Funny, eccentric, and unique, this exceptionally designed work has universal appeal.

THE BARBER'S DILEMMA

AND OTHER STORIES FROM MANMARU STREET

Observations and fancy take flight in Oguma’s collection of musings from Manmaru Street, Tokyo.

Oguma’s doodles take on a life of their own in this nonlinear tale. Magic pockets produce snakes and crocodiles; a soup’s seaweed chats away; and hats made of cream or cheese and slides made of candy seem unremarkable. Each spread contains an idiosyncratic slice of life. From the imaginative, droll text (rendered in English by Wolf) to the collection’s layout, readers may draw parallels to Shel Silverstein; however, Oguma’s vignettes are told in a stream-of-consciousness style, matching the spontaneity of his art. The playful illustrations blend a loose figurative style with abstract patterning. Pencil and watercolors in a pastel palette showcase Oguma’s expressive style. A young woman loves mushrooms so much that her boyfriend appears in a mushroom costume and bearing a giant mushroom, prompting the question, “So what does Mr. Kiyota’s girlfriend like better?” Studying the picture of the two, readers see his mushroom-patterned garb, which blends with the enormous mushroom he holds; his girlfriend’s speech bubble, full of nothing but mushrooms, hovers over his head, making it look itself like a giant mushroom. As with Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, readers may enjoy one or many spreads at a time—the treasures within beckon repeat visits and offer inspiration for the classroom or artist.

Funny, eccentric, and unique, this exceptionally designed work has universal appeal. (Picture book. 5-adult)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-93-83145-65-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Tara Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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Teachers will certainly find themselves wishing for their own arsenal of supplies to help them with their grading, and...

THE LITTLE RED PEN

Obviously inspired by "The Little Red Hen," this goes beyond the foundation tale's basic moral about work ethic to explore problem solving, teamwork and doing one’s best.

Nighttime at school brings the Little Red Pen out of the drawer to correct papers, usually aided by other common school supplies. But not this time. Too afraid of being broken, worn out, dull, lost or, worst of all, put in the “Pit of No Return” (aka trash), they hide in the drawer despite the Little Red Pen’s insistence that the world will end if the papers do not get corrected. But even with her drive she cannot do it all herself—her efforts send her to the Pit. It takes the ingenuity and cooperation of every desk supply to accomplish her rescue and to get all the papers graded, thereby saving the world. The authors work in lots of clever wordplay that will appeal to adult readers, as will the spicy character of Chincheta, the Mexican pushpin. Stevens’ delightfully expressive desk supplies were created with paint, ink and plenty of real school supplies. Without a doubt, she has captured their true personalities: the buck-toothed stapler, bespectacled scissors and rather empty-headed eraser.

Teachers will certainly find themselves wishing for their own arsenal of supplies to help them with their grading, and students may take a second glance at that innocuous-looking red pen on the teacher’s desk. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 18, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-15-206432-7

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: April 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW

A wonderful retelling of the classic tale, handled with confidence and aplomb in Moses's first book. Here again is the lovelorn, greedy Ichabod; the dismissive Katrina; the loutish Brom Bones; and the headless horseman in all his pumpkin-wielding glory. Moses is true to the original while rendering the story appropriate for a younger audience: Everything from the gawky advances of Ichabod to the flirtatious Katrina, from Bones's pranksterish retaliations to the final electric encounter with the night rider is deftly, elementally, served forth. The sumptuous illustrations are perfectly wedded to the words, be they grand two-page spreads or the small painterly evocations lavishly decorating the text. Look closely: Lurking within the folksy artwork, with its overall primitive look, is an extraordinarily sophisticated technique enriched by an inspired use of color. A top-drawer adaptation, lovely and true. (Picture book/folklore. 6+)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-22687-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1995

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