PUSS IN BOOTS

This collage adaptation of the old tale is alive with texture. Hand-stamped patterned paper, weathered fabric, and various solid whites and off-whites are combined with scribbled pencil and swirling paint to create illustrations that are compelling and pleasantly busy. Dramatic changes of scale (showing both geographical distance and physical power) and the characters’ ever-changing positions and postures make every picture unique. Puss herself is cut from worn, striped fabric and sports an ornamented coat and huge black boots. Initially an inheritance that her master finds disappointing, Puss quickly becomes the main character. With prowess and ingenuity both feline and human, she cleverly brings her master from a state of poverty into a state of wealth, love, and joy. This version is gentler than many others: peasants are promised rewards (rather than threatened) when Puss needs their help in her scheme, and tiny smiles appear on almost every page. Even the ogre is fairly mild-mannered compared to many fairy-tale monsters. However, somewhere underneath the mildness is depth, made up of Puss’s intelligence and power and the complexity of the illustrations. The unusual variety of texture and pattern invites slow or repeated perusal, but the quickly moving plot will also support group readings. The simple text, sometimes subtly funny, is a perfect match for both story and pictures. This playful and rich adaptation, complete with a heroine who is male in most versions, is fresh and full of energy. (Picture book/fairy tale. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8019-4368-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2002

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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

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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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