MARKET DAY

A STORY TOLD WITH FOLK ART

Once again Ehlert (Top Cat, 1998, etc.) has created a vibrant and fascinating picture book by arranging and photographing pieces of folk art from her collection, this time against backdrops of Guatemalan and Colombian textiles. Carved and painted wooden chickens perch in front of a backdrop of appliquéd chickens, as the family feeds them corn before packing up the produce to take to market. In a whimsically painted clay truck, they go “past the fish and frogs that swim near the bridge / and past the sheep that graze on the ridge.” Among others going to market are mice dolls from Indonesia on an African cycle made of discarded metal containers, wire, bike chain, rubber, and plastic. A wooden jaguar passes by with a tomato and later a carrot in its mouth, and a clay possum pulls a cart holding a single papier-mâché turnip. Part of the pleasure of the book is in scrutinizing the ingenious details of the folk art, and the way they’ve been combined to tell the story. There’s an element of childlike play in this, reminiscent of the way children create and act out stories by combining toys of various origins and disparate sizes, and through the power of imagination create a world that is entirely their own. Ehlert has created a similarly captivating world within these pages. A two-paged catalogue of artifacts, their composition, and their origins completes the picture. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-15-202158-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2000

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Raise your hats, everyone; raise them high!

VERY GOOD HATS

In her debut picture book, adult novelist Straub offers a tip of the hat…to hats.

This captivating charmer isn’t about hats’ utilitarian functions—that is, the why, when, or how they’re worn. Nor will readers learn the latest scoop in millinery fashion trends. The author instead muses on…well, hats—mostly how and what they can be made from. And does she have ideas! Among many items, hats can be fashioned from pajama pants, towels, bathtime bubbles (temporarily), books, bowls, and—get this—even cats! Speaking of creativity, who says hats only go on heads? Hats fit on fingers, too: Have you ever tried adorning fingertips with raspberries, tortellini, chewed gum, and doll shoes? And—wait for it—where is it written that only people wear hats? Can’t houses, pots, turtles, woodland animals, and stuffed bears wear chapeaux, too? There are many more charming examples in this wonderfully clever title, and children will want to return to it again and again. Adults sharing this adorable winner should be prepared to use it to stimulate creative discussions, drawing, and/or craft-making activities. Children will have a ball donning their thinking caps and coming up with original ideas for devising all sorts of hats and various creatures and objects to wear them—including themselves. The digital illustrations incorporate paper collage and are as colorful, lively, and inventive as the text. Characters are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Raise your hats, everyone; raise them high! (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-52943-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Rocky Pond Books/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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An entertaining, if light, addition to the growing shelf of celebrity-authored picture books.

BUSY BETTY

Actor and author Witherspoon makes her picture-book debut.

Betty, a light-skinned, bespectacled child with blond pigtails, was born busy. Constantly in motion, Betty builds big block towers, cartwheels around the house (underfoot, of course), and plays with the family’s “fantabulous” dog, Frank, who is stinky and dirty. That leads to a big, busy, bright idea that, predictably, caroms toward calamity yet drags along enough hilarity to be entertaining. With a little help from best friend Mae (light-skinned with dark hair), the catastrophe turns into a lucrative dog-washing business. Busy Betty is once again ready to rush off to the next big thing. Yan uses vivid, pastel colors for a spread of a group of diverse kids bringing their dogs to be washed, helping out, and having fun, while the grown-ups are muted and relegated to the background. Extreme angles in several of the illustrations effectively convey a sense of perpetual motion and heighten the story’s tension, drawing readers in. An especially effective, glitter-strewn spread portrays Frank looming large and seemingly running off the page while Betty looks on, stricken at the ensuing mess. Though it’s a familiar and easily resolved story, Witherspoon’s rollicking text never holds back, replete with amusing phrases such as “sweet cinnamon biscuits,” “bouncing biscuits,” and “busted biscuits.” As Betty says, “Being busy is a great way to be.” Young readers are sure to agree. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An entertaining, if light, addition to the growing shelf of celebrity-authored picture books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-46588-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flamingo Books

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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