The sophisticated graphics lack the warmth and variety needed to justify yet another rendering of this oft-told fable.

READ REVIEW

THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE

Flat graphic images in pastel colors reinterpret the well-known tale.

The drawback of choosing the ultrafamiliar Aesopian theme is that comparisons with other renditions of the tale are inevitable. The flat, abstract-leaning style of Nój’s illustrations seems at odds with the content of the gentle tale and is a far cry from the warmth, humor, and rich detail of other picture-book versions of the story. The hare is depicted as an odd-looking, round-headed, straight-legged creature; the tortoise is represented by a green and yellow round shape with another circle attached for his head. The shapes of the animals are so similar to the shapes of trees and foliage that some of the spreads are visually hard to decipher. When the hare snacks on some grass, he is taking a bite out of a green semicircle, as if the illustration has completely lost touch with what grass really is. Occasional circular die cuts add to the confusion; snail bodies are equated with the hare’s eyes, when seen through a small circular die cut. Other die cuts seem to have little purpose. The illustrations are too sparse and one-dimensional to provide more than superficial interest and perhaps would be better suited to an iPad app.

The sophisticated graphics lack the warmth and variety needed to justify yet another rendering of this oft-told fable. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 12, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7601-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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A rudimentary introduction, with licensed characters that are just along for the ride.

IT'S RAMADAN, CURIOUS GEORGE

For one special month, George accompanies a young friend through fasts, feasts, and good works at the mosque.

Such headers as “Waiting for Sunset” and “Sharing with Others,” along with glimpses of stars and crescents in the background and a “Ramadan Mubarak” banner, offer oblique references to some basic themes and symbols, but Ramadan’s purpose, many of its practices, and even the word “Muslim” go unmentioned in this tabbed board book. Khan’s rhyme lumbers along (“George can’t wait for tomorrow, / When the month of Ramadan will start. / It’s a special time of year for his friends, / And George is going to take part!”). Meanwhile, Young plugs George and the Man in the Yellow Hat into scenes with Kareem, his father, and his hijab-wearing mother. (Kareem and his dad appear to be black; his mother is lighter-skinned.) They make cookies, gather with friends at sunset to break their daily fast and pray (offstage), then enjoy “Kabobs, curry, veggies, and rice” with chocolate-dipped bananas for dessert. At the mosque, George helps Kareem make food baskets and tries to pass out the racked shoes until an imam gently stops him. Finally, beneath a thin crescent moon at month’s end, George gets a new vest (and the Man a yellow fez) for the celebration of Eid.

A rudimentary introduction, with licensed characters that are just along for the ride. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-65226-2

Page Count: 14

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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