From an African-inspired French poem, Marcia Brown has created a vibrant picture book that packs a new and unexpected wallop at every turn of the page. The words profile Shadow—a spooky presence, a watcher, a prowler and dancer, a mocking trickster: full of life in the daytime when it "races with the animals at their swiftest," heavy when night falls, blind and groping when the fires go out. Brown picks up each of Shadow's moods and guises: from the first opening, a stunning horizontal symmetry of reflected green land, silhouetted black trees and figures, and bulls-eye sun in a striated orange-red sky—we turn to the deeper reds and blues and dominant, droopy black silhouette of the lush jungle that half-hides Shadow's ghostly presence. Shadow slides up behind the storyteller, blue behind the man's hypnotic black form—or, blind and black itself against blue sky, it crawls eerie and spider-like with reaching oversize hands. It is unobtrusively present behind a crouched hunter in a dazzling, crinkly-textured, gold field—then ascendant in the amusing, "mocking" spread that seems a sort of muted shift on the same chord. The closest comparison is with Brown's All Butterflies, except that this is more than a stunning portfolio; throughout, there's a rhythmic relationship among the spreads themselves. A knockout.

Pub Date: May 27, 1982

ISBN: 978-0-684-17226-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1982

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...


With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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