FARMER HAM

With the noisy crows growing in number and audacity, what can a farmer do? With so much corn to eat, it’s no wonder that the crow population keeps getting larger on the farm of Farmer Ham (who, though wearing big overalls and a striped shirt, has the hooves and face of a pig). The crows sing and dance and make fun of him. One day, Ham walks silently past them to the pond, and begins to fish. They watch in wonder as he catches a boot, a hat, a scarf, pants, etc. This fishing adventure sends them into gales of laughter, so much so that they fail to notice his disappearance. They do, however, notice the new tall and scary man standing, arms extended, in the cornfield. Nearby stands “clever old Farmer Ham!” And the frightened crows fly speedily away. Spoor’s paintings find great variety and humor in his bird villains, and young listeners should take great pleasure in anticipating the ending. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-7358-2134-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2007

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TEN LITTLE FINGERS AND TEN LITTLE TOES

A pleasing poem that celebrates babies around the world. Whether from a remote village or an urban dwelling, a tent or the snow, Fox notes that each “of these babies, / as everyone knows, / had ten little fingers / and ten little toes.” Repeated in each stanza, the verse establishes an easy rhythm. Oxenbury’s charming illustrations depict infants from a variety of ethnicities wearing clothing that invokes a sense of place. Her pencil drawings, with clean watercolor washes laid in, are sweetly similar to those in her early board books (Clap Hands, 1987, etc.). Each stanza introduces a new pair of babies, and the illustrations cleverly incorporate the children from the previous stanzas onto one page, allowing readers to count not only fingers and toes but also babies. The last stanza switches its focus from two children to one “sweet little child,” and reveals the narrator as that baby’s mother. Little readers will take to the repetition and counting, while parents will be moved by the last spread: a sweet depiction of mother and baby. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-15-206057-2

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2008

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THE LION & THE MOUSE

A nearly wordless exploration of Aesop’s fable of symbiotic mercy that is nothing short of masterful.

A mouse, narrowly escaping an owl at dawn, skitters up what prove to be a male lion’s tail and back. Lion releases Mouse in a moment of bemused gentility and—when subsequently ensnared in a poacher’s rope trap—reaps the benefit thereof. Pinkney successfully blends anthropomorphism and realism, depicting Lion’s massive paws and Mouse’s pink inner ears along with expressions encompassing the quizzical, hapless and nearly smiling. He plays, too, with perspective, alternating foreground views of Mouse amid tall grasses with layered panoramas of the Serengeti plain and its multitudinous wildlife. Mouse, befitting her courage, is often depicted heroically large relative to Lion. Spreads in watercolor and pencil employ a palette of glowing amber, mouse-brown and blue-green. Artist-rendered display type ranges from a protracted “RRROAARRRRRRRRR” to nine petite squeaks from as many mouselings. If the five cubs in the back endpapers are a surprise, the mouse family of ten, perched on the ridge of father lion’s back, is sheer delight.

Unimpeachable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-316-01356-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2009

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