HOW TO PAINT THE PORTRAIT OF A BIRD

Gerstein sets the words of the French poet to pictures. Prévert’s poem reads like a lighthearted manual for a young painter who wishes to paint an elusive bird. The boy follows instructions precisely—painting an inviting cage to be placed under a tree to await the bird. When the bird comes, the young artist is charged with erasing the cage and, in its place, painting a tree with a perfect branch upon which the bird can light and sing. At the end of the day, the boy, who has faithfully executed directions and exercised great patience, carries home his canvas, bird, tree and all, only to have the bird fly away during the night. The poet’s advice: “Tomorrow you can paint another one.” Gerstein’s recognizable style seems at one with the lightness of Prévert’s intended whimsy. A double-page spread drolly depicts artistic endurance as the boy waits through passing seasons for his bird to come. With irresistible wit, this makes its point that, with dedication, art and creativity are infinitely renewable. (Picture book/poetry. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-1-59643-215-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

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ALL THE COLORS OF THE EARTH

This heavily earnest celebration of multi-ethnicity combines full-bleed paintings of smiling children, viewed through a golden haze dancing, playing, planting seedlings, and the like, with a hyperbolic, disconnected text—``Dark as leopard spots, light as sand,/Children buzz with laughter that kisses our land...''— printed in wavy lines. Literal-minded readers may have trouble with the author's premise, that ``Children come in all the colors of the earth and sky and sea'' (green? blue?), and most of the children here, though of diverse and mixed racial ancestry, wear shorts and T-shirts and seem to be about the same age. Hamanaka has chosen a worthy theme, but she develops it without the humor or imagination that animates her Screen of Frogs (1993). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-688-11131-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1994

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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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