J IS FOR JAMAICA

Bright, tourist-friendly photos of happy people at play alternate with views of verdant landscapes, exotic foodstuffs and typical flora and fauna in this alphabetical jaunt to Jamaica. Unfortunately, the accompanying quatrains demonstrate such pervasive indifference to rhythm (cricket “batters must be careful to protect their heads and knees. / The best players from Jamaica can play for the West Indies”), rhyme (“Jamaicans love their netball as well as their athletics, / And that is why they send a netball team to the Olympics”) or clarity of expression (“Y is for yams, which are grown in the ground, / They are light and dark and long and round”) that Zephaniah—a part-Jamaican poet better known in Britain than here—seems to be phoning them in. Children will come away more attuned to the special character of the island and its people from the more conventional, and systematic, likes of Ann Heinrichs’s Jamaica (2003). (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2007

ISBN: 1-84507-401-7

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2006

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Part of a spate of books intent on bringing the garbage collectors in children’s lives a little closer, this almost matches...

TRASHY TOWN

Listeners will quickly take up the percussive chorus—“Dump it in, smash it down, drive around the Trashy town! Is the trash truck full yet? NO”—as they follow burly Mr. Gilly, the garbage collector, on his rounds from park to pizza parlor and beyond.

Flinging cans and baskets around with ease, Mr. Gilly dances happily through streetscapes depicted with loud colors and large, blocky shapes; after a climactic visit to the dump, he roars home for a sudsy bath.

Part of a spate of books intent on bringing the garbage collectors in children’s lives a little closer, this almost matches Eve Merriam’s Bam Bam Bam (1995), also illustrated by Yaccarino, for sheer verbal and visual volume. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 30, 1999

ISBN: 0-06-027139-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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ALL BY MYSELF!

Essentially a follow-up to Robert Kraus’s Leo the Late Bloomer (1971) and like tales of developing competency, this follows an exuberant child from morning wash-up to lights out at night, cataloguing the tasks and skills he has mastered. Activities include dressing himself and joining in school activities, choosing his own books, helping with dinner and other household responsibilities, and taking a bath alone before bedtime. In Aliki’s sunny, simplified pictures, it’s a child’s world, seen from low angles and with adults putting in only occasional appearances. Like the lad, the fitfully rhymed text gallops along, sometimes a little too quickly—many illustrations are matched to just a word or two, so viewers aren’t always given much time to absorb one image before being urged on to the next—but underscoring the story’s bustling energy. Young readers and pre-readers will respond enthusiastically to this child’s proud self-assurance, and be prompted to take stock of their own abilities too. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2000

ISBN: 0-06-028929-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

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