FOLLOW THE LEADER

The classic child’s game of follow-the-leader springs to life in a convivial tale of sibling play. Inside on a snowy day, two brothers frolic through the house, letting their imaginations soar as they enact the creative commands of the eldest. Together they hop about imitating various animals, do handstands, twirl, juggle imaginary objects, and much more. Silverman’s (Raisel’s Riddle, 1999, etc.) bouncy rhymes capture the energy of the siblings as they bound through the game. “Climb up the jungle gym. Dangle. Then jump. Sit on a swing and pump, pump, pump, pump!” She adeptly conveys the nuances of sibling relationships and rivalry—from the preemptory tone of the older brother to the younger one’s attempts at independence. Underneath the play is a message about taking turns—with the older brother eventually, gracefully conceding his leader status to his younger sibling. The illustrations of the round-headed brothers have an appealing cartoon-like quality to them and are a perfect venue for the humorous tale. Karas’s (High-Rise Private Eyes, p. 964, etc.) vivacious, full-color drawings combine the twosome’s flights of fancy with their pragmatic, homemade props—e.g., a trio of stuffed animals becomes a circus menagerie, and a white polka-dot quilt transforms a hodgepodge pile of objects into a snow-covered ski slope. The possibilities are limitless in this imaginative romp, which will have readers eagerly anticipating their own follow-the-leader adventures. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2000

ISBN: 0-374-32423-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2000

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JAZZ BABY

A snappy rhyming text celebrates an extended family’s joyous gyrations to the jazz spinning on the turntable. From waking to sleep, Baby’s right in the thick of it, as siblings, grandparents and cousins move and groove: “So they BOOM-BOOM-BOOM / and they HIP-HIP-HOP / and the bouncin’ baby boogies with a BOP-BOP-BOP.” Wheeler’s verse scans beautifully and begs to be read aloud—danced to, even—making this a fine choice for preschool and kindergarten story times. Christie’s bold, double-paged gouache compositions locate this colorfully garbed, expressively hip family within an equally vibrant community. As Baby’s big dark eyes get glassy with fatigue, the party winds down. “Daddy sings blues. / Mama sings sweet. / While that snoozy-woozy baby . . . / . . . sleeps deep, deep, deep.” Exultant and infectious, from the red-and-yellow-striped endpapers to the final “OH YEAH!” (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-15-202522-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2007

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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