THIS IS A POEM THAT HEALS FISH

A small boy explores what a poem is and discovers “a poem is when words beat their wings.” When Arthur worries his pet fish may die of boredom, his mother suggests giving the fish a poem. But Arthur has no idea what a poem is, so he checks out the kitchen cabinet and the cleaning supplies and under his parents’ bed to no avail. Then he asks his friend Lolo who repairs bicycles and Mrs. Round the baker and his neighbor Mahmoud and his canary Aristophanes and his grandma and his grandpa. No one seems to have the same definition of a poem. But, as Arthur describes to his fish what he has learned about a poem, he creates his own poem. Imaginative fauvist illustrations capture the fanciful, free mood of the text as well as the essence of a poem, which indeed can “turn words around, upside down, and—suddenly!—the world is new.” An enchantingly abstract invitation to ponder poetry. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 1-59270-067-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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MY LUCKY DAY

It’s become predictable, this story of the pig outfoxing the fox, but Kasza’s version does sport his lively art and a measure of dry humor. When a piglet comes knocking on Mr. Fox’s door, the fox can’t believe his luck; he’s not used to delivery service. The piglet is just about to be tucked in the oven, when he suggests a few improvements to Mr. Fox. Wouldn’t he taste better if he were washed first—“Just a thought, Mr. Fox”—and plumped up and perhaps massaged to tenderize the meat? The fox agrees that he would, rushing madly about scrubbing, feeding, and working the piglet’s tissues, and promptly falling into an exhausted swoon. The pig is last seen back in his pen, thumbing through his address book—Mr. Bear, Mr. Wolf, Mr. Coyote—getting ready to work the same ruse on another carnivore. Fun enough, though no self-respecting four-year-old will be very worried about this little porker’s fate. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-399-23874-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2003

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The text too is a bit longer than other versions, maintaining its comfortably predictable structure but with extra detail...

THE LITTLE RED HEN

In this pointed retelling of the familiar tale, Pinkney expands the cast by giving the industrious title bird a bevy of chicks, plus not three but four indolent animal neighbors, all of which are drawn naturalistically and to scale in big, comical farmyard watercolors.

The plot follows its usual course: Hen finds the seed, tends and harvests the stand of grain by herself (the artist gives himself a cameo as the kindly miller, who not only grinds the crop, but provides a free jar of berry jam), then bakes an aromatic loaf of bread. The slothful dog, pig, rat and goat are not invited to share.

The text too is a bit longer than other versions, maintaining its comfortably predictable structure but with extra detail and comments (“A very busy hen was she!”) folded in—perfect, as are the pictures, for sharing with one listener, or a crowd. (Picture book/folktale. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-8037-2935-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2006

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