This cautionary intrusion serves to explicate the metaphor for concretely minded readers, but the message is not likely to...

THE SPIDER AND THE FLY

“ ‘Will you walk into my parlor?’ / said the Spider to the Fly.” Howitt’s 1829 cautionary poem is realized here in full cinematic fashion.

Delightfully ghoulish full-bleed black-and-white spreads are rendered in gouache and pencil, and reproduced in silver-and-black duotone, resulting in images that recall the slightly fuzzy-edged figures from old black-and-white horror movies. The typeface and occasional framed text pages heighten this effect by evoking silent-movie titles. The setting is a dustily gothic attic in which DiTerlizzi’s (Alien and Possum: Friends No Matter What, p. 494, etc.) “camera” never rests, zooming in, out, up, and down in a dazzling series of perspectives as a top-hatted and bespatted spider romances a naïve flapper fly. Her protestations in the face of his overtures grow ever weaker, and despite the warnings of the ghostly figures of past victims (one brandishes a knife and fork while another points urgently at The Joy of Cooking Bugs), she goes to her inevitable doom. The illustrations embrace the primness of the poem—the wide-eyed fly is the very picture of a bygone innocence—but introduce a wealth of detail that adds a thick layer of humor. Aside from the aforementioned ghosts, evidence of the spider’s predilections abounds: in his parlor, he relaxes with his feet up on a very dead ladybug stool with X’s for eyes. A tongue-in-cheek “letter” from the spider follows the poem, in which he exhorts readers to “be advised that spiders are not the only hunters and bugs are not the only victims.”

This cautionary intrusion serves to explicate the metaphor for concretely minded readers, but the message is not likely to diminish their pleasure in the grisly doings one bit. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 978-0-689-85289-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2002

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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

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DINOSAURS GALORE!

A dozen familiar dinosaurs introduce themselves in verse in this uninspired, if colorful, new animal gallery from the authors of Commotion in the Ocean (2000). Smiling, usually toothily, and sporting an array of diamonds, lightning bolts, spikes and tiger stripes, the garishly colored dinosaurs make an eye-catching show, but their comments seldom measure up to their appearance: “I’m a swimming reptile, / I dive down in the sea. / And when I spot a yummy squid, / I eat it up with glee!” (“Ichthyosaurus”) Next to the likes of Kevin Crotty’s Dinosongs (2000), illustrated by Kurt Vargo, or Jack Prelutsky’s classic Tyrannosaurus Was A Beast (1988), illustrated by Arnold Lobel, there’s not much here to roar about. (Picture book/poetry. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-58925-044-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2005

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