HURRAY FOR THREE KINGS' DAY!

PLB 0-688-16240-1 A thin story cloaks a list of the customs and foods associated with the sixth of January, known variously as Epiphany, Twelfth Night, or, for the Spanish-speaking family in this book, Three Kings’ Day. Carlson (Barrio Streets Carnival Dreams, 1996, etc.) has combined features of the celebrations from various Latino communities, incorporating them into the family festivities of young Anita, who tells the story. The festivities begin the night of the fifth of January with street processions featuring the wise men who followed the star to Christ’s birthplace. That night Anita walks to visit friends and family with her older brothers, who keep hurrying her and telling her she is a baby. “Is this where we can find the child?” the children sing at various houses, and those they visit send them on until the boys have had enough and decide to go home. There Anita does as custom decrees, placing her empty shoes by her bed to be filled with small gifts and candies, along with small boxes full of grass, flowers, and hay. The next morning Anita is elated to see heaps of gifts under the decorated tree downstairs, and that evening when the family gathers for a holiday meal, she finds in her piece of cake the traditional tiny doll making its finder the king, or rey, or in her case, the reina. Oil paintings lend a rich glow to an orderly but warm bilingual story. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8.)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-688-16239-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1999

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THE COLORS OF US

This vibrant, thoughtful book from Katz (Over the Moon, 1997) continues her tribute to her adopted daughter, Lena, born in Guatemala. Lena is “seven. I am the color of cinnamon. Mom says she could eat me up”; she learns during a painting lesson that to get the color brown, she will have to “mix red, yellow, black, and white paints.” They go for a walk to observe the many shades of brown: they see Sonia, who is the color of creamy peanut butter; Isabella, who is chocolate brown; Lucy, both peachy and tan; Jo-Jin, the color of honey; Kyle, “like leaves in fall”; Mr. Pellegrino, the color of pizza crust, golden brown. Lena realizes that every shade is beautiful, then mixes her paints accordingly for portraits of her friends—“The colors of us!” Bold illustrations celebrate diversity with a child’s open-hearted sensibility and a mother’s love. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5864-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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THERE'S A WARDROBE IN MY MONSTER!

Small, saucy Martha is not a child to put in pink. She wears black-and-white, highly graphic dresses, including one long-sleeved number with a bull’s-eye on the belly. She has mastered the management of her boring goldfish, somnolent cat, and clueless dog, and she opines that it is high time to acquire a large, ugly monster. Forthwith, she marches out with her piggy-bank. The nearest pet shop stocks only small monsters, but one green fellow has an pleasingly awful grin. It’s a done deal: “Keep the pig,” Martha says as she exits with her purchase. Martha knows that the monster eats only wood, but she doesn’t know that twigs will be followed by branches, planks from the dog’s dismantled kennel, her bed legs, and her bottom drawer. As the monster grows, so does its appetite, until the only place left to put it is in the wardrobe—which it promptly eats. Enough is enough for Martha, but the pet shop man offers only exchanges; against his advice, Martha selects an egg with green and purple splotches. As the original monster gets pushed out the back door, readers will delight in the dreadful possibilities inherent in this twist. It’s a romp of a tale to read aloud, with a tongue-in-cheek text; the vigorous pictures more than support and extend this illustrious excursion into the consequences of pet ownership. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 1999

ISBN: 1-57505-414-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lerner

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1999

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