THE RAINBOW TULIP

Set in El Paso, Texas, in the 1920s, this moving family memoir focuses on Mora’s mother as a child, who participated in her own way in a May Day parade. Stella (Estelita at home) and her two younger brothers “speak English outside of the house and Spanish inside the house.” Stella wants to wear red and other colors that “sing and dance” when she grows up, and not the quiet colors—black, brown, gray—that her mother, who speaks no English, wears. There are other contrasts as well; outside their home, Stella and her brothers “shout and run,” while at home they read quietly and eat lime sherbet. When the girls at school are to dress as tulips, with petal skirts, for the May Day parade, Stella decides that her petals will be of several colors. With warmth and directness, Mora celebrates diversity, but provides a balanced view of assimilation as well. Sayles’s softly colored illustrations, by turns wistful and vibrant, capture the times and the tone as a young child finds her place in her parents’ new country. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-670-87291-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 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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THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS EXPLORES THE SENSES

The way-off-road vehicle (The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field, 1997, etc.) tours the ears, eyes, nose, and skin when the assistant principal, Mr. Wilde, accidentally shrinks the school bus and the children on board, commandeering it to deliver a message to Ms. Frizzle. The vehicle plunges into the eye of a police officer, where the students explore the pupil, the cornea, the retina, and the optic nerve leading to the brain. Then it’s on to other senses, via the ear of a small child, the nose of a dog, and the tongue of the Friz herself. Sidebars and captions add to the blizzard of information here; with a combination of plot, details, and jokes, the trip is anything but dull. The facts will certainly entice readers to learn more about the ways living creatures perceive the world. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-44697-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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