High ideals with a mawkish sensibility.

READ REVIEW

LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL!

Fantasy and social responsibility mix uneasily in this optimistic translation from Spain.

Violet is a Kenyan girl who goes to bed hungry because her region doesn’t have “much food.” A winged giraffe suddenly shows up and flies her all over Africa, but at first, it is an Africa without people—just the animals, plains, forests and mountains of most old-fashioned books about the continent. Then the giraffe introduces a new idea. The fantastical animal tells Violet that “the rainbow sometimes loses its colors when it sees that children are no longer smiling.” They should ask people from other countries to help by “collaborating, by working together, sharing their moments of happiness and seeds of love, and by being generous.” At last humans appear in the pictures, and the giraffe unveils her biggest plan: to tickle everyone in Africa! Now Violet’s laughter turns into drops of water that become a rainbow that transforms the continent, and “everything turned green, filled with light, and filled with life.” Great swaths of color fill the double-page spreads, and the giraffe, with its heart-shaped spots, certainly attracts attention. Violet and the other people are realistically, albeit stereotypically, painted. This sugarcoated attempt to imbue young children with a sense of social consciousness is saccharine in the extreme.

High ideals with a mawkish sensibility. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-84-15619-26-0

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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A culturally intricate slice of a lupine courier’s life.

¡VAMOS! LET'S GO TO THE MARKET

From the ¡Vamos! series

Little Lobo and his dog, Bernabé, journey through a Mexican mercado delivering diverse goods to a variety of booths.

With the aid of red words splattered throughout the spreads as labels, Raúl the Third gives an introduction to Spanish vocabulary as Little Lobo, an anthropomorphic wolf, leaves his house, fills his cart with objects from his warehouse, and delivers them to the market’s vendors. The journey also serves as a crash course in Mexican culture, as the images are packed with intertextual details such as food, traditional games, and characters, including Cantinflas, Frida Khalo, and Juan Gabriel. Readers acquainted with Raúl the Third’s characters from his Lowriders series with author Cathy Camper will appreciate cameos from familiar characters. As he makes his rounds, Little Lobo also collects different artifacts that people offer in exchange for his deliveries of shoe polish, clothespins, wood, tissue paper, paintbrushes, and a pair of golden laces. Although Raúl the Third departs from the ball-pen illustrations that he is known for, his depiction of creatures and critters peppering the borderland where his stories are set remains in his trademark style. The softer hues in the illustrations (chosen by colorist Bay) keep the busy compositions friendly, and the halftone patterns filling the illustrations create foregrounds and backgrounds reminiscent of Roy Lichtenstein’s pointillism.

A culturally intricate slice of a lupine courier’s life. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-55726-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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RAIN SCHOOL

It takes a village to make a school. In Chad, big brothers and sisters lead the way for younger children on the first day of school. Little Thomas is full of questions. When he and the other children arrive, there are no classrooms and no desks. But the teacher's there, holding a trowel. "We will build our school," she declares. Everyone sets to work, making mud bricks that dry in the sun and a roof out of grass and saplings. Thomas loves his lessons; every day he learns something new. At the end of the school year, the minds of the students "are fat with knowledge." And just in time: The rainy season arrives and makes short work of the schoolhouse. Come September, they'll start all over. Rumford's illustrations make great use of color, dark brown skin and bright shirts, shorts and dresses against golden backgrounds, the hues applied in smudgy layers that infuse each scene with warmth—until the gray rains arrive. It's a nifty social-studies lesson tucked into a warm tale of community. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-24307-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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