A CARIBBEAN COUNTING BOOK

Cheerful collages with tropical colors match the spirit of these counting chants, games, and skipping rhymes; those wishing to build or add to multicultural collections will value this rhythmic compilation. Charles translates rhymes from the Spanish of Cuba, the French of Martinique, and the Dutch of the Dutch West Indies. The rhymes are identified by their places of origin; Jamaica, Trinidad, Tobago, Bahamas, Barbados, and the Virgin Islands are all represented. Lively humor informs the rhymes and songs, and the language is witty and surprising (``De pawpaw swell,/De pawpaw burst,/But it didn't stop de mosquito thirst''); readers inexperienced in the lilting island rhythms may want to practice before reading these pieces out loud because the cadence can be tricky. Arenson's pictures crackle with color; bold forms sashay happily across vibrant backgrounds. (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-395-77944-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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Certain to become a favorite bedtime book.

EVERYBODY IN THE RED BRICK BUILDING

A crying baby sets off a chain reaction of responses from the neighbors she wakes in the red brick building.

Baby Izzie wakes up in the night with a “WaaaAAH!” Her wail wakes not only those in her apartment, but also neighbor Rayhan, who inadvertently wakes his parrot, who announces: “RraaK! WAKE UP!” The parrot’s squawks and baby’s cries wake more and more neighbors, who rouse others in the building until everyone is awake and contributing to the late-night hullabaloo. Finally, Pepper the cat manages to set off a car alarm that yells “WEE YOOO WEEEE YOOOOO!!!!” into the night. Eventually, all the neighbors—a testament to urban diversity—settle down from the excitement and return to bed. Each is lulled by soft, gentle sounds that begin with the “shhh shhh” of a street sweeper, the “plonk plonk” of falling acorns, and the “ting ting” of a wind chime. The onomatopoeia in this cumulative tale is appropriate for the actions described and is so much fun to read. Mora’s beautiful, vivid geometric illustrations incorporate the onomatopoeia in the first half of the story. They sprawl across spreads and invite loud reading but are absent by the time the story begins to make its turn back to the starting point. That “shhh shhh” sound from the street sweeper brings calm and quiet to the activity in the red brick building—and, as if by magic, readers as well. Sotto voce: very well done! (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Certain to become a favorite bedtime book. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-286576-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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Charming characters, a clever plot and a quiet message tucked inside a humorous tale.

YOU ARE (NOT) SMALL

From the You Are (Not) Small series

Fuzzy, bearlike creatures of different sizes relate to one another in an amusing story that explores the relative nature of size.

A small purple creature meets a similarly shaped but much larger orange critter. The purple creature maintains that the orange creature is “big”; the orange one counters by calling the purple one “small.” This continues, devolving into a very funny shouting match, pages full of each type of creature hollering across the gutter. This is followed by a show-stopping double-page spread depicting two huge, blue legs and the single word “Boom!” in huge display type. Tiny, pink critters then float down by parachute, further complicating the size comparisons. Eventually, these brightly colored animals learn to see things in a different way. In the end, they decide they are all hungry and trudge off to eat together. The story is told effectively with just a few words per page, though younger readers might need help understanding the size and perspective concepts. Cartoon-style illustrations in ink and watercolor use simple shapes with heavy black outlines set off by lots of white space, with an oversized format and large typeface adding to the spare but polished design. While the story itself seems simple, the concepts are pertinent to several important social issues such as bullying and racism, as well as understanding point of view.

Charming characters, a clever plot and a quiet message tucked inside a humorous tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4772-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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