A fine read-aloud tale with lots of let’s-party energy.

THE CACTI ARE HAVING A PARTY

In this Southwestern-themed picture book, all kinds of prickly guests gather for a daylong celebration.

Cacti are both hosts and guests in this tale. With few exceptions, each full-page spread includes text on the top portion (the book is held calendar-style) consisting of rhyming couplets plus an additional line always ending in “party”; the bottom part features the illustration. The opening, for example, reads: “In the desert when the days are hot, / the cacti always find a spot… / to have a party!” Below is depicted a dry desert landscape with mountains, bare sand, a few saguaro, a lizard, and a javelina. Party-ready cacti include saguaro, jumping cholla, ocotillo, a pencil cactus (who sketches simple images of the more detailed, complex illustrations), and more. Eating pies and singing songs are the main entertainment, and next year, they’ll do it again. Biefeldt (Greg’s First Flying Lesson, 2014) offers an amusing way to learn about the cactus varieties growing in the Southwest, helped out by the bouncy rhyme and meter. The cactus names are recapped on the last page. It would have been helpful to include here a list of the many desert animals depicted, some of which may be unfamiliar, like javelina and quail. Baker (Makieba’s First Pajama Party, 2016, etc.) deftly mixes realism and a cartoon style in her images; both animals and cacti are given anthropomorphic smiling faces, and the background varies from frame to frame.

A fine read-aloud tale with lots of let’s-party energy.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-5032-2777-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2019

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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