CHAMELIA

A headstrong little chameleon enjoys bucking the crowd until she learns moderation. Chamelia loves to stand out at school, while all the other chameleons happily blend in. They can’t believe her crazy clothes: Who wears a leopard-print pillbox hat to lunch, a sequined shift dress for sports and a feathered helmet on scooter rides? Chamelia’s fabulous frocks and cute obliviousness to her sometimes estranging individuality make her an endearing, original character. When self-expression causes Chamelia to let down classmates on the soccer field, in the choir and on the stage, her parents suggest that by working hard both you and your team can shine. Short sentences prompt children to look at facial expressions and illustrative details for plot development and humor. A striated collage of wild fabrics on the endpapers cues readers to look for more photographs of real fabric patterns in Chamelia’s wardrobe. This clever incorporation of actual textiles, as busy and vibrant as Chamelia herself, invigorates intentionally muted illustrations—the other chameleons are all rendered in faded pastels, while Chamelia really pops. Readers might remark that Chamelia’s immediate willingness to step out of the spotlight seems out of character, but then again, she is one unique lizard. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 3, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-316-08612-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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A cozy read for bibliophiles.

SNOWMAN'S STORY

With echoes of “Frosty the Snowman” in the background, a snowman’s storybook within this wordless book delivers a comic wintertime romp.

Woodland creatures build a snowman, giving him a green book as a finishing touch. This addition comes right after a windswept top hat lands on his head, vivifying him à la Frosty. Hidden inside is a rabbit (it is a magic hat, after all); attentive readers will have seen the hat first on frontmatter pages and then with the bunny in the double-page spreads before the early ones devoted to the snowman’s construction. The snowman reads his book aloud to the animals, with the rabbit surreptitiously listening in, its ears poking out of the top of the hat. When the others all drift off to sleep, the bunny emerges and steals away with the book. A chase ensues across snowy terrain and through a series of pages (perhaps a few too many for good pacing) replete with comic-style panels. When the animals and snowman confront the rabbit in its tree-hollow home, its motivation for book thievery is revealed: This bunny has a family and wishes to share the story with its children. All’s well that ends well, and the animals convene (safely outside and away from the rabbit family’s crackling fireplace) to read together.

A cozy read for bibliophiles. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4787-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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