SIX FOOLISH FISHERMAN

Exercising the storyteller's prerogative to mix and match, San Souci (Secret of the Stones, 1999) takes incidents from several traditional “noodle” tales and sets them on the Louisiana bayou. When Ti-Paul, Philippe, and Pierre bring poles but no bait, and Jules, Jacques, and Jean bring bait but no poles, it looks like no one's going to fish. The misinterpreted advice of a passerby only muddies the waters, and the silliness escalates until Pierre decides that he must be dead, since no matter who does the tallying, there only seem to be five people present. Luckily, Pierre's wife, Henriette, arrives to set things straight, more or less. In Kennedy's (Mr. Bumble, 1997) cartoon illustrations, the six dim bulbs struggle through their misadventures wearing wide, vacuous smiles, as a frog and a turtle look on in vast amusement. The tale has a mild gumbo flavor, evoked more by cadence and pacing than dialect, and the droll goings-on will put readers and listeners—even those familiar with similar incidents in Alvin Schwartz's All of Our Noses Are Here (1985) and like collections—in stitches. (glossary, afterword, bibliography) (Picture book/folktale. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7868-0385-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

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THE FISH SKIN

When Grandfather Sun pauses to admire his reflection in a lake, the villagers enjoy his warmth so much that they ask the clouds to leave—but they soon regret their impulse when the lingering sun parches the land. To save his people, a young man dons a magic fish skin, summons the clouds, and hurls lake water into the sky to fall as rain. This Cree legend about preserving balance in nature is retold in simple, fluid prose from an oral transmission. Morrisseau is a young artist of Chippewa extraction; his illustrations are sometimes overliteral (a ``dusty cough'' is depicted as a solid-looking mass ejected from Wolf's throat), with only scattered and sketchy details of Cree art or cultural style, and his juxtapositions of bright tones are far from subtle, but they do add color and feeling to the story. (Folklore/Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 19, 1993

ISBN: 1-56282-401-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1993

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Worthy intentions squandered on simplistic exhortations.

YOUR VOICE IS YOUR SUPERPOWER

A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH (AND THE FIRST AMENDMENT)

An enthusiastic invitation to understand and use our constitutional right to speak out.

Gliding silently over the real-world fact that First Amendment rights apply to minors only in qualified ways, two legal experts who specialize in defending journalists blithely assure young readers in rhyme that they are not only “free to be quiet and free to be LOUD,” but also to pray where they will, to “sign your name to a letter,” to march in protest, to join groups (or not), and to “talk and debate about people in power.” Many will note that a claim that “Freedom belongs to all—even when what we hear sounds icky” leaves an open door for bullying and even unprotected hate speech. (Christy Mihaly and Manu Montoya’s otherwise more nuanced and perceptive Free for You and Me, 2020, similarly overlooks this potential violation of equal protection under the law.) The illustrations collage together a small smiley-face character with arms and a tail with photos of bright-faced, diverse children posing in tights and capes and such iconic First Amendment images as protest marches and the Bill of Rights and other founding documents. They are more decorative than demonstrative, and the closing historical note is not only nearly illegible, being printed in tiny dark type on a blue background, but includes at least one defunct URL.

Worthy intentions squandered on simplistic exhortations. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-947951-27-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: City Point Press/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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