THE GREAT NURSERY RHYME DISASTER

Little Miss Muffet turns a series of familiar nursery rhymes on their heads when, sick of that scary spider, she escapes into the pages of the book to find a new rhyme. But the Grand Old Duke of York marches too much, getting water with Jack and Jill gives her a headache and she gets all wet sharing a page with Johnny Flynn and Tommy Stout. While Miss Muffet rather enjoys running with the spoon, the dish feels somewhat put out and raises a fuss, which spills over onto the other pages. In the ensuing chaos, Miss Muffet tiptoes back to her familiar rhyme. Williamson’s signature style uses combinations of basic shapes to create her characters. Bold colors and patterns and a typeface that echoes the action complete the effect, creating a visually busy tableau in which the nursery-rhyme characters run amok. Reminiscent of the craziness of Jane Breskin Zalben’s Hey, Mama Goose, illustrated by Emilie Chollat (2004), and Alison Jackson’s If the Shoe Fits, illustrated by Karla Firehammer (2001), this fits the genre with zany precision. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-58925-080-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2009

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ALL THE COLORS OF THE EARTH

This heavily earnest celebration of multi-ethnicity combines full-bleed paintings of smiling children, viewed through a golden haze dancing, playing, planting seedlings, and the like, with a hyperbolic, disconnected text—``Dark as leopard spots, light as sand,/Children buzz with laughter that kisses our land...''— printed in wavy lines. Literal-minded readers may have trouble with the author's premise, that ``Children come in all the colors of the earth and sky and sea'' (green? blue?), and most of the children here, though of diverse and mixed racial ancestry, wear shorts and T-shirts and seem to be about the same age. Hamanaka has chosen a worthy theme, but she develops it without the humor or imagination that animates her Screen of Frogs (1993). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-688-11131-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1994

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See, hear, touch, taste, smell...and imagine poetry all around you.

KIYOSHI'S WALK

A neighborhood walk unleashes the power of poetry.

Kiyoshi, a boy of Japanese heritage, watches his poet grandfather, Eto, write a poem in calligraphy. Intrigued, Kiyoshi asks, “Where do poems come from?” So begins a meditative walk through their bustling neighborhood, in which Kiyoshi discovers how to use his senses, his power of observation, and his imagination to build a poem. After each scene, Eto jots down a quick poem that serves as both a creative activity and an instruction for Kiyoshi. Eventually Kiyoshi discovers his own poetic voice, and together the boy and his grandfather find poems all around them. Spare, precise prose is coupled with the haiku Kiyoshi and his grandfather create, building the story through each new scene to expand Kiyoshi’s understanding of the origin of poems. Sensory language, such as flicked, whooshed, peeked, and reeled, not only builds readers’ vocabulary, but also models the vitality and precision of creative writing. The illustrations are just as thoughtfully crafted. Precisely rendered, the artwork is soft, warm, and captivating, offering vastly different perspectives and diverse characters who make up an apparently North American neighborhood that feels both familiar and new for a boy discovering how to view the world the way a poet does. Earth tones, coupled with bright yellows, pinks, and greens, draw readers in and encourage them to linger over each spread. An author’s note provides additional information about haiku.

See, hear, touch, taste, smell...and imagine poetry all around you. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62014-958-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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