Books by Roberta Arenson

Released: Aug. 1, 2001

A classic fairy tale gets a facelift, with collage illustrations and a delightful repetitive phrase sure to rouse smiles. For these three brothers, the grass is greener on the other side of the bridge. So the littlest one sets out to cross the bridge, the home of the fearsome troll: "I'm a troll, from a deep dark hole, / My belly's getting thinner. / I need to eat—and goat's a treat— / So I'll have you for my dinner." As usual, the goat escapes, but only by extolling the virtues of his bigger brother. The second brother goes through the same scenario. Both brothers are now eating the greener grass on the other side of the bridge. But what excuse will the biggest goat give to the troll? There are no bigger goats than he. So he simply kicks him into next week and trots across the bridge. Using textured paper, Arenson (Manu and the Talking Fish, not reviewed, etc.) has created a wonderfully gruesome troll, complete with long nose topped with green wart, wild spiked hair, orange teeth, and purple toenails. He fairly pops off the page, but unfortunately, the rest of her collaged illustrations are comparatively two-dimensional—the bright pink, yellow, and blue seem flatter by contrast. Still, this perky, new—and less violent—edition will delight readers in their traditional quest for the greenest grass. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
ONE, TWO, SKIP A FEW! by Roberta Arenson
Released: Aug. 20, 1998

With exuberant paper and paint collages, Arenson (A Caribbean Counting Book, 1996) illustrates 20 counting rhymes, many of which dance across the double-page spreads and all of which must be read aloud. These are the chants children love: "There were ten in a bed, and the little one said," and "One, two, three, four, five,/Once I caught a fish alive," to name two. "As I was going to St. Ives" appears with such familiar finger plays as "Here is the bee hive." Whether children will learn counting from this collection is dubious; that they'll have fun with the rhymes is not. A joyful book. (Picture book. 4-7) Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1996

Cheerful collages with tropical colors match the spirit of these counting chants, games, and skipping rhymes; those wishing to build or add to multicultural collections will value this rhythmic compilation. Charles translates rhymes from the Spanish of Cuba, the French of Martinique, and the Dutch of the Dutch West Indies. The rhymes are identified by their places of origin; Jamaica, Trinidad, Tobago, Bahamas, Barbados, and the Virgin Islands are all represented. Lively humor informs the rhymes and songs, and the language is witty and surprising (``De pawpaw swell,/De pawpaw burst,/But it didn't stop de mosquito thirst''); readers inexperienced in the lilting island rhythms may want to practice before reading these pieces out loud because the cadence can be tricky. Arenson's pictures crackle with color; bold forms sashay happily across vibrant backgrounds. (Picture book/poetry. 4-8) Read full book review >
THE WORLD IS ROUND by Gertrude Stein
Released: June 15, 1939

Surprise, surprise! Fully prepared to feel a bit contemptuous, I emerged from a reading party centered around Gertrude Stein's story for small children, with a conviction that hitherto she has missed her aim, and now has found herself. Her style follows the word patterns and thought patterns of youngsters making up their own stories. Much of the humor for adults will escape children, but most of it is just down their lane. Here is a book that will fall flat unless introduced to children by an adult who is getting fun out of sharing it. The pictures by Clement Hurd are decorative and again strike the child note in their artful simplicity. This book may quite possibly become the vogue, in which case its price won't be a handicap. And don't forget there's bait for collectors in the limited signed edition at $5.00. Read full book review >