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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000


Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity.

A collection of parental wishes for a child.

It starts out simply enough: two children run pell-mell across an open field, one holding a high-flying kite with the line “I wish you more ups than downs.” But on subsequent pages, some of the analogous concepts are confusing or ambiguous. The line “I wish you more tippy-toes than deep” accompanies a picture of a boy happily swimming in a pool. His feet are visible, but it's not clear whether he's floating in the deep end or standing in the shallow. Then there's a picture of a boy on a beach, his pockets bulging with driftwood and colorful shells, looking frustrated that his pockets won't hold the rest of his beachcombing treasures, which lie tantalizingly before him on the sand. The line reads: “I wish you more treasures than pockets.” Most children will feel the better wish would be that he had just the right amount of pockets for his treasures. Some of the wordplay, such as “more can than knot” and “more pause than fast-forward,” will tickle older readers with their accompanying, comical illustrations. The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic.

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2699-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015


Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your dreads! Isadora once again plies her hand using colorful, textured collages to depict her fourth fairy tale relocated to Africa. The narrative follows the basic story line: Taken by an evil sorceress at birth, Rapunzel is imprisoned in a tower; Rapunzel and the prince “get married” in the tower and she gets pregnant. The sorceress cuts off Rapunzel’s hair and tricks the prince, who throws himself from the tower and is blinded by thorns. The terse ending states: “The prince led Rapunzel and their twins to his kingdom, where they were received with great joy and lived happily every after.” Facial features, clothing, dreadlocks, vultures and the prince riding a zebra convey a generic African setting, but at times, the mixture of patterns and textures obfuscates the scenes. The textile and grain characteristic of the hewn art lacks the elegant romance of Zelinksy’s Caldecott version. Not a first purchase, but useful in comparing renditions to incorporate a multicultural aspect. (Picture book/fairy tale. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-399-24772-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2008

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