The idea of a Noah's ark handed down from generation to generation holds such promise, and so well suits Goffstein's precise, intimate, quietly unfolding manner, that the fact that it remains tenuous, undeveloped—as do the pictures—is all the more a disappointment. "When I was a little girl ninety years ago," begins the small black-clad figure, "my father made me an ark." And she goes on to describe his pleasure in building it, the figures he carved, her special fondness for the sad-looking smaller gray horse—stroked "until. . . there is not much paint left on her, except for her two little eyes, which look grateful." Her father adds more animals; upon marrying, she takes the ark to her new home; and in time she passes both ark and story along to her children. "Now," with everyone gone, the memories remain: "Our fun and sorrow seem to form a rainbow, and it warms me like sunshine." But apart from the father's booming refrain—"Make it three hundred cubits long"—and the expressed fancy for one horse, the narrative hovers, unsecured; the recollection does not become a shared experience.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0060220228

Page Count: 31

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1978

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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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