THE TALE I TOLD SASHA

With this imaginary journey, Willard (Step Lightly, 1998, etc.) turns away from the self-indulgence of her recent work towards the vision and beguiling language of A Visit to William Blake’s Inn (1981). When a door opens in the shadows of her “plain and small” living room, a latter-day Alice chases a golden ball through “an older space/ . . . over the Bridge of Butterflies,/across the Field of Lesser Beasts,” and into more magic realms. Christiana observes and expands on the hint of the psychedelic that runs through the incantatory text; the underside of a bed becomes a wide space through which fly the “snails and numbers, stars and sheep/my mother counts to fall asleep,” while elsewhere great half-seen constructions and familiar creatures made marvelous blend into shimmering backgrounds. Guided home in the end by a mysterious King of Keys, the young traveler offers readers a key of her own: “A hundred pencils, swift as rain,/writing on sheets of beaten gold/would not be quick enough to hold/the strange adventures/shadows hold.” Bon voyage. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-94115-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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THE COLORS OF US

This vibrant, thoughtful book from Katz (Over the Moon, 1997) continues her tribute to her adopted daughter, Lena, born in Guatemala. Lena is “seven. I am the color of cinnamon. Mom says she could eat me up”; she learns during a painting lesson that to get the color brown, she will have to “mix red, yellow, black, and white paints.” They go for a walk to observe the many shades of brown: they see Sonia, who is the color of creamy peanut butter; Isabella, who is chocolate brown; Lucy, both peachy and tan; Jo-Jin, the color of honey; Kyle, “like leaves in fall”; Mr. Pellegrino, the color of pizza crust, golden brown. Lena realizes that every shade is beautiful, then mixes her paints accordingly for portraits of her friends—“The colors of us!” Bold illustrations celebrate diversity with a child’s open-hearted sensibility and a mother’s love. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5864-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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TASTY BABY BELLY BUTTONS

PLB 0-679-99369-X Inspired by local versions of a popular Japanese folktale, Sierra (Antarctic Antics, 1998, etc.) recasts a yarn that usually stars Momotaro, or “Peach Boy,” with a female lead. When giant, ogre-like oni take away all the village’s babies to make snacks of their tasty navels, little Uriko-hime is left behind; she was born from a melon, and so has no belly button. Gathering up a small band of animal companions along the way, Uriko tricks the monsters into walloping themselves with clubs, and rescues the children, leaving delicious millet dumplings behind in consolation. Clad in a flowing, watermelon-colored kimono, Uriko makes a doughty heroine, equally skilled in cookery and swordplay; So’s art has a traditional look, with theatrically gesturing figures, busy crowd scenes, and energetic brushwork. A vigorously told comic adventure. (Picture book/folklore. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-679-89369-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1999

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