night, Tanuki returns with the three coins he has worked to obtain during his absence. The priest cries tears of joy for Tanuki's successful return. He realizes that their friendship is the most valuable gift. Roth's collage illustrations, created with painted papers, glow in their simplicity and sunny gold palette. Shapes are simple and blockish with pen and ink details. Each illustration adds to the enjoyment of Myers's (Basho and the Fox, 2000, etc.) tale that by itself lacks the sparkle needed to make this a first purchase. However, in this case the illustrations do redeem the text and will make this a satisfying tale for most collections in need of additional selections in the genre. (Picture book/folktale. 5-8)Read full book review >