I MEANT TO TELL YOU

From a deliberately awkward first line—``I meant to tell you, before I forget''—to the final scene, in which a man, child, and dog walk away from readers down a beach, this newest intergenerational love letter from Stevenson (The Bones in the Cliff, 1995, etc.) has a wistful tone. A father assures his daughter (and himself, perhaps) that he does indeed remember taking her for walks as a toddler, having to leave her at nursery school for the first time and drive away, teaching her to ride a bike, helping her not to be afraid to jump off a dock (``You knew that I'd catch you''), as well as her drawing, dancing, and laughter- -``It was a while ago . . . but I remember.'' Stevenson displays his usual wizardry with a brush, expertly capturing moods and gestures, place and dress, even a page of potential jack-o'- lanterns (``No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. Yes!'') with short strokes and a dab or two. Less anchored in the long-ago than his other recent picture-book reminiscences (Higher on the Door, 1987; July, 1990; etc.), this will inspire conversations between parents and children of any age. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-688-14177-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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This book falls short of its promise.

LITTLE HEROES OF COLOR

50 WHO MADE A BIG DIFFERENCE

A compendium of profiles of people of color who have changed the world.

Each page of this colorful board book contains between four and nine profiles of people of color whose activism and leadership have changed the world. The descriptive text for each leader chosen is extremely short—only one sentence long—quickly outlining each person’s background, heritage, accomplishments, and little else. Each profile is accompanied by a bobbleheadlike cartoon illustration of the leader in question, rendered with bold colors and nearly identical in their simplified facial features. The heroes chosen are diverse in terms of their race, ethnicity, gender, ability, and areas of expertise, including African American athlete and artist Ernie Barnes, Dominican fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, Kwakwaka’wakw artist Ellen Ka’kasolas Neel, and president of Ecuador Lenín Moreno, who uses a wheelchair. Although the range is impressive, it is also confusing: A few sentences of additional text sporadically appear, serving little purpose and breaking the flow, nor does there seem to be any unifying threads to the groupings. Additionally, some of the choices of heroes are questionable: Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, for example, was often criticized for engaging in corruption and doing little to further the cause of women’s rights, while “spiritual leader” Sudehanshu Biswas is hardly known even in his home country of India.

This book falls short of its promise. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-32642-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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This inspiring and accessible picture book serves as a brilliant introduction to one artist’s vitality. The message? Like...

COLORFUL DREAMER

THE STORY OF ARTIST HENRI MATISSE

Matisse’s genius was that he never stopped exploring, even as he honored his intense childhood dreams of creativity, color and art.

Parker’s text is a pitch-perfect and appealing narrative, but the real star here is Berry’s art. She first offers careful, almost tight, school-notebooklike drawings of French cities and interiors that effectively convey the gray and noncreative aspects of Matisse’s childhood, relieved only by his colorful daydreams. After leaving his small town and working as a law clerk in Paris, Henri was freed from the prison of social convention through his mother’s simple gift of a paint box (to pass the time while convalescing from a serious illness). He then exuberantly embraced his life as an artist. Berry seamlessly infuses each successive spread with waves of the characteristically intense, almost excessively vivid, explosive color of the Fauves’ palette. She ingeniously incorporates much of Matisse’s now-iconic imagery (goldfish, Mediterranean rugs, busy fabrics, Tahitian jungle palm fronds, lemons, leaves, strong geometric shapes, stars and much more). Parker and Berry finally combine to movingly present the methods, meaning and passion that propelled Matisse’s later work—simple cutouts in bright monochromatic papers.

This inspiring and accessible picture book serves as a brilliant introduction to one artist’s vitality. The message? Like Matisse, we must never stop creating and experimenting. (author’s note, list of museums with Matisse artwork) (Picture book/biography. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3758-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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