TOO MUCH GARBAGE

Hints of playfulness are squashed beneath the message in this trite consciousness-raiser. Two lads comment on the litter they see while wandering city streets: “ ‘People throw garbage out their windows,’ ” says one as a toilet comes crashing down, “ ‘They throw it out of cars. And someday the cars themselves will be garbage.’ ” The two stand, finally, contemplating a sea of garbage bags and castoffs—until one spots a flower amidst the trash. “ ‘We need less garbage and more flowers . . . It’s up to us.’ ” Testa’s crisp, simple style (A Long Trip To Z, 1997, etc.) is not well-suited to depicting litter; even the rusting hulks in his overstuffed junkscapes have a clean, tidy look, and trash is so neatly drawn that it hardly looks used. This may make a good discussion-starter, especially with younger children, but such calls to action as Christopher Cheng’s One Child (1999) or Loreen Leedy’s Great Trash Bash (1991) convey the problem, and possible responses to it, in more urgent, convincing ways. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7358-1451-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2001

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An object lesson in the value of patience as well as a droll introduction to meta-what-now.

THE VERY IMPATIENT CATERPILLAR

Not every caterpillar gets the memo—or is, for that matter, temperamentally suited to spending two weeks immobilized in a chrysalis.

Seeing everyone headed up a tree (“We’re going to metamorphosize.” “Meta-WHAT-now?”) a clueless caterpillar hurries to follow. Despite the promise of a dazzling transformation, every step in the natural process, from spinning a chrysalis on, is an occasion for histrionic dismay (“It’s STILL Day 1?” “This is taking FOR-EV-ER!”). Gradually, though, the pop-eyed pupa’s kvetching quiets, the moans and groans turn to meditation (“Be one with the chrysalis”), and two weeks later: “I did it! I’m a BUTTERFLY!” Burach chronicles this miracle of nature in cartoon scenes as loud as the rapid patter, culminating in a migratory flight of butterflies and a final “ARE WE THERE YET?!” that hints at a character transformation that’s perhaps less complete than the physical one. It won’t be just adults chuckling at the interactions between the title character and its patiently pupating companions; all the characters speak in dialogue balloons, the protagonist’s green with purple text to match its chrysalis.

An object lesson in the value of patience as well as a droll introduction to meta-what-now. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-28941-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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THE RAIN CAME DOWN

The squabbles caused by a brief shower on a busy street turn to smiles under the ensuing rainbow in this picture-book mini-drama from the author of No, David! (1998). Plunked by the first few drops, some chickens squawk, exciting a cat whose yowls make a dog bark, which makes a man yell, which wakes up a baby . . . and so on, until traffic is jammed, horns are honking, store owners are out on the sidewalk bickering, and an awkward shopper knocks over a fruit stand. Then the rain stops, the sun comes out, bringing a rainbow, and just like that everyone’s annoyance melts away and life is sweeter. Using a bright palette and making small details and facial expressions stand out, Shannon creates a gleaming, rain-washed neighborhood of gently caricatured residents, all of whom fall into conventional gender roles but convey the episode’s moods, changeable as the weather, with theatrical flair. Broader, perhaps, but less refreshing in the end than Karen Hesse’s lyrical Come On, Rain! (1999). Save it for a rainy day. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-439-05021-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2000

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