More magical, mystical nonsense verse from one of children's literature's great maverick talents, coupled with astonishing, accomplished paper sculptures from a newcomer. Ageless young traveler Shoefly Sally introduces herself in the first poem, praising the Moon & Riddles Diner and the Sunnyside Café, where she "learned to bake from a talking cake." "It's there the hoppelpoppels dance / and the emerald antelope sing. / My dog's as welcome as myself. / His name is Everything." Further on, the Great Bear adds an accolade, a Pampel Moose escapes, in a bluesy lyric "The Teapot Pours Out Her Story," and a Chuggamonga Frog defeats the Riddling Ghost (with the help of 800 confederates). Readers meet a thread spider, the Queen of Chickens (unfortunately depicted as a rooster), and a stove with peculiar properties. Butler is equal to this quirky cast, fashioning from cut and scored bristol board—dramatically backlit to bring out strong lines and three-dimensionality—a series of leafy-framed tableaux featuring everything from kitchenware to a herd of heifers rock-and-rolling across a moonlit sky. Loosely linked, both to one another and to a set of playful recipes aimed at chefs of diverse expertise, the poems are sometimes haunting, sometimes laugh-out-loud hilarious, always surprising—and Butler's picture-book debut is nothing short of brilliant. (Picture book/poetry. 6+)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-15-201941-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2001

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Simple, bella, un regalo permenente: simple and beautiful, a gift that will stay.


From the Tía Lola Stories series , Vol. 1

Renowned Latin American writer Alvarez has created another story about cultural identity, but this time the primary character is 11-year-old Miguel Guzmán. 

When Tía Lola arrives to help the family, Miguel and his hermana, Juanita, have just moved from New York City to Vermont with their recently divorced mother. The last thing Miguel wants, as he's trying to fit into a predominantly white community, is a flamboyant aunt who doesn't speak a word of English. Tía Lola, however, knows a language that defies words; she quickly charms and befriends all the neighbors. She can also cook exotic food, dance (anywhere, anytime), plan fun parties, and tell enchanting stories. Eventually, Tía Lola and the children swap English and Spanish ejercicios, but the true lesson is "mutual understanding." Peppered with Spanish words and phrases, Alvarez makes the reader as much a part of the "language" lessons as the characters. This story seamlessly weaves two culturaswhile letting each remain intact, just as Miguel is learning to do with his own life. Like all good stories, this one incorporates a lesson just subtle enough that readers will forget they're being taught, but in the end will understand themselves, and others, a little better, regardless of la lengua nativa—the mother tongue.

Simple, bella, un regalo permenente: simple and beautiful, a gift that will stay. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-80215-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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