BUNNIES, CROCODILES, AND ME

STORIES OF BABY BEGINNINGS

The cuddly baby bunny image on the jacket is not the most representative sensibility of this collection of tales written and illustrated by European artists—Peter Allen, Catherine Benas, Anne Brouillard, Alain Crozon, Gilles Eduar, Pascal Estellon, Katja Gehrmann, Bruno Gilbert, and Muzo—who tend more toward the wild and woolly. The first tale by Eduar is a truncated scheme of evolution, which gets people onto the scene with dispatch, then sets them off on little, ocean-going rafts to “see what they would see.” That answers the unstated premise question of the project, “Where did I come from?” with the same visual and textual abandon of many of the tales. Gehrmann’s “Me,” for example, may be best described as an Expressionistic cutaway of the gestation and birth of a calf. Muzo’s little monster, also seen in cutaway, doesn’t want to be born at all until its big brother promises a fight. Offerings for the very youngest children include a quick counting story by Allen, “1 to 10 in the Maternity Ward,” and an object identification chart of what’s “In My Suitcase.” Brouillard’s “Lots of Little Things” is very French in mien and mood, full of atomistic musings. There is something here for nearly every taste and developmental level, ideal for readers who don’t object to being dropped abruptly into a strange, fantastic, richly textured rabbit hole. (Anthology. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8109-4105-8

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1999

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

THERE'S A WARDROBE IN MY MONSTER!

Small, saucy Martha is not a child to put in pink. She wears black-and-white, highly graphic dresses, including one long-sleeved number with a bull’s-eye on the belly. She has mastered the management of her boring goldfish, somnolent cat, and clueless dog, and she opines that it is high time to acquire a large, ugly monster. Forthwith, she marches out with her piggy-bank. The nearest pet shop stocks only small monsters, but one green fellow has an pleasingly awful grin. It’s a done deal: “Keep the pig,” Martha says as she exits with her purchase. Martha knows that the monster eats only wood, but she doesn’t know that twigs will be followed by branches, planks from the dog’s dismantled kennel, her bed legs, and her bottom drawer. As the monster grows, so does its appetite, until the only place left to put it is in the wardrobe—which it promptly eats. Enough is enough for Martha, but the pet shop man offers only exchanges; against his advice, Martha selects an egg with green and purple splotches. As the original monster gets pushed out the back door, readers will delight in the dreadful possibilities inherent in this twist. It’s a romp of a tale to read aloud, with a tongue-in-cheek text; the vigorous pictures more than support and extend this illustrious excursion into the consequences of pet ownership. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 1999

ISBN: 1-57505-414-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lerner

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more