Not one of Elya’s stellar efforts. Such previous offerings as Little Roja Riding Hood (2014) and No More, Por Favor (2010)...

LA MADRE GOOSE

NURSERY RHYMES FOR LOS NIÑOS

Elya’s spin on Mother Goose offers a collection of nursery favorites spiced with a Latin American twist.

The most successful of these offerings incorporate Spanish words within the familiar cadences of traditional rhymes. “What are las niñas made of? / Azúcar and flores / And all los colores. / That’s what las niñas are made of!” But most of them bog down in gratingly awkward phrasing resulting from the substitution of two-syllable Spanish words for one-syllable English words—without accommodating meter. Employing “This little cerdo had roasted carne” instead of opting for the more streamlined “This little cerdo had carne” ruins the lyrical integrity of the verse. Other substitutions are unsuccessful on a content front. The transformation of “Sunday’s child” into a bullfighter is disappointing, as is the thieving plate holding a bag of loot (fortuna, to rhyme with luna) in “Hey, Diddle, Diddle.” Both “Old Mother Hubbard” (“Old Madre Rosario”) and “Little Jack Horner” (“Young Juan Ramón”) have been nearly completely rewritten but retain the gists of the originals. Martinez-Neal’s illustrations (made with acrylics, colored pencils, and graphite) abound with multiethnic children sporting the requisite chubby-cheeked features of the toddler set, and the artist’s animals are of the obligatory fuzzy and frolicking kind seen festooning preschool classrooms.

Not one of Elya’s stellar efforts. Such previous offerings as Little Roja Riding Hood (2014) and No More, Por Favor (2010) are far better examples of her snappy language-integration skills . (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-25157-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems.

DIGGER, DOZER, DUMPER

Rhyming poems introduce children to anthropomorphized trucks of all sorts, as well as the jobs that they do.

Adorable multiethnic children are the drivers of these 16 trucks—from construction equipment to city trucks, rescue vehicles and a semi—easily standing in for readers, a point made very clear on the final spread. Varying rhyme schemes and poem lengths help keep readers’ attention. For the most part, the rhymes and rhythms work, as in this, from “Cement Mixer”: “No time to wait; / he can’t sit still. / He has to beg your pardon. / For if he dawdles on the way, / his slushy load will harden.” Slonim’s trucks each sport an expressive pair of eyes, but the anthropomorphism stops there, at least in the pictures—Vestergaard sometimes takes it too far, as in “Bulldozer”: “He’s not a bully, either, / although he’s big and tough. / He waits his turn, plays well with friends, / and pushes just enough.” A few trucks’ jobs get short shrift, to mixed effect: “Skid-Steer Loader” focuses on how this truck moves without the typical steering wheel, but “Semi” runs with a royalty analogy and fails to truly impart any knowledge. The acrylic-and-charcoal artwork, set against white backgrounds, keeps the focus on the trucks and the jobs they are doing.

While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems. (Picture book/poetry. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5078-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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Poetry aside, it’s these beautiful paintings that will inspire a love of trees.

TREES

The artwork is the star of this poetic tribute to trees.

Lush paintings, dense with color, texture, and light, illustrate a simple poem extolling trees. Each spread illuminates a short verse centering on a single idea, such as, “Trees love sky” (a single maple rises into the sky); “Trees love clouds” (viewers look directly up through a redwood canopy to clouds above); “Some trees bloom” (butterflies alight on apple blossoms); or “Some trees are old” (a gnarled bristlecone pine stands sentinel on a ledge). Bozic uses acrylic paints directly on wooden panels, and the wood grains that show through give each illustration added dimension and texture, especially when the paint is thin or absent entirely. The effect is enchanting, and the intricately detailed illustrations will catch the attention of sophisticated readers. However, the masterful technique serves Johnston’s simple text (suitable for very young children) at face value, missing the opportunity to create a rich dialogue between poem and art. Still, the book is a visual wonder. Each page is independent of the others with no narrative, though the characteristics of trees that are highlighted move gently and logically from the natural world to the human interaction within it. Backmatter includes the names of all the trees depicted as well as a list of conservation organizations and further reading. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Poetry aside, it’s these beautiful paintings that will inspire a love of trees. (author's note, illustrator's note) (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7517-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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