KNOW WHAT I SAW?

A cheerful pigtailed girl leads readers through a descending series of baby animals in an upbeat treatment of a verse from the late Fisher. In introducing each animal, the narrator asks, “Know what I saw,” and then answers herself, ten collie puppies giving way to nine chicks, eight baby deer mice, and so on, down to the narrator’s new pup of her own. The lilting rhymes, peppered with the occasional startling image, are well suited to the overall theme, the universal allure of the cute and fuzzy. DeSaix’s photorealistic oils make the most of this, each adorable clutch of babies leading to the next in a fashion guaranteed to provoke “Awwwwwws” with every turn of the page. The illustrations do not, however, exploit the implied audience the narrator addresses, and thereby leach some of the subtlety from the poem. When the narrator shifts, in the last stanza, from “Know what I saw,” to “Know what I thought,” there is ambiguity: Will the child get the puppy she wants? The illustrations provide the puppy and a somewhat too-easy resolution, which, if emotionally satisfying for readers, nevertheless lacks resonance. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-59643-055-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2005

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I CAN BE ANYTHING!

A young boy wonders aloud to a rabbit friend what he will be when he grows up and imagines some outrageous choices. “Puddle stomper,” “bubble gum popper,” “mixing-bowl licker,” “baby-sis soother” are just some of the 24 inspiringly creative vocations Spinelli’s young dreamer envisions in this pithy rhymed account. Aided by Liao’s cleverly integrated full-bleed mixed-media illustrations, which radiate every hue of the rainbow, and dynamic typesetting with words that swoop and dive, the author’s perspective on this adult-inspired question yields some refreshingly child-oriented answers. Given such an irresistible array of options—“So many jobs! / They’re all such fun”—the boy in the end decides, in an exuberant double gatefold, “I’m going to choose… / EVERY ONE!”—a conclusion befitting a generation expected to have more than six careers each. Without parents or peers around to corral this carefree child’s dreams, the possibilities of being whatever one wants appear both limitless and attainable. An inspired take on a timeless question. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-316-16226-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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SAY HELLO!

Today Carmelita visits her Abuela Rosa, but to get there she must walk. Down Ninth Avenue she strolls with her mother and dog. Colorful shops and congenial neighbors greet them along the way, and at each stop Carmelita says hello—in Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew and more. With a friendly “Jambo” for Joseph, a “Bonjour” at the bakery and an affectionate “Hey” for Max and Angel, the pig-tailed girl happily exercises her burgeoning multilingual skills. Her world is a vibrant community, where neighborliness, camaraderie and culture are celebrated. Isadora’s collaged artwork, reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats, contains lovely edges and imperfections, which abet the feeling of an urban environment. Skillfully, she draws with her scissors, the cut-paper elements acting as her line work. Everything has a texture and surface, and with almost no solid colors, the city street is realized as a real, organic place. Readers will fall for the sociable Carmelita as they proudly learn a range of salutations, and the artist’s rich environment, packed with hidden details and charming animals, will delight readers with each return visit. Simply enchanting. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-399-25230-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2010

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