THE CHRISTMAS TREE/EL ARBOL DE NAVIDAD

A CHRISTMAS RHYME IN SPANISH AND ENGLISH

A lilting Spanish text and its weak English counterpart relate a cumulative tale about the decorating of a tree, and provide a good argument against the use of bilingual texts. ``Look at the beautiful Christmas tree/with the bright candle/Grandma lit,/the candy cane/Grandpa hung,/and the sleigh/Uncle Irineo painted!'' cannot compare to ``¤QuÇ lindo el †rbol de Navidad/adornado con la vela/que encendi¢ Abuela,/con el caramelo/que le colg¢ Abuelo/y con el trineo/de t°o Irineo!'' These events are illustrated over several pages. The text is so brief that there are only five couplets in the last appearance of the rhyme, and only five ornaments on the large tree. A final page expresses the family's happiness that Christmas has arrived. A lengthy note describes various customs of the season from the author's childhood. The perspectives in the art are flat, more amateurish than naive, with static compositions that do not convey the joy expressed in the text. An unfortunate effort in almost every respect. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-7868-0151-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1997

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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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THE GRUFFALO

The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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