HIERONYMUS WHITE

A BIRD WHO BELIEVED THAT HE ALWAYS WAS RIGHT

Hieronymus White was a know-it-all bird. He had theories about everything, from when baby birds should begin to fly (``As soon as they could, and as far and as high'') to what kind of bread to eat. But Hieronymus's arrogance, while not excusable, was understandable: The only child of immigrant parents who had left their own country to escape persecution, Hieronymus grew up with the heavy burden of trying to fulfill their dreams. But they were extremely demanding and not affectionate towards their son, and Hieronymus learned to excel in flight and in school but not how to make friends. So he was a wonder boy and a loner, and fame and fortune allowed him to surround himself with yes- men. Even his wife, Sabrina, didn't challenge Hieronymus. He was also as strict with his children, when he had time for them, as his parents had been with him. When Hieronymus's daughter, Amanda, gave birth, he looked forward to teaching his granddaughter how to fly even higher and better than he did. But the child, Selene, was born with a crippled wing. Suddenly ``he knew that no one could always be right,/And something changed inside Hieronymus White.'' Hieronymus lavished on Selene all the tenderness of a lifetime. She is now grown, a writer with a child of her own, to whom she tells stories of her world-famous, wonderful grandfather, Hieronymus White. It doesn't seem possible, but it's true: In Seuss-like poetry, Moss (The Other Side of the Door, 1991, etc.) tells an amazingly profound and sophisticated story of a bird's reevaluation of life. (Fiction. All ages)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-345-38590-X

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1994

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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THE NAME JAR

Unhei has just left her Korean homeland and come to America with her parents. As she rides the school bus toward her first day of school, she remembers the farewell at the airport in Korea and examines the treasured gift her grandmother gave her: a small red pouch containing a wooden block on which Unhei’s name is carved. Unhei is ashamed when the children on the bus find her name difficult to pronounce and ridicule it. Lesson learned, she declines to tell her name to anyone else and instead offers, “Um, I haven’t picked one yet. But I’ll let you know next week.” Her classmates write suggested names on slips of paper and place them in a jar. One student, Joey, takes a particular liking to Unhei and sees the beauty in her special stamp. When the day arrives for Unhei to announce her chosen name, she discovers how much Joey has helped. Choi (Earthquake, see below, etc.) draws from her own experience, interweaving several issues into this touching account and delicately addressing the challenges of assimilation. The paintings are done in creamy, earth-tone oils and augment the story nicely. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 10, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-80613-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2001

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