Pleasant but inconsequential.

READ REVIEW

ON LINDEN SQUARE

Stella Mae loves to sit at her apartment-house window and watch her neighbors.

They are all colorful characters that are easily identifiable. One sings karaoke badly, and one, named Miss Arpeggio, plays the piano. One has two cats named Pianissimo and Fortissimo and is named Mr. Rubenstein (for the piano virtuoso Arthur?). There’s a couple who dress fancily and a couple who wear Mexican hats. Not one of these folk has any community spirit until a great snowfall blankets the town square. With Stella Mae in the lead, they join together to build a snowman, all providing their individual touches. Have they sculpted a dancer or a jazz musician or an Indian elephant-headed god or Babar? It is Stella Mae who devises the most inclusive name, “Ferdinand Ganesh, the Jazzy Dancing Baba Feng Shui Elephant-Mouse!” Community togetherness! They eat latkes and tacos, drink cider and dance to tango music from a trombone. Sullivan is a musician and undoubtedly intended her use of musical terminology along with multicultural touches to be a learning experience. Unfortunately, there is no lesson to be learned without textual support or visual clues. The watercolor art is so loose it becomes lost on the mostly white backgrounds. (glossary)

Pleasant but inconsequential. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58536-832-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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A culturally intricate slice of a lupine courier’s life.

¡VAMOS! LET'S GO TO THE MARKET

From the ¡Vamos! series

Little Lobo and his dog, Bernabé, journey through a Mexican mercado delivering diverse goods to a variety of booths.

With the aid of red words splattered throughout the spreads as labels, Raúl the Third gives an introduction to Spanish vocabulary as Little Lobo, an anthropomorphic wolf, leaves his house, fills his cart with objects from his warehouse, and delivers them to the market’s vendors. The journey also serves as a crash course in Mexican culture, as the images are packed with intertextual details such as food, traditional games, and characters, including Cantinflas, Frida Khalo, and Juan Gabriel. Readers acquainted with Raúl the Third’s characters from his Lowriders series with author Cathy Camper will appreciate cameos from familiar characters. As he makes his rounds, Little Lobo also collects different artifacts that people offer in exchange for his deliveries of shoe polish, clothespins, wood, tissue paper, paintbrushes, and a pair of golden laces. Although Raúl the Third departs from the ball-pen illustrations that he is known for, his depiction of creatures and critters peppering the borderland where his stories are set remains in his trademark style. The softer hues in the illustrations (chosen by colorist Bay) keep the busy compositions friendly, and the halftone patterns filling the illustrations create foregrounds and backgrounds reminiscent of Roy Lichtenstein’s pointillism.

A culturally intricate slice of a lupine courier’s life. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-55726-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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RAIN SCHOOL

It takes a village to make a school. In Chad, big brothers and sisters lead the way for younger children on the first day of school. Little Thomas is full of questions. When he and the other children arrive, there are no classrooms and no desks. But the teacher's there, holding a trowel. "We will build our school," she declares. Everyone sets to work, making mud bricks that dry in the sun and a roof out of grass and saplings. Thomas loves his lessons; every day he learns something new. At the end of the school year, the minds of the students "are fat with knowledge." And just in time: The rainy season arrives and makes short work of the schoolhouse. Come September, they'll start all over. Rumford's illustrations make great use of color, dark brown skin and bright shirts, shorts and dresses against golden backgrounds, the hues applied in smudgy layers that infuse each scene with warmth—until the gray rains arrive. It's a nifty social-studies lesson tucked into a warm tale of community. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-24307-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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