RED THREAD

With an imaginative, innovative use of traditional elements of Chinese art recalling Young's Lon Po Po (1990 Caldecott Medal), another spellbinding Chinese tale. Wei Gu, an orphan, longs for a wife. Seeking a matchmaker, he encounters an old man from the spirit world who predicts that he will marry, in 14 years, a child who is now only three years old; the spirit shows Wei a red thread that already links them and will surely draw them together. At first overjoyed, the haughty Wei is dismayed when his bride is pointed out in the marketplace, carried by a poor blind woman; furious, he sends his servant to kill the child. Years later, happily married, he questions his well-born wife about the ornament she wears and learns that it covers the scar his servant made. But in this generous tale, Wei's youthful pride and indiscretion are forgiven: ``After this day the couple grew even closer,'' ending their days in honor and wealth. Setting his unobtrusive blocks of text below a single ruled red ``thread'' crossing the full-bleed spreads, Young dapples his pages with delectable clouds of pastels and watercolors, delicately defining forms with lines of soft blue or gray and a gentle red that echoes the title motif. In exquisitely designed compositions, he plays architecture's precision against crowds of tiny impressionistic figures, uses dynamic perspectives and brilliant colors to focus on a dramatic portrait, or frames the couple, in their moment of revelation, in a mellow haze subtly etched with the lines of their home. Another splendid achievement for this fine artist. (No source given, but LC classes this in 398.21.) (Folklore/Picture book. 4+)

Pub Date: March 24, 1993

ISBN: 0-399-21969-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1993

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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