PERFECTLY ARUGULA

Gauche guest rescues dull party, teaching host a lesson. Everything is clean and bright in hedgehog Arugula’s house. (Her coiffed quills resemble a Mohawk, and she wears pearls.) As she cleans and practices the piano and does her daily yoga, she hatches the delicious idea of a tea party for her friends. These include Pansy the mouse, Basil the raccoon, Pistachio the beaver et al. Arugula makes a point of not inviting the raucous squirrel Fidget, who zooms by on a skateboard. Arugula’s house looks impeccable for the party, and her lavish spread entices the guests, but she makes them uncomfortable with petty criticisms about dropping crumbs and not using coasters and handling the delicate tea set roughly. Social failure looms when Fidget bursts in and loosens things up; soon everybody’s dancing, even the (at first) reluctant Arugula. Dillard’s crisp illustrations—in colored pencil, watercolor and gouache—and the book’s design mimic 1950s styles with flair. Nifty, though the prose doesn’t match the visual drollery. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4027-5954-3

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2009

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

SAY HELLO!

Today Carmelita visits her Abuela Rosa, but to get there she must walk. Down Ninth Avenue she strolls with her mother and dog. Colorful shops and congenial neighbors greet them along the way, and at each stop Carmelita says hello—in Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew and more. With a friendly “Jambo” for Joseph, a “Bonjour” at the bakery and an affectionate “Hey” for Max and Angel, the pig-tailed girl happily exercises her burgeoning multilingual skills. Her world is a vibrant community, where neighborliness, camaraderie and culture are celebrated. Isadora’s collaged artwork, reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats, contains lovely edges and imperfections, which abet the feeling of an urban environment. Skillfully, she draws with her scissors, the cut-paper elements acting as her line work. Everything has a texture and surface, and with almost no solid colors, the city street is realized as a real, organic place. Readers will fall for the sociable Carmelita as they proudly learn a range of salutations, and the artist’s rich environment, packed with hidden details and charming animals, will delight readers with each return visit. Simply enchanting. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-399-25230-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

SKELETON HICCUPS

Who hasn’t shared the aggravation of a whole day’s worth of bone-rattling hiccups? Poor Skeleton wakes up with a deadly case that he can’t shake, and it’s up to his friend Ghost to think of something to scare them away. Cuyler (Stop, Drop, and Roll, 2001, etc.) cleverly brings readers through the ups and downs of Skeleton’s day, from shower to ball-playing. Home folk remedies (holding his breath, eating sugar) don’t seem to work, but Ghost applies a new perspective startling enough to unhinge listeners and Skeleton alike. While the concept is clever, it’s Schindler’s (How Santa Lost His Job, 2001, etc.) paintings, done with gouache, ink, and watercolor, that carry the day, showing Skeleton’s own unique problems—water pours out of his hollow eyes when he drinks it upside down, his teeth spin out of his head when he brushes them—that make a joke of the circumstances. Oversized spreads open the scene to read-aloud audiences, but hold intimate details for sharp eyes—monster slippers, sugar streaming through the hollow body. For all the hiccupping, this outing has a quiet feel not up to the standards of some of Cuyler’s earlier books, but the right audience will enjoy its fun. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-689-84770-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2002

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more