In this Tonga tale from Aardema (The Lonely Lioness and the Ostrich Chicks, p. 1318, etc.), a rabbit connives and trades with her friends for a drink of water, only to discover that a lie ``may travel far, but the truth will overtake it.'' The book opens when Rabbit tries to sneak a drink of water from a hole she didn't help dig. When Lion and Elephant chase Rabbit away, Ostrich offers to share her berries with the rabbit instead. Sneaky Rabbit eats them all, then places the blame on Ostrich, who, to make peace, offers a feather. The trades continue in a similar vein: Rabbit loses a possession through accident or her own manipulations, only to be compensated with something else. In the end, when the others figure out her schemes, Rabbit gets her comeuppance—a kick in the pants. This tale, which first appeared in Aardema's Behind the Back of the Mountain (1973, o.p.), has been rewritten for the picture-book audience; the meandering quality of the original prevails, as does Rabbit's song after each trade. However, the explicit moral included contrasts with the original Tonga tale, which allows readers and listeners to draw their own conclusions as the animals fire a cannon at the deceitful bunny. This rewrite Westernizes the tale as do the illustrations—the portrayal of Africans borders on stereotypical, and the landscape is fairly flat and nondescript—derogating the origins of the material. (Picture book/folklore. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-8037-1553-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1996


At ``Step 2'' in the useful ``Step into Reading'' series: an admirably clear, well-balanced presentation that centers on wolves' habits and pack structure. Milton also addresses their endangered status, as well as their place in fantasy, folklore, and the popular imagination. Attractive realistic watercolors on almost every page. Top-notch: concise, but remarkably extensive in its coverage. A real bargain. (Nonfiction/Easy reader. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-679-91052-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1992


Trickling, bubbling, swirling, rushing, a river flows down from its mountain beginnings, past peaceful country and bustling city on its way to the sea. Hooper (The Drop in My Drink, 1998, etc.) artfully evokes the water’s changing character as it transforms from “milky-cold / rattling-bold” to a wide, slow “sliding past mudflats / looping through marshes” to the end of its journey. Willey, best known for illustrating Geraldine McCaughrean’s spectacular folk-tale collections, contributes finely detailed scenes crafted in shimmering, intricate blues and greens, capturing mountain’s chill, the bucolic serenity of passing pastures, and a sense of mystery in the water’s shadowy depths. Though Hooper refers to “the cans and cartons / and bits of old wood” being swept along, there’s no direct conservation agenda here (for that, see Debby Atwell’s River, 1999), just appreciation for the river’s beauty and being. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7636-0792-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000