DO RABBITS HAVE CHRISTMAS?

A family of rabbits help themselves to carrots from an outdoor Christmas tree on the attractive cover of this collection of 15 previously published poems about winter and Christmas by the late poet. The appealing rabbits are shown building a snow rabbit on the title page and then reappearing in the illustration for three poems. Fox-Davies includes mice, birds and pets in the art for the remaining poems; her illustrations in watercolor and pencil are sweet and traditional, set on a snowy farm with a red farmhouse and cheery children bundled up against the cold. The rhyming poems speak of watching the arrival of winter and Christmas, experiencing frosty windows and snowstorms and preparing for the holiday. One quibble is an unnecessary introductory note to readers from poet Karla Kuskin that is oddly placed at the beginning of the volume. The note and the facing illustration of children building an igloo disrupt the flow of the rabbit illustrations from cover to title page to the first poem. Still, this is a treat for Christmas or any winter reading. (Picture book/poetry. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8050-7491-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2007

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ALL THE COLORS OF THE EARTH

This heavily earnest celebration of multi-ethnicity combines full-bleed paintings of smiling children, viewed through a golden haze dancing, playing, planting seedlings, and the like, with a hyperbolic, disconnected text—``Dark as leopard spots, light as sand,/Children buzz with laughter that kisses our land...''— printed in wavy lines. Literal-minded readers may have trouble with the author's premise, that ``Children come in all the colors of the earth and sky and sea'' (green? blue?), and most of the children here, though of diverse and mixed racial ancestry, wear shorts and T-shirts and seem to be about the same age. Hamanaka has chosen a worthy theme, but she develops it without the humor or imagination that animates her Screen of Frogs (1993). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-688-11131-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1994

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Kids may choose differently at the pumpkin patch after reading this tale, though any deeper message may be lost on them.

STUMPKIN

A stemless pumpkin who isn’t chosen gets the best Halloween of all.

On the shelves outside a shop in a busy city, a shopkeeper makes a display of orange pumpkins and a single yellow gourd. They are all sizes and shapes and have lovely stems, save for one. Poor Stumpkin worries that, despite his good qualities, his stemlessness will prevent him from becoming a jack-o’-lantern like all the other pumpkins that go home with customers to decorate the windows across the street. On Halloween night, he alone is left (even the gourd went home with someone!). So the shopkeeper scoops him up. The spreads that follow are marvelous, wordless creations that will delight young readers: A black spread is followed by one with an orange-rimmed white triangle on the verso, then one with similar triangles on both pages. “Stumpkin wouldn’t be getting a window. And he wouldn’t be getting a new home. // He already had a home.” The final page shows Stumpkin as a jack-o’-lantern back on the shelves with the shopkeeper’s friendly black cat. Though undoubtedly feel-good, the book may leave readers wondering exactly what it’s saying about Stumpkin’s physical irregularity—is it some kind of disability metaphor? The city sights, people, and animals other than the cat are all black silhouettes, keeping the focus on Stumpkin.

Kids may choose differently at the pumpkin patch after reading this tale, though any deeper message may be lost on them. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1362-7

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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