With its generous format and variety, this work should keep kids happily occupied for hours while learning a few things...



This California-themed children’s activity book provides information on the state’s history, animals, and more through coloring pages, stickers, and puzzles.

California is a huge state, matching the big format of this work, with 368 full-size pages packed with information, black-and-white line drawings to color, puzzles to complete, and 253 stickers. (Silhouettes on the appropriate drawings read “PLACE STICKER HERE.”) With some exceptions, the drawing style is cartoonish; both adult and animal figures have exaggerated, childlike features, such as big heads, wide-set eyes, and toothy, open-mouthed grins. Sixteen chapters cover topics including California’s prehistory, European exploration, missions, places of interest, animals, festivals, parks, food, and activities. The opening chapter, “Characters of California,” provides coloring pages (but no additional information) depicting such figures as Maxie Mammoth; Yuki, a Native American; and Soul Deadbones, a sugar-skull man wearing a sombrero. These often correspond to other pages (for example, Soul Deadbones goes with the Día de los Muertos entry), but no cross-references are provided. In the remaining chapters, each page usually includes a headline and a few sentences of explanation, along with a picture to color or a puzzle to solve. Sometimes Drenth (Dogs Don’t, 2017, etc.) makes only a tenuous connection to the state’s history, as when a page on San Francisco’s Chinatown in the Northern California chapter is followed by a maze titled “Help the ninja find the path to his lunch.” What do ninjas, whether the original Japanese feudal mercenaries or the pop-culture variety, have to do with the Bay Area? Similarly, the illustrations by Cardona (Puerto Rico Coloring Learning Activity Book, 2013, etc.) sometimes lack accuracy; Yuki, for example, wears deerskin leggings, although Yuki men wore only an apron-like piece of deerskin. But children, less picky about such matters, can enjoy the assortment of activities the book offers, the bite-sized factoids, and perhaps especially the colorful stickers, which are vivid, lively, and fun.

With its generous format and variety, this work should keep kids happily occupied for hours while learning a few things about California.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-880760-70-3

Page Count: 364

Publisher: Sunnyscene LLC

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

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            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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