CLARA AND SEÑOR FROG

A little Mexican girl recognizes real magic in the work of a friendly artist. Clara yawns through El Mago’s act every night, even when he saws her mother in half: She knows it’s not magic, just trickery. But when she and her mother visit her Tía at the gringo’s house where she works, Clara sees a painting that makes her believe it is real: “That is magic!” Geeslin lets Clara tell her tale simply, her little-girl perspective allowing her to see that the Señor Frog who has fallen in love with her mother is famous, but appropriately focusing on the marvels that he paints—and teaches her how to paint, too. Newcomer Sanchez works his own magical realism into his illustrations, indicating Clara’s artistic kinship with the painter Miguel by making her even more frog-like than her mentor, her huge eyes noticing everything around her. The playful, highly saturated oils evoke the bright heat of Mexico, and exaggerated perspectives emphasizing the monumental nature of Señor Frog and his work. A quietly perceptive celebration of the synergy between observation and imagination necessary for great art. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 24, 2007

ISBN: 0-375-83613-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2007

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached.

EXTRA YARN

A little girl in a town of white snow and soot-blackened chimneys opens a small box and discovers a never-ending gift of colorful yarn.

Annabelle knits herself a sweater, and with the leftover yarn, she knits one for her dog, and with the yarn left over from that, she knits one for a neighbor and for her classmates and for her teacher and for her family and for the birdhouse and for the buildings in town. All and everything are warm, cozy and colorful until a clotheshorse of an archduke arrives. Annabelle refuses his monetary offers, whereupon the box is stolen. The greedy archduke gets his just deserts when he opens the box to find it empty. It wends its way back to Annabelle, who ends up happily sitting in a knit-covered tree. Klassen, who worked on the film Coraline, uses inks, gouache and colorized scans of a sweater to create a stylized, linear design of dark geometric shapes against a white background. The stitches of the sweaters add a subdued rainbow. Barnett entertained middle-grade readers with his Brixton Brothers detective series. Here, he maintains a folkloric narrative that results in a traditional story arc complete with repetition, drama and a satisfying conclusion.

A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-195338-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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