Russian children and students of the Russian language are as familiar with this poem as American kids are with Dr. Seuss. This version adds a few modern twists to the basic theme and smooths some of the stodginess that results from direct translation. The plot is simple: If the phone would just quit ringing, the narrator could get some peace and quiet. But his animal friends keep pelting him with requests. The crocodile wants delicious, nutritious galoshes, the doves demand gloves, the baboons require spoons. The rhyming nonsense continues throughout the day, until the exhausted narrator goes off to rescue a hippo stuck in the muck. That's where readers leave him, without knowing if he ever gets back to the land of nod. The rhyme bops along merrily, but the pictures provide the pizzazz. Radunsky pastes up photographed snippets of telephones and galoshes—along with jungle foliage swiped from Rousseau and fabric cut-outs—to provide colorful surroundings for his bright animal figures. The not-to-be-missed endpapers replicate pages from a phone book that lists first names such as ``Smokey,'' ``Teddy,'' and ``Yogi'' under the last name ``Bear.'' Overall, a successful translation from east to west that proves the universal appeal of silliness. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1996

ISBN: 1-55858-480-3

Page Count: 28

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1996


Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity.

A collection of parental wishes for a child.

It starts out simply enough: two children run pell-mell across an open field, one holding a high-flying kite with the line “I wish you more ups than downs.” But on subsequent pages, some of the analogous concepts are confusing or ambiguous. The line “I wish you more tippy-toes than deep” accompanies a picture of a boy happily swimming in a pool. His feet are visible, but it's not clear whether he's floating in the deep end or standing in the shallow. Then there's a picture of a boy on a beach, his pockets bulging with driftwood and colorful shells, looking frustrated that his pockets won't hold the rest of his beachcombing treasures, which lie tantalizingly before him on the sand. The line reads: “I wish you more treasures than pockets.” Most children will feel the better wish would be that he had just the right amount of pockets for his treasures. Some of the wordplay, such as “more can than knot” and “more pause than fast-forward,” will tickle older readers with their accompanying, comical illustrations. The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic.

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2699-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015


Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your dreads! Isadora once again plies her hand using colorful, textured collages to depict her fourth fairy tale relocated to Africa. The narrative follows the basic story line: Taken by an evil sorceress at birth, Rapunzel is imprisoned in a tower; Rapunzel and the prince “get married” in the tower and she gets pregnant. The sorceress cuts off Rapunzel’s hair and tricks the prince, who throws himself from the tower and is blinded by thorns. The terse ending states: “The prince led Rapunzel and their twins to his kingdom, where they were received with great joy and lived happily every after.” Facial features, clothing, dreadlocks, vultures and the prince riding a zebra convey a generic African setting, but at times, the mixture of patterns and textures obfuscates the scenes. The textile and grain characteristic of the hewn art lacks the elegant romance of Zelinksy’s Caldecott version. Not a first purchase, but useful in comparing renditions to incorporate a multicultural aspect. (Picture book/fairy tale. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-399-24772-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2008

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