Laugh-out-loud nonsense poetry combine with cutting-edge paper collages for an irresistible picture book. Hort, familiar to readers as the author of the far more sober Reading Rainbow selection How Many Stars in the Sky? (1991) here reveals his wacky, endearing side. This book should come with a disclaimer: “Warning: Regular classroom read-alouds from this perky collection of 18 poems could cause a room full of second graders to dissolve into uncontrollable giggles.” And who could resist “When Groundhog Slides Down the Chimney,” which reminds readers that it’s time to “carve your eggs and paint your pumpkins” as “Columbus, it will soon be Christmas!” Beware—if you’re trying to soothe little ones before bed, do not read “Lullaby,” which urges kids to first “open your eyes” and then “close your eyes, it’s time to wake. . . . Come taste your breakfast rattlesnake.” Readers will enjoy the delicious “Broccoli Pie” and the “peppery cool / and lemony sweet” taste of “A Pair of Purple Oranges.” “I Drove Over Oceans,” with its pleasing echo of the old jump rope favorite “Johnny over the ocean, Johnny over the sea . . .” could sweep 21st-century playgrounds. Kids and teachers may be inspired to try their own hands at nonsense verse. But caution is recommended. Kids might find these poems too sidesplitting to settle down and write. Kroninger’s bright and wacky cut-paper collages vibrate with energy. Incorporating eye-popping magazine photo images, they fairly burst from the pages and never fail to ratchet up the hilarity. (Poetry. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-689-83195-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000



A lushly illustrated homage to librarians who provide a welcome and a home away from home for all who enter.

A love letter to libraries.

A Black child, with hair in two puffballs tied with yellow ribbons, a blue dress with a Peter Pan collar, and black patent leather Mary Janes, helps Grandmother with the housework, then, at Grandmother’s suggestion, heads to the library. The child’s eagerness to go, with two books under an arm and one in their hand, suggests that this is a favorite destination. The books’ wordless covers emphasize their endless possibilities. The protagonist’s description of the library makes clear that they are always free to be themselves there—whether they feel happy or sad, whether they’re reading mysteries or recipes, and whether they feel “quick and smart” or “contained and cautious.” Robinson’s vibrant, carefully composed digital illustrations, with bright colors that invite readers in and textures and patterns in every image, effectively capture the protagonist’s passion for reading and appreciation for a space where they feel accepted regardless of disposition. In her author’s note, Giovanni states that she spent summers visiting her grandmother in Knoxville, Tennessee, where she went to the Carnegie Branch of the Lawson McGhee Library. She expresses gratitude for Mrs. Long, the librarian, who often traveled to the main library to get books that Giovanni could not find in their segregated branch. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A lushly illustrated homage to librarians who provide a welcome and a home away from home for all who enter. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-358-38765-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Versify/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022



There’s always tomorrow.

A lyrical message of perseverance and optimism.

The text uses direct address, which the title- and final-page illustrations suggest comes from an adult voice, to offer inspiration and encouragement. The opening spreads reads, “Tonight as you sleep, a new day stirs. / Each kiss good night is a wish for tomorrow,” as the accompanying art depicts a child with black hair and light skin asleep in a bed that’s fantastically situated in a stylized landscape of buildings, overpasses, and roadways. The effect is dreamlike, in contrast with the next illustration, of a child of color walking through a field and blowing dandelion fluff at sunrise. Until the last spread, each child depicted in a range of settings is solitary. Some visual metaphors falter in terms of credibility, as in the case of a white-appearing child using a wheelchair in an Antarctic ice cave strewn with obstacles, as the text reads “you’ll explore the world, only feeling lost in your imagination.” Others are oblique in attempted connections between text and art. How does a picture of a pale-skinned, black-haired child on a bridge in the rain evoke “first moments that will dance with you”? But the image of a child with pink skin and brown hair scaling a wall as text reads “there will be injustice that will challenge you, and it will surprise you how brave you can be” is clearer.

There’s always tomorrow. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-101-99437-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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