A good remedy for those rainy-day blues.

CATTY JANE WHO HATED THE RAIN

Is there anything good about a rainy day?

Catty Jane hates the rain. She thinks nothing will cheer her up once it starts raining. Mama offers to read her a book, to play a game with her... Mama even offers fresh-baked cookies! Nothing makes Catty Jane smile. Her friends Piggy, Froggy and Goose all tell her what they love about the rain. Piggy loves her bright umbrella. Froggy loves the raindrops splashing in the river. Goose is not even afraid of thunderstorms! Catty Jane remains adamant in her dislike of downpours... especially when there is thunder and lightning. Only a party with cookies, music and dancing takes her mind off the storm until the sun comes out. She still hates getting wet, but she loves a party! Gorbachev's signature scratchy watercolor-and-ink style is ideal for depicting a gray, rainy day. Jane and all her animal buddies are wide-eyed and expressive, making this tale of dislikes and fear appealingly friendly. Even the most dedicated hater of drippy days will be cheered by the concerted efforts of Catty Jane's coterie of friends.

A good remedy for those rainy-day blues. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59078-700-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

HOME

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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