THE FIRST BEAR IN AFRICA!

The African savanna is the setting for this lighthearted story about new experiences. Meto is a small boy who lives with his family and animals in a very small village. A tourist family comes to visit and Meto thinks they look funny wearing all those clothes and using their photographic machines. But he shows his goat to the little girl visitor, who, it seems, must love animals since she has one in her arms wearing a bright ribbon around its neck. After the visit, Meto discovers that the little girl has left her animal behind and he runs to catch up with the family. He asks the hippopotami, the elephants, and the giraffes if they have seen them and each asks to see what Meto is carrying. Meto rides on the giraffe’s back with all of the animals hurrying behind and finally, just before the family boards the plane, he returns the animal to the little girl who cries out, “ ‘My bear! My bear!’ ” In return, she gives Meto her red hair ribbon for his goat. “Bear! That must be the name of the little animal!” “ ‘The first bear in all of Africa,’ ” says the lion cub. “ ‘How extraordinary!’ they all marvel.” Soft, gentle watercolors exactly suit the story and highlight the charming denizens that Meto meets on his journey. The tourists and Meto’s family are depicted in a friendly atmosphere, with all of them posing for a photo before departing. A satisfying idea that will delight young children and a text that adults will not mind reading again, as they surely will be asked to do. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-23485-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2001

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TEN LITTLE FINGERS AND TEN LITTLE TOES

A pleasing poem that celebrates babies around the world. Whether from a remote village or an urban dwelling, a tent or the snow, Fox notes that each “of these babies, / as everyone knows, / had ten little fingers / and ten little toes.” Repeated in each stanza, the verse establishes an easy rhythm. Oxenbury’s charming illustrations depict infants from a variety of ethnicities wearing clothing that invokes a sense of place. Her pencil drawings, with clean watercolor washes laid in, are sweetly similar to those in her early board books (Clap Hands, 1987, etc.). Each stanza introduces a new pair of babies, and the illustrations cleverly incorporate the children from the previous stanzas onto one page, allowing readers to count not only fingers and toes but also babies. The last stanza switches its focus from two children to one “sweet little child,” and reveals the narrator as that baby’s mother. Little readers will take to the repetition and counting, while parents will be moved by the last spread: a sweet depiction of mother and baby. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-15-206057-2

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2008

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Nevertheless, children will enjoy the whimsical scenes, and adult mavens of children’s literature will appreciate and...

GOODNIGHT SONGS

ILLUSTRATED BY TWELVE AWARD-WINNING PICTURE BOOK ARTISTS

It’s a treasure trove: one dozen previously unpublished lyrical songs illustrated by the likes of Jonathan Bean, Carin Berger and Melissa Sweet.

In an introduction, estate editor Amy Gary explains how she found a trunk in Brown’s sister’s barn filled with unpublished manuscripts with Brown’s handwritten notes along with musical scores of her words. They were written in 1952, the last year of her life, when she was traveling in France for a book tour and under contract to create songs for a new children’s record company. Brown’s intent was to capture the spirit of a child’s world in her songs as she had done with her stories. As the opening to “The Secret Song” demonstrates, the simple rhymes have Brown’s trademark charm: “Who saw the petals / Drop from the rose? / ‘I,’ said the spider. / ‘But nobody knows.’ / Who saw the sunset / Flash on a bird? / ‘I,’ said the fish. / ‘But nobody heard.’ ” Each song is presented on one double-page spread, each illustrated by a different artist (uncredited until an ending recap), in a rather staid book design that does not rise to meet the buoyancy of the lyrics.

Nevertheless, children will enjoy the whimsical scenes, and adult mavens of children’s literature will appreciate and delight in the background of the discovery. (CD) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4549-0446-5

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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