THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL

Pinkney’s deeply moving treatment of Andersen’s classic tale moves the events to an urban America of the 1920s. On a freezing New Year’s Eve, a girl stumbles outside in her stocking feet to try and sell matches. The jovial holiday crowd hustles by her; she is afraid to go home, where her father will beat her. To keep herself warm she lights her matches, and each blazes in a dream of holiday happiness. Her last vision is that of her kind grandmother, whom the child joins in a place beyond the reach of cold and poverty. On the last page, two shooting stars are shown blazing across the dark New Year’s sky. Pinkney’s detailed watercolors bring to life this cold winter night, and profusion of food and gifts just out of the girl’s reach. Flecks of snow tumble across the outdoor scenes, and warm yellow candlelight make indoor settings look especially cozy. Pinkney’s sense of pacing is also just right; readers will be captivated by the intimacy and drama his illustrations create. The result is so affecting that some will believe they’re encountering this story for the very first time. (Picture book/folklore. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2314-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1999

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NO MATTER WHAT

Small, a very little fox, needs some reassurance from Large in the unconditional love department. If he is grim and grumpy, will he still be loved? “ ‘Oh, Small,’ said Large, ‘grumpy or not, I’ll always love you, no matter what.’ “ So it goes, in a gentle rhyme, as Large parries any number of questions that for Small are very telling. What if he were to turn into a young bear, or squishy bug, or alligator? Would a mother want to hug and hold these fearsome animals? Yes, yes, answers Large. “But does love wear out? Does it break or bend? Can you fix it or patch it? Does it mend?” There is comfort in Gliori’s pages, but it is a result of repetition and not the imagery; this is a quick fix, not an enduring one, but it eases Small’s fears and may well do the same for children. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202061-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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ISAAC THE ICE CREAM TRUCK

Newcomer Santoro’s story of the ice cream truck that pined for a more important role in life suffers from a premise that’s well-worn and still fraying—the person or object that longs to be something “more” in life, only to find out that his or its lot in life is enough, after all. Isaac the ice cream truck envies all the bigger, larger, more important vehicles he encounters (the big wheels are depicted as a rude lot, sullen, surly, and snarling, hardly a group to excite much envy) in a day, most of all the fire trucks and their worthy occupants. When Isaac gets that predictable boost to his self-image—he serves up ice cream to over-heated firefighters after a big blaze—it comes as an unmistakable putdown to the picture-book audience: the children who cherished Isaac—“They would gather around him, laughing and happy”—weren’t reason enough for him to be contented. Santoro equips the tale with a tune of Isaac’s very own, and retro scenes in tropical-hued colored pencil that deftly convey the speed of the trucks with skating, skewed angles. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5296-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1999

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