Although Rim’s approach may disappoint feminist parents who dislike Birdie’s devotion to the cult of female beauty, most...

BIRDIE'S BIG-GIRL HAIR

From the Birdie series

Another book in Rim’s series about the elfin fashionista, who, having tackled shoes and clothes in earlier books, now tackles the issue of problem hair with her unique approach to little-girl fashion dilemmas.

Birdie is having a really bad hair day. Mommy decides that a visit to the salon is in order, and in trying to choose a new hairdo Birdie scours a bewildering assortment of styles from fashion magazines. Nothing feels quite right. Her friends make helpful suggestions, but she can’t decide what she wants until she gets home and discovers the perfect hair: Mommy’s, in her high school yearbook! Armed with this choice, Birdie heads for the salon and is delighted with the result—until the energetic little girl ruins the new ’do on the playground. In a rather superficial nod to the importance of character over looks, Mommy reassures her “beautiful Birdie” that “now it’s even better. It looks like YOU.” Birdie’s perky personality is beautifully expressed through retro-styled illustrations that combine watercolor and collage drawn from a variety of fabrics, textures, and magazine clippings.

Although Rim’s approach may disappoint feminist parents who dislike Birdie’s devotion to the cult of female beauty, most little girls (and maybe some boys) will thoroughly enjoy this beautifully designed and whimsical tale. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-316-22791-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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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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THE GRUFFALO

The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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