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From the Trade Winds series

Not of general interest to the intended audience.

The women of the Warli people of western India first produced wall murals, but now men commercially produce these designs on paper and canvases.

Focusing on quotidian activities, these paintings are highly recognizable due to their use of geometric shapes, including figures created with two triangles, one inverted above the other. White, rice-flour people, animals, trees, and symbols are traditionally painted on dark backgrounds made of red mud or cow dung. Jeong has skillfully created a series of paintings that look like the originals. She has taken a few liberties in doing one double-page spread with brown ink on a beige background and one illustration with a green background. Part of the Trade Winds series “featuring stories set in key periods of the history of economy and culture,” the book’s main attraction is the strong illustrations, which will probably appeal more to adults interested in folk art than young children. The simple text accompanying each spread is appropriate for children but often seems so generalized that it could almost describe any agricultural society. Troublingly, the book almost gives the impression that the Warli people no longer exist. The backmatter attempts to contextualize this culture within other agricultural societies but confuses rather than enlightens.

Not of general interest to the intended audience. (cultural, historical, and art-historical notes, glossary, timeline) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5476-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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A fragmentary memoir, but warm, humorous and engaging overall.

Anecdotal paintings and reminiscences of two childhood years spent in China, by an artist now in her 90s.

Following up Once Upon a Full Moon (2007), an account of her family’s journey from Canada to Kwangtung province, Quan recalls 17 experiences or incidents during the stay. These include feasting on New Year’s Day (“Mama steamed a whole chicken inside a winter melon and made sweet red and green bean paste…”), gathering to watch a teen relative take a bucket shower (“We all laughed with glee”), and welcoming both a new piglet and, later, a new baby brother. Opposite each memory, a full-page, loosely brushed watercolor in a naïve style adds both cultural and comical notes with depictions of small, active or intent figures in village dress and settings. It’s a sunny picture, but there are references to the real dangers of pirates and brigands, as well as a comment about the author’s beloved Popo (grandmother) walking to church on bound feet. These, along with a final parting made particularly poignant since the baby, being foreign-born, had to be left in China for several years, keep it from becoming a sugary nostalgiafest.

A fragmentary memoir, but warm, humorous and engaging overall. (afterword, with photo of Popo) (Illustrated memoir. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-77049-383-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2013

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Sad indeed, but a little bland—though less traumatic in the telling than the stories of Jumbo or the Faithful Elephants...

In this true tale of an elephant that crushed a keeper after peacefully giving zoo visitors rides for nearly 40 years, Fenton tones the drama down to near nonexistence (for better or worse).

Arriving at the Melbourne Zoo as a youngster, Queenie began giving rides in 1905. She became such a fixture that children wrote her letters, her birthday was celebrated each year, and she even marched in the Centenary Floral Parade in 1934. After creating an endearing but not anthropomorphic portrait of her pachyderm protagonist, the author, warning that “Queenie’s story has a sad ending,” goes on to explain that even though the 1944 killing might have been just an accident, “the gentle Indian elephant was put to sleep.” Furthermore, she was never replaced; the elephants in today’s zoo occupy a habitat where they can “do just what elephants like to do.” Neither the incident itself nor Queenie’s end are specifically described or depicted, and Gouldthorpe’s illustrations, which look like old, hand-tinted photographs, put a nostalgic distance between viewers and events.

Sad indeed, but a little bland—though less traumatic in the telling than the stories of Jumbo or the Faithful Elephants (1988) killed at the Tokyo Zoo. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 11, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6375-9

Page Count: 25

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2013

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