A THOUSAND YARDS OF SEA

A COLLECTION OF SEA STORIES AND POEMS

In the manner of Cecil and Clark's three other thematic anthologies (e.g., Boo!, 1990), seven poems and six stories, virtually all from well-known sources, though the selections (e.g., Thackeray's verging-on-gruesome ``Little Billee'') are often less familiar than the authors (including Lear, Mahy, Farjeon, and Kipling). Adäle Geras's title story—a mermaid barters for freedom with a commodity that, on shore, becomes the silky stuff now called taffeta—is typical of the light, fantastical spirit, as well as the high quality of the humor and imagination. A couple of unusual stories are especially welcome: a whimsical Czech tale about the boy Jonah, who has a comical encounter with a whale, and the editor's retelling of a Venetian story about an enchanted crab. Clark's beautifully painted, charmingly witty watercolors add to the humor on almost every well-designed page. (Anthology. 4-10)

Pub Date: March 22, 1993

ISBN: 0-688-11437-7

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1993

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LIZARDS, FROGS, AND POLLIWOGS

POEMS AND PAINTINGS

“It’s wise to stay clear / Of the dangerous cobra / All months of the year, / Including Octobra.” But it wouldn’t be wise to stay clear of Florian’s latest poetry collection, sixth in his successful series of witty poems and paintings about creatures of all sorts (Mammalabilia: Poems and Paintings, 2000, etc.). This volume includes 21 short poems about reptiles and amphibians, including common creatures such as the bullfrog and the box turtle and more exotic specimens such as the komodo dragon and the red-eyed tree frog. Teachers will like the way the rhyming poems integrate into elementary science lessons, imparting some basic zoological facts along with the giggles, and kids will love the poems because they’re clever and funny in a style reminiscent of Ogden Nash, full of wordplay and sly humor. Florian’s impressionistic full-page illustrations are done in watercolors on primed, brown paper bags, often offering another layer of humor, as in the orange newt reading the Newt News on the cover. A first choice for the poetry shelves in all libraries, this collection is toadally terrific. (Poetry. 4-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-15-202591-X

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2001

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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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