NOEL

Impressionistic watercolor illustrations filled with blowing snow and blue-gray skies set a wintry tone in this poetic exploration focusing on the sounds and sights of Christmas Eve, such as a church bell ringing from “an icicle-pointed steeple.” Johnston’s poem uses the word “Noel” in bold type throughout the text to indicate the sound of the church bell, but there are also the sounds of a brass band, sleigh bells and Christmas carols. The text is full of sensory details of all sorts: “a dark snow-smell,” “ears red with cold,” a tree decorated with cookies and candies. Chee’s soft-focus watercolors show just enough to draw the reader into each scene, while holding back specifics so that the viewer has to participate in the art by filling in some of the details. His impressionistic paintings are a fine match for the poem that serves as the text: Both seem to say that the hours of Christmas Eve rush by quickly in a blur of sensations too intense to last. (artist’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-57505-752-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2005

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ALL THE COLORS OF THE EARTH

This heavily earnest celebration of multi-ethnicity combines full-bleed paintings of smiling children, viewed through a golden haze dancing, playing, planting seedlings, and the like, with a hyperbolic, disconnected text—``Dark as leopard spots, light as sand,/Children buzz with laughter that kisses our land...''— printed in wavy lines. Literal-minded readers may have trouble with the author's premise, that ``Children come in all the colors of the earth and sky and sea'' (green? blue?), and most of the children here, though of diverse and mixed racial ancestry, wear shorts and T-shirts and seem to be about the same age. Hamanaka has chosen a worthy theme, but she develops it without the humor or imagination that animates her Screen of Frogs (1993). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-688-11131-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1994

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A PLUMP AND PERKY TURKEY

The leaves have changed, Thanksgiving nears—and the canny turkeys of Squawk Valley have decamped, leaving local residents to face the prospect of a birdless holiday. What to do? They decide to lure a bird back by appealing to its vanity, placing a want ad for a model to help sculptors creating turkey art, then “inviting” the bird to dinner. The ploy works, too, for out of the woods struts plump and perky Pete to take on the job. Shelly debuts with brightly hued cartoon scenes featuring pop-eyed country folk and deceptively silly-looking gobblers. Pete may be vain, but he hasn’t lost the wiliness of his wild ancestors; when the townsfolk come for him, he hides amidst a flock of sculpted gobblers—“There were turkeys made of spuds, / there were turkeys made of rope. / There were turkeys made of paper, / there were turkeys made of soap. / The room was full of turkeys / in a wall to wall collage. / For a clever bird like Pete / it was perfect camouflage.” He makes his escape, and is last seen lounging on a turkey-filled tropical beach as the disappointed Squawk Valleyites gather round the table for a main course of . . . shredded wheat. Good for a few giggles. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-890817-91-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2001

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