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 validating and breathtaking next chapter of a Mother Goose favorite.

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AFTER THE FALL (HOW HUMPTY DUMPTY GOT BACK UP AGAIN)

Humpty Dumpty, classically portrayed as an egg, recounts what happened after he fell off the wall in Santat’s latest.

An avid ornithophile, Humpty had loved being atop a high wall to be close to the birds, but after his fall and reassembly by the king’s men, high places—even his lofted bed—become intolerable. As he puts it, “There were some parts that couldn’t be healed with bandages and glue.” Although fear bars Humpty from many of his passions, it is the birds he misses the most, and he painstakingly builds (after several papercut-punctuated attempts) a beautiful paper plane to fly among them. But when the plane lands on the very wall Humpty has so doggedly been avoiding, he faces the choice of continuing to follow his fear or to break free of it, which he does, going from cracked egg to powerful flight in a sequence of stunning spreads. Santat applies his considerable talent for intertwining visual and textual, whimsy and gravity to his consideration of trauma and the oft-overlooked importance of self-determined recovery. While this newest addition to Santat’s successes will inevitably (and deservedly) be lauded, younger readers may not notice the de-emphasis of an equally important part of recovery: that it is not compulsory—it is OK not to be OK.

A validating and breathtaking next chapter of a Mother Goose favorite. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-682-6

Page Count: 45

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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