Detailed and engaging but not quite complete.



The story of a Nativity play production, an addition to the Dollies series, doubles as a picture book for little ones and an introduction to stagecraft for older children.

Leech uses this volume to allow exploration of a topic through short verbal descriptions, albeit ones that use technically correct language, and color photographs of costumed dolls on custom sets, with all the details—from the hairdos to the props—inviting close study. The dolls look like young children, but each is given its own hairdo and fashion sense. The book begins with a design meeting, at which the show’s director approves the set designer’s sketches. The process continues with auditions, publicity, rehearsals, the technical dress rehearsal, the pre-show choir rehearsal and opening night, all interwoven with job descriptions for the stage manager, set designer, costume designer, sound designer, and lighting designer and crew. The playbill closes the story and doubles as the credits for the book. Readers are likely to enjoy the way the props serve to deepen understanding. While the youngest readers can be entertained by identifying items in the images, like the kazoo, recorder, xylophone, piano and drum in the sound design studio, older readers will enjoy reading the stage manager’s sticky notes and identifying the sources of the set designer’s artistic inspiration, including works by Piero della Francesca and Fra Angelico. Though the play is never named, the set design, the set, the costumes and the referenced Nativity scenes hung on the wall provide clues. The book references aspects of the theater that it doesn’t mention in words. For example, it makes a nice distinction between street clothes and costumes both in showing Mary in her pink bathrobe and slippers in her dressing room, as well as in costume on stage, and also by showing the backs of the audience members’ heads in the photograph of the performance. With all the attention to detail, including mention of the little-known role of the dramaturge, it’s odd that the book omits any reference to props or the prop master. Concessions are mentioned but not the box office, and the house manager is missing as well.

Detailed and engaging but not quite complete.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0984421411

Page Count: 32

Publisher: The Home Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2014

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The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and...


Inspired by Colombian librarian Luis Soriano Bohórquez, Brown’s latest tells of a little girl whose wish comes true when a librarian and two book-laden burros visit her remote village.

Ana loves to read and spends all of her free time either reading alone or to her younger brother. She knows every word of the one book she owns. Although she uses her imagination to create fantastical bedtime tales for her brother, she really wants new books to read. Everything changes when a traveling librarian and his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, arrive in the village. Besides loaning books to the children until his next visit, the unnamed man also reads them stories and teaches the younger children the alphabet. When Ana suggests that someone write a book about the traveling library, he encourages her to complete this task herself. After she reads her library books, Ana writes her own story for the librarian and gives it to him upon his reappearance—and he makes it part of his biblioburro collection. Parra’s colorful folk-style illustrations of acrylics on board bring Ana’s real and imaginary worlds to life. This is a child-centered complement to Jeanette Winter’s Biblioburro (2010), which focuses on Soriano.

The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and “iii-aah” adding to the fun.   (author’s note, glossary of Spanish terms) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-353-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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