PELICAN CHORUS

AND OTHER NONSENSE

Three fine and time-honored tales from Lear: ``The New Vestments,'' with its rollicking mob of ``beasticles, birdlings, and boys'' who make short work of the gentleman's farcical attire; ``The Owl and the Pussycat,'' in which the elegant fowl and the beautiful puss take their wedding vows under the bong tree, ministered by a turkey; and ``The Pelican Chorus,'' the bittersweet story of a young pelican who leaves family and home on the banks of the River Nile for the arms of the crane king. There is little unsaid, or unthought, about Lear's smart and layered nonsense verse: When his fancy is on-line, the lark's on the wing, snail on the thorn, and all's well with children's lore. Marcellino's watercolors catch the mood of each piece: bright and riotous, loopily tender, ancient and two-edged, though—a temperamental quibble—he takes the sting out of the third tale by concocting a return of the daughter; it isn't hinted at in the verse and seems to undercut the ambiguity of the story. Lear never stales and Marcellino's luxurious productions add another fanciful dimension to such oddball entertainment. (Picture book/poetry. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-06-205062-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1995

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DINOSAURS GALORE!

A dozen familiar dinosaurs introduce themselves in verse in this uninspired, if colorful, new animal gallery from the authors of Commotion in the Ocean (2000). Smiling, usually toothily, and sporting an array of diamonds, lightning bolts, spikes and tiger stripes, the garishly colored dinosaurs make an eye-catching show, but their comments seldom measure up to their appearance: “I’m a swimming reptile, / I dive down in the sea. / And when I spot a yummy squid, / I eat it up with glee!” (“Ichthyosaurus”) Next to the likes of Kevin Crotty’s Dinosongs (2000), illustrated by Kurt Vargo, or Jack Prelutsky’s classic Tyrannosaurus Was A Beast (1988), illustrated by Arnold Lobel, there’s not much here to roar about. (Picture book/poetry. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-58925-044-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2005

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HONEY, I LOVE

Iffy art cramps this 25th-anniversary reissue of the joyful title poem from Greenfield’s first collection (1978), illustrated by the Dillons. As timeless as ever, the poem celebrates everything a child loves, from kissing Mama’s warm, soft arm to listening to a cousin from the South, “ ’cause every word he says / just kind of slides out of his mouth.” “I love a lot of things / a whole lot of things,” the narrator concludes, “And honey, / I love ME, too.” The African-American child in the pictures sports an updated hairstyle and a big, infectious grin—but even younger viewers will notice that the spray of cool water that supposedly “stings my stomach” isn’t aimed there, and that a comforter on the child’s bed changes patterns between pages. More problematic, though, is a dropped doll that suddenly acquires a horrified expression that makes it look disturbingly like a live baby, and the cutesy winged fairy that hovers over the sleeping child in the final scene. The poem deserves better. (Picture book/poetry. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-06-009123-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2002

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