Never mind far away, keep this collection close by.

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OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY

A TREASURY OF NURSERY RHYMES

A sumptuous multicultural collection of nursery rhymes includes art by over 70 illustrators.

The diversity of illustration styles and subjects coincides nicely with the diversity of rhymes, which refreshingly move beyond Anglophone origins. Hammill’s skills as collector are especially sharp in juxtaposing cultural variants of rhymes—for example, a spread with the English Little Miss Muffet includes the Jamaican Lickle Muss Julie, the American Little Miss Tuckett and the Australian Little Miss Muffet, who gets frightened away by a pugnacious wombat rather than a spider. Also pleasing are inspired rhyme pairings. Isn’t it fitting that naughty Georgie Porgie is on a page facing one devoted to the sometimes-horrid little girl with a curl? Or that the tongue twisters about Betty Botter and Peter Piper share a double-page spread? Or that Yankee Doodle and the grand old Duke of York face each other, too? It’s also delightful to see rhymes including oft-omitted stanzas, including five in all for a not-so-little Bo Peep. Illustration highlights include: Emily Gravett’s delicious, posterlike rendering of six-and-twenty mice alphabetically indulging in apple pie; Nina Crews’ delectable photomontage illustrations for a variety of food-related rhymes; Robert Ingpen’s gorgeous interpretation of “The lion and the unicorn”; and in a callback to his Caldecott Honor, Jerry Pinkney’s interpretation of Brother Noah who built the ark.

Never mind far away, keep this collection close by. (Poetry. 1-8)

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7729-9

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Wow.

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THE STUFF OF STARS

The stories of the births of the universe, the planet Earth, and a human child are told in this picture book.

Bauer begins with cosmic nothing: “In the dark / in the deep, deep dark / a speck floated / invisible as thought / weighty as God.” Her powerful words build the story of the creation of the universe, presenting the science in poetic free verse. First, the narrative tells of the creation of stars by the Big Bang, then the explosions of some of those stars, from which dust becomes the matter that coalesces into planets, then the creation of life on Earth: a “lucky planet…neither too far / nor too near…its yellow star…the Sun.” Holmes’ digitally assembled hand-marbled paper-collage illustrations perfectly pair with the text—in fact the words and illustrations become an inseparable whole, as together they both delineate and suggest—the former telling the story and the latter, with their swirling colors suggestive of vast cosmos, contributing the atmosphere. It’s a stunning achievement to present to readers the factual events that created the birth of the universe, the planet Earth, and life on Earth with such an expressive, powerful creativity of words paired with illustrations so evocative of the awe and magic of the cosmos. But then the story goes one brilliant step further and gives the birth of a child the same beginning, the same sense of magic, the same miracle.

Wow. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7883-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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Children of all ages will be charmed by this collection that demonstrates that poet-translators often make the best...

A LITTLE BITTY MAN

AND OTHER POEMS FOR THE VERY YOUNG

A charming collection of poems finds an American audience in a splendid translation.

Though unknown to the vast majority of American readers, Rasmussen (1915-2002) was a beloved Danish poet, known both for his human-rights writings as well as nonsense verse for children. A sweet compendium of the latter is translated here by the award-winning Nelson and Espeland and animated by Hawkes’ dynamic, colorful acrylic-and-pencil renderings, effectively capturing the playfulness of Rasmussen’s verse in both sound and image. As he explores life’s many processes, activities and imagined situations, Rasmussen’s delightfully warped sense of humor is in full view. It ranges from potty humor—“Feet are to jump on, / drums are to thump on. / Tiptoes to snoop on, / and potties to poop on!”—to outright silliness—“The elf puts on his winter coat […] and then, before he goes, / puts on an empty ice-cream cone / to insulate his nose.” But the poet also does not shy away from more serious subjects, such as the cultivation of friendships, using a light touch to convey his pacifist message: “Those fierce grown-up soldiers / who shoot guns and fight / should learn from us children / to fight a war right. / First, fight with toy guns. / Then, if your war won’t end, / you tickle your enemy / into a friend!”

Children of all ages will be charmed by this collection that demonstrates that poet-translators often make the best ambassadors. (Picture book/poetry. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7636-2379-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

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