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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
  • SPONSORED PLACEMENT

A beautifully poignant celebration of memories of a loved one that live on in those that remain.

THE SOUR CHERRY TREE

With ample emotional subtext, a young girl recalls everyday details about her beloved grandfather the day after his death.

The child bites her mother’s toe to wake her up, wishing that she could have done the same for her baba bozorg, her beloved grandfather, who had forgotten to wake up the day before. She kisses a pancake that reminds her of her grandfather’s face. Her mother, who had been admonishing her for playing with her food, laughs and kisses the pancake’s forehead. Returning to Baba Bozorg’s home, the child sees minute remnants of her grandfather: a crumpled-up tissue, smudgy eyeglasses, and mint wrappers in his coat pockets. From these artifacts the narrator transitions to less tangible, but no less vivid, memories of playing together and looks of love that transcend language barriers. Deeply evocative, Hrab’s narrative captures a child’s understanding of loss with gentle subtlety, and gives space for processing those feelings. Kazemi’s chalk pastel art pairs perfectly with the text and title: Pink cherry hues, smoky grays, and hints of green plants appear throughout the book, concluding in an explosion of vivid green that brings a sense of renewal, joy, and remembrance to the heartfelt ending. Though the story is universally relevant, cultural cues and nods to Iranian culture will resonate strongly with readers of Iranian/Persian heritage. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A beautifully poignant celebration of memories of a loved one that live on in those that remain. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77147-414-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This mix of clever poems, handsome art and well-chosen typography, despite a few minor flaws, will function equally well for...

IN THE SEA

This third pairing of Elliott’s reductive poems and Meade’s bold woodcut-and-watercolor illustrations dives deep to explore sea creatures, from tiny shrimp to the mighty blue whale.

Elliott’s poems are short and pithy, often combining elegant metaphor and child-friendly diction.  “Five fingers, / like a hand, / the starfish shines / in a sky of sand.” He doesn’t shy from big words that expand children’s imaginations and vocabularies: An octopus is “an eight-armed apparition.” Humorous touches pleasantly conjure Douglas Florian’s poetry.  The puffer fish is “A trickster. / A clown. / A magician. / A buffoon. / One minute / she’s a fish; / the next, / she’s a balloon.” Meade’s pictures combine appropriately watery washes with black-inked woodcuts. She conjures the “before” and “after” capabilities of said puffer fish, and her Moray eel undulates fearsomely. Not every spread is completely successful. “The Clown Fish” riffs on inter-species symbiosis, but Elliott stumbles with the possessive phrase “its enemies”—inviting confusion as to whether anemone stings its own enemies, or the clown fish’s. Meade’s shark, possibly a great white, prominently sports stylized throat grooves that more resemble several species of whale.

This mix of clever poems, handsome art and well-chosen typography, despite a few minor flaws, will function equally well for bedtime sharing and early-learning settings. (Picture book/poetry. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4498-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more