WHEN PIGASSO MET MOOTISSE

During their youthful art wars in Paris, Picasso and Matisse had a brief falling out after a competitive spat. Here, art imitates life as Laden takes that episode and, through transformation and embellishment, turns it into neat little lessons in art history and ego reduction. Pigasso and Mootisse have separately garnered such fame that they each must flee the hordes to concentrate on their art. When they become neighbors in the countryside, all is bonhomous until their temperaments—and their artistic visions—clash, so much so that they build a great wooden fence between their houses. Gradually their hearts soften. To make amends, and since neither knows how to simply apologize, each simultaneously paints a tribute to the other (and, of course, to himself, as befits such self-importance) on the fence. There are plenty of good (modified) examples of the real artists’ works, as well as a couple of surprises, such as a Jackson Pollack-style explosion between the painters. The characters come across as bumptious, strong-willed, and appealing. Laden further lightens the story with goofy wordplay—moosterpiece, pork of art—that adds little when the quality of the artwork and the book’s detonation of color are already such pleasures. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-8118-1121-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1998

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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