APRIL WILSON'S MAGPIE MAGIC

A TALE OF COLORFUL MISCHIEF

Deliberately constructed, Wilson’s wordless picture book makes an adroit and whimsical artistic statement and invites audience participation. On the title page, a child’s hands reach toward a bundle of colored pencils dangling from a branch; the pencils are in bright colors but everything else is sketched in black and white. In careful detail, the child draws a magpie seen on a branch outside the window (perhaps the same branch where the pencils were hung) and when the drawing is completed, the bird flies away from the paper. The child draws cherries, shimmering red on the page, and the bird eats them; the child draws an orange balloon, which the bird pops. Things get a little dangerous when the bird grabs a piece of yellow that sets the page afire and then scribbles blue water that makes a mess. Drawings and events co-determine each other: the child has cages the magpie, the bird grabs the eraser through the bars and escapes the cage, and so it goes, to a last laugh when a claw seizes the pencils and makes a brilliant rainbow of feathers. The only words are the names of the colors, appearing at the end. The realistic drawing style and the use of saturated color on an otherwise black-and-white page are an arresting combination. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2354-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE MAGIC HILL

Pooh might describe this 1925 offering from Milne as a Very Small Tale, and so it is, but gentle and sweet withal. Princess Daffodil is the only daughter after six sons of the king and queen, and at her christening the Fairy Mumruffin grants her the gift of flowers, which will grow wherever she steps. When the princess begins toddling about the king’s favorite thinking place, strewing flowers everywhere, the king decides she must keep off the paths entirely. After a few years of this, the doctor pronounces that she must do what little girls do: “She must run about more. She must climb hills and roll down them. She must hope and skip and jump.” So the queen finds a solution in a small hill, where Daffodil can do all those things to her heart’s content, and where children play and pick the posies she makes there. Brown, who remembered the story from her own mother’s telling, who remembered it from her mother, has created delicate and winsome illustrations that are also precise: the various species of flowers are easily identifiable. Children will be charmed by the little doll-like faces of the characters and the excellent fairy colors, pastel-colored to jewel-toned as needed. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-525-46147-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

SMILE IF YOU'RE HUMAN

Layton’s zany alien family comes to Earth in search of humans, but with only guidebook descriptions of what people look like, it’s easy to make mistakes—especially when their flying saucer lands at the zoo! “They don’t have tails and they mostly stand on two feet,” reads the father, effectively ruling out kangaroos and tigers as potential people. The smallest alien is anxious to snap a picture of penguins, but it turns out they aren’t human—people don’t have wings. After searching the “entire planet” (that is, within the confines of the zoo walls), the aliens finally do find a creature to match their guidebook’s description perfectly, and to make Darwin smile. The goofy illustrations deploy a childlike sense of fun; the aliens are pleasant creatures with round patchwork bodies and eyes on stalks, and the gregarious zoo animals will ring true for the animal cracker set. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2381-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more