HONORING OUR ANCESTORS

STORIES AND PICTURES BY FOURTEEN ARTISTS

Rohmer reassembles part of the original cast of Just Like Me (1997, not reviewed) and adds new faces for this showcase. With a full-page painting and a brief anecdote, each artist pays tribute to a family or spiritual ancestor: George Crespo to his Puerto Rican abuelo; icon painter Mark Dukes to Mahatma Gandhi and others; JoeSam to the three Harlem aunts who raised him; Australian-born Mira Reisberg to a gallery of inspirational figures that includes Groucho Marx. Although done in individual styles, the art’s crisp lines, bold colors, and commonality of feeling create a visual unity unusual to albums of this sort, a unity reinforced by the artists’ unforced, natural-sounding statements. Captioned portrait photographs of each contributor and, where possible, each ancestor, further strengthen connections between past and present, between reader and artist. (Picture book. 9-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-89239-158-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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LAUGH-ETERIA

Florian’s seventh collection of verse is also his most uneven; though the flair for clever rhyme that consistently lights up his other books, beginning with Monster Motel (1993), occasionally shows itself—“Hello, my name is Dracula/My clothing is all blackula./I drive a Cadillacula./I am a maniacula”—too many of the entries are routine limericks, putdowns, character portraits, rhymed lists that fall flat on the ear, or quick quips: “It’s hard to be anonymous/When you’re a hippopotamus.” Florian’s language and simple, thick-lined cartoons illustrations are equally ingenuous, and he sticks to tried-and-true subjects, from dinosaurs to school lunch, but the well of inspiration seems dry; revisit his hilarious Bing Bang Boing (1994) instead. (index) (Poetry. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202084-5

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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THE COLORS OF US

This vibrant, thoughtful book from Katz (Over the Moon, 1997) continues her tribute to her adopted daughter, Lena, born in Guatemala. Lena is “seven. I am the color of cinnamon. Mom says she could eat me up”; she learns during a painting lesson that to get the color brown, she will have to “mix red, yellow, black, and white paints.” They go for a walk to observe the many shades of brown: they see Sonia, who is the color of creamy peanut butter; Isabella, who is chocolate brown; Lucy, both peachy and tan; Jo-Jin, the color of honey; Kyle, “like leaves in fall”; Mr. Pellegrino, the color of pizza crust, golden brown. Lena realizes that every shade is beautiful, then mixes her paints accordingly for portraits of her friends—“The colors of us!” Bold illustrations celebrate diversity with a child’s open-hearted sensibility and a mother’s love. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5864-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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