THE QUESTION SONG

The daughter and granddaughter of artists offers a very agreeable rhymed verse with a large comfort quotient. Each spread begins with a repeated line about a common domestic tragedy: “My juice is spilling on the floor! What are we going to do?” “I can’t find my bunny! What are we going to do?” A couplet responds, “We’ll pick up the cup / and wipe the floor. / Then start again and / pour you some more!” and each ends with “That’s what we will do!” Zemach uses an unusual 19th-century painting technique involving stencils, transfers, oil paint, and velvet; the result is soft and expressive edges, lively colors, and charming use of pattern. The couplet sits inside a circular framed image on the left side of each spread and on the right a rectangle frames the response and two or three images that resolve the problem. The parents have strawberry-blonde and fuzzy dark hair; the brother and sister combine these traits. Families will make up their own music (and their own mishaps) to continue this rollicking tale of cleanup and comfort. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-316-66601-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2003

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DIM SUM FOR EVERYONE!

Dim sum is the perfect tea party for children because of the tasty, small dishes on teacarts from which to choose. Here, a little girl narrates a simple story of the delicious meal she shares with her family. Turnip cakes, fried shrimp, sweet pork buns, and sweet tofu are all chosen, and lastly, the narrator selects egg tarts. As each child selects from a cart, the perspective changes to focus on the chooser. The bright red restaurant rug is the background color for every page, setting off the silver carts with their goodies and the bright, patterned colors of the people’s clothes. The yellow letters of the text at times curve to match the tables in the picture or appear a little off to the side so as not to interfere with the visual image. One particularly effective spread steps back and shows a half-dozen tables all filled with little dishes and the silver carts wending their way through them; the pattern is delightful. A history of the origins of dim sum and its popularity today is described in an epilogue. The bright green endpapers are decorated at the front with food, condiments, and tableware while the back endpapers depict almost two dozen dim sum dishes. A delightful read-aloud, sure to please those children who have enjoyed dim sum and a fascinating adventure for those who have yet to experience it. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 10, 2001

ISBN: 978-0-440-41770-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2001

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SAY HELLO!

Today Carmelita visits her Abuela Rosa, but to get there she must walk. Down Ninth Avenue she strolls with her mother and dog. Colorful shops and congenial neighbors greet them along the way, and at each stop Carmelita says hello—in Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew and more. With a friendly “Jambo” for Joseph, a “Bonjour” at the bakery and an affectionate “Hey” for Max and Angel, the pig-tailed girl happily exercises her burgeoning multilingual skills. Her world is a vibrant community, where neighborliness, camaraderie and culture are celebrated. Isadora’s collaged artwork, reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats, contains lovely edges and imperfections, which abet the feeling of an urban environment. Skillfully, she draws with her scissors, the cut-paper elements acting as her line work. Everything has a texture and surface, and with almost no solid colors, the city street is realized as a real, organic place. Readers will fall for the sociable Carmelita as they proudly learn a range of salutations, and the artist’s rich environment, packed with hidden details and charming animals, will delight readers with each return visit. Simply enchanting. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-399-25230-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2010

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