THE DOLLIES CELEBRATE AROUND THE WORLD

This latest addition to the Engelpuppen Dollies series offers a celebration of celebrations.
Leech (The Dollies Put on a Play, 2014, etc.) offers a work that serves as both a picture book for children and an international look-book for doll collectors. It continues the format established in her previous book: color photographs of costumed dolls on custom sets, with all the details—from the hairdos to the props—inviting close study. The dolls all look like young children, carefully costumed and coiffed to match their countries of origin. Each spread depicts a celebration particular to a single country or region—one for each month of the year, plus New Year’s Day. The text provides a caption for each photograph, offering a short description of the holiday at hand. It covers the Chinese New Year, Brazilian Carnival, Japan’s Doll Festival (or Hinamatsuri), Australia and New Zealand’s ANZAC Day, and France’s Bastille Day, among others. For some holidays, a photographic backdrop helps create the air of an authentic location in the Outback, the Irish countryside or London. But readers may wonder about the author’s choice to present the dolls as residents of each locale, when a close look at their faces reveals serious limits to their diversity—take away the clothes, the hair, and the skin tone, and they all simply look like Caucasian toddlers. The costumes, settings and props are all exquisite. However, the author clearly paid less attention to details in the text itself. For example, the book incorrectly claims that Brazil’s Carnival is celebrated “forty days before Easter”; it’s actually celebrated up to six days prior to Ash Wednesday, which is 46 days before Easter. Less important, but misleading, is the assignment of Chinese New Year and Carnival to months in which they don’t always take place—Chinese New Year will be in February in 2015, for example.

A children’s book that’s strong on beauty, but a bit weak on facts and authentic diversity.

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-0984913398

Page Count: 34

Publisher: The Home Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2014

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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