A mediocre substitute for the eloquent simplicity of Nancy Tafuri’s definitive Have You Seen My Duckling or even the classic...

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WRONG WAY

A mother duck’s instructive intentions are interrupted by one of her mischievous ducklings and his wayward ways.

A duck family of four sets out for the pond and a beginning swim lesson. Ducklings Right Way and Your Way follow obediently, while Wrong Way promptly refuses to comply, plopping down in the middle of the path, diving into the bushes to retrieve a juicy snail, splashing through a puddle and otherwise slowing the trip down for all. “At this rate, we’ll never make it to the pond…. I’d better carry you, I suppose” is mother duck’s exasperated response. But when a passing car forces everyone to quickly flap out of its path, Wrong Way, who wasn’t paying attention, is blown, tossed and tumbled onto his back and left behind. Eager to catch up, he rushes right past his family and splashes out into the middle of the pond. Recognizing his unorthodox ways, mother finally acknowledges that her little impish duckling should be renamed My Way. Light charcoal sketches infused with green and yellow muted watercolor washes adroitly depict the humorous scenarios, yet the unfortunate choice of names creates a level of didactic moralizing that spoils the overall theme of individuality in a large family.

A mediocre substitute for the eloquent simplicity of Nancy Tafuri’s definitive Have You Seen My Duckling or even the classic Story About Ping. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61067-077-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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Nevertheless, children will enjoy the whimsical scenes, and adult mavens of children’s literature will appreciate and...

GOODNIGHT SONGS

ILLUSTRATED BY TWELVE AWARD-WINNING PICTURE BOOK ARTISTS

It’s a treasure trove: one dozen previously unpublished lyrical songs illustrated by the likes of Jonathan Bean, Carin Berger and Melissa Sweet.

In an introduction, estate editor Amy Gary explains how she found a trunk in Brown’s sister’s barn filled with unpublished manuscripts with Brown’s handwritten notes along with musical scores of her words. They were written in 1952, the last year of her life, when she was traveling in France for a book tour and under contract to create songs for a new children’s record company. Brown’s intent was to capture the spirit of a child’s world in her songs as she had done with her stories. As the opening to “The Secret Song” demonstrates, the simple rhymes have Brown’s trademark charm: “Who saw the petals / Drop from the rose? / ‘I,’ said the spider. / ‘But nobody knows.’ / Who saw the sunset / Flash on a bird? / ‘I,’ said the fish. / ‘But nobody heard.’ ” Each song is presented on one double-page spread, each illustrated by a different artist (uncredited until an ending recap), in a rather staid book design that does not rise to meet the buoyancy of the lyrics.

Nevertheless, children will enjoy the whimsical scenes, and adult mavens of children’s literature will appreciate and delight in the background of the discovery. (CD) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4549-0446-5

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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MOTHER GOOSE PICTURE PUZZLES

Hillenbrand introduces the idea of rebuses to newly emergent readers with a gathering of likely-to-be-familiar Mother Goose rhymes—from “Hey diddle, diddle, / the [cat] and the [fiddle]” to “Twinkle, twinkle, little [star].” To make the translations ultra-easy, he provides literal visual interpretations for each rhyme in good-humored cartoon scenes featuring smiling people or animals, generally in country dress and settings. (He moderates verisimilitude for the audience appropriately: Jill’s fallen male companion and Humpty Dumpty are unhappy after their accidents but plainly not grievously injured.) He even labels the relevant figures, all of whom or which are larger versions of the rebuses: “cake,” “baker’s man” and “baby,” for instance, or “hill,” “pail,” “water” and “crown (another word for top of head).” As a technique for promoting visual and verbal literacy at once this game has a good track record, and young audiences put off by the crudely illustrated likes of Blanche Fisher Wright’s Real Mother Goose Picture Word Rhymes (1916, 1987) or the much older Mother Goose in Hieroglyphics (1849, 1973) will both enjoy and benefit from this shorter but more child-friendly outing. (Nursery rhymes. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7614-5808-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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