ONE LEAF RIDES THE WIND

COUNTING IN A JAPANESE GARDEN

In her picture book debut, Mannis uses the underlying structure of a little girl in a Japanese garden as the theme for a lyrical counting book with arresting illustrations by Hartung (One Dark Night, 2001, etc.). The author uses haiku as her format to count elements of the garden: one leaf, two carved temple dogs, three bonsai trees, and so on, up to ten lanterns lighting the way into the garden at twilight. The final double-page spread shows all the previously counted items integrated into the idyllic garden, with the little girl catching the leaf that eluded her grasp on the first page. The thoughtful design includes a full-page illustration on the left-hand pages, the appropriate numeral and the haiku in large type on the right-hand pages, and a related textual note in smaller type at the bottom of the page. This format imparts additional information about Japanese gardens and culture without intruding on the effectiveness of the haiku. Hartung’s delicate illustrations with varying perspectives effectively complement the haiku and add touches of visual humor throughout. Just as each element of a Japanese garden contributes to a calming, satisfying whole, the elements of this work—poetry, subtly integrated additional text, illustration, design, and even the endpapers—all meld together into a lovely whole that both entertains as successful poetry and educates as an introduction to several aspects of ancient Japanese culture. Teachers in elementary school classrooms will find this volume useful when studying Japan or the haiku format. (author’s note) (Picture book/poetry. 4-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-670-03525-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2002

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THE BOY WHO LOVED WORDS

A charmingly prolix tall tale of a boy so word-obsessed that he collects new words on slips of paper. They bulge from his pockets, float around his head and fill his world. Classmates nickname Selig “Wordsworth” and give him a word for his collection: “oddball.” The discovery that his purpose in life is to share his carefully chosen words with others leads to success and love. And, “if, one day, . . . the perfect word just seems to come to you . . . you’ll know that Selig is near.” Schotter’s words are enlivened by Potter’s distinctively naïve figures, all placed in settings in which words and labels are scattered about in a way that invites close inspection and promotes purposeful inquiry. It all adds up to an *exultant encounter, chockablock with tintinnabulating gusto (*see tantalizing glossary appended). A gift to precocious children and teachers as well. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 28, 2006

ISBN: 0-375-83601-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2006

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Whether in hand or on shelf, this one’s sure to make a splash anywhere and everywhere.

I'M ON IT!

From the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series

A frog tries to do everything a goat does, too.

Goat asks Frog to look at them before declaring “I’m ON it!” while balancing atop a tree stump near a pond. After an “Oooh!” and a “You know what?” Frog leaps off their lily pad to balance on a rock: “I’m on it, too!” Goat grabs a prop so that they can be both “on it AND beside it.” (It may take young readers a little bit to realize there are two its.) So does Frog. The competition continues as Frog struggles to mimic overconfident Goat’s antics. In addition to on and beside, the pair adds inside, between, under, and more. Eventually, it all gets to be too much for Frog to handle, so Frog falls into the water, resumes position on the lily pad, and declares “I am OVER it” while eating a fly. In an act of solidarity, Goat jumps in, too. In Tsurumi’s first foray into early readers she pares down her energetic, colorful cartoon style to the bare essentials without losing any of the madcap fun. Using fewer than 80 repeated words (over 12 of which are prepositions), the clever text instructs, delights, and revels in its own playfulness. Color-coded speech bubbles (orange for Goat, green for Frog) help match the dialogue with each speaker. Like others in the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading series, Elephant and Piggie metafictively bookend the main narrative with hilariously on-the-nose commentary.

Whether in hand or on shelf, this one’s sure to make a splash anywhere and everywhere. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-06696-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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