Just right for family play, while honoring the tradition of passing these rhymes to future generations. (Picture...

MARC BROWN'S PLAYTIME RHYMES

A TREASURY FOR FAMILIES TO LEARN AND PLAY TOGETHER

Twenty of Brown’s favorite finger rhymes, complete with tiny pictograms to demonstrate motions and actions for each phrase.

Compiled from Brown’s previous collections (Finger Rhymes, 1980; Hand Rhymes, 1985, etc.), all of the rhymes are classics. The words themselves will take adult readers back to childhood, and candy-striped endpapers and cozy illustrations painted on wooden panels give the whole package a decidedly old-fashioned warmth. Familiar rhymes such as “I’m a Little Teapot” and “The Wheels on the Bus” are mixed in with the simple (literally, only using one hand) “Whoops! Johnny” and “Sleepy Fingers.” As with all folklore, there are many versions of these rhymes. Some individual words or actions may be different than remembered, but nostalgia will carry readers through. The animated gestures next to each line are relatively easy to imitate and will send hands whirling, fingers fluttering, and arms stretched out wide. Brown created all new illustrations for this work, but alas, some are only slightly re-imagined from his previous collections. Parents, grandparents, teachers and librarians will surely appreciate having these favorites in one treasury, but an additional spark would have been welcome.

Just right for family play, while honoring the tradition of passing these rhymes to future generations. (Picture book/poetry. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-316-20735-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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Poetry aside, it’s these beautiful paintings that will inspire a love of trees.

TREES

The artwork is the star of this poetic tribute to trees.

Lush paintings, dense with color, texture, and light, illustrate a simple poem extolling trees. Each spread illuminates a short verse centering on a single idea, such as, “Trees love sky” (a single maple rises into the sky); “Trees love clouds” (viewers look directly up through a redwood canopy to clouds above); “Some trees bloom” (butterflies alight on apple blossoms); or “Some trees are old” (a gnarled bristlecone pine stands sentinel on a ledge). Bozic uses acrylic paints directly on wooden panels, and the wood grains that show through give each illustration added dimension and texture, especially when the paint is thin or absent entirely. The effect is enchanting, and the intricately detailed illustrations will catch the attention of sophisticated readers. However, the masterful technique serves Johnston’s simple text (suitable for very young children) at face value, missing the opportunity to create a rich dialogue between poem and art. Still, the book is a visual wonder. Each page is independent of the others with no narrative, though the characteristics of trees that are highlighted move gently and logically from the natural world to the human interaction within it. Backmatter includes the names of all the trees depicted as well as a list of conservation organizations and further reading. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Poetry aside, it’s these beautiful paintings that will inspire a love of trees. (author's note, illustrator's note) (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7517-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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A visually striking, compelling recollection.

FROM THE TOPS OF THE TREES

The author recounts a formative childhood experience that continues to inspire her today.

Born to Hmong refugees, Kalia has only ever known the confines of the Ban Vinai refugee camp in Thailand. Even while playing with her cousins, reminders of the hardships of their life are always present. She overhears the aunties sharing their uncertainty and fear of the future. They are a people with no home country and are still trying to find peace. Kalia asks her father why they live behind a gate and wonders what lies beyond the fences that surround the camp. The next day they climb a tall tree, and he shows her the vast expanse around them, from familiar camp landmarks to distant mountains “where the sky meets earth.” This story of resilience and generational hope is told in an expressive, straightforward narrative style. The simplicity of the text adds a level of poignancy that moves readers to reflection. The layered and heavily textured illustrations complement the text while highlighting the humanity of the refugees and providing a quiet dignity to camp life. The militarylike color palette of olive greens, golden yellows, and rich browns reinforces the guarded atmosphere but also represents the transitional period from winter to spring, a time ripe with anticipation and promise.

A visually striking, compelling recollection. (author's note, glossary, map.) (Picture book/memoir. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5415-8130-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems.

DIGGER, DOZER, DUMPER

Rhyming poems introduce children to anthropomorphized trucks of all sorts, as well as the jobs that they do.

Adorable multiethnic children are the drivers of these 16 trucks—from construction equipment to city trucks, rescue vehicles and a semi—easily standing in for readers, a point made very clear on the final spread. Varying rhyme schemes and poem lengths help keep readers’ attention. For the most part, the rhymes and rhythms work, as in this, from “Cement Mixer”: “No time to wait; / he can’t sit still. / He has to beg your pardon. / For if he dawdles on the way, / his slushy load will harden.” Slonim’s trucks each sport an expressive pair of eyes, but the anthropomorphism stops there, at least in the pictures—Vestergaard sometimes takes it too far, as in “Bulldozer”: “He’s not a bully, either, / although he’s big and tough. / He waits his turn, plays well with friends, / and pushes just enough.” A few trucks’ jobs get short shrift, to mixed effect: “Skid-Steer Loader” focuses on how this truck moves without the typical steering wheel, but “Semi” runs with a royalty analogy and fails to truly impart any knowledge. The acrylic-and-charcoal artwork, set against white backgrounds, keeps the focus on the trucks and the jobs they are doing.

While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems. (Picture book/poetry. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5078-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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