This ageless trickster tale has a nicely subversive message, but this rendition lacks the panache to carry it off.

PUSS IN BOOTS

A wooden retelling of Perrault’s classic tale, with underwhelming movable parts.

Gurney embellishes the original plotline only by furnishing the Ogre with a back story (provided in a very small pasted-in booklet) and bestowing names on the kingdom and most of the characters. Her prose stumbles (“Puss pondered over [sic] the problem of Peter’s livelihood”), and her dialogue runs to stilted lines like, “We have seen your idea of work, Peter—it is to sit around all day playing your harmonica and idling.” Illustrator Kelley does his best to add plenty of visual panache, crafting painted scenes featuring a swashbuckling ginger puss plainly akin to the scene stealer from Shrek and cleverly manipulating a Disney-esque human cast. Such movable additions as a turn-able water wheel, a pull tab that makes Puss lick his chops after devouring the ogre and even a culminating pop-up wedding tableau are, at best, routine, and they often feel like afterthoughts, enhancing neither the art nor the story.

This ageless trickster tale has a nicely subversive message, but this rendition lacks the panache to carry it off. (Pop-up fairy tale. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7641-6485-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Barron's

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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Though certainly not a systematic overview of Picasso’s life and career, this intimate, child’s-eye view serves up a winning...

THE BOY WHO BIT PICASSO

“Picasso was great fun to play with. He liked to romp around on the floor and have pretend bullfights. His tweed jacket was nice and scratchy. He smelled good too. He smelled of cologne and French tobacco.”

To a set of seldom-seen photos taken by his mother, Lee Miller, interspersed with both pictures of roughly hewn toys and playful art created by Picasso and a page of drawings of the titular incident by modern children, Penrose adds appreciative comments and authentically sketchy childhood memories of a renowned family friend. Taken in France and England, the photos offer glimpses of the artist in his studio or posing with young Antony, along with shots of his own children, other friends such as George Braque and artwork done in a characteristic array of media and found materials. Images of colorful works from the author’s personal collection are added as well; the author's little Noah's Ark set appears juxtaposed to a tiny Picasso piece called Mrs. Noah, for instance. The text itself adds playful notes with variations in size and weight, along with occasional wavy lines and is set on solid backgrounds of pale blues, yellows, lilacs and other pastel hues.

Though certainly not a systematic overview of Picasso’s life and career, this intimate, child’s-eye view serves up a winning glimpse of the artist’s personality and unparalleled creative breadth.   (glossary, thumbnail bios) (Memoir. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8109-9728-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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