MY PAINTED HOUSE, MY FRIENDLY CHICKEN, AND ME

A beguiling collaboration between the renowned poet (All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes, 1986, etc.) and a Namibian-born photojournalist. Thandi, an eight-year-old Ndebele girl from a South African village, is first glimpsed in European school clothes but talks mostly about her traditional culture, in which "people do not call anything beautiful. They will say that the best thing is good." She tells how their intricately patterned houses are painted and describes her mother's beadwork, focusing on the contrast between these arts and the sober modern world of town and school. Thandi's sunny, childlike voice is gracefully honed and has delightful touches of humor, especially about her "best friend," a chicken: "When I tell my friend secrets, she can talk all she wants...but no one can understand her...except another chicken, of course" (ellipses in original). In the expertly composed color photos, Thandi and the other children glow with mischief, laugh out loud, or "just sit back deep inside themselves"; the crafts are also handsomely displayed. The design here (by Alexander Isley Design) is inspired, setting off words and photos to perfection. Vibrant color blocks and pages echo hues in the photos and contrast with white pages. Spacing and different sizes of sans-serif type enhance the cadence and emphasis of the first-person narrative. A fine introduction to these young South Africans. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 1994

ISBN: 0-517-59667-9

Page Count: 34

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1994

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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