SHOESHINE WHITTAKER

PLB 0-8027-8715-0 It’s muddy, and the people’s shoes are cruddy, in Mudville, a state of affairs that suits Shoeshine Whittaker, itinerant buffer of footwear, just fine. His wagon rolls into the frontier town early one morning, he sets up his guaranteed-shine shop, and by evening he’s a richer man, with a whole town of spit-polished beauty in his wake. The next morning he is rudely awakened by the sheriff; the citizenry’s shoes are no longer as “shiny as a mail-order mirror.” Shoeshine points out that he didn’t guarantee the shoes would stay sparkling, but must do some fast-thinking to keep the mob at bay. He puts his rags to the ultimate test, polishing up the whole town so as to keep his guarantee good; he dazzles the townfolk into a state of eyestrain, headaches, and a new wish for Shoeshine’s hide. When he devises a shine-duller, the good old mud of Mudville, all returns to normal. Satisfaction guaranteed is a notion that Ketteman plays with to good comic effect. Goto’s artwork lights a fire under the story’s action, with mock high drama and midst-of-the-doings perspectives. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8027-8714-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 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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THERE'S A WARDROBE IN MY MONSTER!

Small, saucy Martha is not a child to put in pink. She wears black-and-white, highly graphic dresses, including one long-sleeved number with a bull’s-eye on the belly. She has mastered the management of her boring goldfish, somnolent cat, and clueless dog, and she opines that it is high time to acquire a large, ugly monster. Forthwith, she marches out with her piggy-bank. The nearest pet shop stocks only small monsters, but one green fellow has an pleasingly awful grin. It’s a done deal: “Keep the pig,” Martha says as she exits with her purchase. Martha knows that the monster eats only wood, but she doesn’t know that twigs will be followed by branches, planks from the dog’s dismantled kennel, her bed legs, and her bottom drawer. As the monster grows, so does its appetite, until the only place left to put it is in the wardrobe—which it promptly eats. Enough is enough for Martha, but the pet shop man offers only exchanges; against his advice, Martha selects an egg with green and purple splotches. As the original monster gets pushed out the back door, readers will delight in the dreadful possibilities inherent in this twist. It’s a romp of a tale to read aloud, with a tongue-in-cheek text; the vigorous pictures more than support and extend this illustrious excursion into the consequences of pet ownership. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 1999

ISBN: 1-57505-414-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lerner

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1999

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