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SERGIO AND THE HURRICANE

When Sergio of San Juan, Puerto Rico, hears a storm is coming, he hopes it will be a hurricane. This appealing picture book demonstrates that even this wildest of storms can make warm family memories as it combines useful information while presenting a charming story. The artist keeps the gouache illustrations upbeat with clean, white spaces, delicate lines, and cheerful reds and yellows used in almost every painting. The storm is dramatic and stylized with washing green waves frosted with foam, and driving rain shown as diagonal blue lines hatching the entire picture. The author ably captures the voice of Sergio, a child too young to remember the devastation of a past hurricane, who views the coming storm as an exciting adventure. He trails after the grown-ups as they tape up windows, purchase emergency supplies, and cut the coconuts off the palm trees. Later, when rain drums on the roof, waves as tall as hills slam into the seawall across the street, and the hurricane gets wilder, Sergio gets scared and crawls into bed with Mom and Dad, and they tell stories of storms past. When the storm is over, the sun shines and the sea is calm, but there is a lot of damage to clean up: smashed furniture, uprooted trees, flooded streets, downed power lines, and clogged drainage pipes. The family works together without complaint to set things right. They are even cheerful about taking a shower in the rain to conserve water. The whole family is shown, tastefully concealed by palm fronds, singing and shampooing in the rain. This upbeat story about a loving Puerto Rican family will strike a reassuring chord. (author’s notes on hurricanes) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-8050-6203-3

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2000

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I WISH YOU MORE

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity.

A collection of parental wishes for a child.

It starts out simply enough: two children run pell-mell across an open field, one holding a high-flying kite with the line “I wish you more ups than downs.” But on subsequent pages, some of the analogous concepts are confusing or ambiguous. The line “I wish you more tippy-toes than deep” accompanies a picture of a boy happily swimming in a pool. His feet are visible, but it's not clear whether he's floating in the deep end or standing in the shallow. Then there's a picture of a boy on a beach, his pockets bulging with driftwood and colorful shells, looking frustrated that his pockets won't hold the rest of his beachcombing treasures, which lie tantalizingly before him on the sand. The line reads: “I wish you more treasures than pockets.” Most children will feel the better wish would be that he had just the right amount of pockets for his treasures. Some of the wordplay, such as “more can than knot” and “more pause than fast-forward,” will tickle older readers with their accompanying, comical illustrations. The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic.

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2699-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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NOT A BOX

Dedicated “to children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes,” this elemental debut depicts a bunny with big, looping ears demonstrating to a rather thick, unseen questioner (“Are you still standing around in that box?”) that what might look like an ordinary carton is actually a race car, a mountain, a burning building, a spaceship or anything else the imagination might dream up. Portis pairs each question and increasingly emphatic response with a playscape of Crockett Johnson–style simplicity, digitally drawn with single red and black lines against generally pale color fields. Appropriately bound in brown paper, this makes its profound point more directly than such like-themed tales as Marisabina Russo’s Big Brown Box (2000) or Dana Kessimakis Smith’s Brave Spaceboy (2005). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-112322-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2006

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