THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES

From Lewis (The Steadfast Tin Soldier, 1992, etc.), a plucky new treatment of the familiar tale. Here the emperor, everyone's favorite sartorial obsessive, is a preWW I dandy, but he is the same chump as always, duped by the two prankster weavers. Their cloth, ``invisible to anyone who was unfit for his job or particularly stupid,'' has all the court's self-important retainers and grandees in a swivet: They can't see the cloth but dare not admit it in fear of being branded an incompetent or a fool. The ruse goes all the way to the top, to the emperor's self-doubts and conventionality, and his absurd procession: When exposed for the clown he is by a child's shout, the emperor remains calm`` `If I stop, it will spoil the procession. And that would never do.' So on he stepped, even more proudly than before.'' The translation is fine and sure, and Barrett's artwork is splendid, full of lively vignettes and early-20th-century details, complete with a company of wise dogs and the impeccably expressive faces of bystanders. (Picture book/folklore. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-7636-0119-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1997

RIVER STORY

Trickling, bubbling, swirling, rushing, a river flows down from its mountain beginnings, past peaceful country and bustling city on its way to the sea. Hooper (The Drop in My Drink, 1998, etc.) artfully evokes the water’s changing character as it transforms from “milky-cold / rattling-bold” to a wide, slow “sliding past mudflats / looping through marshes” to the end of its journey. Willey, best known for illustrating Geraldine McCaughrean’s spectacular folk-tale collections, contributes finely detailed scenes crafted in shimmering, intricate blues and greens, capturing mountain’s chill, the bucolic serenity of passing pastures, and a sense of mystery in the water’s shadowy depths. Though Hooper refers to “the cans and cartons / and bits of old wood” being swept along, there’s no direct conservation agenda here (for that, see Debby Atwell’s River, 1999), just appreciation for the river’s beauty and being. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7636-0792-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

KEENA FORD AND THE FIELD TRIP MIX-UP

Keena Ford’s second-grade class is taking a field trip to the United States Capitol. This good-hearted girl works hard to behave, but her impulsive decisions have a way of backfiring, no matter how hard she tries to do the right thing. In this second book in a series, Keena cuts off one of her braids and later causes a congressman to fall down the stairs. The first-person journal format is a stretch—most second graders can barely write, let alone tell every detail of three days of her life. Children will wonder how Keena can cut one of her “two thick braids” all the way off by pretend-snipping in the air. They will be further confused because the cover art clearly shows Keena with a completely different hairdo on the field trip than the one described. Though a strong African-American heroine is most welcome in chapter books and Keena and her family are likable and realistic, this series needs more polish before Keena writes about her next month in school. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: July 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3264-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2009

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