MY COLORS, MY WORLD/MIS COLORES, MI MUNDO

Trying to find color and beauty in her childhood world of the California Mojave Desert, Maya (the author/illustrator as a young girl) uses her artistic propensities to seek out objects that stand out from their dusty surroundings. The playful Latina girl, with her cleft chin, beauty mark and wide, brown almond-shaped eyes, is at the heart of every double-page spread with her companion, her purple bird. She finds pink in the sunset and in her favorite outfits, the orange marigolds, the purple irises with their yellow pollen, the green cactus and her red swing. To round out her palette, she finds her Papi’s black hair, the blue of the night sky and the brown mud that she turns into beautifully decorated pies. The bilingual text provides a short poetic narrative, and the color words in Spanish and English are printed in a larger font that matches the color for each object. The intensely colored paintings, featuring some touches of magical realism (Maya floats into the sky with a brilliant pink sun and a moon with a folkloric rabbit in his cheek), don’t always lend themselves easily to the color-concept book format, but this book can jump-start the world of the imagination. (glossary of color words) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-89239-221-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2007

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A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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COUNT DOWN TO FALL

Beginning with the number ten, Hawk’s verses count down different tree leaves/seeds in all their fall glory. “Nine dogwood leaves / bright shining scarlet, / drifting down, down, down— / like the tail of a comet.” While the text is problematic—there are rhyme and scansion issues and one page does not name the tree featured at all—Neidigh’s illustrations do not disappoint. Detailed borders include close-up views of the bark of each tree while corners depict the whole tree, the leaves (both summer and fall colors) and the seeds. Woodland animals round out each spread, in which readers can count the leaves. Most are very clear, but extra objects may occasionally confuse readers. Backmatter gives readers a chance to test their knowledge of plant parts, categorize leaves according to their shape, match summer and fall leaves and learn how people and animals use some of the trees featured in the text. The visual details make this a delight to the eye, but unfortunately the verses are not music to the ear. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 10, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-934359-94-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sylvan Dell

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2009

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