THE LEGEND OF THE COQUÍ

Make room for this book on the pourquoi shelf.

An origin story about Puerto Rico’s iconic coquí frog.

In this story, Lázaro presents an original legend surrounding the coquí. Like many legends, it starts “long, long ago” at a time when “life was so easy that the animals didn’t have to do much but eat, sleep, nap, and snack.” Naturally, this behavior leads to a lethargy that does not please the queen of the forest, the parrot. And a race is announced. One representative from each type of animal will race. Whichever one wins, all of its type will get “a fantastic prize.” With many an onomatopoeic sound, the competitors exercise and get ready for the big day, all except for the quiet little frogs. Their representative hops, jumps, and leaps with glee on its face, but no sound issues from its throat. It will come as no surprise to readers—but is no less satisfying—to find the little frog wins the race. And, the prize? Why, the sound that visitors to the island to this very day can still hear: “coquí.” Bright and colorful illustrations beautifully capture the Puerto Rican rainforest setting, rendered mostly in double-page spreads. The movement-filled illustrations are as dynamic as the race itself, with display type adding playful emphasis.

Make room for this book on the pourquoi shelf. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4788-6802-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Reycraft Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

RAPUNZEL

From the Once Upon a World series

Adults wishing to expand the worldviews of their young charges beyond Eurocentric interpretations will find plenty of visual...

A retelling of the classic fairy tale with India as its setting.

This latest addition to the Once Upon A World series tells the well-known story of the maiden with beautiful long tresses locked away in a tower by an evil witch and the prince who falls in love with her. As with Perkins’ Cinderella (illustrated by Sandra Equihua, 2016) and Snow White (illustrated by Misa Saburi, 2016), the text has been simplified for a younger audience, and the distinguishing twist here is its setting in India. The mixed-media illustrations of plants, animals, village life, and, of course, Rapunzel, the witch, and the prince come alive in warm, saturated colors. Other than the visuals, there is little to differentiate the story from traditional tellings. As always, it is still the prince who will eventually lead Rapunzel to her salvation by taking her to his kingdom far away from the witch, but that is the nature of fairy tales. The only quibble with this book and indeed with this series is the board-book format. Given the fact that the audience most likely to enjoy it is beyond the board-book age, a full-size book would have done more justice to the vibrant artwork.

Adults wishing to expand the worldviews of their young charges beyond Eurocentric interpretations will find plenty of visual delights in this one, though they’ll wish it were bigger. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9072-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

NOISY POEMS FOR A BUSY DAY

While in no way pushing the creative envelope, this light-verse picture book still has much to offer pre-readers looking for...

Thirty poetic firecrackers chronicle a young child’s day.

Combining themes that worked well in the popular Crocodiles Say… (2005) and Crocodiles Play! (2009, both illustrated by Rae Maté), here Heidbreder joins forces with illustrator Smith to capture children at their most active and carefree as they go about their routines from dawn to bedtime. Together, these Canadian creators paint a warm portrait of suburban daily life, with kids enjoying their friends, siblings, pets, sunshine—all the basic pleasures of the moment. Heidbreder’s five-line sonic bursts, such as “Now Back Down,” are generally not contemplative poems but employ tight trochaic dimeter and trimeter to underscore the joy to be had in getting out in the world and exploring: “Bummy-wiggle. / Slip-down…THUD! / Gurpy-slurpy. / Hello, mud! / Plop!” And Smith’s simple, retro illustrations, rendered in pencil and colored digitally, ably depict the action of various scenes, using bold colors and spare facial expressions to show children, pets and yard animals like rabbits and birds at play. Notably absent from these illustrations are adults, whose influence is only subtly felt, as providers of a picnic or dinnertime spread, or heard in reconciling a playground spat or lending behavioral suggestions (especially regarding table manners).

While in no way pushing the creative envelope, this light-verse picture book still has much to offer pre-readers looking for affirmation of what constitutes a full day of fun. (Picture book/poetry. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-55453-706-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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