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ANGELS RIDE BIKES

AND OTHER FALL POEMS

Alarc¢n summons the Los Angeles of his youth in this fine collection of poems that are rendered in both English and Spanish, and complemented by Gonzalez’s merry painted photographs. In unrhymed verse, Alarc¢n celebrates a city that provided opportunities for his large family. Riding high here is the love of a mother and father who toil like demons while offering encouragement, protection, and warmth; of a grandmother, a wise and emboldening soul, who steps in when his parents are at work; of the neighborhood, with its memorable characters; and of the markets and the playful images they offer. Bananas make him think that “each bunch is a natural wonder/a splendid baseball glove.” Not all is fruity and bright in Alarc¢n’s world, e.g., the work his parents do is hard and mean, it is not easy for him to make the adjustment to a new school, and the city’s pollution: “from a window I look at the dirty gray air/I imagine trees crying in distress.” A tribute to a city, and to abiding family love. (Picture book/poetry. 5-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-89239-160-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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THE LEGEND OF THE LADY SLIPPER

AN OJIBWE TALE

Lunge-Larsen and Preus debut with this story of a flower that blooms for the first time to commemorate the uncommon courage of a girl who saves her people from illness. The girl, an Ojibwe of the northern woodlands, knows she must journey to the next village to get the healing herb, mash-ki- ki, for her people, who have all fallen ill. After lining her moccasins with rabbit fur, she braves a raging snowstorm and crosses a dark frozen lake to reach the village. Then, rather than wait for morning, she sets out for home while the villagers sleep. When she loses her moccasins in the deep snow, her bare feet are cut by icy shards, and bleed with every step until she reaches her home. The next spring beautiful lady slippers bloom from the place where her moccasins were lost, and from every spot her injured feet touched. Drawing on Ojibwe sources, the authors of this fluid retelling have peppered the tale with native words and have used traditional elements, e.g., giving voice to the forces of nature. The accompanying watercolors, with flowing lines, jewel tones, and decorative motifs, give stately credence to the story’s iconic aspects. (Picture book/folklore. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-90512-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1999

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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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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