THE GIANT

The giant in the painting in Mrs. Bell's living room is so realistic he looks ``quite ready to jump off the canvas onto Mrs. Bell's carpet.'' And that's exactly what he does. It seems the artist has a way of dreaming up strange creatures, and the only way to get rid of them is to paint them into canvases; however, when he takes artistic license (e.g., making the giant's plain brown overalls purple striped), his creations have a way out. In this case, Mrs. Bell finds the giant in the artist's barn, filling it from floor to rafters, its enormous eye peering out the hayloft window. As the artist paints him onto the canvas again, the real giant fades and dissolves. It's Mrs. Bell's grandson, Evan, who figures out the role of the artist's fanciful additions and receives a gift of a painting for his trouble. Smith's realistic watercolors provide the perfect rendering of Heller's humorous tale. The giant, sweet-faced and benign, but very large, looks suitably ready to burst off the page. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-688-15224-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1997

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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LAST DAY BLUES

From the Mrs. Hartwell's Classroom Adventures series

One more myth dispelled for all the students who believe that their teachers live in their classrooms. During the last week of school, Mrs. Hartwell and her students reflect on the things they will miss, while also looking forward to the fun that summer will bring. The kids want to cheer up their teacher, whom they imagine will be crying over lesson plans and missing them all summer long. But what gift will cheer her up? Numerous ideas are rejected, until Eddie comes up with the perfect plan. They all cooperate to create a rhyming ode to the school year and their teacher. Love’s renderings of the children are realistic, portraying the diversity of modern-day classrooms, from dress and expression to gender and skin color. She perfectly captures the emotional trauma the students imagine their teachers will go through as they leave for the summer. Her final illustration hysterically shatters that myth, and will have every teacher cheering aloud. What a perfect end to the school year. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-58089-046-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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