ROSA RAPOSA

Deep in the Brazilian jungle, Rosa Raposa is making mischief. Basing the adventures of this crafty fox on stories recalled from childhood, Campoy has moved the setting from Spain to the Amazon Rainforest. Campoy skillfully crafts three episodes, each bearing its own title, in which Rosa outsmarts her long-suffering adversary, Jaguar. The mood is light and humorous as Jaguar is lured into a pit, is tied to a tree, or lands in the middle of a bee swarm. Set amid exotic flora and fauna, Aruego and Dewey’s characteristic illustrations blend pen and ink, watercolor, and pastels. Most scenes are entrenched in shades of green, but remain engaging as the sky varies—from lavender to pale yellow to bright blue—with each turn of the page. A combination of sharp pen-and-ink edges and minimal shading creates a two-dimensional quality, enhancing the folk tone of the work. The inclusion and rendering of the jungle’s inhabitants makes this a superlative medium to introduce South America to small children. An author’s note supplies a short glossary, defining some of the Amazonian plants and animals appearing in Rosa’s exploits. These brains-over-brawn tales are an exceptional experience in folk storytelling, with an education in the Amazon as a bonus. Jaguar had better keep his promise to return. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-15-202161-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Gulliver/Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2002

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UNICORN WINGS

The can’t-miss subject of this Step into Reading series entry—a unicorn with a magic horn who also longs for wings—trumps its text, which is dry even by easy-reader standards. A boy unicorn, whose horn has healing powers, reveals his wish to a butterfly in a castle garden, a bluebird in the forest and a snowy white swan in a pond. Falling asleep at the edge of the sea, the unicorn is visited by a winged white mare. He heals her broken wing and she flies away. After sadly invoking his wish once more, he sees his reflection: “He had big white wings!” He flies off after the mare, because he “wanted to say, ‘Thank you.’ ” Perfectly suiting this confection, Silin-Palmer’s pictures teem with the mass market–fueled iconography of what little girls are (ostensibly) made of: rainbows, flowers, twinkly stars and, of course, manes down to there. (Easy reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2006

ISBN: 0-375-83117-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2006

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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