Multigenerational mess makers will delight in this little book and the messes it encourages

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MUD BOOK

This petite publication takes mud pies seriously.

A 5-inches square book, reminiscent of Beatrix Potter’s “little books for little hands,” this guide for making mud pies feels as handmade as the pies in it. The book’s dominant color, the greenish-brown of mud, permeates the pages, heavy stock that not even muddy fingers will rip. Several elements give the (correct) impression that the artists made the book while constructing mud pies: its hand-lettered, penned text, pages on which colors have bled onto unillustrated parts of the paper, and penciled outlines that did not get completely erased in the final draft and so still appear faintly behind the finished images and words. The fine print reveals the reason for this handmade feel: “Lois Long and John Cage” (who died in 1992 and 2005, respectively) “created the original Mud Book on a kitchen table with newspaper, mud, and dandelion blossoms.” Young readers will enjoy this title’s cookbook format, complete with two recipes and troubleshooting instructions if the cook finds the mud too runny or too solid for making proper pies. A reissue of the limited-edition 1983 publication, this picture book by a world-class musician and a textile artist will find as eager an audience now as it did in the 1980s—though happily, a much larger one as well.

Multigenerational mess makers will delight in this little book and the messes it encourages . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-61689-552-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year.

LOVE MONSTER AND THE LAST CHOCOLATE

From the Love Monster series

The surprised recipient of a box of chocolates agonizes over whether to eat the whole box himself or share with his friends.

Love Monster is a chocoholic, so when he discovers the box on his doorstep, his mouth waters just thinking about what might be inside; his favorite’s a double chocolate strawberry swirl. The brief thought that he should share these treats with his friends is easily rationalized away. Maybe there won’t be enough for everyone, perhaps someone will eat his favorite, or, even worse, leave him with his least favorite: the coffee one! Bright’s pacing and tone are on target throughout, her words conveying to readers exactly what the monster is thinking and feeling: “So he went into his house. And so did the box of chocolates…without a whisper of a word to anyone.” This is followed by a “queasy-squeezy” feeling akin to guilt and then by a full-tilt run to his friends, chocolates in hand, and a breathless, stream-of-consciousness confession, only to be brought up short by what’s actually in the box. And the moral is just right: “You see, sometimes it’s when you stop to think of others…that you start to find out just how much they think of you.” Monster’s wide eyes and toothy mouth convey his emotions wonderfully, and the simple backgrounds keep the focus on his struggle.

A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-00-754030-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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