THE SEVEN CHAIRS

Ostensibly paying homage to the illustration “The Seven Chairs” from Chris Van Allsburg’s The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (1984), Lanteigne explores the destiny of the seven chairs a man created during his life. Lanteigne’s chairs act as an analogy for the man’s growth and development. Cyclical in nature, the book begins and ends with two crooked three-legged stools: one made in the early years of the man’s life and one created in old age, both becoming the property of a calico cat. In the ensuing years the man produces a chair with a heart carved into it to express his love, as well as a child-sized one for his daughter. The destination of his fifth chair is Paris, though Van Allsburg wasn’t so specific (“The fifth one ended up in France”). There is humor to be found in the destinies of the various chairs, e.g., his masterpiece ends up as “the prop that held open the screen door of Miss Maybelle Jenkins’s Beauty and Tea Parlor.” Kovalski creates heavily pigmented pictures with lush images that lend an appropriate other-era, other-worldly feeling to the journeys of the chairs. A great book to inspire children to ponder the “lives” of the objects around them. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-531-30110-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1998

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RAIN SCHOOL

It takes a village to make a school. In Chad, big brothers and sisters lead the way for younger children on the first day of school. Little Thomas is full of questions. When he and the other children arrive, there are no classrooms and no desks. But the teacher's there, holding a trowel. "We will build our school," she declares. Everyone sets to work, making mud bricks that dry in the sun and a roof out of grass and saplings. Thomas loves his lessons; every day he learns something new. At the end of the school year, the minds of the students "are fat with knowledge." And just in time: The rainy season arrives and makes short work of the schoolhouse. Come September, they'll start all over. Rumford's illustrations make great use of color, dark brown skin and bright shirts, shorts and dresses against golden backgrounds, the hues applied in smudgy layers that infuse each scene with warmth—until the gray rains arrive. It's a nifty social-studies lesson tucked into a warm tale of community. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-24307-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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UNICORN WINGS

The can’t-miss subject of this Step into Reading series entry—a unicorn with a magic horn who also longs for wings—trumps its text, which is dry even by easy-reader standards. A boy unicorn, whose horn has healing powers, reveals his wish to a butterfly in a castle garden, a bluebird in the forest and a snowy white swan in a pond. Falling asleep at the edge of the sea, the unicorn is visited by a winged white mare. He heals her broken wing and she flies away. After sadly invoking his wish once more, he sees his reflection: “He had big white wings!” He flies off after the mare, because he “wanted to say, ‘Thank you.’ ” Perfectly suiting this confection, Silin-Palmer’s pictures teem with the mass market–fueled iconography of what little girls are (ostensibly) made of: rainbows, flowers, twinkly stars and, of course, manes down to there. (Easy reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2006

ISBN: 0-375-83117-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2006

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