MY PARENTS THINK I’M SLEEPING

First published as a Greenwillow stand-alone in 1985, this welcome I Can Read entry features Abolafia’s updated, full-color illustrations for Prelutsky’s 14 poetic explorations of the not-too-scary night. Prelutsky engages the reader conspiratorially by leading with the title poem, for which the artist supplies the resourceful brown-haired narrator with flash-lit books and model rocket parts, substituting an electronic game gadget for the earlier transistor radio. The pictures provide some amusing extensions. The lad dreamily plans his nighttime snack attack in “Chocolate Cake:” “I will slip into the kitchen/ without any noise or light, / and if I’m really careful, / I will have that cake tonight.” In the facing picture, he catches his like-minded dad with cake in hand, cheeks bulging. The poems focus on gentle, philosophical musings about day, night, sun and sky, and the boy’s mastery of his own nighttime fears is a developmentally appropriate touch. A nicely repackaged addition to a genre much needed within the easy-reader realm: poetry. (Easy reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-06-053720-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2007

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ALL THE COLORS OF THE EARTH

This heavily earnest celebration of multi-ethnicity combines full-bleed paintings of smiling children, viewed through a golden haze dancing, playing, planting seedlings, and the like, with a hyperbolic, disconnected text—``Dark as leopard spots, light as sand,/Children buzz with laughter that kisses our land...''— printed in wavy lines. Literal-minded readers may have trouble with the author's premise, that ``Children come in all the colors of the earth and sky and sea'' (green? blue?), and most of the children here, though of diverse and mixed racial ancestry, wear shorts and T-shirts and seem to be about the same age. Hamanaka has chosen a worthy theme, but she develops it without the humor or imagination that animates her Screen of Frogs (1993). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-688-11131-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1994

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HONEY, I LOVE

Iffy art cramps this 25th-anniversary reissue of the joyful title poem from Greenfield’s first collection (1978), illustrated by the Dillons. As timeless as ever, the poem celebrates everything a child loves, from kissing Mama’s warm, soft arm to listening to a cousin from the South, “ ’cause every word he says / just kind of slides out of his mouth.” “I love a lot of things / a whole lot of things,” the narrator concludes, “And honey, / I love ME, too.” The African-American child in the pictures sports an updated hairstyle and a big, infectious grin—but even younger viewers will notice that the spray of cool water that supposedly “stings my stomach” isn’t aimed there, and that a comforter on the child’s bed changes patterns between pages. More problematic, though, is a dropped doll that suddenly acquires a horrified expression that makes it look disturbingly like a live baby, and the cutesy winged fairy that hovers over the sleeping child in the final scene. The poem deserves better. (Picture book/poetry. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-06-009123-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2002

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