THE FROG PRINCE, CONTINUED

The co-author (with A. Wolf) of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (1989) assays another humorous embroidery of a traditional tale with somewhat less notable success. The picture of the erstwhile frog and his princess bickering (``Stop sticking your tongue out like that''; ``How come you never want to go down to the pond anymore?'') is genuinely funny, and the prince's quest for a witch to turn him back into a frog—during which he runs into witches from several other tales—is amusing. But the conclusion—glad to get back to his princess, he kisses her and they both become happy frogs—seems limp and unmotivated. Meanwhile, Johnson's paintings, though he adopts some of Lane Smith's fey menace and induces tension by canting his perspectives, lack Smith's wit, imagination, and masterful sense of design. Still, the situation and dialogue are irreverently comical and Johnson's caricatures are adroitly satirical. It's an entertaining effort— just not up to that superlative first book. (Picture book. 5+)

Pub Date: May 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-670-83421-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1991

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LAST DAY BLUES

From the Mrs. Hartwell's Classroom Adventures series

One more myth dispelled for all the students who believe that their teachers live in their classrooms. During the last week of school, Mrs. Hartwell and her students reflect on the things they will miss, while also looking forward to the fun that summer will bring. The kids want to cheer up their teacher, whom they imagine will be crying over lesson plans and missing them all summer long. But what gift will cheer her up? Numerous ideas are rejected, until Eddie comes up with the perfect plan. They all cooperate to create a rhyming ode to the school year and their teacher. Love’s renderings of the children are realistic, portraying the diversity of modern-day classrooms, from dress and expression to gender and skin color. She perfectly captures the emotional trauma the students imagine their teachers will go through as they leave for the summer. Her final illustration hysterically shatters that myth, and will have every teacher cheering aloud. What a perfect end to the school year. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-58089-046-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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TOMAS AND THE LIBRARY LADY

A charming, true story about the encounter between the boy who would become chancellor at the University of California at Riverside and a librarian in Iowa. Tom†s Rivera, child of migrant laborers, picks crops in Iowa in the summer and Texas in the winter, traveling from place to place in a worn old car. When he is not helping in the fields, Tom†s likes to hear Papa Grande's stories, which he knows by heart. Papa Grande sends him to the library downtown for new stories, but Tom†s finds the building intimidating. The librarian welcomes him, inviting him in for a cool drink of water and a book. Tom†s reads until the library closes, and leaves with books checked out on the librarian's own card. For the rest of the summer, he shares books and stories with his family, and teaches the librarian some Spanish. At the end of the season, there are big hugs and a gift exchange: sweet bread from Tom†s's mother and a shiny new book from the librarianto keep. Col¢n's dreamy illustrations capture the brief friendship and its life-altering effects in soft earth tones, using round sculptured shapes that often depict the boy right in the middle of whatever story realm he's entered. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-679-80401-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1997

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