FROG LEGS

A collection of 24 deliberately silly poems illustrated with dancing, prancing, and hopping frogs. The poems are amusing and cute and full of wordplay. “Uh-oh. MUD. SO? / Slide a slicker slip step. / Stomp a sloppy plop step. / Covered head-to-toe step. / Dance until you’re dry!” Some rhyme, some don’t, and one, “Jumpabet,” a jump rope rhyme, is shaped in an arc like a long jump rope. The problem is that after a while, the poems begin to seem awfully alike. While they’re full of movement and action, there is really no focus to the collection. They are not really about frogs (except for the one about catching flies with your tongue) but are about things children do, like playing hopscotch, trick-or-treating, ice-skating, and square dancing. The illustrations, painted with acrylics, consist of anthropomorphic frogs with spindly legs and arms in a wide variety of unlikely poses, but again, they become repetitive, with each illustration seeming too much like the one before. The images are amusing enough, but not clever enough to sustain the reader through 24 poems. The palette is oddly drab, with dull greens, blues, and pinks predominating. Not an essential choice for one’s collection, but a nice book for kids who love frogs and nonsense poetry. (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 31, 2000

ISBN: 0-688-17047-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

NOT A BOX

Dedicated “to children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes,” this elemental debut depicts a bunny with big, looping ears demonstrating to a rather thick, unseen questioner (“Are you still standing around in that box?”) that what might look like an ordinary carton is actually a race car, a mountain, a burning building, a spaceship or anything else the imagination might dream up. Portis pairs each question and increasingly emphatic response with a playscape of Crockett Johnson–style simplicity, digitally drawn with single red and black lines against generally pale color fields. Appropriately bound in brown paper, this makes its profound point more directly than such like-themed tales as Marisabina Russo’s Big Brown Box (2000) or Dana Kessimakis Smith’s Brave Spaceboy (2005). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-112322-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2006

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more