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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Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here.

ONE LOVE

A sugary poem, very loosely based on the familiar song, lacks focus.

Using only the refrain from the original (“One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right!”), the reggae great’s daughter Cedella Marley sees this song as her “happy song” and adapts it for children. However, the adaptation robs it of life. After the opening lines, readers familiar with the original song (or the tourism advertisement for Jamaica) will be humming along only to be stopped by the bland lines that follow: “One love, what the flower gives the bee.” and then “One love, what Mother Earth gives the tree.” Brantley-Newton’s sunny illustrations perfectly reflect the saccharine quality of the text. Starting at the beginning of the day, readers see a little girl first in bed, under a photograph of Bob Marley, the sun streaming into her room, a bird at the window. Each spread is completely redundant—when the text is about family love, the illustration actually shows little hearts floating from her parents to the little girl. An image of a diverse group getting ready to plant a community garden, walking on top of a river accompanies the words “One love, like the river runs to the sea.”

Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here. (afterword) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0224-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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