MONKEY AND ME

“Monkey and me, / Monkey and me, / Monkey and me, / We went to see, / We went to see some . . . / PENGUINS!” An ebullient little girl plays with her toy monkey, imagining visits to penguins, kangaroos and monkeys, of course, among others in this joyous tribute to the preschooler’s imagination. The bouncy text never varies, except for the payoff line, which is set up by a spread of the two friends’ playing at animal imitations. Gravett’s smudgy pencil-and-watercolor vignettes feature a ponytailed little girl in a skirt and Velcro sneakers, her rumpled red tights and red-and-white striped shirt (which flops down, revealing her belly button as she hangs upside-down like a bat) the only bright spots in otherwise gray-and-sepia sketches. The broadly smiling tot needs no more color, her complete absorption in her play rendered with happy abandon. These vignettes dance across the lead-in spread; turn the page, and “BATS!” flap, “ELEPHANTS!” clomp. Playfully set typography finishes off this fizzy offering, which is perfectly in tune with the way a child’s imagination and a beloved toy are all the ingredients needed for happiness. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 4, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4169-5457-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2008

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Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun.

CLOTHESLINE CLUES TO JOBS PEOPLE DO

From the Clothesline Clues series

Heling and Hembrook’s clever conceit challenges children to analyze a small town’s clotheslines to guess the job each of their owners does. 

Close-up on the clothesline: “Uniform and cap, / an invite for you. / Big bag of letters. / What job does she do?” A turn of the page reveals a macro view of the home, van and the woman doing her job, “She is a mail carrier.” Indeed, she can be spotted throughout the book delivering invitations to all the rest of the characters, who gather at the end for a “Launch Party.” The verses’ rhymes are spot-on, though the rhythm falters a couple of times. The authors nicely mix up the gender stereotypes often associated with several of these occupations, making the carpenter, firefighter and astronaut women. But while Davies keeps uniforms and props pretty neutral (he even avoids U.S. mail symbols), he keeps to the stereotypes that allow young readers to easily identify occupations—the farmer chews on a stalk of wheat; the beret-wearing artist sports a curly mustache. A subdued palette and plain white backgrounds keep kids’ focus on the clothing clues. Still, there are plenty of details to absorb—the cat with arched back that anticipates a spray of water, the firefighter who “lights” the rocket.

Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58089-251-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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THIS IS OUR HOUSE

Nine kids drag a cardboard box into a playground, where George immediately takes over: ``This house is mine and no one else is coming in.'' The others try to get past him, but George won't let them inside—and he explains why not: ``This house isn't for girls,'' ``This house isn't for people with glasses,'' etc. After he temporarily vacates the box to go to the bathroom, he finds that the others have declared the house off-limits to ``people with red hair.'' George, who has red hair, has an epiphany: ``This house is for everyone!'' Rosen (A School for Pompey Walker, 1995, etc.) has written a persuasive and entertaining morality play. For all its cadences, the dialogue is pungently realistic, perfectly reflecting the reasoning that goes on among children. The ethnically diverse cast appears against a stark white urban background of high-rise apartment buildings. These unassuming pictures are surprisingly powerful; Graham grays some characters and leaves others in full- color to shift the spotlight from scene to scene, then further emphasizes this theatrical effect by zooming in or pulling back from the action. Overall, it's real cartoon drama. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 1996

ISBN: 1-56402-870-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1996

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