Exquisite bookmaking and Pinkney at his finest.

THE NIGHTINGALE

Pinkney’s (Goin’ Someplace Special, 2001, etc.) gouache and watercolor illustrations have the stained radiance of sunlight through glass; even his figures appear lit from within.

This vividly imagined retelling of Andersen’s Nightingale places the story in Morocco rather than China, which gives Pinkney the opportunity for sumptuous detail and wonderful pattern-on-pattern textiles, abundant landscapes, elaborately carved furniture, and extravagantly jeweled objects. The story is true to its origins: the king hears of the beautiful song of the nightingale and commands her to sing for him; she does, and he is so enchanted he wants to keep her at court. She’s allowed out only when tied to silken strings, but she continues to sing for him. Then a wind-up nightingale, bedizened in gold and silver, diamonds and rubies, is brought to the king. Even though it only sings one song over and over, the king is dazzled, and the live nightingale flies away. When the wind-up nightingale eventually runs down and the king becomes ill, death sits on his chest and cannot be chased away by song. But the real nightingale returns to sing so sweetly that even death is beguiled, and leaves the king alone. The nightingale promises to return regularly to the king, if he will but listen to his heart, and he is cured. The kitchen girl who first brought the nightingale to court is rewarded. Gentle lessons about freedom, possession, and the power of music are imparted as sweetly as the nightingale’s song and as lavishly as a king’s treasure.

Exquisite bookmaking and Pinkney at his finest. (Picture book/fairy tale. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-8037-2464-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2002

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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TOMAS AND THE LIBRARY LADY

A charming, true story about the encounter between the boy who would become chancellor at the University of California at Riverside and a librarian in Iowa. Tom†s Rivera, child of migrant laborers, picks crops in Iowa in the summer and Texas in the winter, traveling from place to place in a worn old car. When he is not helping in the fields, Tom†s likes to hear Papa Grande's stories, which he knows by heart. Papa Grande sends him to the library downtown for new stories, but Tom†s finds the building intimidating. The librarian welcomes him, inviting him in for a cool drink of water and a book. Tom†s reads until the library closes, and leaves with books checked out on the librarian's own card. For the rest of the summer, he shares books and stories with his family, and teaches the librarian some Spanish. At the end of the season, there are big hugs and a gift exchange: sweet bread from Tom†s's mother and a shiny new book from the librarianto keep. Col¢n's dreamy illustrations capture the brief friendship and its life-altering effects in soft earth tones, using round sculptured shapes that often depict the boy right in the middle of whatever story realm he's entered. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-679-80401-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1997

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