THE TALE I TOLD SASHA

With this imaginary journey, Willard (Step Lightly, 1998, etc.) turns away from the self-indulgence of her recent work towards the vision and beguiling language of A Visit to William Blake’s Inn (1981). When a door opens in the shadows of her “plain and small” living room, a latter-day Alice chases a golden ball through “an older space/ . . . over the Bridge of Butterflies,/across the Field of Lesser Beasts,” and into more magic realms. Christiana observes and expands on the hint of the psychedelic that runs through the incantatory text; the underside of a bed becomes a wide space through which fly the “snails and numbers, stars and sheep/my mother counts to fall asleep,” while elsewhere great half-seen constructions and familiar creatures made marvelous blend into shimmering backgrounds. Guided home in the end by a mysterious King of Keys, the young traveler offers readers a key of her own: “A hundred pencils, swift as rain,/writing on sheets of beaten gold/would not be quick enough to hold/the strange adventures/shadows hold.” Bon voyage. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-94115-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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LAUGH-ETERIA

Florian’s seventh collection of verse is also his most uneven; though the flair for clever rhyme that consistently lights up his other books, beginning with Monster Motel (1993), occasionally shows itself—“Hello, my name is Dracula/My clothing is all blackula./I drive a Cadillacula./I am a maniacula”—too many of the entries are routine limericks, putdowns, character portraits, rhymed lists that fall flat on the ear, or quick quips: “It’s hard to be anonymous/When you’re a hippopotamus.” Florian’s language and simple, thick-lined cartoons illustrations are equally ingenuous, and he sticks to tried-and-true subjects, from dinosaurs to school lunch, but the well of inspiration seems dry; revisit his hilarious Bing Bang Boing (1994) instead. (index) (Poetry. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202084-5

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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THE QUILTMAKER'S GIFT

A sentimental tale overwhelmed by busy illustrations and rampant pedantry. A gifted quiltmaker who makes outstanding quilts never sells her wares, but gives them away to the poor. A greedy king so loves presents that he has two birthdays a year, and commands everyone in the kingdom to give him gifts. Everyone brings presents till the castle overflows; the king, still unhappy, locates the quiltmaker and directs her to make him a quilt. When she refuses he tries to feed her to a hungry bear, then to leave her on a tiny island, but each time the quiltmaker’s kindness results in her rescue. At last, the king agrees to a bargain; he will give away his many things, and the quiltmaker will sew him a quilt. He is soon poor, but happier than he’s ever been, and she fulfills her end of the bargain; they remain partners forever after, with her sewing the quilts and him giving them away. The illustrations are elaborate, filled with clues to quilt names. A note points to the 250 different quilt names hidden in the picture on the inside of the book jacket. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-57025-199-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1999

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