One of the few books about Shakespeare that children and adults can equally enjoy sharing.

THE DOLLIES

SCENES FROM SHAKESPEARE

Costume designer Leech (The Dollies Put On a Play, 2009, etc.) has created engaging tableaux of scenes from a variety of Shakespeare plays for the picture-book crowd.

Each spread features a photograph of the actors—18-inch dolls—in richly detailed dress against luscious backgrounds on the right, with a quote from a play on the left. The first spread portraying Romeo and Juliet on the balcony will surely draw the youngest readers into the beautiful world Leech and her talented team have created. The charming photo shows a caped Romeo climbing toward Juliet, in period dress and snood, whose balcony appears to be made from an oversize flowerpot with real-looking climbing ivy; dramatic clouds light the night sky in the background. The text reads simply: “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?” with speaker, play, act and scene noted. Since the text is entirely penned by Shakespeare, the author’s contribution is in the selection. Tantrum-prone youngsters are likely to relate to Katharina’s speech from The Taming of the Shrew: “Nay then, do what thou canst. I will not go today; no, nor tomorrow, not ’til I please myself.” However, Falstaff’s lines from Merry Wives of Windsor may first alarm and then confuse young readers: “They are fairies; he that speaks to them shall die. I’ll wink and couch; no man their works must eye!” The spread showing young Hamlet holding poor Yorick’s skull, seemingly freshly dug from a woodland grave, may stir up some questions. Young readers will also be fascinated by the three witches from Macbeth and delight in the musicians from Twelfth Night and Titania and Bottom’s flowery bower from Midsummer Night’s Dream. In the scene showing Prospero engaged in secret studies, the detail in his scarf, robe and scepter is remarkable. While the picture-book age group is too young to appreciate the plots and meanings of Shakespeare’s plays, this confection will give them a good taste of Shakespeare’s world and the desire to explore it more fully when they are older.

One of the few books about Shakespeare that children and adults can equally enjoy sharing.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0984913374

Page Count: 32

Publisher: The Home Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 31, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit.

THERE'S A MONSTER IN YOUR BOOK

From the Who's in Your Book? series

Readers try to dislodge a monster from the pages of this emotive and interactive read-aloud.

“OH NO!” the story starts. “There’s a monster in your book!” The blue, round-headed monster with pink horns and a pink-tipped tail can be seen cheerfully munching on the opening page. “Let’s try to get him out,” declares the narrator. Readers are encouraged to shake, tilt, and spin the book around, while the monster careens around an empty background looking scared and lost. Viewers are exhorted to tickle the monster’s feet, blow on the page, and make a really loud noise. Finally, shockingly, it works: “Now he’s in your room!” But clearly a monster in your book is safer than a monster in your room, so he’s coaxed back into the illustrations and lulled to sleep, curled up under one page and cuddling a bit of another like a child with their blankie. The monster’s entirely cute appearance and clear emotional reactions to his treatment add to the interactive aspect, and some young readers might even resist the instructions to avoid hurting their new pal. Children will be brought along on the monster’s journey, going from excited, noisy, and wiggly to calm and steady (one can hope).

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6456-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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A rollicking tale of rivalry.

IT HAPPENED ON SWEET STREET

Sweet Street had just one baker, Monsieur Oliphant, until two new confectionists move in, bringing a sugar rush of competition and customers.

First comes “Cookie Concocter par excellence” Mademoiselle Fee and then a pie maker, who opens “the divine Patisserie Clotilde!” With each new arrival to Sweet Street, rivalries mount and lines of hungry treat lovers lengthen. Children will delight in thinking about an abundance of gingerbread cookies, teetering, towering cakes, and blackbird pies. Wonderfully eccentric line-and-watercolor illustrations (with whites and marbled pastels like frosting) appeal too. Fine linework lends specificity to an off-kilter world in which buildings tilt at wacky angles and odd-looking (exclusively pale) people walk about, their pantaloons, ruffles, long torsos, and twiglike arms, legs, and fingers distinguishing them as wonderfully idiosyncratic. Rotund Monsieur Oliphant’s periwinkle complexion, flapping ears, and elongated nose make him look remarkably like an elephant while the women confectionists appear clownlike, with exaggerated lips, extravagantly lashed eyes, and voluminous clothes. French idioms surface intermittently, adding a certain je ne sais quoi. Embedded rhymes contribute to a bouncing, playful narrative too: “He layered them and cherried them and married people on them.” Tension builds as the cul de sac grows more congested with sweet-makers, competition, frustration, and customers. When the inevitable, fantastically messy food fight occurs, an observant child finds a sweet solution amid the delicious detritus.

A rollicking tale of rivalry. (Picture book. 4-8 )

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-101-91885-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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