DARKNESS AND THE BUTTERFLY

In a book that in its technique and setting is a companion-piece to her Village of Round and Square Houses (Caldecott Honor Book), Grifalconi explores the fear of the unknown suggested in an old African saying: "Darkness pursues the Butterfly." Osa is fearless by day, a merry tree-climber who is not even nonplussed to find herself lost while wandering near her African village. But making friends with the Wise Woman, she confides the terror that torments her after dark, when her imagination conjures fearsome spirits. Understanding, the Wise Woman suggests that the butterfly, though tiny, possesses enough courage to fly on; and this idea, expanded by a comforting dream in which Osa flies free in a beautifully lit night, gives her the strength she needs to conquer her own fear and return after dark to her rejoicing family. Grifalconi's illustrations glow with the beauty of the African world and the affection of a nurturing family. Like the child in Flossie and the Fox (McKissack), Osa is blessed with both charm and self-reliance. And as in Ets' memorable In the Forest, her journey has a strong undercurrent of the human search for trust and truce with sterner antagonists than the dark.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1987

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1987

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More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low.

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DOG MAN AND CAT KID

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 4

Recasting Dog Man and his feline ward, Li’l Petey, as costumed superheroes, Pilkey looks East of Eden in this follow-up to Tale of Two Kitties (2017).

The Steinbeck novel’s Cain/Abel motif gets some play here, as Petey, “world’s evilest cat” and cloned Li’l Petey’s original, tries assiduously to tempt his angelic counterpart over to the dark side only to be met, ultimately at least, by Li’l Petey’s “Thou mayest.” (There are also occasional direct quotes from the novel.) But inner struggles between good and evil assume distinctly subordinate roles to riotous outer ones, as Petey repurposes robots built for a movie about the exploits of Dog Man—“the thinking man’s Rin Tin Tin”—while leading a general rush to the studio’s costume department for appropriate good guy/bad guy outfits in preparation for the climactic battle. During said battle and along the way Pilkey tucks in multiple Flip-O-Rama inserts as well as general gags. He lists no fewer than nine ways to ask “who cut the cheese?” and includes both punny chapter titles (“The Bark Knight Rises”) and nods to Hamilton and Mary Poppins. The cartoon art, neatly and brightly colored by Garibaldi, is both as easy to read as the snappy dialogue and properly endowed with outsized sound effects, figures displaying a range of skin colors, and glimpses of underwear (even on robots).

More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low. (drawing instructions) (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-93518-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

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A sweet reminder that love is best measured in actions.

TINY T. REX AND THE PERFECT VALENTINE

Even when well-intended plans go awry, sometimes “I love you” is plastered all over one’s face.

Tiny T. Rex wants to make the perfect valentine for friend Pointy, a stegosaurus. It’s a noble ideal, but perfection is more elusive than the little theropod realized. That’s the premise of this charming board book that succinctly celebrates love, friendship, aspiration, perseverance, limitations, and the notion that it’s the thought that counts—especially when it’s clearly reflected in effort. Like its protagonist, this book is small, but it’s rich in value and works on every level. The artwork has an elegant simplicity that beautifully balances color, personality, and clever detail. A panel of Tiny designing the card in chalk on a blackboard, for example, reveals the scale of the little dino’s intentions: a giant heart, ribbons, smaller hearts dangling from springs, heart-shaped balloons, and fireworks, all much larger than Tiny. The project is clearly a labor of love: Tiny sweats, tugging a bucket of paint—“Pointy’s favorite color!”—but the bucket spills on the artist, not the valentine. Trying to make the card “extra fancy,” Tiny is covered in glitter. Tiny rips, snips, and rerips, trying to make the perfect heart; misspells Pointy; and glues springs and hearts all over everything. When Tiny apologizes for having no valentine for Pointy, Pointy recognizes immediately that the perfect valentine is a friend like Tiny.

A sweet reminder that love is best measured in actions. (Board book. 1-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-8489-0

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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