With Barton’s nuanced illustrations, Hoberman’s 36-year-old hand-me-down poem defines sustainability for the next generation.

I LIKE OLD CLOTHES

Hand-me-downs gain new poetic life in this charming picture-book remake.

Originally published with illustrations by Jacqueline Chwast, here Hoberman’s 1976 poem gets a makeover courtesy of illustrator Barton. Kirkus panned the original for attempting too much with too little, finding Hoberman’s “silly rhyme” as threadbare as its theme of recycled clothing and Chwast’s “overpopulated pictures” teeming with a “freakish cast.” Thankfully, the Barton edition coheres much better. While Hoberman’s thematic insistence on the delight to be found in imagining the prior ownership of secondhand clothes is a little heavy-handed, her verse comes across as playful and light: “I like old clothes. / I really do. / Clothes with a history, / Clothes with a mystery, // Sweaters and shirts / That are brother-and-sistery….” Barton’s digitally rendered mixed-media illustrations capture well the warmth of Hoberman’s message, using wispy lines and softly accented shading to imbue these garments with such life that they actually seem capable of some determinism in their hand-me-down trajectory. Particularly effective is the final spread, in which a clothesline strung between windows displays many of the “Now-for-play clothes” featured earlier, giving the poet’s concept of a garment’s past and future a smartly literal linearity.

With Barton’s nuanced illustrations, Hoberman’s 36-year-old hand-me-down poem defines sustainability for the next generation. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86951-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An entertaining, if light, addition to the growing shelf of celebrity-authored picture books.

BUSY BETTY

Actor and author Witherspoon makes her picture-book debut.

Betty, a light-skinned, bespectacled child with blond pigtails, was born busy. Constantly in motion, Betty builds big block towers, cartwheels around the house (underfoot, of course), and plays with the family’s “fantabulous” dog, Frank, who is stinky and dirty. That leads to a big, busy, bright idea that, predictably, caroms toward calamity yet drags along enough hilarity to be entertaining. With a little help from best friend Mae (light-skinned with dark hair), the catastrophe turns into a lucrative dog-washing business. Busy Betty is once again ready to rush off to the next big thing. Yan uses vivid, pastel colors for a spread of a group of diverse kids bringing their dogs to be washed, helping out, and having fun, while the grown-ups are muted and relegated to the background. Extreme angles in several of the illustrations effectively convey a sense of perpetual motion and heighten the story’s tension, drawing readers in. An especially effective, glitter-strewn spread portrays Frank looming large and seemingly running off the page while Betty looks on, stricken at the ensuing mess. Though it’s a familiar and easily resolved story, Witherspoon’s rollicking text never holds back, replete with amusing phrases such as “sweet cinnamon biscuits,” “bouncing biscuits,” and “busted biscuits.” As Betty says, “Being busy is a great way to be.” Young readers are sure to agree. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An entertaining, if light, addition to the growing shelf of celebrity-authored picture books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-46588-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flamingo Books

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This extraordinary book will make it hard for any child reader to settle for the mundaneness of reality.

WHAT IF...

A testament to the power of an imaginative mind.

A compulsively creative, unnamed, brown-skinned little girl with purple hair wonders what she would do if the pencil she uses “to create…stories that come from my heart” disappeared. Turns out, it wouldn’t matter. Art can take many forms. She can fold paper (origami), carve wood, tear wallpaper to create texture designs, and draw in the dirt. She can even craft art with light and darkness or singing and dancing. At the story’s climax, her unencumbered imagination explodes beyond the page into a foldout spread, enabling readers both literally and figuratively to see into her fantasy life. While readers will find much to love in the exuberant rhyming verse, attending closely to the illustrations brings its own rewards given the fascinating combinations of mixed media Curato employs. For instance, an impressively colorful dragon is made up of different leaves that have been photographed in every color phase from green to deep red, including the dragon’s breath (made from the brilliant orange leaves of a Japanese maple) and its nose and scales (created by the fan-shaped, butter-colored leaves of a gingko). Sugar cubes, flower petals, sand, paper bags, marbles, sequins, and lots more add to and compose these brilliant, fantasy-sparking illustrations.

This extraordinary book will make it hard for any child reader to settle for the mundaneness of reality. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-39096-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more