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THE PEACEABLE KINGDOM

A curious, rather long fable about three animals (a lion, a leopard, and a wolf) who come out of Edward Hicks's painting of The Peaceable Kingdom in the Brooklyn Museum and cause a stir in the nearby botanical garden. While the animals huddle together, wide-eyed, a seven-year-old observes that ``They're beautiful and they're scared....We have to help them,'' but adults are terrified and the police prepare to shoot. The mayor, the press, and famous professors get into the debate about what to do; no one knows what to make of these creatures, which are evidently not predatory. Finally, after a little boy who has seen the animals in the museum recognizes them, the children from the painting are fetched to take the animals back into it. The truants are ready, but sad; they had thought that surely by now the world, too, would be peaceable. Not yet—but everyone is moved by their tears. An intriguing entrÇe into both the Quaker painter's art and its subject. Olbinski's spare, classically constructed settings harmonize nicely with his renderings of Hicks's figures. Reproduction of the painting and list of Hicks's 18 other variations on it; note. (Picture book. 5-11)

Pub Date: June 28, 1994

ISBN: 0-9638904-0-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1994

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TALES FOR VERY PICKY EATERS

Broccoli: No way is James going to eat broccoli. “It’s disgusting,” says James. Well then, James, says his father, let’s consider the alternatives: some wormy dirt, perhaps, some stinky socks, some pre-chewed gum? James reconsiders the broccoli, but—milk? “Blech,” says James. Right, says his father, who needs strong bones? You’ll be great at hide-and-seek, though not so great at baseball and kickball and even tickling the dog’s belly. James takes a mouthful. So it goes through lumpy oatmeal, mushroom lasagna and slimy eggs, with James’ father parrying his son’s every picky thrust. And it is fun, because the father’s retorts are so outlandish: the lasagna-making troll in the basement who will be sent back to the rat circus, there to endure the rodent’s vicious bites; the uneaten oatmeal that will grow and grow and probably devour the dog that the boy won’t be able to tickle any longer since his bones are so rubbery. Schneider’s watercolors catch the mood of gentle ribbing, the looks of bewilderment and surrender and the deadpanned malarkey. It all makes James’ father’s last urging—“I was just going to say that you might like them if you tried them”—wholly fresh and unexpected advice. (Early reader. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-547-14956-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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