A FARM

REFLECTIONS OF YESTERYEAR

With a series of oversized watercolors’so large, in fact, that the book will be impractical to shelve—awash in nostalgia, Dumas squires readers about a prosperous English farm back when the plumbing was out of doors and steam engines were innovations. The enlightening tour begins at the front gate, circles a stately stone farmhouse for views of kitchen gardens and corbeled windows, proceeds past wheat fields and livestock, slips inside for glimpses of kitchen, parlor, and other spacious rooms, then, as day wanes, passes to outbuildings and surrounding sheep meadows. Framed by labels and a line or two of general comment, each wide-angle scene, whether tidily serene or bustling with activity, is filled with quaint detail, some enlarged, all depicted with free, perfectly placed pen-and-brush strokes. Beginning and ending with huge, eye-filling elevated overviews, this sketchbook makes an irresistible invitation to dream of rural idylls and days gone by. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-56846-169-0

Page Count: 44

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 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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LAUGH-ETERIA

Florian’s seventh collection of verse is also his most uneven; though the flair for clever rhyme that consistently lights up his other books, beginning with Monster Motel (1993), occasionally shows itself—“Hello, my name is Dracula/My clothing is all blackula./I drive a Cadillacula./I am a maniacula”—too many of the entries are routine limericks, putdowns, character portraits, rhymed lists that fall flat on the ear, or quick quips: “It’s hard to be anonymous/When you’re a hippopotamus.” Florian’s language and simple, thick-lined cartoons illustrations are equally ingenuous, and he sticks to tried-and-true subjects, from dinosaurs to school lunch, but the well of inspiration seems dry; revisit his hilarious Bing Bang Boing (1994) instead. (index) (Poetry. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202084-5

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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