Books by Robin Spowart

OH, WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY! by Jeanne Modesitt
Released: March 1, 2009

Imaginative play is celebrated in this slight concept selection. With her teddy bear and wagon in tow, an independent young girl plays outdoors. Each spread displays the child interacting with the anthropomorphized animals she meets. Counting from one to ten, each brief alliterative phrase highlights a different set of animals actively enjoying their natural surroundings. There's no conflict in this sweet story where "Nine hamsters are hugging. / [and] Ten llamas are loving." The animals' wardrobe, consisting of tutus, bonnets and parasol, is quaint. The girl happily declares, "And I am part of it all," and her parents warmly greet her when she returns home. Spowart's colored-pencil drawings suit the exuberance of the child's outing, creating a warm, hazy glow. Thin borders and white backgrounds display rolling green hills and a sliver of blue sky. However, the characters' static expressions do little to convey the full extent of the child's perceived delight, making this an ultimately too-earnest, nondescript effort. (Picture book. 2-4) Read full book review >
BABY DAY by Susan Heyboer O’Keefe
Released: March 31, 2006

O'Keefe offers a genuine book for babies that is not a board book or a gimmicky format. Rhyming text of two to four words per spread pithily describes a day with a baby bear and its parents: "Baby laugh. / Baby cry. / Baby wet. / Baby dry. Baby work is never done. / Good thing baby work is fun." Spowart's simple, soft-edged pastels set against white backgrounds illustrate baby playing peek-a-boo, eating in a high chair, blowing bubbles, undressing for bed and being read to by mama and papa. Blanket cozy, as tickling as counting piggy toes and as sweet as "kissy-poo," this treat calls out for a rocking chair, a lap and a baby. These three bears are "just right" for repeated enjoyment. (Picture book. 1-3)Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 1, 2002

Frequent collaborators Modesitt and Spowart (Little Bunny's Easter Surprise, 1999, etc.) team up for another holiday offering. In this counting book, Mister Mouse goes door to door delivering Valentine's Day gifts to friends. The action unfolds in rhyme: "Mister Mouse with a big red box / Goes up to the door and gives two knocks. / One little frog with a pink bow tie / Opens the door and gets a pink pie." As he makes the rounds, Mister Mouse encounters an ever-increasing number of gift recipients, from "two round pigs" to "nine brown bunnies." Spowart's illustrations, which look like colored pencils on paper, are cheerful and bright and she anthropomorphizes the creatures in a cartoon-like way. The animals are clearly arranged so they're easy to count; numbered red hearts appear opposite for emphasis. Modesitt's generous mouse saves the best for last: he goes home to give gifts to his "ten little mice." While the rhyme scheme quickly wears thin, teachers who celebrate Valentine's Day in their classrooms may have fun offering this as a treat to their students. Back matter teaches how to make a hanging Valentine's Day heart. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 1999

The members of a rabbit family take turns being "Easter Bunny" for one another. After Little Bunny and her baby brother find their hidden baskets, Little Bunny has a surprise for her parents'she's hidden baskets for them. They are really hard to find; only after she drops some hints are the baskets discovered, up in the trees. Later that night, Little Bunny discovers one last surprise under her pillow, where her brother has hidden some jelly beans for her. The bunnies are shown against a palette of spring pastels in this calming, comfortable tale, which is just right for tucking into a basket or reading the day of the egg hunt. (Picture book. 2-6) Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 1996

Manuel's gentle first book looks at the closeness between a grandmother and granddaughter and at the beauty of nature on a moonlit winter night. When Grandma says the moon looks lonesome, the little girl blows it a kiss: ``A swirly kiss, a twirly kiss,/a willowy-billowy/wisp of a kiss.'' The child wonders if the moon will return the favor. Indeed it does, filling the air with silvery snowflakes. Although the language occasionally sounds too adult for a child's voice, this is a winsome book. The swirling colored- pencil illustrations in shades of blue, green, and purple capture both the warm relationship of the adult and child and the cool enchantment of snow and moonlight. (Picture book. 3-8) Read full book review >
LUNCH WITH MILLY by Jr. Modesitt
Released: March 1, 1995

The young narrator invites Milly for lunch, but neglects to make dessert. Milly takes the narrator in hand and flies them both to the shore, where for the price of performing, they acquire dessert ingredients from sea creatures. This is an imaginative, though flaccid idea, with a storyline as minimal as Morse code but not as meaningful. Spowart's soft illustrations in scumbled pastel simply evanesce, like spun sugar in rain. Without sharper, more concrete words and images, this flight of fancy never really takes off. (Picture book. 3-7) Read full book review >