AFGHAN DREAMS

YOUNG VOICES OF AFGHANISTAN

A photojournalist and a filmmaker visit “a country at war with itself and a country that has been a pawn in the wars of imperial interests for centuries” and return with compelling portraits of 35 of its boys and girls. Ranging from eight to 18, the Afghani children are photographed in a soft light, exhibiting expressions from pensive to joyful and usually posed face-on so they gaze directly up at viewers. Most look older than their years; some display scars or other (healed) injuries; all have been touched in by violence. Their accompanying remarks, in the form of answers to questions about schooling, families and wishes for the future, are revealing, though couched in language that echoes the formality of the portraits: “I have been working as a thief for twenty days, stealing from people’s pockets. I’ve done it ten times, it’s true, ten times in twenty days. I want my real father to come back, I want my sisters and brothers, and I want a house,” says 10-year-old Wahaab. The goofy grin of 13-year-old Najmudin in the final photo lightens the solemnity but strengthens the overall message that these resilient young folk haven’t lost their hope of better things to come. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-59990-287-6

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2008

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AUNT PITTY PATTY'S PIGGY

Aylesworth and McClintock (The Gingerbread Man, 1998) tackle the story of the old woman whose pig won’t go over the stile, hindering her from going home. Here, the fat piggy is purchased at the market, but when it arrives home, it won’t go through the gate. The old woman, in this case Aunt Pitty Patty, enlists her young niece Nelly to go fetch help. Nelly implores a dog to bite the pig, a stick to hit the dog, a fire to burn the stick, water to douse the fire, etc. All the while, the piggy is parked by the gate reciting, “No, no, no, I will not go.” Aylesworth’s addition of the rhyming refrain preserves some of the cadence of the traditional tale, while softening the verbs (“hit” instead of “beat,” the rope “ties” instead of “hangs,” the butcher is to “scare” instead of “kill”) usually associated with it. McClintock emphasizes expression over action, and employs the same dainty brown line and soft watercolor wash of this team’s previous book. (Picture book/folklore. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-89987-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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CINDERELLA

PLB 0-7358-1052-4 Cinderella (32 pp.; $15.95, PLB $15.88; Apr.; 0-7358-1051-6, PLB 0-7358-1052-4): Perrault’s ancient tale of Cinderella has been slimmed and toned down considerably, with her virtues less evident and the supporting cast less effective. Readers will wonder why Cinderella’s father, who is not conveniently dead in this story, doesn’t rally to her aid, but they will be otherwise enchanted by Koopmans’s delicate illustrations. One good French touch comes at dinner; the prince is so besotted that “even when the most delicious dishes were served for supper, he could not eat a morsel.” (Picture book/folklore. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7358-1051-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1999

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