IN THE HUSH OF THE EVENING

An absorbing poem to night speaks to the acuity of hearing that comes when a blanket of darkness falls across the landscape. All the sounds that closed eyes conjure are heard here—a whippoorwill in a tree, the “breep, breep” of garden crickets, a bat’s wings swishing past the window screen, even the “pip, pip” of an attic mouse on the prowl. A boy at bedtime does not miss a single utterance from his reverential night vigil at the window sill. Raccoons rattle the lids of garbage cans, a church bell tolls, and an owl whispers, “Who’s there?” “I am” answers the boy, in his effort to be a part of nature’s nocturnal symphony. Karas chooses a dark palette—which grows darker as night descends—for his tilted forms and shapes, while the boy’s connection to nature is depicted with subtle reminders of his presence—a cork boat with a toothpick mast and sugar-packet sail floats near “the lip of the pond,” where the bullfrogs sing; an empty jar and net form a statue in a blinking field of fireflies. Children worried by night noises may find a comforting antidote in the whispered lines of poetry, but the softly-lit images will also dispel the shadows of the imagination. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: May 31, 1998

ISBN: 0-06-022099-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1998

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

CAREER DAY

The mother-daughter team of Anne and Lizzy Rockwell (Thanksgiving Day, 1999, etc.) presents their fourth visit to Mrs. Madoff’s busy, bright, and active classroom. Today is career day, when students bring special visitors to school to talk about their work. It may be scary for a child to introduce his or her guest, but the first-person narrator does a fine job of introducing his bulldozer-driving dad, Mr. Lopez. Charlie’s visitor is his mom, a judge; Kate’s dad plays bass in an orchestra at night, practices, and handles child-care during the day, while his wife works in a bank. The multicultural class meets a writer, a paleontologist, a school-crossing guard, a nurse, a veterinarian, a sanitation worker, a carpenter, a grocery store manager, and even a student teacher’s college professor. A full-page illustration shows each worker on the job; smaller details facing these pages introduce them and their host children to readers as well as to the rest of Mrs. Madoff’s class. A sparkling, family-centered, no-threat introduction to considerations of what might be fun for little ones to do when they grow up. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: May 31, 2000

ISBN: 0-06-027565-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more