LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD

In his introduction to this ``beautiful, violent tale,'' Luciano Pavarotti suggests that these illustrations ``will leave you breathless.'' That's an understatement. For many, Perrault's original version will be unfamiliar—it concludes with the wolf eating Red Riding Hood (in this faithful, economical translation, ``devouring'' her). Montresor—an admired set designer as well as a Caldecott medalist (1965)—provides a theatrical setting with elegant architectural forms and a stylized forest in finely detailed black touched with soft color; the dapper, white-suited wolf is an appealingly furry seducer, his victim a blond innocent. The illustrations deliberately refer to DorÇ's famous engravings (1867); two of the most dramatic poses are almost identical to DorÇ, but Montresor carries the tale into the 20th century with his extraordinary final pictures: the wolf swallowing the child as an act of love as well as ferocity; then three textless spreads of Red Riding Hood, unhurt, within the complacent wolf like a child awaiting birth, floating pure on a field of scarlet that recalls her cloak. In the last, the huntsman-savior appears in a pillar of light. Some will be troubled by the terror and sexuality in these brooding, exquisite illustrations; others will respond to their beauty and to the skill with which the artist has revealed the tale's mythic power. Definitely not for preschoolers, but a valid interpretation to fascinate and challenge older readers. (Folklore/Picture book. 7+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-385-41212-6

Page Count: -

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1991

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Simple, bella, un regalo permenente: simple and beautiful, a gift that will stay.

HOW TÍA LOLA CAME TO (VISIT) STAY

From the Tía Lola Stories series , Vol. 1

Renowned Latin American writer Alvarez has created another story about cultural identity, but this time the primary character is 11-year-old Miguel Guzmán. 

When Tía Lola arrives to help the family, Miguel and his hermana, Juanita, have just moved from New York City to Vermont with their recently divorced mother. The last thing Miguel wants, as he's trying to fit into a predominantly white community, is a flamboyant aunt who doesn't speak a word of English. Tía Lola, however, knows a language that defies words; she quickly charms and befriends all the neighbors. She can also cook exotic food, dance (anywhere, anytime), plan fun parties, and tell enchanting stories. Eventually, Tía Lola and the children swap English and Spanish ejercicios, but the true lesson is "mutual understanding." Peppered with Spanish words and phrases, Alvarez makes the reader as much a part of the "language" lessons as the characters. This story seamlessly weaves two culturaswhile letting each remain intact, just as Miguel is learning to do with his own life. Like all good stories, this one incorporates a lesson just subtle enough that readers will forget they're being taught, but in the end will understand themselves, and others, a little better, regardless of la lengua nativa—the mother tongue.

Simple, bella, un regalo permenente: simple and beautiful, a gift that will stay. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-80215-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating...

FRINDLE

Nicholas is a bright boy who likes to make trouble at school, creatively. 

When he decides to torment his fifth-grade English teacher, Mrs. Granger (who is just as smart as he is), by getting everyone in the class to replace the word "pen'' with "frindle,'' he unleashes a series of events that rapidly spins out of control. If there's any justice in the world, Clements (Temple Cat, 1995, etc.) may have something of a classic on his hands. By turns amusing and adroit, this first novel is also utterly satisfying. The chess-like sparring between the gifted Nicholas and his crafty teacher is enthralling, while Mrs. Granger is that rarest of the breed: a teacher the children fear and complain about for the school year, and love and respect forever after. 

With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating tale—one to press upon children, and one they'll be passing among themselves. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-689-80669-8

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1996

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