SECRETS FROM THE DOLLHOUSE

PLB 0-06-024567-0 Turner (Red Flower Goes West, p. 971, etc.) imagines that dollhouses can be pretty scary places, where fears from the human world may be amplified. Emma, a doll, narrates this glimpse into her life, where a longing for an adventure in the land beyond the walls of her house tugs at her, while the cat, mice, and the war-playing proclivities of dollhouse owner’s brother give her a good case of the willies. Emma has a difficult time getting around, because she is made of wood, but she does go outside with the human girl and even spends an exciting twilight hour watching the sky turn to stars when she is briefly left behind. The outward of the serenity of a doll’s life is totally refuted by Emma’s perspective and in these pages: the mice that roam the dollhouse at night are tiger-sized; the house cat, sharp of tooth and claw, is as large as a brontosaurus; a baby doll gets kidnapped and her room is left in tatters. Even though the cat returns the baby, it doesn’t quell the initial terror of the act; the other inhabitants can hear the baby’s cries as it is snatched, but cannot act, or even move. Children who like their dollhouse tales with an edge will take to this; in poem-like passages, Turner has ratcheted up all the yearnings and frustrations of childhood to almost unbearably intense levels. Col¢n’s artwork, with its Edwardian atmosphere, aptly conveys the mute, vulnerable qualities of the dollhouse. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 29, 2000

ISBN: 0-06-024564-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE COLORS OF US

This vibrant, thoughtful book from Katz (Over the Moon, 1997) continues her tribute to her adopted daughter, Lena, born in Guatemala. Lena is “seven. I am the color of cinnamon. Mom says she could eat me up”; she learns during a painting lesson that to get the color brown, she will have to “mix red, yellow, black, and white paints.” They go for a walk to observe the many shades of brown: they see Sonia, who is the color of creamy peanut butter; Isabella, who is chocolate brown; Lucy, both peachy and tan; Jo-Jin, the color of honey; Kyle, “like leaves in fall”; Mr. Pellegrino, the color of pizza crust, golden brown. Lena realizes that every shade is beautiful, then mixes her paints accordingly for portraits of her friends—“The colors of us!” Bold illustrations celebrate diversity with a child’s open-hearted sensibility and a mother’s love. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5864-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THERE'S A WARDROBE IN MY MONSTER!

Small, saucy Martha is not a child to put in pink. She wears black-and-white, highly graphic dresses, including one long-sleeved number with a bull’s-eye on the belly. She has mastered the management of her boring goldfish, somnolent cat, and clueless dog, and she opines that it is high time to acquire a large, ugly monster. Forthwith, she marches out with her piggy-bank. The nearest pet shop stocks only small monsters, but one green fellow has an pleasingly awful grin. It’s a done deal: “Keep the pig,” Martha says as she exits with her purchase. Martha knows that the monster eats only wood, but she doesn’t know that twigs will be followed by branches, planks from the dog’s dismantled kennel, her bed legs, and her bottom drawer. As the monster grows, so does its appetite, until the only place left to put it is in the wardrobe—which it promptly eats. Enough is enough for Martha, but the pet shop man offers only exchanges; against his advice, Martha selects an egg with green and purple splotches. As the original monster gets pushed out the back door, readers will delight in the dreadful possibilities inherent in this twist. It’s a romp of a tale to read aloud, with a tongue-in-cheek text; the vigorous pictures more than support and extend this illustrious excursion into the consequences of pet ownership. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 1999

ISBN: 1-57505-414-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lerner

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more