PRETTY SALMA

A LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD STORY FROM AFRICA

The South African writer/illustrator branches out to create an unusual version of the popular rural European cautionary tale set in contemporary urban Ghana. When Pretty Salma strays into the “wild side of town,” Mr. Dog fools the innocent, trusting girl into giving him her basket, her sandals, her ntama (a wrap-around skirt), her scarf, her necklace and even her song. He uses his disguise to take over Pretty Salma’s place in Grandmother’s home (a role reversal), but Salma wises up in a hurry and thinks up a plan to foil his attempt to eat “granny soup.” With her storytelling grandfather acting as Anansi, the well-known spider trickster of West Africa, her young friend playing the clapping sticks and Salma herself masked as Ka Ka Motobi the Bogeyman, the band of traditional characters rescues Granny from the clutches of the wily cur. The watercolor and computer-generated illustrations abound in funny details, but some may find the large, white eyeballs shared by Granny and Mr. Dog to be somewhat stereotypical. (Picture book/folklore. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 16, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-618-72345-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2007

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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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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