Sure to inspire some enthusiastic painting.

HORSE AND BUGGY PAINT IT OUT!

From the I Like To Read series

The irrepressible horse first met in Dance, Dance, Dance (2018) is at it again—jumping in before thinking through the consequences.

This time Horse has decided to paint a mural. Sporting a jaunty artist’s beret, Horse proceeds to make a mess. Buggy patiently and courteously offers suggestions, which Horse politely but adamantly refuses. Finally, splattered with purple paint and after slipping in a puddle of yellow, Horse sheepishly accepts Buggy’s advice. Following Buggy’s planning tips, Horse finally paints a successful mural. All this could come across as quite pedantic, but Long’s loose cartoon illustrations of Horse’s exuberant painting style keep the message light. Horse wields the paintbrush with hooves or jauntily holds it between clenched teeth. Horse’s posture and facial expression reflect enthusiasm, frustration, and ultimate delight. Children who have been given the freedom to paint without planning will appreciate Horse’s dilemma. Buggy’s neutral tone and patience make for a good model for caregivers or teachers (though they may be tempted to add cautionary language when Buggy says, “Draw your picture on the wall!”). The cartoon panels with speech bubbles, picture-book trim, and vocabulary of fewer than 80 words used repeatedly make this sequel ideal for children just beginning to read on their own. Younger children will have no problem reading the pictures.

Sure to inspire some enthusiastic painting. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4256-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

HOME

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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