MONUMENTAL MAZES

Burnie taps the elegance of architectural cutaways and the stunning nature of enduring monuments to create 11 maze challenges. The pathway through a Manhattan skyscraper is a combination of girders and guard dogs; a warren of garden plots and rude gardeners try to thwart a traveler on China’s Great Wall; and construction scaffolding around the Sphinx provides an escape route for a slave. Among the other venues are the Eiffel Tower, a Roman arena, a Moghul temple, Florence Nightingale’s hospital, a flooded Venetian piazza, Christopher Columbus’s Spanish port, and an icy river blocking Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow. The handsome and arresting line drawings are delicately tinted and richly atmospheric, filling each two-page spread completely. One problem is the pinch of the book’s binding interfering with the formal maze found in the Loire chateau; another is the difficulty in keeping track of the paths—while some onlookers wouldn’t dream of marking up so lovely a book, others will be tempted to make their journeys through the mazes permanent. Solutions are provided, as are brief descriptive passages of the locales. (Picture book. 7-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-375-80155-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

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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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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