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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LAUGH-ETERIA

Florian’s seventh collection of verse is also his most uneven; though the flair for clever rhyme that consistently lights up his other books, beginning with Monster Motel (1993), occasionally shows itself—“Hello, my name is Dracula/My clothing is all blackula./I drive a Cadillacula./I am a maniacula”—too many of the entries are routine limericks, putdowns, character portraits, rhymed lists that fall flat on the ear, or quick quips: “It’s hard to be anonymous/When you’re a hippopotamus.” Florian’s language and simple, thick-lined cartoons illustrations are equally ingenuous, and he sticks to tried-and-true subjects, from dinosaurs to school lunch, but the well of inspiration seems dry; revisit his hilarious Bing Bang Boing (1994) instead. (index) (Poetry. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202084-5

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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