NO TROUBLE AT ALL

Readers will chuckle at the discrepancy between the text—in which Grandfather Bear describes how well-behaved his visiting grandbears are—and the illustrations, which clearly depict the little darlings getting into all sorts of mischief behind his back. This clever juxtaposition allows children to absorb the story on two levels, without requiring the text to spell out the contrast. While Grandfather muses to himself how little trouble his houseguests are, goes upstairs to make sure they’re not afraid of noises in his creaky house (noises the little bears have made themselves, of course), and chides himself for leaving his door ajar, the grandbears are busy jumping on his bed, fixing a midnight snack, and sneaking outdoors before finally climbing back up to bed. Warm pastel illustrations portray a jolly Grandfather Bear with reading glasses perched on the end of his nose and slippers on his feet and two young, plump, adorable bears, whose innocent facial expressions belie their harmlessly naughty nature. Grandpa’s cozy log cabin is reminiscent of a treehouse, with stumps for tables and tree trunks with leaves growing out of them for posts. A testament to unconditional grandparent love, inventively presented. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-58234-757-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2002

CINDERELLA

From the Once Upon a World series

A nice but not requisite purchase.

A retelling of the classic fairy tale in board-book format and with a Mexican setting.

Though simplified for a younger audience, the text still relates the well-known tale: mean-spirited stepmother, spoiled stepsisters, overworked Cinderella, fairy godmother, glass slipper, charming prince, and, of course, happily-ever-after. What gives this book its flavor is the artwork. Within its Mexican setting, the characters are olive-skinned and dark-haired. Cultural references abound, as when a messenger comes carrying a banner announcing a “FIESTA” in beautiful papel picado. Cinderella is the picture of beauty, with her hair up in ribbons and flowers and her typically Mexican many-layered white dress. The companion volume, Snow White, set in Japan and illustrated by Misa Saburi, follows the same format. The simplified text tells the story of the beautiful princess sent to the forest by her wicked stepmother to be “done away with,” the dwarves that take her in, and, eventually, the happily-ever-after ending. Here too, what gives the book its flavor is the artwork. The characters wear traditional clothing, and the dwarves’ house has the requisite shoji screens, tatami mats and cherry blossoms in the garden. The puzzling question is, why the board-book presentation? Though the text is simplified, it’s still beyond the board-book audience, and the illustrations deserve full-size books.

A nice but not requisite purchase. (Board book/fairy tale. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7915-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

TSUNAMI!

Through quick thinking and personal sacrifice, a wise old Japanese farmer saves the people of his village from a devastating tsunami in this simple yet striking story based on Lafcadio Hearn’s “A Living God.” Ojiisan lives in a cottage on a mountain overlooking the village and sea. One day, villagers gather to celebrate the rice harvest, but Ojiisan stays home thinking “something does not feel right.” When the earth quakes and the sea darkens and runs away from the land, Ojiisan realizes a tsunami approaches. Fearing the oblivious villagers will be swept away, Ojiisan torches his rice fields to attract attention, and they respond, barely escaping the monster wave. Rendered in gouache, pastel and collage, Young’s illustrations cleverly combine natural textures, bold colors and abstract shapes to convey compelling images of chaos and disaster as the rice fields burn and the wave rushes in. In one literally breathtaking double-page spread, an enormous wall of water engulfs the teeny seacoast village. A visually powerful and dramatic tribute to one man’s willingness to sacrifice everything for others. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-399-25006-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2008

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