Monday, November 27, 2006

Flip-a-Word Books in SLJ

Flip-a-Word: Pig Wig and Flip-a-Word: Snake Cake, by Yukiko Kido

Children will be instantly attracted to the bold, colorful pictures in these books. Each title focuses on three different word families. Pig looks at words containing the letter combinations "ig," "ug," and "at," while Snake features "ake," "oat," and "ant." Peek-through pages transform illustrations to match the changing consonants (e.g., "jig" becomes "dig"). While most of the pages feature only one or two words, the last page of each section is a review of all the words from the family. The bright, flat illustrations outlined in black are reminiscent of the artwork in Dick Bruna's "Miffy" books (Kodansha America), but are more colorful. These titles could be used with beginner readers or as an introduction to rhyming words. Each one includes a page about word families that adults might find helpful. The appealing cartoon covers and die-cut pages guarantee circulation. - Danielle Nicole Du Puis

--School Library Journal, November 2006

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Miracle of Hanukkah in The Horn Book

The Miracle of Hanukkah, by Seymour Chwast

Telling the story of the Maccabees’ revolt when the Syrian king tried to force them to worship Zeus, Chwast uses his clean, simple style to great effect. Employing a series of nested flaps, each larger than the previous one, he tells the story in easy-to-follow chunks. The temple stands steadfastly in the background while the plot thickens, the flaps get larger, and the central characters take up more space in the foreground. As the battle ends, the flaps give way to two full-size spreads showing the inside of the temple as the Maccabees celebrate their victory. Chwast’s basic brown and blue outlines reveal a subtle humor, while a wide-ranging palette of flat colors harmoniously fills in the scenes. The endpapers show Hanukkah’s ubiquitous dreidel, but Chwast’s straightforward storytelling gets to the true heart of the holiday. LOLLY ROBINSON

--The Horn Book, November/December 2006

There Was a Little Girl, She Had a Little Curl in SLJ

There Was a Little Girl, She Had a Little Curl, by Harriet Ziefert, illus. by Elliot Kreloff

The classic rhyme is expanded into a story of Isabel, a precocious preschooler who has a mop of bright red curls. One day, after struggling to brush and comb her tangled locks, she gives herself a haircut. After snipping off one curl and then another, she is left with a motley head of hair. Finally, a visit to the beauty shop repairs the damage, and now Isabel is back to being a little girl who once "had a little curl, right in the middle of [her] forehead." Bright, childlike cartoon drawings capture the mischievous child and her tolerant but wise parents. Many families will relate to this title.

--School Library Journal, October 2006