THE SECRET LIFE OF FAIRIES

This undistinguished debut contains a jumbled assortment of general information about the wee folk (all of whom are evidently European), a bland original fairy tale, and an incomplete recipe for fairy cakes with cream icing (i.e., no instructions for the icing), all matched to competently drawn but conventional views of green-clad beings with pointy ears and dragonfly wings. Although browsers may be momentarily captured by the visit to a fairy mound, or by the spread on “Fairy Fashions,” the author’s refusal to follow up on provocative statements, e.g., “Fairies do not have belly buttons,” or to provide sources will stifle inquiry rather than spark it. Stick with more systematic field guides, such as Carol Rose’s Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns and Goblins (1998, not reviewed); collections of lore, such as Rose Williams’s The Book of Fairies (1997); or, for an atmospheric visit to fairy realms, try Suza Scalora’s The Fairies (see review, below). (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-55074-547-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 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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