THE ROOSTER'S ANTLERS

A STORY OF THE CHINESE ZODIAC

A saucy version of a traditional tale of the Chinese zodiac from the creators of Ten Suns (1998). Long ago when the Jade Emperor of China was selecting the animals for the Chinese calendar, all the animals wanted to be included. Dragon, sensitive about his bald head, complains to Centipede, who offers, for a price, to obtain Rooster’s gorgeous antlers. Generous Rooster, certain he will be chosen with or without antlers, lends them to Dragon for “as long as he needs them.” Rooster stews when the Jade Emperor selects him tenth, for the dragon was chosen fifth, surely because of his headwear. Worse, Dragon refuses to give the antlers back and Rooster gets mad, forever; to this day, he hops on a fence and calls, “Ku-keri-keru! Dragon, you thief! Give back my antlers!” The telling is well-timed and funny, while the illustrations, with the look of Chinese paper-cutting, thoroughly complement the text. Amid heavy black lines are vividly colored areas, all against a deep aqua background, and filled with pattern and movement. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-8234-1385-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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DORY STORY

Who is next in the ocean food chain? Pallotta has a surprising answer in this picture book glimpse of one curious boy. Danny, fascinated by plankton, takes his dory and rows out into the ocean, where he sees shrimp eating those plankton, fish sand eels eating shrimp, mackerel eating fish sand eels, bluefish chasing mackerel, tuna after bluefish, and killer whales after tuna. When an enormous humpbacked whale arrives on the scene, Danny’s dory tips over and he has to swim for a large rock or become—he worries’someone’s lunch. Surreal acrylic illustrations in vivid blues and red extend the story of a small boy, a small boat, and a vast ocean, in which the laws of the food chain are paramount. That the boy has been bathtub-bound during this entire imaginative foray doesn’t diminish the suspense, and the facts Pallotta presents are solidly researched. A charming fish tale about the one—the boy—that got away. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88106-075-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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THE BARN OWLS

From Johnston (An Old Shell, 1999, etc.), poetic phrases that follow a ghostly barn owl through days and nights, suns and moons. Barn owls have been nesting and roosting, hunting and hatching in the barn and its surroundings for as long as the barn has housed spiders, as long as the wheat fields have housed mice, “a hundred years at least.” The repetition of alliterative words and the hushed hues of the watercolors evoke the soundless, timeless realm of the night owl through a series of spectral scenes. Short, staccato strings of verbs describe the age-old actions and cycles of barn owls, who forever “grow up/and sleep/and wake/and blink/and hunt for mice.” Honey-colored, diffused light glows in contrast to the star-filled night scenes of barn owls blinking awake. A glimpse into the hidden campestral world of the elusive barn owl. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88106-981-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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