ANANSI GOES FISHING

In what the author describes on the jacket as ``a variation of a [West African] tale found in Joyce Cooper Arkhurst's The Adventures of Spider,'' the spider trickster is roundly tricked by his friend Turtle. Turtle agrees to teach Anansi to fish, describing the first step, netmaking, as hard work they can share: ``One of us can work while the other gets tired.'' Lazy Anansi is quick to choose work, while Turtle lounges peacefully in the chair he has brought, ``getting very tired.'' So it goes until a fish is finally caught and consumed by Turtle: ``One of us should eat while the other gets full.'' Finally catching on, the hungry Anansi goes to Warthog for justice but gets no sympathy—his reputation is known, and his story, though true, is outrageously implausible. At least he's learned to weave a web. Kimmel's funny, accessible telling is nicely complemented in Stevens's art, depicting the lively events in bold lines and assertive colors and adding amusing details like Turtle's accumulating beach-style paraphernalia—including a loudly flowered shirt and a boombox. Sure to delight the picture book crowd. (Folklore/Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: April 15, 1992

ISBN: 0-8234-0918-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1992

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Sincere and wholehearted.

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I PROMISE

The NBA star offers a poem that encourages curiosity, integrity, compassion, courage, and self-forgiveness.

James makes his debut as a children’s author with a motivational poem touting life habits that children should strive for. In the first-person narration, he provides young readers with foundational self-esteem encouragement layered within basketball descriptions: “I promise to run full court and show up each time / to get right back up and let my magic shine.” While the verse is nothing particularly artful, it is heartfelt, and in her illustrations, Mata offers attention-grabbing illustrations of a diverse and enthusiastic group of children. Scenes vary, including classrooms hung with student artwork, an asphalt playground where kids jump double Dutch, and a gym populated with pint-sized basketball players, all clearly part of one bustling neighborhood. Her artistry brings black and brown joy to the forefront of each page. These children evince equal joy in learning and in play. One particularly touching double-page spread depicts two vignettes of a pair of black children, possibly siblings; in one, they cuddle comfortably together, and in the other, the older gives the younger a playful noogie. Adults will appreciate the closing checklist of promises, which emphasize active engagement with school. A closing note very generally introduces principles that underlie the Lebron James Family Foundation’s I Promise School (in Akron, Ohio). (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 15% of actual size.)

Sincere and wholehearted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-297106-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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ZIN! ZIN! ZIN! A VIOLIN

A trombone pulls a long note, to which is added the bite of a trumpet, then the downdraft of a French horn—a solo becomes a duo becomes a trio—and so on until a complete chamber group of ten (one more than a nonet) is assembled. This introduction to the members of the orchestra doubles as a counting book and triples as a cultivated piece of good fun. In his first book, Moss brings a love to classical music that spills from each page: readers' feet will tap to the beat of his verse, and they will hear the throb of horns. And though touched everywhere by whimsy, the book conveys the sense of magic that surrounds an orchestral performance. Priceman's bright gouache concoctions suggest Toulouse-Lautrec in cartoon mode. With nimble wit, she humanizes the musicians, taking away the distance that formal attire, serious purpose, and intense concentration can create. Her characters crackle across the spreads; flamboyant, quick renderings make the instruments come alive, fitting hand in glove with the zippy verse. Put this spirited production in front of readers before their next young people's concert, and show them just what happens after The Philharmonic Gets Dressed (Harper & Row, 1982). (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-671-88239-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1995

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