Greenstein (Mrs. Rose’s Garden, 1996, etc.) counts backwards through ten pastoral scenes in this bedtime read. Sequentially, each page presents an image framed in rich cobalt blue—ten houses, five fluffy white clouds, three foxes—the sum total of which is a cozy little neighborhood where, nestled safely under a quilt comprised of the same images, a little dreamer lies. The text is clean yet descriptive; readers, just for a little taste, will want to reach out and pluck one of the “Four wet peaches, ripe on stems.” With the inevitable gait toward the number one that is part of the countdown structure, this quiet book will lull sleepy children into restful slumber. The folkloric paintings in muted pastels, saved from sentiment by scratched outlines and serene composition, have a rustic appeal. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-439-06302-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000



Gibberish with meritless pictures. (Picture book. 5-7)

A young girl’s dream takes her on a fantastical adventure.

In what is ostensibly verse, Akley tells of a little girl who has a dream–or perhaps a metaphorical adventure or spiritual awakening–about a gold candlestick. Determined to find the meaning behind it, she embarks on a quest, along the way meeting various preachy animals in different settings. It’s clear that lessons are supposedly being taught, but what exactly that wisdom entails is lost in text that is awkward, lengthy and clichéd. Presented as prose despite the attempted verse, the story fails to generate interest. The accompanying illustrations are unpleasantly colored and amateurish; faces are distorted, and the pictures often deviate from the text. Readers will sense that the girl achieves her quest but will never understand its purpose. Akley claims the story has a basis in the Book of Revelations, but beyond the word “cross” and the possibility of an ever-present shepherd, no actual meaning–religious or secular–is decipherable.

Gibberish with meritless pictures. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 13, 2007

ISBN: 978-1-4327-0312-9

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010



In The Palm Of Darkness ($21.00; May 1997; 192 pp.; 0-06-018703- 4): A Cuban writers's intensely imaginative portrait of the extremities of Haitian culture rings some fresh changes on the overfamiliar theme of intellectual arrogance humbled by its collision with ``elemental'' peasant wisdom. Montero subtly builds up a revealing contrast between Victor Griggs, a European herpetologist searching for the remaining specimens of an endangered species of amphibian, and his native guide Thierry Adrien's memories of his family's encounter with the island's ubiquitous spirits. This truly original novel is studded with surprises—not least of which is the concept of a species suddenly and entirely disappearing in a milieu where the living and the dead are known to mingle together more or less matter-of-factly. A refreshingly sophisticated treat. (Author tour)

Pub Date: May 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-06-018703-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1997

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