MISOSO

A treasure. If there were any doubts about Aardema's (Anasi Finds a Fool, 1992, etc.) preeminence as a teller of African tales, this collection puts them to rest. Ten outstanding picture books could easily have been made from these twelve tales. Though not all are folktales in the strict sense of the term, their humor, imagination, and vivid imagery create a satisfying unity that is underscored by the brilliantly quirky illustrations and tasteful design. Aardema's mastery of onomatopoeia and rhythmic accumulation make you feel as if she's right there feeding the story into your ear. Choosing a favorite is hard: How about ``Half-a-Ball-of- Kenki,'' the world's only story starring a partial serving of cornmeal mush? or ``Kindai and the Ape,'' an Emo-Yo-Quaim version of the Androcles and the Lion legend? or maybe ``The Sloogey Dog and the Stolen Aroma,'' a Fang tale that may have originated in Egypt and has shown up in Jewish folklore? Misoso comes complete with maps, glossaries, and source information, but don't tell kids it's educational, and they'll never know the difference. Read this book once for the stories, twice for the illustrations, and a hundred times just for fun. (Folklore/Stories. 5-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 1994

ISBN: 0-679-83430-3

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1994

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This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...

STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK

From the Stink series

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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DOG HEAVEN

Rylant's debut as a picture book illustrator (not to be confused with her board book debut as a collagist in The Everyday Books, 1993) offers sweet comfort to all who have lost loved ones, pets or otherwise. ``When dogs go to Heaven, they don't need wings because God knows that dogs love running best. He gives them fields. Fields and fields and fields.'' There are geese to bark at, plenty of children, biscuits, and, for those that need them, homes. In page- filling acrylics, small, simply brushed figures float against huge areas of bright colors: pictures infused with simple, doggy joy. At the end, an old man leans on a cane as he walks up a slope toward a small white dog: ``Dogs in Dog Heaven may stay as long as they like. . . .They will be there when old friends show up. They will be there at the door.'' Pure, tender, lyrical without being overearnest, and deeply felt. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-590-41701-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1995

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