DOWN THE BACK OF THE CHAIR

A comfy armchair upholstered in a brightly flowered print is the hiding place for a fantastic range of surprises in this rollicking, rhyming treat from the uniquely talented Mahy, winner of the 2006 Hans Christian Andersen Award. “Down the back of the chair” is the repeated refrain as a father and his children search for some missing keys, uncovering all sorts of animals, artifacts and leftovers in the mysterious depths of the seemingly enchanted chair. They find missing household items (including one of their infant twins) and a whole menagerie of creatures, from a smiling snake to a pair of blue elephants drinking tea. The enumeration of hidden items ends with the discovery of an uncle’s long-long will as well as his piggy bank, assuring the family’s financial future. Dunbar’s delightfully loose illustrations in watercolor and cut paper provide a satisfying complement to Mahy’s poem, with whimsical creatures, juicy colors and lots of motion to match the kinetic energy of the text. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 12, 2006

ISBN: 0-618-69395-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2006

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DIM SUM FOR EVERYONE!

Dim sum is the perfect tea party for children because of the tasty, small dishes on teacarts from which to choose. Here, a little girl narrates a simple story of the delicious meal she shares with her family. Turnip cakes, fried shrimp, sweet pork buns, and sweet tofu are all chosen, and lastly, the narrator selects egg tarts. As each child selects from a cart, the perspective changes to focus on the chooser. The bright red restaurant rug is the background color for every page, setting off the silver carts with their goodies and the bright, patterned colors of the people’s clothes. The yellow letters of the text at times curve to match the tables in the picture or appear a little off to the side so as not to interfere with the visual image. One particularly effective spread steps back and shows a half-dozen tables all filled with little dishes and the silver carts wending their way through them; the pattern is delightful. A history of the origins of dim sum and its popularity today is described in an epilogue. The bright green endpapers are decorated at the front with food, condiments, and tableware while the back endpapers depict almost two dozen dim sum dishes. A delightful read-aloud, sure to please those children who have enjoyed dim sum and a fascinating adventure for those who have yet to experience it. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 10, 2001

ISBN: 978-0-440-41770-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2001

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SAY HELLO!

Today Carmelita visits her Abuela Rosa, but to get there she must walk. Down Ninth Avenue she strolls with her mother and dog. Colorful shops and congenial neighbors greet them along the way, and at each stop Carmelita says hello—in Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew and more. With a friendly “Jambo” for Joseph, a “Bonjour” at the bakery and an affectionate “Hey” for Max and Angel, the pig-tailed girl happily exercises her burgeoning multilingual skills. Her world is a vibrant community, where neighborliness, camaraderie and culture are celebrated. Isadora’s collaged artwork, reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats, contains lovely edges and imperfections, which abet the feeling of an urban environment. Skillfully, she draws with her scissors, the cut-paper elements acting as her line work. Everything has a texture and surface, and with almost no solid colors, the city street is realized as a real, organic place. Readers will fall for the sociable Carmelita as they proudly learn a range of salutations, and the artist’s rich environment, packed with hidden details and charming animals, will delight readers with each return visit. Simply enchanting. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-399-25230-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2010

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