RATTLESNAKE DANCE

The author of All About Rattlesnakes (not reviewed) proves a better naturalist than songsmith here, preceding an eerie lyric about a cavern full of rattlers in a trance, swaying in unison with a musical arrangement (done by Christopher Drobny) that features a spoken portion, a bewildering array of repeat signs, and notation for two dances supposedly on “page 32”—though the book’s pages are unnumbered, and there is but one dance described on the last page. With fitful rhyming and variable line lengths, the text does not read smoothly, and the pale watercolors of freely drawn, happy-looking snakes with fixed smiles and equally fixed eyes are likely to evoke shivers rather than the suggested snaky undulations. This reptilian jamboree just doesn’t have the finger-snapping, hip-swaying rhythm of Libba Moore Gray’s Small Green Snake (not reviewed) or Gail Jorgensen’s Crocodile Rock (not reviewed). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-399-27755-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

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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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MY TEACHER FOR PRESIDENT

Come November, lots of people would cast their vote for Oliver’s teacher—just the kind of secure, commanding, compassionate presence it would be good to see in the White House. Arranged by Brunkus in warmly agreeable two-page spreads—the left side depicting the teacher tending to her responsibilities at school, the right side showing her attending to the same qualities as chief executive—Oliver tells us of her fondness for white houses, that she likes to be followed about, likes to travel, knows how to keep the attention of her charges, doesn’t mind any number of meetings, and signs important documents. Then Winters ups the ante: this gray-haired, bespeckled wise soul also knows first-hand how to react to emergencies, handle health-care issues, is interested in finding people jobs, keeping the Earth clean, and knows—here’s the kicker—how to listen. It all starts so early, these fundamentals of a sensitive existence, and Winters makes the parallels simple to digest. Here’s a third-party candidate to get behind. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-525-47186-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2004

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