BLUISH

A child coming off chemotherapy wins new friends and acceptance from her class in this short, upbeat tale from Hamilton (Second Cousins, 1998, etc.). At first, Dreenie doesn’t know what to make of the girl, Natalie, who is in a wheelchair and knit cap, and who is called “Bluish” by the fifth graders not because she’s black and Jewish (as Natalie’s mother assumes), but because her skin is translucent. New herself, Dreenie quickly finds the right mix of distance and intimacy to be comfortable around her moody, fragile classmate, and soon others are gathering, too—especially after Natalie presents everyone with a wool cap like hers. Hamilton tells the tale from Dreenie’s point of view, moving back and forth between first and third person, sketching feelings and reactions in quick, vivid strokes: “[Bluish] made me care about what was all so scary, so sad and so hurt with her too. To me she is just Bluish child, Bluish ill serious. Bluish close with us. Someday Bluish just like us./Maybe.” While Natalie’s future remains clouded, the story’s tone is set by the pains, and the pleasures, of the moment: exchanging gifts, banter, friendship, and respect. The three children in Leo and Diane Dillons’ jacket painting are misleadingly grave, but the designs in their knit caps and scarves evoke the author’s poetic, richly textured prose. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-28879-2

Page Count: 127

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1999

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TASTY BABY BELLY BUTTONS

PLB 0-679-99369-X Inspired by local versions of a popular Japanese folktale, Sierra (Antarctic Antics, 1998, etc.) recasts a yarn that usually stars Momotaro, or “Peach Boy,” with a female lead. When giant, ogre-like oni take away all the village’s babies to make snacks of their tasty navels, little Uriko-hime is left behind; she was born from a melon, and so has no belly button. Gathering up a small band of animal companions along the way, Uriko tricks the monsters into walloping themselves with clubs, and rescues the children, leaving delicious millet dumplings behind in consolation. Clad in a flowing, watermelon-colored kimono, Uriko makes a doughty heroine, equally skilled in cookery and swordplay; So’s art has a traditional look, with theatrically gesturing figures, busy crowd scenes, and energetic brushwork. A vigorously told comic adventure. (Picture book/folklore. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-679-89369-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1999

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MANY MOONS

The 1944 Caldecott winner is delightfully re-illustrated by another Caldecott medalist.  Slobodkin’s facile impressionistic line is replaced by Simont’s gentle caricatures – less elegant, perhaps, but a fine way to introduce this splendid, rather long story to new readers.  Libraries will want to have both editions.             (Picture book.  5-10)

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 0-15-251872-X

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1990

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