Books by Rachel Isadora

OLD MIKAMBA HAD A FARM by Rachel Isadora
Released: Oct. 31, 2013

"From dawn to dusk, as represented in the handsomely painted endpapers, young children will want to visit this farm and "grunt-grunt" with the hippos and "chirp-chirp" with the ostriches. (Picture book. 3-6)"
A familiar text is adapted to use in an unfamiliar environment with happy results. Read full book review >
THERE WAS A TREE by Rachel Isadora
Released: Oct. 11, 2012

"A read-aloud, sing-along delight. (Picture book. 3-7)"
The East African savanna forms the backdrop for this appealing version of a familiar American cumulative song. Read full book review >
BEA AT THE BALLET by Rachel Isadora
Released: May 10, 2012

"Enjoy and dance along. (Picture book. 2-6)"
It's a delightful day at ballet class for preschooler Bea and her dance mates. Read full book review >
12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS by Rachel Isadora
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 1, 2010

"A map and author's note give the locations of many of the illustration sources. (Picture book. 4-7)"
Isadora continues her series of traditional tales (and now, a song) reset in Africa and illustrated with her visually arresting collages that incorporate African fabrics. Read full book review >
SAY HELLO! by Rachel Isadora
FICTION
Released: April 1, 2010

"Simply enchanting. (Picture book. 3-5)"
Today Carmelita visits her Abuela Rosa, but to get there she must walk. Read full book review >
THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS by Clement C. Moore
POETRY
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

"The entire book is exquisitely designed, from the vibrant hand-cut letters on the cover to the final spread with the amazed family watching Santa's sleigh in silhouette against a full golden moon. (Picture book. 3-7)"
Isadora continues her series of traditional tales recast in African settings with this novel interpretation of the classic poem. Read full book review >
HAPPY BELLY, HAPPY SMILE by Rachel Isadora
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

"The photographic image of the fortune cookie adds a sweet touch. (Picture book. 4-7)"
The smile-inducing title and cover image of an Asian boy holding a fortune cookie invite readers inside to the story. Read full book review >
HANSEL AND GRETEL by Rachel Isadora
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: April 1, 2009

"All in all, this sequence raises the question, do the classic tales need remodeling? (Picture book/fairy tale. 5-7)"
Another African-acculturated fairy tale by Isadora continues her sequence of retellings depicted with textured collages in vivid colors. Read full book review >
RAPUNZEL by Rachel Isadora
adapted by Rachel Isadora, illustrated by Rachel Isadora
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Oct. 1, 2008

"Not a first purchase, but useful in comparing renditions to incorporate a multicultural aspect. (Picture book/fairy tale. 6-8)"
Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your dreads! Read full book review >
UH-OH! by Rachel Isadora
FICTION
Released: May 1, 2008

"While perhaps not for the impressionable or those easily led astray, this could be a springboard to conversations about behavior, and the illustrations are not to be missed—nor is Isadora's Peekaboo Bedtime, also due out this month. (Picture book. 2-5)"
A young child's day is filled with that infamous phrase, "Uh-oh!" Read full book review >
PEEKABOO BEDTIME by Rachel Isadora
BEDTIME BOOK
Released: May 1, 2008

"Perfect for laptime sharing or calm story hours. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Where Peekaboo Morning (2002) began the day, Isadora's latest features the delightful brown-skinned, tousle-haired toddler wrapping up his/her day with the same people and objects with which it started. Read full book review >
THE FISHERMAN AND HIS WIFE by Rachel Isadora
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 1, 2008

Continuing her career through the classic fairy tales, Isadora turns to the familiar story of overweening greed for her latest adaptation. Read full book review >
THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES by The Brothers Grimm
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2007

"While this fairy-tale retelling avoids the grievous cultural misstep of the earlier Princess and the Pea, it still feels more self-indulgent than anything else, less a startling new interpretation than an opportunity to explore color, design and technique. (Picture book. 4-8)"
The familiar tale from the Brothers Grimm receives a bright treatment in an unspecified African setting. Read full book review >
THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA by Hans Christian Andersen
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: June 1, 2007

"By thus exoticizing the rejected princesses, the tale does an enormous disservice to readers and continent alike. (Picture book/fairy tale. 4-8)"
This simplified retelling of Andersen's classic fairy tale is relocated from Europe to Africa, bright collages evoking the many hues of the continent. Read full book review >
YO, JO! by Rachel Isadora
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 1, 2007

"The depiction of a little boy so thoroughly at home in his community is a delight to see in these suspicious days of stranger danger: Jo is indeed Peter's direct—and very welcome—descendant. (Picture book. 2-6)"
While big brother Franklin waits on the stoop for Grandpa to arrive home for dinner, Jomar engages every passer-by in an exuberant exchange of urban slang. Read full book review >
WHAT A FAMILY! by Rachel Isadora
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: March 1, 2006

"EWSLUGp1995. (Picture book. 6-8)"
Poorly designed for library use but likely to keep detail-oriented children engrossed, this introduction to genetics and genealogy identifies physical characteristics shared among a multicultural gaggle of nearly three dozen cousins. Read full book review >
SAVING STRAWBERRY FARM by Deborah Hopkinson
ADVENTURE
Released: May 1, 2005

"The pictures have some of the quality of the familiar photographs of the time, but the almost garish colors seem out of context for this inspiring Depression-era story. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-7)"
Hopkinson, with her remarkable talent for bringing small incidents of history to life, tells a touching tale of generosity in the midst of the poverty of the Great Depression. Read full book review >
LUKE GOES TO BAT by Rachel Isadora
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Feb. 1, 2005

"Charming and tender. (Picture book. 4-9)"
A small Brooklyn boy longs to play stickball with the big boys on Bedford Avenue. Read full book review >
IN THE SMALL, SMALL NIGHT by Jane Kurtz
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Jan. 1, 2005

"Isadora's vibrant illustrations, drenched in color, capture the African settings, the folkloric animals, and the love between brother and sister—and they complete the enchantment. (Picture book 7-12)"
Using stories she heard from a friend from Ghana, Kurtz weaves them into a lovely story about wisdom and perseverance. Read full book review >
ON YOUR TOES by Rachel Isadora
ABC BOOKS
Released: April 1, 2003

"EWSLUGp2001, Patricia Lee Gauch's Tanya stories, and Isadora's own Lili at Ballet (1993). (Picture book. 2-5)"
The beauty and wonder of ballet welcome the reader right from the cover. Read full book review >
NOT JUST TUTUS by Rachel Isadora
FICTION
Released: March 1, 2003

"The illustrations dance, but the text remains pedestrian. (Picture book. 4-7)"
Isadora (Peekaboo Morning, 2002, etc.) calls on her experience as a professional ballet dancer in this lighthearted look at the backstage world of a children's ballet school. Read full book review >
PEEKABOO MORNING by Rachel Isadora
FICTION
Released: May 1, 2001

"Toddlers will delight in the play-along potential of this beautiful story. (Picture book. 2-5)"
With eyelids fluttering open, an adorable African-American toddler wakes to play a game of peekaboo with everyone. Read full book review >
NICK PLAYS BASEBALL by Rachel Isadora
SPORTS
Released: March 1, 2001

"A gentle introduction to the National Pastime. (Picture book. 6-9)"
Nick and his teammates on the Little League Rockets prepare for a big game. Read full book review >
BRING ON THAT BEAT by Rachel Isadora
FICTION
Released: Jan. 1, 2001

"Buy this, put on an Ellington CD, and let the illustrations swing. (Picture book. 4-8)"
An unusual attempt to convey the feeling and sound of jazz in pictures. Read full book review >
LISTEN TO THE CITY by Rachel Isadora
FICTION
Released: April 1, 2000

"City kids will revel, and all kids will delight in the colors, shapes, and sounds of this pulsating tour de force. (Picture book. 3-8)"
Using the Pop Art style she displayed to such terrific effect in ABC Pop! (1999) Isadora makes another vibrant series of images with just enough words to get those toddlers jumping. Read full book review >
ABC POP! by Rachel Isadora
Released: May 1, 1999

"The pages are satisfying, visually stimulating, and fun. (Picture book. 3-8)"
Pop art has a lot of built-in appeal: swathes of color that nearly vibrate in their intensity; unambiguous shapes and lines; forms reduced and flattened into vivid patterns. Read full book review >
CARIBBEAN DREAM by Rachel Isadora
BEDTIME BOOK
Released: Oct. 1, 1998

"There is no point in quibbling that Isadora presents only half the picture_an idyllic half_since that is her point: to wring from this environment all the beauty it holds. (Picture book. 3-8)"
Isadora (The Little Mermaid, p. 582, etc.) celebrates both a place and childhood; her book evokes the land and seascape of Caribbean island life, and the elemental experiences that plot a child's references. Read full book review >
THE LITTLE MERMAID by Rachel Isadora
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: May 18, 1998

"The text stands alone, but given Isadora's past accomplishments, it needn't be so. (Picture book/folklore. 6-9)"
From Isadora (A South African Night, p. 496, etc.), a rich retelling of a dark and complex tale, with illustrations that are surprisingly uneven. Read full book review >
A SOUTH AFRICAN NIGHT by Rachel Isadora
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 1998

"Children will be fascinated by this co-existence—a peaceable kingdom of sorts, with every rotation of the earth. (Picture book. 5-7)"
PLB 0-688-11390-7 South Africa by day is a bustling city with tall buildings, teeming crowds, and busy markets; but at night the animals reign. Read full book review >
ISADORA DANCES by Rachel Isadora
BIOGRAPHY
Released: March 1, 1998

"A succinct, compelling glimpse of a dancer and dreamer who substantially altered the prevailing restrictions of her time, simply by following her heart. (Picture book/biography. 4-8)"
 Objecting to standing on her toes as a child at dance lessons, and organizing a ``school of dance'' with paying pupils before she was ten, Isadora Duncan (18771927) will enchant readers even before they learn how she changed dance forever. Read full book review >
YOUNG MOZART by Rachel Isadora
MUSIC AND THE ARTS
Released: April 1, 1997

"The stately wardrobes of the time will amuse children, but they will be awed at the myriad accomplishments of Mozart's short life. (Picture book/biography. 4-8)"
 A concise, anecdotal biography of Mozart's life, emphasizing his youthful years as a child prodigy. Read full book review >
LILI ON STAGE by Rachel Isadora
FICTION
Released: Oct. 5, 1995

"The atmosphere crackles and the book delivers as much enchantment as the ballet itself. (Picture book. 4-8)"
 A delightful encore performance for the charming heroine of Lili at Ballet (1993), in which Isadora once again conveys a love of dance and a genuine familiarity with the myriad details of practice and performance. Read full book review >
LILI AT BALLET by Rachel Isadora
FICTION
Released: Feb. 23, 1993

"There's little mention here of discipline or hard work; still, an attractive and informative first look. (Picture book. 4-9)"
 With a minimal explanatory text, a realistic depiction of a serious young ballet student and her class. Read full book review >
OVER THE GREEN HILLS by Rachel Isadora
FICTION
Released: May 26, 1992

"A valuable glimpse of African life; a beautiful book. (Picture book. 4-8)"
 In the handsome style and format of At the Crossroads (1991, ALA Notable), another vivid, realistic South African vignette. Read full book review >
GOLDEN BEAR by Ruth Young
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 1992

"A tune to which the text may be sung is included on the endpapers. (Picture book. 1-5)"
 A simple rhymed text describes a preschooler's activities with a constant companion, a favorite toy. Read full book review >
SWAN LAKE by Rachel Isadora
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Sept. 25, 1991

"Another excellent rendition. (Picture book. 4-8)"
 Briefer and less complex than the Fonteyn narrative (1989). Read full book review >
AT THE CROSSROADS by Rachel Isadora
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: May 24, 1991

"A beautiful, bridge-building book. (Picture book. 4-8)"
 After ten months away in the South African mines, ``our fathers are coming home!'' to a shanty town set on an almost treeless plain. Read full book review >