VROOM, CHUGGA, VROOM-VROOM

Wide-eyed and grinning, 20 cars line up for a race—-and they’re off, burning rubber, swerving into walls and each other, shedding parts, crawling off the track with tongues hanging out. “Which car’s first across the line?/Hurrah! It’s driver number 9!” In illustrations created first on a computer, Murphy puts a wonderful range of expressions and vivid jellybean colors on his autos, but leaves crews, spectators, and vehicles floating just above the ground, and despite tidy sets of tire tracks and boldface “sound effects,” the cars have little sense of motion. While the book has some value for preschoolers as practice in number recognition, the static illustrations put it outside a winner’s circle that would include Thacher Hurd’s Zoom City (p. 197), Tres Seymour’s Smash-Up Crash-Up Derby (1995), or Donald Crews’s Bicycle Race (1985). (Picture book. 4-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 1998

ISBN: 1-890515-07-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Turtle Point

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1998

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BONNIE'S BLUE HOUSE

This color-concept book from newcomer Asbury has much going for it. The spare text (``I am Bonnie and this is my cat, Bluebonnet'') and the two-color illustrations (black and blue on a bed of white) are simple, direct, and oddly comforting. Bonnie recounts a day in her life: She introduces readers to her home, cavorts with her pals in a tree fort and swimming pool, sups, watches TV, reads her dad a bedtime story. For the most part, Asbury has chosen the vehicles for his color with a nod toward familiarity—blue water, blueberry pie, blue eyes (small, ghoulish buttons)—and sometimes with real invention: the flicker of the cathode ray, the glow of moonlight. The blue tree, on the other hand, is discordant. Two companion volumes, Rusty's Red Vacation (ISBN 0-8050-4021-8) and Yolanda's Yellow School (- 4023-4), take Asbury's color message aptly into those realms. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-8050-4022-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1997

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HUSH, LITTLE ALIEN

PLB 0-7868-2469-7 Kirk (Bigger, 1998, etc.) spins out an extraterrestrial version of the familiar lullaby, featuring a four-armed father promising his banana-colored little one, among other prizes, a shooting star, an astronaut (against the astronaut’s wishes, it appears), a laser rifle, tools to build a spaceship and, finally, a good-night kiss. Giving his aliens the look of hard-shelled retro toys with large liquid eyes, the author develops a silent plotline—the little alien builds the spaceship because he’s melted the old one with his new laser—as they move from a near-Earth orbit to the bottle-strewn Milky Way. It’s a bedtime journey as loving, if not quite as soporific, as the original. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7868-0538-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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