In perfect harmony with Geeslin’s story Mathers captures the rose, purple, lemon-yellow, and desert-green of Mexico. Nanita’s father the shoemaker is so busy in their tiny Mexican town that he has no time to make her shoes, even though it will soon be her First Communion. Nanita has watched him work, so one night she makes a wonderful pair of shoes herself out of scraps in bright colors, and falls asleep still wearing them. The shoes have a spirit all their own, so when Nanita awakes she is far away by a house in the desert. The ranchero takes her in, but the old woman takes her shoes and makes Nanita do all the work. The ranchero’s parrot (who sports an eyepatch from his pirate days) befriends Nanita, and they plot their escape, but not until the old woman teaches Nanita how to make flan. Nanita is welcomed with glad cries by her father, and she attends her First Communion in soft slippers that he has made for her. The spirited parrot, a lightning-fast pace, droll illustrations, and a recipe for flan on the endpapers combine for a wondrous piece of bookmaking. With its gestures to other tales and to magic realism, the volume is thoroughly beguiling in both word and image. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-689-81546-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999




Lunge-Larsen and Preus debut with this story of a flower that blooms for the first time to commemorate the uncommon courage of a girl who saves her people from illness. The girl, an Ojibwe of the northern woodlands, knows she must journey to the next village to get the healing herb, mash-ki- ki, for her people, who have all fallen ill. After lining her moccasins with rabbit fur, she braves a raging snowstorm and crosses a dark frozen lake to reach the village. Then, rather than wait for morning, she sets out for home while the villagers sleep. When she loses her moccasins in the deep snow, her bare feet are cut by icy shards, and bleed with every step until she reaches her home. The next spring beautiful lady slippers bloom from the place where her moccasins were lost, and from every spot her injured feet touched. Drawing on Ojibwe sources, the authors of this fluid retelling have peppered the tale with native words and have used traditional elements, e.g., giving voice to the forces of nature. The accompanying watercolors, with flowing lines, jewel tones, and decorative motifs, give stately credence to the story’s iconic aspects. (Picture book/folklore. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-90512-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1999



This vibrant, thoughtful book from Katz (Over the Moon, 1997) continues her tribute to her adopted daughter, Lena, born in Guatemala. Lena is “seven. I am the color of cinnamon. Mom says she could eat me up”; she learns during a painting lesson that to get the color brown, she will have to “mix red, yellow, black, and white paints.” They go for a walk to observe the many shades of brown: they see Sonia, who is the color of creamy peanut butter; Isabella, who is chocolate brown; Lucy, both peachy and tan; Jo-Jin, the color of honey; Kyle, “like leaves in fall”; Mr. Pellegrino, the color of pizza crust, golden brown. Lena realizes that every shade is beautiful, then mixes her paints accordingly for portraits of her friends—“The colors of us!” Bold illustrations celebrate diversity with a child’s open-hearted sensibility and a mother’s love. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5864-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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