EARTH MOTHER

A wry and cosmic look at the interdependence of all things, wonderfully illustrated by the inimitable Dillons. Earth Mother arises, sings a morning song and does her work: hanging green acorns on the trees; putting summer inside a flower seed; sending forth lightning and snow. She meets Man by the river, who thanks her for the delicious frogs that ease his hunger. But why, asks Man, does she torment him with “wretched Mosquito?” When Earth Mother encounters Frog, he thanks her for Mosquito, who fills his belly, and castigates Man, who catches and eats frogs. As she continues to the ocean depths and meadows, she meets Mosquito, who is grateful for Man, “tender and delicious,” and wishes there were no more frogs. Each watercolor-and-colored pencil image has its frame broken by a plant that springs from the bottom of the page: thistle, lily, lotus, rose. Mother Earth’s garments are a gown the color of rich earth and an ever-changing tunic with patterns of cloud or leaf or starfish or peacock feather or African kente cloth. Curvilinear and geometric patterns shape the illustrations as Earth Mother moves from the savannah to the snows, from falling rain to falling fireflies. Beautiful and satisfying; its own teachable moment. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-8027-8992-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2005

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

CHATO'S KITCHEN

Chato and Novio Boy, low-riding East Los Angeles homeboys of the feline variety, have dinner guests. The invitees, a family of five fat mice who just moved in next door, haven't an inkling that they are the intended main course. But when the mice bring along their friend Chorizo (a worldly mutt in a slouch beret) to share the grub, he thwarts the cats' connivings. This unlikely three- species chow-down is a sweet salute to Spanish cooking, with fajitas, frijoles, and quesadillas sharing center stage. Soto delivers a spare, clever text; the words skip like stones across water—``His tail began to swing to the rhythm. He felt the twinge of mambo in his hips.'' Guevara's swarming, luxuriant illustrations give the atmosphere palpability, with brushstrokes so fresh readers will want to stick their fingers in the paint to feel its texture. Menace hangs in the air; the artist mixes the sinisterness of R. Crumb with moments of Edvard Munch terror, yet it seems likely from the outset that the mice are more than capable of looking after themselves. Incidental touches—little devils and angels darting about, a bird wedding glimpsed through a window—are there for the sharp-eyed. Smart, with a nice edge. Soto's inspired finger-snapping prose has found an equally imaginative comrade in Guevara's colorful urban paintings. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 22, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-22658-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1995

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

JOHN PHILIP DUCK

Edward and his father work for the Peabody Hotel in Memphis since the Depression has brought hard times for so many. On weekends they return to their farm in the hills and it’s there Edward finds John Philip Duck, named for the composer whose marches Edward listens to on the radio. Edward has to look after the scrawny duckling during the week, so he risks the ire of the hotel manager by taking John Philip with him. The expected occurs when Mr. Shutt finds the duckling. The blustery manager makes Edward a deal. If Edward can train John Philip to swim in the hotel fountain all day (and lure in more customers), Edward and the duck can stay. After much hard work, John Philip learns to stay put and Edward becomes the first Duck Master at the hotel. This half-imagined story of the first of the famous Peabody Hotel ducks is one of Polacco’s most charming efforts to date. Her signature illustrations are a bit brighter and full of the music of the march. An excellent read aloud for older crowds, but the ever-so-slightly anthropomorphic ducks will come across best shared one-on-one. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-399-24262-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2004

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more