13 WORDS

“WORD NUMBER 1: Bird. / The bird sits on the table.” A modest start, perhaps, but the gorgeous, Matisse-like, gelato-colored spread drips in mystery. The table legs, for example, are sprouting leaves. “WORD NUMBER 2: Despondent.” Poor bird. She’s now standing atop Mushy Peas, next to a Kafka book. Happily, she finds cake, which is WORD NUMBER 3. The story—and it is actually a winsome story of friendship—proceeds thus, with a Snicketian 13 words in all, including 4) dog (who wants to cheer up his feathered friend, probably with a hat); 5) busy; 6) convertible; 7) goat; 8) hat; 9) haberdashery; 10) scarlet; 11) baby; 12) panache; and 13) mezzo-soprano. Snicket and Kalman are perfectly matched here, both revelers in life’s delicious (mmm… cake) details and things best left unexplained… such as why the bird has to paint 11 ladders in ten colors, why the scarlet-doored haberdashery’s owner is a baby and why the bird never stops feeling despondent, despite her new hat that has so very much panache. This charming chef-d’oeuvre sings like a mezzo-soprano. (Picture book. 3-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-06-166465-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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