RAISING YODER'S BARN

A celebration of the Amish spirit of community summoned for a one-day barn raising. Lightning-struck, the Yoder family’s barn burns to the ground, but before the week is out neighbors gather and, under the direction of grave, gray- bearded Samuel Stulzfoot, put up a new one. Too old to join the children, too young to help the men, eight-year-old Matthew is disheartened at being left out, until Stulzfoot enlists him to carry instructions to the builders. Yolen (with Bruce Coville, Armageddon, p. 975) frames Matthew’s narrative in rhythmic, literary cadences—“fingers of flame grabbed at the barn. The sky filled with blue ropes of smoke; a boy could climb them up to Heaven, if he were so willing”—that give the event a ritualistic air. Fuchs applies paint so thinly that the texture of the canvas becomes part of each scene, while the dominant colors are stately, opaque red-browns. The dimly seen background shapes and slightly unfocused foreground figures are seen in a russet light that looks smoky in firelit scenes and gives later ones a summery haze. The details of barn construction are passed over, but the central place a barn occupies on an Amish farm is clearly established. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-316-96887-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1998

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ROOM ON THE BROOM

Each time the witch loses something in the windy weather, she and her cat are introduced to a new friend who loves flying on her broom. The fluid rhyming and smooth rhythm work together with one repetitive plot element focusing young attention spans until the plot quickens. (“Is there room on the broom for a blank such as me?”) When the witch’s broom breaks, she is thrown in to danger and the plot flies to the finish. Her friends—cat, dog, frog, and bird—are not likely to scare the dragon who plans on eating the witch, but together they form a formidable, gooey, scary-sounding monster. The use of full-page or even page-and-a-half spreads for many of the illustrations will ensure its successful use in story times as well as individual readings. The wart-nosed witch and her passengers make magic that is sure to please. Effective use of brilliant colors set against well-conceived backgrounds detail the story without need for text—but with it, the story—and the broom—take off. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8037-2557-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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