A PERFECT SEASON FOR DREAMING / UN TIEMPO PERFECTO PARA SOÑAR

One cloudless summer, 78-year-old Octavio Rivera’s afternoon naps lead to a series of fantastical dreams. On the first day of the season, a single guitar “whispering songs of love” bursts through a star-shaped piñata, and on the second day, two kissing turtles float across a blue sky. With each passing day, the items delivered by the piñata grow in both number and whimsy; as his dreams surround and fill him up, Octavio feels a growing need to share his dreams; but with whom? Sáenz’s treatment of reality and his rich, sensory-filled imagery evokes García Márquez, while Andrade Valencia’s illustrations, done in a brilliant southwestern palette, employ flat perspectives and surrealist compositions to create a visual fusion of folk art and Magritte. One lovely wordless spread finds Octavio revealing his dreams to his granddaughter Regina, and in so doing, Octavio also shares himself. While a counting book in concept, Sáenz’s text is layered with multiple meanings. Young readers will enjoy its structure, numbers and playful dreams, while more sophisticated readers—and even adults—will find reasons to return to it again and again. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-933693-01-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2008

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DIARY OF A SPIDER

The wriggly narrator of Diary of a Worm (2003) puts in occasional appearances, but it’s his arachnid buddy who takes center stage here, with terse, tongue-in-cheek comments on his likes (his close friend Fly, Charlotte’s Web), his dislikes (vacuums, people with big feet), nervous encounters with a huge Daddy Longlegs, his extended family—which includes a Grandpa more than willing to share hard-won wisdom (The secret to a long, happy life: “Never fall asleep in a shoe.”)—and mishaps both at spider school and on the human playground. Bliss endows his garden-dwellers with faces and the odd hat or other accessory, and creates cozy webs or burrows colorfully decorated with corks, scraps, plastic toys and other human detritus. Spider closes with the notion that we could all get along, “just like me and Fly,” if we but got to know one another. Once again, brilliantly hilarious. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-000153-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2005

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 28, 2018

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