The title is actually a quote, and though here it’s taken out of context and, in the author’s note, incorrectly attributed...

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AIN’T NOBODY A STRANGER TO ME

In this moving testimonial, an old man eloquently recalls escaping from slavery with a few apple seeds in his pocket, as he and his young granddaughter stroll out to the lushly flowering orchard that has since grown from them.

To the child’s question about why he waves to everyone they meet, Gran’pa utters the title line, and then explains how his journey to freedom—undertaken with his wife, their baby and unlooked-for help from members of the Underground Railroad—led him to feel that way ever since he and his family “got through.” “I been on both sides. When somebody falls down, what kind of man gonna stop ’n’ say: ‘I don’t pick up no stranger! Let ’em lie there’? Leastways, not me!” Painting in an impressionistic vein and expertly capturing the couple’s intimacy, Pinkney alternates brightly colored, semi-rural scenes with flashbacks in dark browns and grays, then closes with a tender caress awash in pink blossoms.

The title is actually a quote, and though here it’s taken out of context and, in the author’s note, incorrectly attributed to a man, it makes a powerful statement across racial lines, nationalities and generations. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-7868-1857-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Disney-Jump at the Sun

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2007

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NO MATTER WHAT

Small, a very little fox, needs some reassurance from Large in the unconditional love department. If he is grim and grumpy, will he still be loved? “ ‘Oh, Small,’ said Large, ‘grumpy or not, I’ll always love you, no matter what.’ “ So it goes, in a gentle rhyme, as Large parries any number of questions that for Small are very telling. What if he were to turn into a young bear, or squishy bug, or alligator? Would a mother want to hug and hold these fearsome animals? Yes, yes, answers Large. “But does love wear out? Does it break or bend? Can you fix it or patch it? Does it mend?” There is comfort in Gliori’s pages, but it is a result of repetition and not the imagery; this is a quick fix, not an enduring one, but it eases Small’s fears and may well do the same for children. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202061-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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THE RECESS QUEEN

Positing that bullies only act that way because they’re lonely, O’Neill (Loud Emily, 1998) puts seemingly meek, new classmate Katie Sue up against aggressive Mean Jean, swaggering boss of the playground. Knowing but one way to deal with challengers (“she’d push ’em and smoosh ’em, / lollapaloosh ’em, / hammer ’em, slammer ’em, / kitz and kajammer ’em . . .”), Mean Jean roughly tries to set Katie Sue straight on the pecking order. But Katie Sue stands up to her with a cheeky, “How DID you get to be so bossy?” and pulls out a jump rope, inviting Mean Jean to jump along. Presto change-o, a friendship is born. Huliska-Beith’s (The Book of Bad Ideas, 2000, etc.) rubbery-limbed figures, rolling perspectives, and neon-bright colors reflect the text’s informality as well as its frenzied energy. Though the suggested strategy works far more easily here than it would in real life, young readers will be caught up by Katie Sue’s engaging, fizzy exuberance. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-439-20637-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2001

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