It's late, and Stella can't fall asleep. Her mind is filled with fearful horrors from ``vampire bites'' on her neck to ``falling out'' eyeballs. Her father, employing a little reverse psychology, says he's tired and has decided not to wait up for his wife to return home. He asks Stella if she will wait up instead, since she can't sleep anyway. Stella readily agrees. She passes the time by dressing up for a ball, getting her dolls ready for the movies, and telling scary stories to her teddy bears. But the hour is late, and not one of her dolls is willing to play. The only sound in the silent house is that of Cheeko the hamster zooming around in his cage. Finally, out of sheer exhaustion, Stella falls asleep. The father's patience in the face of Stella's insomnia is admirable, but he never offers answers to all the ``what if'' questions that hinder Stella's sleep. What is to stop Stella or the young reader from carrying on like this every night? McMullan's (Nutcracker Noel, 1993, etc.) shallow story and Clark's almost affectless artwork will ensure that readers don't share Stella's insomnia. (Fiction/Picture book. 4+)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 1994

ISBN: 1-56402-065-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1994

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For the 90's, a handsome, well-documented collection of stories about nine uniquely American characters. In her intelligent introduction, Osborne explains their genesis ``from various combinations of historical fact, the storytelling of ordinary people, and the imagination of professional writers'' and notes that changing times put a new light on stories deriding various groups (including women and even animals). Thus her intention is to emphasize ``gargantuan physical courage and absurd humor'' and to ``bring out the vulnerable and compassionate side'' despite the stories' ``ineradicable taint of violence.'' Osborne succeeds pretty well in her intention, piecing together stories that make fine introductions to characters like Mose and Stormalong. Her approach suits Johnny Appleseed and John Henry better than it does Davy Crockett battling a panther, but she does manage to put a new slant on Pecos Bill and his bouncing bride without undermining the story (there's no question of a wife's disobedience here; Sue wants to ride Bill's horse as a test of skill). The telling is more polished than lively—Glen Rounds's irrepressible wit (Ol' Paul, the Mighty Logger, 1949) is more fun, but these versions are perfectly acceptable. McCurdy's vigorous wood engravings, tinted with lucid color, contribute a rugged frontier flavor; lively, though a bit formal in style, they suit the text admirably. Each story is introduced by source notes; a story-by-story bibliography provides a good roundup of this popular genre. (Folklore. 6-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-679-80089-1

Page Count: 116

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1991

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Fifty-eight economically retold fables, many of them relatively unfamiliar. Salter, drawing on her own eastern Mediterranean heritage, makes a major contribution with elegantly stylized art, its intricate details, jewel-like colors, and imaginatively varied borders recalling Persian miniatures. The frequent full-page illustrations sometimes amplify the stories, but the more numerous vignettes simply represent characters or serve as decoration. In strict classical tradition, the stories are so succinct that they are almost mathematical in dispensing justification for the appended morals—which are phrased as maxims, often in familiar form (``Don't jump to conclusions''). A handsome, useful edition. The publisher doesn't identify the adapter, and there's no comment on her sources. (Folklore. 6+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-15-200350-9

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1992

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