FROGGIE WENT A-COURTING

It is difficult not to use the word “exuberant” in describing Priceman’s lavish hand with shape and color, and here she takes the ancient folk song and places it smack dab in the 21st century. Froggie indeed went a-courting, taking a taxi to the Upper West Side of New York City, where Ms. Mouse accepts him. The Times Square marquee announces their engagement, but Auntie Rat is furious: “You cannot marry an amphibian!” she declares. But Frog and Mouse plan their wedding on top of the Statue of Liberty, and all of the usual questions are answered in rollicking form: “Who will make the wedding gown? / Ms. Dragonfly in Chinatown.” Auntie Rat is neatly disposed of, the party continues on the Circle Line cruise ship, and the happy couple honeymoon in Paris. Priceman’s Matisse-inspired cut-paper and gouache images, scattered with her signature roses, brilliantly evoke the city in a paradise of rich color and elegant line. The characters, from the jazzy bees and table-setting fish to the tomcat, who takes care of Aunt Rat, fairly shimmy off the page, dancing to Priceman’s beat. A great read-aloud, a deliciously subversive message. (Picture book/folktale. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-316-71227-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

PERFECT SQUARE

The volume, like its subject, is a perfect square, welcoming readers into a colorful, geometric romp. Opposite a shiny red page with white type sits “a perfect [red] square. It had four matching corners and four equal sides.” On the next page, the square wears a smile, because it is “perfectly happy.” On Monday, though, the square is no longer square; someone has cut it up and had at it with a hole puncher, so those shapes arrange themselves into a fountain (with red dots as water). On Tuesday, the square is torn into orange shapes and becomes a garden with the addition of a few well-placed lines. Wednesday’s green shreds become a park, Friday’s blue ribbons turn into a river. Each day, the brilliant colors change, and the square is torn, crumpled or cut. The artist adds lines—making fish, clouds, etc.—that enable readers to see the new creation. The simple language is as perfect as the initial square. Hall’s acrylic monotypes make each iteration slightly different in texture and color, so the whole is a visual feast. The entire week comes together in a “This is the house that Jack built” way at the end, when on Sunday the square becomes a window onto all that was made. Young readers will absorb the visual lessons effortlessly and with delight. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-191513-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A lovely, simple reminder to pause and notice this life.

QUIET

A white-bearded grandfather imparts his gentle wisdom to his grandchildren—a girl and a boy—as they meander through a placid green space.

Together, the grandfather and children make note of the bustling natural world. The birds are flying, the dog is running; everyone seems to be in a hurry. The grandfather suggests that the children try another way of being with him, sitting quietly on a bench. The creatures around them respond to their stillness, also taking a moment to rest. As the book draws toward its close, each child is featured in a full-page portrait illustration, gazing out as they note what the quiet and stillness offers to them: “I can think, when I’m quiet. / I can see, when I’m still.” It seems as though the prolific author and illustrator dePaola is speaking directly to readers on these pages, passing on his own insight. His signature illustration style is so simple that it feels fresh. Thick outlines separate individual shapes, and the muted palette epitomizes softness. A single white lotus floats in a small pond on the final page, perhaps paying homage to contemplative practices such as mindfulness that encourage making space for quiet reflection in our busy lives. Children and grandfather have light skin, the girl with straight black hair and the boy with a curly red mop.

A lovely, simple reminder to pause and notice this life. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7754-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more