THE DAY OCEAN CAME TO VISIT

Wolkstein (Glass Mountain, 1999, etc.) elaborates on Elphinstone Dayrell’s terse rendition of the West African “Why the Sun and Moon Live in the Sky,” by giving Moon a larger, more active part. When in his wanderings Sun meets Ocean, Sun’s wife, Moon, suggests that he invite her to visit—but despite precautions, Sun and Moon are driven out of their home and into the sky by Ocean’s huge, teeming presence. In the best-known modern version of the tale, Blair Lent’s Caldecott Honor–winning pictures (1968) depict the figures as tribespeople wearing stylized masks and placed into sparely detailed settings. Here the shining spheres of Sun and Moon actually sit atop graceful bodies clad in long, simple robes, Ocean flows into their bamboo dwelling over peaceful, carefully kept gardens, and multiple layers of thinly applied oil paint add richly modulated light and color to every illustration. The paintings have been laid over a clay base that mimics a sandy beach with bits of shell pressed into it, a lovely background for the theme. While this is not a radical re-envisioning, the dusty tale has been given a fresh, elegant, new dress. (Picture book/folktale. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-15-201774-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Gulliver/Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2001

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HONEY, I LOVE

Iffy art cramps this 25th-anniversary reissue of the joyful title poem from Greenfield’s first collection (1978), illustrated by the Dillons. As timeless as ever, the poem celebrates everything a child loves, from kissing Mama’s warm, soft arm to listening to a cousin from the South, “ ’cause every word he says / just kind of slides out of his mouth.” “I love a lot of things / a whole lot of things,” the narrator concludes, “And honey, / I love ME, too.” The African-American child in the pictures sports an updated hairstyle and a big, infectious grin—but even younger viewers will notice that the spray of cool water that supposedly “stings my stomach” isn’t aimed there, and that a comforter on the child’s bed changes patterns between pages. More problematic, though, is a dropped doll that suddenly acquires a horrified expression that makes it look disturbingly like a live baby, and the cutesy winged fairy that hovers over the sleeping child in the final scene. The poem deserves better. (Picture book/poetry. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-06-009123-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2002

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TRACES

What leaves bubbles of water and air on a lily pond? What leaves a path across the sand to the sea? What leaves shadows on the ground? The “wattled” and “warty” bullfrog creates bubbles on the lily pond. The turtle drags its way across the sand to the sea. Children playing follow the leader cast shadows on the ground. These questions and more are raised and answered in this quiet exploration of the traces different creatures and things leave as they pass on their way. The fox leaves its trace in a wooded glade. The snake leaves its trace in the tall wild grass. A jet airplane leaves its own trace across the sky. Even prehistoric dinosaurs and the wind leave unique marks on nature. Kuskin’s watercolor-and-collage illustrations brilliantly follow bubbles, tails, footprints and shadows across double-page spreads tracking clues left by the not-quite invisible passage of someone or something. A fascinating look at an overlooked part of nature. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-932425-43-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Front Street/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2008

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