THE COUNTRY MOUSE AND THE CITY MOUSE

Emily, a corn-fed country mouse, lives with her loving human family on Johnson Farm. When her urbane cousin Alexander invites her to spend Christmas with him in New York City, she hesitates, thinking of her delightful Christmases at home. But eventually Emily heads off to Greenwich Village, to dapper Alexander's luxurious home in Antoine's, the finest French restaurant in the city. Although the food is delicious, mice are unwelcome in Monsieur Le Chef's restaurant, and a cat chase is more excitement than either of the cousins wants. Emily suggests that Alexander return with her to Johnson Farm, and he agrees. When they get there, the Johnson children have laid out a sumptuous, if simple, Christmas dinner for Emily, and the two mice could not be happier. Smath's illustrations are about as cute as a Hallmark card, and Fisher's (Women in the Third World, not reviewed) dialogue is a diabetic's nightmare. On the last page, Alexander says, ``I guess Christmas is not about fancy foods and expensive gifts, after all!'' And Emily responds, ``Oh, Alexander, I'm so happy. This is the best Christmas ever, because I'm sharing it with everyone I love!'' Riddled with platitudes. (Fiction/Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 1994

ISBN: 0-679-84684-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1994

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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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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