RHYMES ROUND THE WORLD

The poems in this sampling of international verse originate from all over the globe, including countries such as Poland, Iran, France, China and the United States. The lively poems and songs are accompanied by Chorao’s colorful paintings, which feature her trademark joyful, round-faced tots in a variety of dynamic scenarios and landscapes. A hodgepodge of child-friendly topics are addressed, from tickling and birthdays to elephants and the rain. Source notes would have been a nice addition, as the credits are somewhat inconsistent. Most verses are attributed to a country or continent, some list an author or are labeled anonymous or traditional, while another is an “old jingle,” with no explanation provided for how the designation was made. Children may not get a clear picture of how these countries and places vary—the emphasis is more on the universal than the particular—but they will come away with the realization that children all around the world play, dance, appreciate flowers, look at the sky—and say goodnight (the illustration includes a translation in 18 languages). (Picture book/poetry. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-525-47875-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2009

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LEO’S TREE

In a sort of prequel to The Giving Tree, Leo’s father plants a “scratchy, branchy” linden in the yard to mark Leo’s birth. Boy and tree grow through several sets of seasons, until a second tree joins the first to mark the arrival of Leo’s little sister Sophie. Gardeners will cringe to see Leo’s dad carrying Sophie’s sapling by its trunk rather than its bundled root-ball, then planting it far too close to Leo’s tree—but Hilo’s earlier scenes of toddler and growing tree together on a sunlit lawn, surrounded by flowers, birds, and plush toys, do project an engagingly idyllic air, and the pared-down text—“Rosy cheeks rosy trees / Crunchy golden linden leaves / Leo creeping / Crawling standing . . . / Leaves and Leo all fall down!”—will draw new readers. A tried-and-true theme, pleasantly iterated. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2004

ISBN: 1-55037-845-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Firefly

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2004

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As a book, mildly satisfying; as a greeting card, rather expensive.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!

A cheery board book that plays the familiar tune.

Anthropomorphic animals, digitally illustrated with a vintage style and palette, play different musical instruments as they make their ways to a cafe to celebrate Otter’s birthday. There’s not much of a story arc in its 10 pages, which lends the book a greeting-card feel. Each spread highlights an animal or two and their respective instruments: Bear plays a flute, Badger strums a guitar, Wolf drives by with a bass in its truck, Cat plays violin, and birthday boy Otter hears Moose on the piano. Press a shiny musical note in each illustration, and the book plays an instrumental line from the familiar song. The quality of the recordings is quite good, capturing the sound and tone of each instrument, and the culminating spread is an ensemble playing the full song. A “glowing candle” is promoted on the cover along with the book’s musical feature, and it appears on a cake on the final spread when all the animals from the prior pages gather to celebrate Otter’s special day. In a potentially confusing turn, Wolf holds the cake instead of playing bass (a fox has stepped in), and an opossum and a rabbit play tambourine, though they weren’t pictured with instruments earlier.

As a book, mildly satisfying; as a greeting card, rather expensive. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9943-7

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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