An unusual interpretation of a holiday classic, with memorable illustrations and the additional, helpful bonus of the...

THE NUTCRACKER

From the Story Orchestra series

This lavishly illustrated interpretation of The Nutcracker includes embedded chips that play short excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s music for the ballet.

The plot of the beloved ballet is retold in 10 double-page spreads, with a button that triggers an audio clip integrated into each spread. The story opens with the Christmas party at Clara’s house, with a multicultural crowd of guests in old-fashioned party clothes. The familiar tale unfolds with the battle between the toy soldiers and mice, the journey to the Land of Sweets, and the return to reality with Clara asleep under the Christmas tree. The text blocks are skillfully integrated into the illustrations, with borders of candies, flowers, or branches surrounding the words. Vibrant, detailed illustrations are filled with magical trees, fantasy flowers, and opulent backgrounds for the different dances. Every scene includes dancers of multiple ethnicities, including a Sugar Plum Fairy with brown skin. Clara and the other main characters are white. The final pages include a biographical note about Tchaikovsky, a glossary of musical and ballet terms, and buttons for all 10 musical chips along with explanations of the relevance of each selection to the story. The recordings are brief and of notably high quality for the format. Adults preparing children for attending a performance of the ballet will find this edition helpful in explaining both the plot of the ballet and Tchaikovsky’s music.

An unusual interpretation of a holiday classic, with memorable illustrations and the additional, helpful bonus of the thematic music. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-78603-068-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez,...

MANGO, ABUELA, AND ME

Abuela is coming to stay with Mia and her parents. But how will they communicate if Mia speaks little Spanish and Abuela, little English? Could it be that a parrot named Mango is the solution?

The measured, evocative text describes how Mia’s español is not good enough to tell Abuela the things a grandmother should know. And Abuela’s English is too poquito to tell Mia all the stories a granddaughter wants to hear. Mia sets out to teach her Abuela English. A red feather Abuela has brought with her to remind her of a wild parrot that roosted in her mango trees back home gives Mia an idea. She and her mother buy a parrot they name Mango. And as Abuela and Mia teach Mango, and each other, to speak both Spanish and English, their “mouths [fill] with things to say.” The accompanying illustrations are charmingly executed in ink, gouache, and marker, “with a sprinkling of digital magic.” They depict a cheery urban neighborhood and a comfortable, small apartment. Readers from multigenerational immigrant families will recognize the all-too-familiar language barrier. They will also cheer for the warm and loving relationship between Abuela and Mia, which is evident in both text and illustrations even as the characters struggle to understand each other. A Spanish-language edition, Mango, Abuela, y yo, gracefully translated by Teresa Mlawer, publishes simultaneously.

This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez, an honoree. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6900-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THIS BOOK IS GRAY

A gray character tries to write an all-gray book.

The six primary and secondary colors are building a rainbow, each contributing the hue of their own body, and Gray feels forlorn and left out because rainbows contain no gray. So Gray—who, like the other characters, has a solid, triangular body, a doodle-style face, and stick limbs—sets off alone to create “the GRAYest book ever.” His book inside a book shows a peaceful gray cliff house near a gray sea with gentle whitecaps; his three gray characters—hippo, wolf, kitten—wait for their arc to begin. But then the primaries arrive and call the gray scene “dismal, bleak, and gloomy.” The secondaries show up too, and soon everyone’s overrunning Gray’s creation. When Gray refuses to let White and Black participate, astute readers will note the flaw: White and black (the colors) had already been included in the early all-gray spreads. Ironically, Gray’s book within a book displays calm, passable art while the metabook’s unsubtle illustrations and sloppy design make for cramped and crowded pages that are too busy to hold visual focus. The speech-bubble dialogue’s snappy enough (Blue calls people “dude,” and there are puns). A convoluted moral muddles the core artistic question—whether a whole book can be gray—and instead highlights a trite message about working together.

Low grade. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4340-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more