Minimal is the word. In cold snowy Vienna a tiny Schubert — that immediately recognizable "short, fat young man with a small round nose, round eyeglasses and curly hair" — sits in a bare, unheated room and works on his music. The room is indicated by just a few floorboards joining a white wall — framed in the center of an otherwise blank page. If nothing seems to be happening, that's just the point; for Franz Schubert heard music when his friends heard nothing, and at last, to chase away the cold, little Franz begins to dance — "He clapped his hands and stamped his feet. . ." and "made his shabby coattails fly" — and the tune carries him right off the edge of the last page to Peter Schaaf's (soft plastic) record of five of Schubert's "Noble Waltzes." There's nobility in the very spareness; a lilt to the title's word play, and Schubert is, of course, the perfect subject for this doll-sized glimpse of greatness.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1972

ISBN: 0879235403

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1972

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A festive invitation to creative liberation.


A pleasingly tactile exploration of the possibilities inherent in mistakes.

"A torn piece of paper... / is just the beginning!" Spills, folded paper, drips of paint, smudges and smears—they "all can make magic appear." An increasingly complex series of scenarios celebrates random accidents, encouraging artistic experimentation rather than discouragement. The folded-over paper can be a penguin's head; a torn piece of newsprint can turn into a smiling dog with a little application of paint; a hot-chocolate stain can become a bog for a frog. Thanks to a telescoping pop-up, a hole is filled with nearly limitless possibilities. The interactive elements work beautifully with the photo-collaged "mistakes," never overwhelming the intent with showiness. Saltzberg's trademark cartoon animals provide a sweetly childlike counterpoint to the artful scribbles and smears of gloppy paint.

A festive invitation to creative liberation. (Pop-up. 4-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7611-5728-1

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2010

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From the artist who created last year's shoutingly vivid Growing Vegetable Soup, a companion volume about raising a flower garden. "Mom and I" plant bulbs (even rhizomes), choose seeds, buy seedlings, and altogether grow about 20 species. Unlike the vegetables, whose juxtaposed colors were almost painfully bright, the flowers make a splendidly gaudy array, first taken together and then interestingly grouped by color—the pages vary in size here so that colored strips down the right-hand side combine to make a broad rainbow. Bold, stylish, and indubitably inspired by real flowers, there is still (as with its predecessor) a link missing between these illustrations with their large, solid areas of color and the real experience of a garden. The stylized forms are almost more abstractions than representations (and why is the daisy yellow?). There is also little sense of the relative times for growing and blooming—everything seems to come almost at once. Perhaps the trouble is that Ehlert has captured all the color of the garden, but not its subtle gradations or the light, the space, the air, and the continual movement and change.

Pub Date: March 21, 1988

ISBN: 0152063048

Page Count: 66

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1988

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