A celebration of winter and competition that will likely appeal to children who’ve dreamed of Olympic glory—or of a big,...

Snowman Paul and the Winter Olympics

SNOWMAN PAUL

Lapid’s debut picture book puts a wintry spin on an eternal, favorite childhood dream: Olympic glory.

Snowman Paul wants to try out for the Winter Olympics, but his human friend Dan says that he’s too old. Paul boards a bus and heads to the Winter Olympics anyway. “What could I do?” Dan asks as he tags along to watch his “swell-headed-pile-of-snow” pal compete. The story flows in simple verse and intuitive rhymes: “I knew my Paul was very clever, / Perhaps the smartest snowman ever.” The dynamic, full-spread illustrations of Paul’s winter sporting events and the pacing of the story will grab and keep young children’s attention. The illustrations are more than just pretty pictures: the subtle shades of blue and gray in the snow droplets make the action scenes look lifelike and energetic, as if the snow is spilling across the pages. They complement the story, sweeping readers along as Paul seeks his Olympic dream. One single sentence is broken across eight pages of Olympic action: “Curling, / Snowboard, / The luge-run, / Guess who, each time, was / Number One?” To Dan’s surprise, Paul stacks up gold medals like Michael Phelps. But this is no simple follow-your-dreams book—the mood is triumphant only until Dan suspects Paul might be cheating. At first Paul sulks and pouts. “ ‘No way,’ snapped Paul. ‘That isn’t true!’ ” At last, he and Dan look for a way to make things right. Instead of an overdone morality lesson, this tale gently criticizes the extreme culture of winning and cheating, as well as temperamental professional athletes. Unfortunately, even though the story is set at the Olympics, the premier intercultural sporting event in the world, it doesn’t include an illustration of a single person who’s clearly from another country, and almost every person in the book appears to be white. As a result, the book misses the chance to add some genuine diversity.

A celebration of winter and competition that will likely appeal to children who’ve dreamed of Olympic glory—or of a big, friendly snowman coming to life.

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9973899-2-0

Page Count: 46

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2016

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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