THE DANCING PIG

Sierra’s retelling of this Balinese folktale has a kind of mesmerizing uninflected delivery that chugs attractively along, while Sweetwater’s artwork flickers with vivid folk imagery draped in tropical colors. Klodan and Klonching care so much for the family pig that they dance the classic Legong to keep it entertained. Also benefiting from the liquid movements and kindnesses of the girls are the house mouse and the band of frogs who provide the beat for the dance. An ogress, the Rangsasa, jealously watches the proceedings from the woods until one day when the girls’ mother must go to the market to scare up some cash for the family needs. The Rangsasa tricks the girls into opening the door—which their mother had expressly forbidden—and steals them off to her cottage to eat them. The animals intervene in a crafty maneuver that involves the pig’s entrancing interpretation of the Legong. The girls are freed and they make off with a boodle of the ogress’s wealth’she won’t need it, having been engulfed in the flames of her cottage—as is just. If a bit tidy and pat, this is a culturally transporting tale from a realm that most readers will find quite exotic. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-201594-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1999

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THE COLORS OF US

This vibrant, thoughtful book from Katz (Over the Moon, 1997) continues her tribute to her adopted daughter, Lena, born in Guatemala. Lena is “seven. I am the color of cinnamon. Mom says she could eat me up”; she learns during a painting lesson that to get the color brown, she will have to “mix red, yellow, black, and white paints.” They go for a walk to observe the many shades of brown: they see Sonia, who is the color of creamy peanut butter; Isabella, who is chocolate brown; Lucy, both peachy and tan; Jo-Jin, the color of honey; Kyle, “like leaves in fall”; Mr. Pellegrino, the color of pizza crust, golden brown. Lena realizes that every shade is beautiful, then mixes her paints accordingly for portraits of her friends—“The colors of us!” Bold illustrations celebrate diversity with a child’s open-hearted sensibility and a mother’s love. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5864-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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THERE'S A WARDROBE IN MY MONSTER!

Small, saucy Martha is not a child to put in pink. She wears black-and-white, highly graphic dresses, including one long-sleeved number with a bull’s-eye on the belly. She has mastered the management of her boring goldfish, somnolent cat, and clueless dog, and she opines that it is high time to acquire a large, ugly monster. Forthwith, she marches out with her piggy-bank. The nearest pet shop stocks only small monsters, but one green fellow has an pleasingly awful grin. It’s a done deal: “Keep the pig,” Martha says as she exits with her purchase. Martha knows that the monster eats only wood, but she doesn’t know that twigs will be followed by branches, planks from the dog’s dismantled kennel, her bed legs, and her bottom drawer. As the monster grows, so does its appetite, until the only place left to put it is in the wardrobe—which it promptly eats. Enough is enough for Martha, but the pet shop man offers only exchanges; against his advice, Martha selects an egg with green and purple splotches. As the original monster gets pushed out the back door, readers will delight in the dreadful possibilities inherent in this twist. It’s a romp of a tale to read aloud, with a tongue-in-cheek text; the vigorous pictures more than support and extend this illustrious excursion into the consequences of pet ownership. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 1999

ISBN: 1-57505-414-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lerner

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1999

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