MY NEW SANDBOX

When a boy gets a new sandbox in his backyard, one that's just his size, he wants it all to himself. ``Get out,'' he shouts to a bug, a bird, a dog, and a girl. But pretty soon his hard-won solitude becomes lonely. He decides there's room for all and invites the others back. Anyone who has ever spent time with preschoolers knows that sharing (and not sharing) often becomes a central issue; small children will understand exactly how the little boy feels. Jakob (Tiny Toes, 1995, etc.) reduces the emotional tug-of-war to minimalist sentences on the first page: ``There is a bug. A black bug. There is a black bug waddling in the sand.'' She then creates a cumulative effect with the boy's repetitions of key phrases, e.g. ``my new sandbox,'' ``my backyard,'' and ``just my size.'' The illustrations —stylized graphics in bright, airbrushed acrylics—make the action accessible and child-sized, and add to the bold and visually appealing whole. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 8, 1996

ISBN: 0-7868-0172-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1996

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I CAN BE ANYTHING!

A young boy wonders aloud to a rabbit friend what he will be when he grows up and imagines some outrageous choices. “Puddle stomper,” “bubble gum popper,” “mixing-bowl licker,” “baby-sis soother” are just some of the 24 inspiringly creative vocations Spinelli’s young dreamer envisions in this pithy rhymed account. Aided by Liao’s cleverly integrated full-bleed mixed-media illustrations, which radiate every hue of the rainbow, and dynamic typesetting with words that swoop and dive, the author’s perspective on this adult-inspired question yields some refreshingly child-oriented answers. Given such an irresistible array of options—“So many jobs! / They’re all such fun”—the boy in the end decides, in an exuberant double gatefold, “I’m going to choose… / EVERY ONE!”—a conclusion befitting a generation expected to have more than six careers each. Without parents or peers around to corral this carefree child’s dreams, the possibilities of being whatever one wants appear both limitless and attainable. An inspired take on a timeless question. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-316-16226-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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NOT A BOX

Dedicated “to children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes,” this elemental debut depicts a bunny with big, looping ears demonstrating to a rather thick, unseen questioner (“Are you still standing around in that box?”) that what might look like an ordinary carton is actually a race car, a mountain, a burning building, a spaceship or anything else the imagination might dream up. Portis pairs each question and increasingly emphatic response with a playscape of Crockett Johnson–style simplicity, digitally drawn with single red and black lines against generally pale color fields. Appropriately bound in brown paper, this makes its profound point more directly than such like-themed tales as Marisabina Russo’s Big Brown Box (2000) or Dana Kessimakis Smith’s Brave Spaceboy (2005). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-112322-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2006

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