TO SLEEP, PERCHANCE TO DREAM

A CHILD’S BOOK OF RHYMES

In a lovely conceit, well presented, Mayhew respins a gentle tale in pictures that tie together a bit of Shakespeare for the very young. The smallest snippets of verse from the plays—the longest at eight lines—range from Hamlet to Cymbeline to The Tempest. But each really does stand as its own small poem, and most, read aloud well, will be quite comprehensible even to the youngest of children. The double-paged, full-bleed illustrations tell the story of a family in an idyllic, rustic setting of some time past: the mother holding a small child near a picnic hamper, two boys and a girl gamboling, flying a kite, chasing paper boats, and accompanied by a loose-limbed dog. The river becomes the sea, a storm comes up, they glimpse a mermaid on a dolphin, and then it is evening. The sheep gather to the sound of the boy’s pipe, the stars come out, and mother tucks baby and daughter into bed. And it is all from “methinks I scent / the morning air” of Hamlet to “our little life is / rounded with a sleep” of The Tempest. The images, rich in blues and tender golds, have the misty outlines of imagination and serve the poetry well. (Poetry. 4-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-439-29655-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chicken House/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2001

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LIZARDS, FROGS, AND POLLIWOGS

POEMS AND PAINTINGS

“It’s wise to stay clear / Of the dangerous cobra / All months of the year, / Including Octobra.” But it wouldn’t be wise to stay clear of Florian’s latest poetry collection, sixth in his successful series of witty poems and paintings about creatures of all sorts (Mammalabilia: Poems and Paintings, 2000, etc.). This volume includes 21 short poems about reptiles and amphibians, including common creatures such as the bullfrog and the box turtle and more exotic specimens such as the komodo dragon and the red-eyed tree frog. Teachers will like the way the rhyming poems integrate into elementary science lessons, imparting some basic zoological facts along with the giggles, and kids will love the poems because they’re clever and funny in a style reminiscent of Ogden Nash, full of wordplay and sly humor. Florian’s impressionistic full-page illustrations are done in watercolors on primed, brown paper bags, often offering another layer of humor, as in the orange newt reading the Newt News on the cover. A first choice for the poetry shelves in all libraries, this collection is toadally terrific. (Poetry. 4-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-15-202591-X

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2001

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ALL THE COLORS OF THE EARTH

This heavily earnest celebration of multi-ethnicity combines full-bleed paintings of smiling children, viewed through a golden haze dancing, playing, planting seedlings, and the like, with a hyperbolic, disconnected text—``Dark as leopard spots, light as sand,/Children buzz with laughter that kisses our land...''— printed in wavy lines. Literal-minded readers may have trouble with the author's premise, that ``Children come in all the colors of the earth and sky and sea'' (green? blue?), and most of the children here, though of diverse and mixed racial ancestry, wear shorts and T-shirts and seem to be about the same age. Hamanaka has chosen a worthy theme, but she develops it without the humor or imagination that animates her Screen of Frogs (1993). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-688-11131-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1994

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