SILLY & SILLIER

READ-ALOUD TALES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

In this great idea for a collection, the selection of stories included is stellar and the watercolor illustrations are charming. There are tales about a runaway pancake, a singing pumpkin, a caterpillar that is feared as a mighty threat, explanations about why tortoises no longer have a smooth shell and why monkeys live in trees, and 15 others. Each tale, many of which can be found in picture book editions or in other collections, seems sillier than the last and features absurd situations, characters that lack even the most basic common sense, or ridiculous outcomes. Nevertheless, despite the potential for a wonderful collection, Sierra’s (Monster Goose, 2001, etc.) retellings, in general, are static and bland and in some cases simply confusing. Noteworthy is the abundance of rhyming words, repetitious phrases, and clever tricksters. More sparkles come with literary allusions to other classic folk stories or when the tale itself is a new one to the reader’s repertoire of stories. Young readers will enjoy repeating the codas, a traditional rhyming phrase meant to open or to bring a tale to a close. However, these positive elements are not enough to redeem the collection, which as a whole remains an additional purchase. (Folklore. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2002

ISBN: 0-375-80609-1

Page Count: 90

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2002

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

TOMAS AND THE LIBRARY LADY

A charming, true story about the encounter between the boy who would become chancellor at the University of California at Riverside and a librarian in Iowa. Tom†s Rivera, child of migrant laborers, picks crops in Iowa in the summer and Texas in the winter, traveling from place to place in a worn old car. When he is not helping in the fields, Tom†s likes to hear Papa Grande's stories, which he knows by heart. Papa Grande sends him to the library downtown for new stories, but Tom†s finds the building intimidating. The librarian welcomes him, inviting him in for a cool drink of water and a book. Tom†s reads until the library closes, and leaves with books checked out on the librarian's own card. For the rest of the summer, he shares books and stories with his family, and teaches the librarian some Spanish. At the end of the season, there are big hugs and a gift exchange: sweet bread from Tom†s's mother and a shiny new book from the librarianto keep. Col¢n's dreamy illustrations capture the brief friendship and its life-altering effects in soft earth tones, using round sculptured shapes that often depict the boy right in the middle of whatever story realm he's entered. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-679-80401-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1997

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

RIVER STORY

Trickling, bubbling, swirling, rushing, a river flows down from its mountain beginnings, past peaceful country and bustling city on its way to the sea. Hooper (The Drop in My Drink, 1998, etc.) artfully evokes the water’s changing character as it transforms from “milky-cold / rattling-bold” to a wide, slow “sliding past mudflats / looping through marshes” to the end of its journey. Willey, best known for illustrating Geraldine McCaughrean’s spectacular folk-tale collections, contributes finely detailed scenes crafted in shimmering, intricate blues and greens, capturing mountain’s chill, the bucolic serenity of passing pastures, and a sense of mystery in the water’s shadowy depths. Though Hooper refers to “the cans and cartons / and bits of old wood” being swept along, there’s no direct conservation agenda here (for that, see Debby Atwell’s River, 1999), just appreciation for the river’s beauty and being. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7636-0792-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more