LISTEN TO THE STORYTELLER

A TRIO OF MUSICAL TALES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Three original folktales take readers on a journey around the world. Drawn from the Celtic, Afro-Caribbean, and Native American cultures, these short stories deal with universal values. In “The Fiddler and the Dancin’ Witch,” Simeon learns the hard way that he should listen to his elders; in “The Lesson of the Land,” two boys find their spirit vision but the third, for his heedless ways, becomes a snake; in “The Face in the Lake,” Cruel Winter kidnaps his springtime-bearing sister Olwen, keeping her and the world in his icy grasp. Just how the last two stories fit in with the “musical tales” of the subtitle isn’t clear, and Wynton Marsalis’s introduction is generic at best. The text is uneven, but the brightly colored, detailed illustrations will appeal to children. (Folklore. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-670-88054-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1999

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THE COLORS OF US

This vibrant, thoughtful book from Katz (Over the Moon, 1997) continues her tribute to her adopted daughter, Lena, born in Guatemala. Lena is “seven. I am the color of cinnamon. Mom says she could eat me up”; she learns during a painting lesson that to get the color brown, she will have to “mix red, yellow, black, and white paints.” They go for a walk to observe the many shades of brown: they see Sonia, who is the color of creamy peanut butter; Isabella, who is chocolate brown; Lucy, both peachy and tan; Jo-Jin, the color of honey; Kyle, “like leaves in fall”; Mr. Pellegrino, the color of pizza crust, golden brown. Lena realizes that every shade is beautiful, then mixes her paints accordingly for portraits of her friends—“The colors of us!” Bold illustrations celebrate diversity with a child’s open-hearted sensibility and a mother’s love. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5864-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS EXPLORES THE SENSES

The way-off-road vehicle (The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field, 1997, etc.) tours the ears, eyes, nose, and skin when the assistant principal, Mr. Wilde, accidentally shrinks the school bus and the children on board, commandeering it to deliver a message to Ms. Frizzle. The vehicle plunges into the eye of a police officer, where the students explore the pupil, the cornea, the retina, and the optic nerve leading to the brain. Then it’s on to other senses, via the ear of a small child, the nose of a dog, and the tongue of the Friz herself. Sidebars and captions add to the blizzard of information here; with a combination of plot, details, and jokes, the trip is anything but dull. The facts will certainly entice readers to learn more about the ways living creatures perceive the world. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-44697-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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