IF NOT FOR THE CAT

Prelutsky changes pace and adopts a philosophical tone in a set of animal riddles framed as first-person haiku: “Gaudily feathered, / With nothing at all to say, / I can’t stop talking.” Answers are provided at the end, but they’re superfluous, as Rand fills each spread with gorgeous inked-and-brushed figures; the parrot’s plumage is more iridescent than “gaudy,” a skunk’s white stripes and tail explode like fireworks against a solidly black background, a mouse peers anxiously through its dimly lit hole, inches away from a feline nose. “If not for the cat, / And the scarcity of cheese, / I could be content.” As the solutions are there on the page, this works best if children don’t see the picture until they’ve heard the riddle, and had a chance to guess who’s posing it. But even in this uncharacteristic form, Prelutsky’s poetry is as engaging as ever, Rand has outdone himself, and the collaboration is likely to become as much of a storytime favorite as Beatrice Schenk De Regniers’s classic It Does Not Say Meow (1972). (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-06-059677-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2004

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

ALL THE COLORS OF THE EARTH

This heavily earnest celebration of multi-ethnicity combines full-bleed paintings of smiling children, viewed through a golden haze dancing, playing, planting seedlings, and the like, with a hyperbolic, disconnected text—``Dark as leopard spots, light as sand,/Children buzz with laughter that kisses our land...''— printed in wavy lines. Literal-minded readers may have trouble with the author's premise, that ``Children come in all the colors of the earth and sky and sea'' (green? blue?), and most of the children here, though of diverse and mixed racial ancestry, wear shorts and T-shirts and seem to be about the same age. Hamanaka has chosen a worthy theme, but she develops it without the humor or imagination that animates her Screen of Frogs (1993). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-688-11131-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1994

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

HONEY, I LOVE

Iffy art cramps this 25th-anniversary reissue of the joyful title poem from Greenfield’s first collection (1978), illustrated by the Dillons. As timeless as ever, the poem celebrates everything a child loves, from kissing Mama’s warm, soft arm to listening to a cousin from the South, “ ’cause every word he says / just kind of slides out of his mouth.” “I love a lot of things / a whole lot of things,” the narrator concludes, “And honey, / I love ME, too.” The African-American child in the pictures sports an updated hairstyle and a big, infectious grin—but even younger viewers will notice that the spray of cool water that supposedly “stings my stomach” isn’t aimed there, and that a comforter on the child’s bed changes patterns between pages. More problematic, though, is a dropped doll that suddenly acquires a horrified expression that makes it look disturbingly like a live baby, and the cutesy winged fairy that hovers over the sleeping child in the final scene. The poem deserves better. (Picture book/poetry. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-06-009123-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2002

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more