THIS IS THE FIREFIGHTER

Yet another firefighting tale that emphasizes the rescue of a pet. The rhyming text introduces readers to a heroic firefighter, his station and his equipment. A burning apartment building sends the firefighters racing; they dash up the stairs, use the axe on the door and rescue some people trapped inside. Down on the ground, health workers check the rescued, and a young girl spots her cat in a window. Sans mask, our hero goes back in to rescue it. In an unfortunate misstep between text and illustrations, the rescue of the people prompts no emotion while the cat’s emergence is greeted with cheers from the whole crowd. The verse’s modified “House That Jack Built” format gives youngsters the opportunity to seek and find within the illustrations. By limiting his palette to the primary colors, Hector evokes an earlier period in publishing, while at the same time incorporating modern art into the décor of each apartment. His artwork is detailed enough to satisfy, but stops well short of scaring the intended audience with excessive realism. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 17, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4231-0800-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2009

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I CAN BE ANYTHING!

A young boy wonders aloud to a rabbit friend what he will be when he grows up and imagines some outrageous choices. “Puddle stomper,” “bubble gum popper,” “mixing-bowl licker,” “baby-sis soother” are just some of the 24 inspiringly creative vocations Spinelli’s young dreamer envisions in this pithy rhymed account. Aided by Liao’s cleverly integrated full-bleed mixed-media illustrations, which radiate every hue of the rainbow, and dynamic typesetting with words that swoop and dive, the author’s perspective on this adult-inspired question yields some refreshingly child-oriented answers. Given such an irresistible array of options—“So many jobs! / They’re all such fun”—the boy in the end decides, in an exuberant double gatefold, “I’m going to choose… / EVERY ONE!”—a conclusion befitting a generation expected to have more than six careers each. Without parents or peers around to corral this carefree child’s dreams, the possibilities of being whatever one wants appear both limitless and attainable. An inspired take on a timeless question. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-316-16226-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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NOT A BOX

Dedicated “to children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes,” this elemental debut depicts a bunny with big, looping ears demonstrating to a rather thick, unseen questioner (“Are you still standing around in that box?”) that what might look like an ordinary carton is actually a race car, a mountain, a burning building, a spaceship or anything else the imagination might dream up. Portis pairs each question and increasingly emphatic response with a playscape of Crockett Johnson–style simplicity, digitally drawn with single red and black lines against generally pale color fields. Appropriately bound in brown paper, this makes its profound point more directly than such like-themed tales as Marisabina Russo’s Big Brown Box (2000) or Dana Kessimakis Smith’s Brave Spaceboy (2005). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-112322-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2006

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