A list defining the Swahili words (with pronunciations) and a bare-bones map of the country complete this compelling package.

IS IT FAR TO ZANZIBAR

POEMS ABOUT TANZANIA

Thirteen brief, playful poems give us a glimpse at life in rural Tanzania, including its offshore island, Zanzibar.

Spiced with Swahili words, Grimes’s verses introduce a jam-packed bus, animals, foods, the marketplace, and several mischievous children. Her impressions are the result of a year she spent in this East African country on a research grant, yet there is a universal appeal too, as when a child burns his tongue on hot peppers. Breezy pen-and-ink and watercolor sketches enliven the pages, with one beautiful watercolor painting of Mount Meru opening across the center spread. They reflect perfectly the activity and motion described in the poems, from people on safari to a “so-old man on a so-old bike” to a boy being chased by a free-roaming zoo lion. They even show the camels that were recently introduced to the Masai in Tanzania to help make their lives easier.

A list defining the Swahili words (with pronunciations) and a bare-bones map of the country complete this compelling package. (Poetry/picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 30, 2000

ISBN: 0-688-13157-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2000

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ALL THE COLORS OF THE EARTH

This heavily earnest celebration of multi-ethnicity combines full-bleed paintings of smiling children, viewed through a golden haze dancing, playing, planting seedlings, and the like, with a hyperbolic, disconnected text—``Dark as leopard spots, light as sand,/Children buzz with laughter that kisses our land...''— printed in wavy lines. Literal-minded readers may have trouble with the author's premise, that ``Children come in all the colors of the earth and sky and sea'' (green? blue?), and most of the children here, though of diverse and mixed racial ancestry, wear shorts and T-shirts and seem to be about the same age. Hamanaka has chosen a worthy theme, but she develops it without the humor or imagination that animates her Screen of Frogs (1993). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-688-11131-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1994

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For places where the first-grade shelves are particularly thin.

ON THE FIRST DAY OF FIRST GRADE

The traditional song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” gets a school makeover as readers follow a cheery narrator through the first 12 days of first grade.

“On the first day of first grade / I had fun right away // laughing and learning all day!” In these first two spreads, Jennings shows the child, who has brown skin and a cloud of dark-brown hair, entering the schoolyard with a diverse array of classmates and settling in. In the backgrounds, caregivers, including a woman in hijab, stand at the fence and kids hang things on hooks in the back of the room. Each new day sees the child and their friends enjoying new things, previous days’ activities repeated in the verses each time so that those listening will soon be chiming in. The child helps in the classroom, checks out books from the library, plants seeds, practices telling time and counting money, leads the line, performs in a play, shows off a picture of their pet bunny, and does activities in gym, music, and art classes. The Photoshop-and-watercolor illustrations portray adorable and engaged kids having fun while learning with friends. But while the song and topic are the same, this doesn’t come close to touching either the hysterical visuals or great rhythm of Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003).

For places where the first-grade shelves are particularly thin. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266851-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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