BIRTHDAY RHYMES, SPECIAL TIMES

The title sets the tone—32 lighthearted poems celebrate parties, presents, and being the special person of the day; also included are a few non-children who might have birthdays—a mother, a grandfather clock, the moon. The verse (from such familiar voices as Ciardi, Farjeon, and Clyde Watson) ranges from average to pretty good, but the illustrators' exuberant animal characters are unusually appealing. Silhouetted against white or intense color, the comical, expressively stylized creatures playfully embroider each simple verse. Some of the imaginative visual conceits are delightful—a blue porcupine with 21 of its waving quills topped by some of the jaunty candles that are a motif throughout; a joyous little kangaroo strewing posies across the title spread (she later puts them in her mother's pouch, making a gorgeous bouquet). Useful and fun. Index. (Poetry/Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-385-30419-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1993

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CAT'S COLORS

Those who think they've seen everything in the ubiquitous color concept-book genre haven't seen Cabrera's debut, an irresistible take on the subject. An orange-and-black kitten takes children on a trip through his world and invites them to discover his favorite color. In a series of involving spreads, the kitten explores the world and introduces both concepts and colors. Each time the kitten asks if a particular color is it, viewers are treated to a boldly gestural, accomplished oil painting in green, pink, black (``the night when bats swoop and soar''), red, yellow, purple (``the yarn I tangle in my claws''), brown, blue, white (``the clouds floating in the sky''), or orange. ``Is it orange? Yes! . . . the color of my mother.'' The art is childlike and comforting, with broad, visible strokes of the brush. Impish and informational. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-8037-2090-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1997

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Clever verse coupled with bold primary-colored images is sure to attract and hone the attention of fun-seeking children...

TOYS GALORE

A fizzy yet revealing romp through the toy world.

Though of standard picture-book size, Stein and illustrator Staake’s latest collaboration (Bugs Galore, 2012, etc.) presents a sweeping compendium of diversions for the young. From fairies and gnomes, race cars and jacks, tin cans and socks, to pots ’n’ pans and a cardboard box, Stein combs the toy kingdom for equally thrilling sources of fun. These light, tightly rhymed quatrains focus nicely on the functions characterizing various objects, such as “Floaty, bubbly, / while-you-wash toys” or “Sharing-secrets- / with-tin-cans toys,” rather than flatly stating their names. Such ambiguity at once offers Staake free artistic rein to depict copious items capable of performing those tasks and provides pre-readers ample freedom to draw from the experiences of their own toy chests as they scan Staake’s vibrant spreads brimming with chunky, digitally rendered objects and children at play. The sense of community and sharing suggested by most of the spreads contributes well to Stein’s ultimate theme, which he frames by asking: “But which toy is / the best toy ever? / The one most fun? / Most cool and clever?” Faced with three concluding pages filled with all sorts of indoor and outside toys to choose from, youngsters may be shocked to learn, on turning to the final spread, that the greatest one of all—“a toy SENSATION!”—proves to be “[y]our very own / imagination.”

Clever verse coupled with bold primary-colored images is sure to attract and hone the attention of fun-seeking children everywhere. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6254-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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