OSCAR WILDE'S THE SELFISH GIANT

PLB 0-375-90319-4 Waters’s retelling of this tale feels overly precious and disjointed, with the figure of the Christ child made curiously heavy by its artless inclusion. As those familiar with the story know, the giant is a big lout who returns to his paradisiacal garden after an extended absence to find it overrun with children having the time of their lives. He can’t stand their noise, so he boots them out and builds a wall. Spring comes to the garden late that year, and only arrives in the company of the children, plus one special child. That child brings with him the warmth of the sun and the joys of the season, and for that the giant is grateful; he is woebegone when that child, of all the children, does not return to the grounds—at least not until it is time for the giant to ascend into the child’s garden, Paradise. Negrin’s stylized paintings, with elaborate fabrics, elongated forms, and sculptured landscapes, are studied but arresting. They are unhampered by the stiff storytelling, which never makes clear the giant’s change of heart: from walling the children out to missing their laughter. (Picture book. 6-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-375-80319-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE COLORS OF US

This vibrant, thoughtful book from Katz (Over the Moon, 1997) continues her tribute to her adopted daughter, Lena, born in Guatemala. Lena is “seven. I am the color of cinnamon. Mom says she could eat me up”; she learns during a painting lesson that to get the color brown, she will have to “mix red, yellow, black, and white paints.” They go for a walk to observe the many shades of brown: they see Sonia, who is the color of creamy peanut butter; Isabella, who is chocolate brown; Lucy, both peachy and tan; Jo-Jin, the color of honey; Kyle, “like leaves in fall”; Mr. Pellegrino, the color of pizza crust, golden brown. Lena realizes that every shade is beautiful, then mixes her paints accordingly for portraits of her friends—“The colors of us!” Bold illustrations celebrate diversity with a child’s open-hearted sensibility and a mother’s love. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5864-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

LAUGH-ETERIA

Florian’s seventh collection of verse is also his most uneven; though the flair for clever rhyme that consistently lights up his other books, beginning with Monster Motel (1993), occasionally shows itself—“Hello, my name is Dracula/My clothing is all blackula./I drive a Cadillacula./I am a maniacula”—too many of the entries are routine limericks, putdowns, character portraits, rhymed lists that fall flat on the ear, or quick quips: “It’s hard to be anonymous/When you’re a hippopotamus.” Florian’s language and simple, thick-lined cartoons illustrations are equally ingenuous, and he sticks to tried-and-true subjects, from dinosaurs to school lunch, but the well of inspiration seems dry; revisit his hilarious Bing Bang Boing (1994) instead. (index) (Poetry. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202084-5

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more