RED DRAGONFLY ON MY SHOULDER

Thirteen of the seventeen haiku originally published as a bilingual picture book, Birds, Frogs, and Moonlight, in 1967 (a fact mentioned nowhere in this book); newly illustrated by the extraordinarily inventive Bang (two Caldecott honors, including Ten, Nine, Eight, 1983). The translations of Cassedy, the late poet and novelist (M. E. and Morton, 1987), are lovely examples of this spare form, but Bang's illustrations steal the show. The book opens sideways to form tall double spreads, photos of recognizable objects combined in collages that are: intriguing for their innovative use of materials (a sweet-potato flying fish with potato-chip wings poised over waves of blue corn-chips); have a direct appeal to children (the title's dragonfly perches on a cookie person surrounded by delectable-looking homemade sugar-cookie leaves in true leaf—not cookie cutter—shapes, delicately browned as if they have only recently fallen); are remarkably evocative of the images in the poetry (a praying mantis whose legs are formed from bits of saw and whose head is a windup key); and are outstanding as pure design. There's even a note identifying the materials (yes, the water striders really are chocolate-covered almonds). A book of multiple uses and delights. The trade edition is probably the best bet; a tight centerfold would interrupt the flow of the beautifully crafted art (reviewed before binding). (Poetry/Picture book. 4+)

Pub Date: March 30, 1992

ISBN: 0-06-022624-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1992

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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