HOORAY! IT'S PASSOVER!

Add this offering to the growing stack of books whose sole function is to teach the very young the lessons of Passover. Kimmelman and Himmelman essentially repeat the formula of their Hanukkah Lights, Hanukkah Nights (1992, not reviewed), but the weighty theme of the Exodus is not as suited to the lighthearted approach exemplified by the title and the frolicsome illustrations. The only relief from the mere recitation of the events of a Seder dinner is some feline mischief at the table, but the clowning falls flat. ``The Story of Passover'' at the end acts as an author's note as to the origins and symbols of the holiday. Utilitarian. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 29, 1996

ISBN: 0-06-024673-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1995

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SKELETON HICCUPS

Who hasn’t shared the aggravation of a whole day’s worth of bone-rattling hiccups? Poor Skeleton wakes up with a deadly case that he can’t shake, and it’s up to his friend Ghost to think of something to scare them away. Cuyler (Stop, Drop, and Roll, 2001, etc.) cleverly brings readers through the ups and downs of Skeleton’s day, from shower to ball-playing. Home folk remedies (holding his breath, eating sugar) don’t seem to work, but Ghost applies a new perspective startling enough to unhinge listeners and Skeleton alike. While the concept is clever, it’s Schindler’s (How Santa Lost His Job, 2001, etc.) paintings, done with gouache, ink, and watercolor, that carry the day, showing Skeleton’s own unique problems—water pours out of his hollow eyes when he drinks it upside down, his teeth spin out of his head when he brushes them—that make a joke of the circumstances. Oversized spreads open the scene to read-aloud audiences, but hold intimate details for sharp eyes—monster slippers, sugar streaming through the hollow body. For all the hiccupping, this outing has a quiet feel not up to the standards of some of Cuyler’s earlier books, but the right audience will enjoy its fun. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-689-84770-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2002

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THE LION & THE MOUSE

A nearly wordless exploration of Aesop’s fable of symbiotic mercy that is nothing short of masterful.

A mouse, narrowly escaping an owl at dawn, skitters up what prove to be a male lion’s tail and back. Lion releases Mouse in a moment of bemused gentility and—when subsequently ensnared in a poacher’s rope trap—reaps the benefit thereof. Pinkney successfully blends anthropomorphism and realism, depicting Lion’s massive paws and Mouse’s pink inner ears along with expressions encompassing the quizzical, hapless and nearly smiling. He plays, too, with perspective, alternating foreground views of Mouse amid tall grasses with layered panoramas of the Serengeti plain and its multitudinous wildlife. Mouse, befitting her courage, is often depicted heroically large relative to Lion. Spreads in watercolor and pencil employ a palette of glowing amber, mouse-brown and blue-green. Artist-rendered display type ranges from a protracted “RRROAARRRRRRRRR” to nine petite squeaks from as many mouselings. If the five cubs in the back endpapers are a surprise, the mouse family of ten, perched on the ridge of father lion’s back, is sheer delight.

Unimpeachable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-316-01356-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2009

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