SHOOTING STAR

ANNIE OAKLEY, THE LEGEND

A picture-book version of Annie Oakley's life that wavers between a fairly straight telling of the few known facts and tall-tale exaggerations that are both forced and silly. As a baby, Annie is described as spitting bullets out of her cradle at the tin roof of the barn, frightening the cows so bad that Pa has to move the structure 15 miles down the road. A few years later, Annie hunts for food for the family, and pays off the farm debt after her father dies. Covered are her marriage to Frank Butler, her trip to Europe with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, her meeting Queen Victoria, her outshooting Grand Duke Michael of Russia, and her legendary generosity. Mixed into those events are the tall-tale yarns, when she shot craters in the moon and blasted the points off a distant star. It's a hybrid approach, leaving readers without a real sense of what a genuine star Annie was. In his first book, Goto's glossy paintings, technically proficient, follow the bent of the story and also straddle realism and cartoon buffoonery, with limited success. He makes a burlesque of the facial expressions of Annie's audience, whose uniform astonishment begins to look static. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-8027-8484-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1997

I WISH YOU MORE

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity.

A collection of parental wishes for a child.

It starts out simply enough: two children run pell-mell across an open field, one holding a high-flying kite with the line “I wish you more ups than downs.” But on subsequent pages, some of the analogous concepts are confusing or ambiguous. The line “I wish you more tippy-toes than deep” accompanies a picture of a boy happily swimming in a pool. His feet are visible, but it's not clear whether he's floating in the deep end or standing in the shallow. Then there's a picture of a boy on a beach, his pockets bulging with driftwood and colorful shells, looking frustrated that his pockets won't hold the rest of his beachcombing treasures, which lie tantalizingly before him on the sand. The line reads: “I wish you more treasures than pockets.” Most children will feel the better wish would be that he had just the right amount of pockets for his treasures. Some of the wordplay, such as “more can than knot” and “more pause than fast-forward,” will tickle older readers with their accompanying, comical illustrations. The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic.

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2699-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

RAPUNZEL

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your dreads! Isadora once again plies her hand using colorful, textured collages to depict her fourth fairy tale relocated to Africa. The narrative follows the basic story line: Taken by an evil sorceress at birth, Rapunzel is imprisoned in a tower; Rapunzel and the prince “get married” in the tower and she gets pregnant. The sorceress cuts off Rapunzel’s hair and tricks the prince, who throws himself from the tower and is blinded by thorns. The terse ending states: “The prince led Rapunzel and their twins to his kingdom, where they were received with great joy and lived happily every after.” Facial features, clothing, dreadlocks, vultures and the prince riding a zebra convey a generic African setting, but at times, the mixture of patterns and textures obfuscates the scenes. The textile and grain characteristic of the hewn art lacks the elegant romance of Zelinksy’s Caldecott version. Not a first purchase, but useful in comparing renditions to incorporate a multicultural aspect. (Picture book/fairy tale. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-399-24772-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2008

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