Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Four Excellent Reviews from Kirkus

We just received some tremendous reviews for books on our Spring list, from Kirkus Reviews! These appear in the 5/15 issue. Without further ado:

Hakala, Marjorie Rose
Illus. by Mark Jones
Hakala’s enchanting tale explores the fantastical world of mermaids. As evening arrives and the tide rises high, a school of colorful mermaids gathers at the shore. These fey creatures adorn the coast with ocean treasures for their midnight feast. After dining on the sea’s bounty, the mermaids dance among the waves in a celebration of the summer solstice. Gentle text that mimics the steady rhythm of the sea offers readers a soothing lullaby. Jones’s pastel illustrations provide a lush background for the beguiling tale. A vivid palette illuminates the intensity of the ocean at dusk. His layered, luminescent pictures present a unique perspective of activity both above and below the surface. This bewitching combination of ethereal paintings and fanciful text invites readers to contemplate the secrets of the sea long after the book is closed. (Picture book. 4-8)
Taback, Simms
Illus. by the author
Following the same format as Simms Taback’s Safari Animals (2008), the author/illustrator celebrates the animals that make their homes in the city. The clever design offers children a tantalizing glimpse of one-fourth of an animal along with a clue as to its identity. The right-hand page then unfolds upward to reveal another fourth of the picture and an additional clue. Unfolding this page to the left reveals the entire animal and the answer in a poster-sized illustration. The city dwellers include a squirrel, a dog, a cat, a police horse, a pigeon and a mouse. Bold colors, clean lines and simple details suit the youngest listeners, who will be pleased with their deductive skills as they guess the animals’ identities before the final unfolding. The heavy cardstock should withstand many readings—good thing, as this one is sure to be a favorite among young patrons. (Picture book. 2-5)
Ziefert, Harriet
Illus. by SAMi
An oversized book distinguished by SAMi’s trademark clean design and use of die-cuts encourages toddlers to examine small differences in facial features and expressions. On the left, a blank white face confronts readers; on the right, a cat looks out. Turn the page, and the die-cut layers a dog’s snout and ears over the blank face on the left and reveals the circle that backgrounded the cat’s tan-colored face, with only green-dot eyes and a black-dot nose and the text, “How is this face different from the dog’s face?” The differences are subtle, but interesting to explore—expressions, colors and number of features change, creating many avenues for conversation between grown-up and toddler as well as providing basic animal-identification opportunities. (18-36 mos.)
Ziefert, Harriet
Illus. by Ethan Long
Zoo animals explore the ways they are different in this latest from Ziefert. Long’s tongue-in-cheek digital illustrations add pizzazz to the simple formula of the animals’ declarations of their opposite-ness, entirely rendered in speech balloons. Lion asserts his authority over tiger: “I come. You go.” Elephant terrorizes lizard: “I’m big. You’re little.” Giraffe states the obvious to the penguins: “I’m tall. You’re short.” And in the end an exhausted zookeeper breathes a sigh of relief: “I’m awake. They’re asleep.” Clean lines, simple details and bright colors keep the focus on the opposite pairs, which explore such attributes as position, size, location, color, mood and activity. While none of the animals declares, “Buy this book, not that one,” this does pack a triple punch—the concept-book format pleases parents, the illustrations and guess-ability of the opposites suit a storytime setting and children will go ape over the animals. (Picture book. 3-5)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Great Review of Dinner for Eight in Kirkus!

Kirkus Reviews enjoyed our new Spring title Dinner for Eight... from their 5/1 issue:

"Many hands make a luscious international feast. Octopus plans a dinner for eight: 'Please be on time and don’t arrive late!' With an international guest list, he prepares a variety of offbeat entrees. This culinary lift-the-flap book sometimes has Octopus’s multiple tentacles working at once—in the kitchen finding hay in one cupboard, a jar of flies in another and a plant in the refrigerator while checking on several colorful fish that are cooking in the oven. At the dinner party, each dish is a clever (yucky) concoction, waiting behind flaps to be revealed by young listeners. There’s eucalyptus leaf stew for Kal Kangaroo, worm sauerkraut for Berthe Birdie, housefly soufflé for François Le Frog, and so on. Dessert is the pièce de résistance all right, although its composition defies the gustatory logic that’s gone before. But there’s no denying that the lift-the-flap design always delights young would-be readers, and De Muth goes the extra mile with humorous surprises under each flap."