BEAT THE STORY-DRUM, PUM-PUM

Five more transplanted African folktales, equipped, for reading aloud, with much pum-pum, uh-huh, and a little be-bop, by the author/artist of The Ox of the Wonderful Horns. The idiom is less African than mock-hip Afro-American, with Frog bopping along, another Frog "hip, quick, and happy," and Monkey jabbering in scat. The tales can be just plain silly, as is Monkey who becomes so wrapped up in his "shoo bee do" and "hay baa ba ree bop" delivery that he forgets the message he was to deliver to the head chief; or they can be gently moral, as when a young frog and snake make friends—until their prejudiced mothers warn them about each others' treacherous ways. There is a less gentle parallel to the European "Little Red Hen," and an origin tale chiding rabbit, who sends another to pick up his tail and thus gets the leavings when tails are provided by the god Raluvhemba, King of the Bavenda. This is a marginal addition to an African folktale collection, but the stories bop along jauntily. Pointed up with Bryan's fluent, emphatic woodcuts, they could catch the eye and the ear of a TV-trained audience.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 1981

ISBN: 0689711077

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1981

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A festive invitation to creative liberation.

BEAUTIFUL OOPS!

A pleasingly tactile exploration of the possibilities inherent in mistakes.

"A torn piece of paper... / is just the beginning!" Spills, folded paper, drips of paint, smudges and smears—they "all can make magic appear." An increasingly complex series of scenarios celebrates random accidents, encouraging artistic experimentation rather than discouragement. The folded-over paper can be a penguin's head; a torn piece of newsprint can turn into a smiling dog with a little application of paint; a hot-chocolate stain can become a bog for a frog. Thanks to a telescoping pop-up, a hole is filled with nearly limitless possibilities. The interactive elements work beautifully with the photo-collaged "mistakes," never overwhelming the intent with showiness. Saltzberg's trademark cartoon animals provide a sweetly childlike counterpoint to the artful scribbles and smears of gloppy paint.

A festive invitation to creative liberation. (Pop-up. 4-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7611-5728-1

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2010

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Adults wishing to expand the worldviews of their young charges beyond Eurocentric interpretations will find plenty of visual...

RAPUNZEL

From the Once Upon a World series

A retelling of the classic fairy tale with India as its setting.

This latest addition to the Once Upon A World series tells the well-known story of the maiden with beautiful long tresses locked away in a tower by an evil witch and the prince who falls in love with her. As with Perkins’ Cinderella (illustrated by Sandra Equihua, 2016) and Snow White (illustrated by Misa Saburi, 2016), the text has been simplified for a younger audience, and the distinguishing twist here is its setting in India. The mixed-media illustrations of plants, animals, village life, and, of course, Rapunzel, the witch, and the prince come alive in warm, saturated colors. Other than the visuals, there is little to differentiate the story from traditional tellings. As always, it is still the prince who will eventually lead Rapunzel to her salvation by taking her to his kingdom far away from the witch, but that is the nature of fairy tales. The only quibble with this book and indeed with this series is the board-book format. Given the fact that the audience most likely to enjoy it is beyond the board-book age, a full-size book would have done more justice to the vibrant artwork.

Adults wishing to expand the worldviews of their young charges beyond Eurocentric interpretations will find plenty of visual delights in this one, though they’ll wish it were bigger. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9072-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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