THE OFFICERS' BALL

The coffee-drinking, torte-nibbling Officer Hippo has his mind on one thing: how to get through the requisite Officers' Ball despite not knowing how to dance. As Yee (Mrs. Brown Went to Town, 1996, etc.) tells it, Officer Hippo sneaks away from crime- solving to take dancing lessons with Madame Lafeet; after hoofing his way through a typical day of standard police business, he arrives at the ball, still secretly practicing. ``ONE-two-three- ONE-two-three/Needles and pins,/ONE-two-three-ONE-two-three . . ./The ball begins!'' Not surprisingly, he musters up the courage to ask Officer Mole (his attention-grabbing partner) to dance; they hokey pokey, disco, and jitterbug their way to become king and queen of the ball. The rhyming text is manipulated into a storyline that sounds forced and flat. Comical animal characters appear against humorous background details: ``Wanted'' posters feature criminal mice and bunnies, snakes take a backseat in cabs, and pizzas fly. Still, this is not just another hippo-to- the-rescue story with a Broadway-style finale. Readers won't be surprised by the ending, but it certainly has panache. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-395-81182-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1997

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SAY HELLO!

Today Carmelita visits her Abuela Rosa, but to get there she must walk. Down Ninth Avenue she strolls with her mother and dog. Colorful shops and congenial neighbors greet them along the way, and at each stop Carmelita says hello—in Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew and more. With a friendly “Jambo” for Joseph, a “Bonjour” at the bakery and an affectionate “Hey” for Max and Angel, the pig-tailed girl happily exercises her burgeoning multilingual skills. Her world is a vibrant community, where neighborliness, camaraderie and culture are celebrated. Isadora’s collaged artwork, reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats, contains lovely edges and imperfections, which abet the feeling of an urban environment. Skillfully, she draws with her scissors, the cut-paper elements acting as her line work. Everything has a texture and surface, and with almost no solid colors, the city street is realized as a real, organic place. Readers will fall for the sociable Carmelita as they proudly learn a range of salutations, and the artist’s rich environment, packed with hidden details and charming animals, will delight readers with each return visit. Simply enchanting. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-399-25230-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2010

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TEN LITTLE FINGERS AND TEN LITTLE TOES

A pleasing poem that celebrates babies around the world. Whether from a remote village or an urban dwelling, a tent or the snow, Fox notes that each “of these babies, / as everyone knows, / had ten little fingers / and ten little toes.” Repeated in each stanza, the verse establishes an easy rhythm. Oxenbury’s charming illustrations depict infants from a variety of ethnicities wearing clothing that invokes a sense of place. Her pencil drawings, with clean watercolor washes laid in, are sweetly similar to those in her early board books (Clap Hands, 1987, etc.). Each stanza introduces a new pair of babies, and the illustrations cleverly incorporate the children from the previous stanzas onto one page, allowing readers to count not only fingers and toes but also babies. The last stanza switches its focus from two children to one “sweet little child,” and reveals the narrator as that baby’s mother. Little readers will take to the repetition and counting, while parents will be moved by the last spread: a sweet depiction of mother and baby. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-15-206057-2

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2008

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