A clever, cheerful rhyming adventure that caregivers may want to combine with other, more diverse titles, such as Janay...


The Gnomes in the Trees


On his eighth birthday, a boy uses his math and writing skills to help a group of gnomes please their prince in Collyer’s debut children’s picture book.

Jacky Foster lives on a farm with his parents, sister, Josie, and dog, and they keep a garden-gnome statue on their porch. After Jacky’s birthday party, he’s relaxing when suddenly the gnome comes to life and asks him for help. Jacky doesn’t hesitate: he grabs his backpack and he and his dog, Sparky, head into the forest to assist the gnomes. The “younger” gnomes initially greet Jacky with distrust, but he soon learns their problem: the prince has commanded them to count and describe all the animals in the land of Gnomia, but none of the gnomes can write or count. Luckily, Jacky is up to the task (after the one female gnome makes a meal for all of them): he teaches the gnomes to use their fingers and toes to count. Once they’ve mastered that, they go to tally up the animals and Jacky records their descriptions. Not long afterward, Jacky suddenly appears back home, and although he vaguely wonders whether his adventure was all a dream, he finds a note by his porch chair thanking him for his help—and the garden-gnome statue disappears. Thankfully, Jacky points out the oddness of the note (after all, the gnomes can’t write), but he looks forward to further adventures. It’s nice that the boy’s skills at math, reading, writing, and teaching others save the day, and Collyer’s rhyming text scans beautifully (“My name’s Jacky Foster, I’m just a young lad. / I live on a farm with my mom and my dad”). Kinra’s mixed-media illustrations depict the little fellows very traditionally, closely sticking to the classic versions in Rien Poorvliet and Wil Huygen’s 1977 book Gnomes. The problem with this choice, though, is that it leaves little room for diversity; the gnomes here are all, save for one, white-skinned and white-bearded, and only one little-seen female gnome is included.

A clever, cheerful rhyming adventure that caregivers may want to combine with other, more diverse titles, such as Janay Brown-Wood’s Imani’s Moon (2014) or Ashley Bryan’s Can’t Scare Me (2013).

Pub Date: May 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9973303-0-4

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Inspirion2

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2016

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The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and...


Inspired by Colombian librarian Luis Soriano Bohórquez, Brown’s latest tells of a little girl whose wish comes true when a librarian and two book-laden burros visit her remote village.

Ana loves to read and spends all of her free time either reading alone or to her younger brother. She knows every word of the one book she owns. Although she uses her imagination to create fantastical bedtime tales for her brother, she really wants new books to read. Everything changes when a traveling librarian and his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, arrive in the village. Besides loaning books to the children until his next visit, the unnamed man also reads them stories and teaches the younger children the alphabet. When Ana suggests that someone write a book about the traveling library, he encourages her to complete this task herself. After she reads her library books, Ana writes her own story for the librarian and gives it to him upon his reappearance—and he makes it part of his biblioburro collection. Parra’s colorful folk-style illustrations of acrylics on board bring Ana’s real and imaginary worlds to life. This is a child-centered complement to Jeanette Winter’s Biblioburro (2010), which focuses on Soriano.

The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and “iii-aah” adding to the fun.   (author’s note, glossary of Spanish terms) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-353-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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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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