Raindrops are delightful and danceable musical melodies.

READ REVIEW

SINGING IN THE RAIN

Movie happiness is now picture-book joy.

The title song from the classic 1952 movie musical is a song-and-dance salute to joie de vivre—as is this book version. It opens with a cheerful double-page spread of a brown-skinned child in perfectly matched yellow rain gear perched on a lamppost as musical notes in the same cheerful yellow stand out against a blue rain-splattered background. Homage to Gene Kelly? Of course! On the following pages, children in equally colorful rainy-day outfits join in the fun as they dance and march along. They watch from the observation deck of the Empire State Building as clouds fill the sky and the same bright yellow notes appear. Close-ups of the smiling, multiracial cast follow as they watch flowers grow or a reflection in a puddle and then happily splash away to other landscapes filled with tropical birds and lush green foliage. Sing the lyrics or recite the words “based on the song” and have a really good time. Hopgood’s digitally rendered collages of watercolor, pencil, and ink add depth, texture, and buoyant spirit to the package.

Raindrops are delightful and danceable musical melodies. (illustrator’s note) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-12770-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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Although listeners will relate to the difficulty of waiting as presented in Schwartz’s straightforward plot, there is not...

I CAN'T WAIT!

Periodically, a publishing season yields titles on a common theme. This year, coincidentally, three artists explore dimensions of waiting.

Schwartz depicts three impatient preschoolers who are helpfully distracted by other characters. Headings create five segments within the longish text. William enjoys riddles; he drops clues to neighbors, whose silly guesses pass the time until Papa arrives. Anxious Annie rattles off reasons (to Puppy) why Eddie probably doesn’t like her anymore. Then he appears, wondering where she’d been. Thomas helps Grandma choose names for a new sister—until a brother is presented. Cheerful gouache and ink vignettes in a plethora of colorful patterns against a white background carry the flavor of a bygone era: wash hangs outside, batter is licked while baking, a child waits on a porch stoop. After group play, William “can’t wait” until tomorrow. By contrast, Kevin Henkes’ Waiting (2015) celebrates the joy in the moments themselves—the serendipity and sense of community with others who are present. In Antoinette Portis’ Wait (2015), a child repeatedly urges his mother to stop (and look)—with manifold rewards. Both titles feature spare text and rich visual narratives motivating readers to draw their own conclusions—and return.

Although listeners will relate to the difficulty of waiting as presented in Schwartz’s straightforward plot, there is not more to glean. Henkes and Portis offer deeper pleasures in more succinct packages. (Picture book. 4-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4424-8231-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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Swans abound and good defeats evil in a simplified retelling.

SWAN LAKE

From the Story Orchestra series

A look-and-listen (albeit briefly) adaptation of a favorite ballet story.

A diverse cast of dancers fills the pages of this very basic retelling of a Russian classic of the ballet repertoire. The spread-spanning illustrations are busily filled with lakeside swans sporting fancy, feathery costumes along with many trees, deer, foxes, and rabbits. The palace is pink and glittery and replete with chandeliers, curtains, and fancily costumed guests. There, Odile, malevolent-looking daughter of the evil sorcerer Rothbart, dances with Prince Siegfried and tricks him into believing that she is the lovely Odette, the enchanted swan, who looks bereft. The audience-pleasing national dances of Act 3 are not mentioned in the text nor depicted in the illustrations. Stagings of Swan Lake have always had various endings, some happy and some not so, as Prince Siegfried and his beloved Odette are united only in the afterlife. This version has them living happily ever after on Earth. The gimmick of this title is the 10 brief (10 seconds or so) sound clips that barely hint at the very beautiful score. Adults taking children to a performance may find this useful as an introduction, but listening to a suite of the music would be a better idea. The refreshingly inclusive casting—Siegfried, Odette, and Odile have brown skin, and there are many courtiers of color—does not mitigate the book’s flaws.

Swans abound and good defeats evil in a simplified retelling. (author’s note, glossary) (Picture book/novelty. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4150-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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