SPRING’S SPRUNG

The spring season gets a treatment of its own, following autumn (Wild Child, 1999) and winter (Winter Waits, 2001) from the same author/illustrator team. As before, the verse and illustrations personify the seasonal players. In this case, Mother Earth wakes her daughters, the spring sisters of March, April, and May, saying, “You must wake the world / to start a new day.” At the end, they must wake one more: summer. But before they awaken anyone, the three girls bicker and vie for first place in Mother Earth’s affections. After she affirms “I love you ALL the best,” the daughters are ready to wake the earth and “Spring’s Sprung! / A new day’s begun.” The insouciant mixing of months, seasons, and days may not bother preschoolers, but adults may notice. Nonetheless, the tone is lighthearted and fresh, appropriate to its season. Illustrations, as in the previous books, are liquid acrylic and colored pencil on museum board. Mother Earth’s form emerges from the earth’s topography while the daughters are portrayed as free-standing girls with many visual allusions to their physical ties to the earth, such as hair that flows into a river or curls into mounds of bushes. The colors are pastel, and there is much that is a fresh, new green. Touches of flowers and familiar mother-and-baby animals (such as bunnies and ducks) dot the backgrounds. There is a distinct New Age flavor to both story and illustrations. The large, vertical format is equally suitable for storytime or individual readings. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-689-84229-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2002

A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

HOME

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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