WILD CHILD

The change of seasons from fall to winter makes a captivating bedtime story as Mother Nature tries to tuck in her wild child, Autumn. This child will do anything to stay up; when she complains that she needs a song, her mother provides one that includes acorns splattering, leaves crinkling, and birds twittering. Next the child needs a treat, and after she has munched on a bounty of cranberries, nuts, and pumpkins, she has to change into her pajamas. These nightclothes are the flame colors of autumn leaves with orange slippers to match. Before she can really fall asleep, the child demands a goodnight kiss. This “frosty kiss” is necessarily cold and frozen, foreshadowing the next season, but to readers, the effect of such a somber kiss from mother to child is chilling, or at least less than comforting. Finally the child yawns and curls up to sleep, but the mother will not be resting, for another child, Winter, arrives and “can’t sleep.” Couch’s absorbing illustrations match the allegorical aspect of the poetic text, and both transport readers with images of unusual clarity and depth. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-689-81552-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1999

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RIVER

In a series of folk-art paintings, Atwell (Barn, 1996) charts an American river’s decline from unspoiled to trash-strewn, then its recovery due to the efforts of concerned people. Although readers may be thrown by the brief text’s vagueness (“They changed the warehouses. They tore down some of the factories. They planted trees. They wanted to share”), the message comes through clearly in the striking riverine scenes, as bright skies and blue waters change to lowering clouds and gray dinginess, then back to idealized views of grassy approaches and families at play. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-93546-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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CAT AND MOUSE IN THE SNOW

In this picture book adventure of a now-familiar duo (Cat and Mouse and Something to Do, 1998, etc.), Bogacki describes how the curious cat and the curious mouse explore the green meadow turned white with snow. The two friends climb up the hill, then slide down, down, down. Meanwhile the other mice and cats wake up and go outside to find their siblings. They come upon the two friends covered in white snow and mistake them for monsters. Shrieks turn to delight, and everyone has a great time playing in the snow. When night comes they return to their respective homes to dream of snow. The soft chalk illustrations in grey, tan, and white on blue paper show flat stylized animals in a snowy world. Children will enjoy the brief repetitive text; adults will be glad to have an appealing alternative to Ezra Jack Keats’s The Snowy Day. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 1999

ISBN: 0-374-31192-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1999

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