THE LONGEST DAY

CELEBRATING THE SUMMER SOLSTICE

In this fourth of a series (A New Beginning, 2008, etc.), science, myth and custom merge into a celebratory introduction to the Summer Solstice. As summer approaches, bison shed winter coats, mountain goats move to summer pastures and butterflies emerge from cocoons. Simultaneously, people move outdoors to picnic and play in the growing sunlight. Pfeffer transitions from familiar summer activities into scientific concepts about the earth’s orbital position on or about June 21, which produces the longest day. She segues into myths of the Egyptian, Mesopotamian and Greek sun gods and introduces ancient monuments erected to the solstice, such as the Chumash Indian House of the Sun, Stonehenge, New Hampshire’s Mystery Hill and the Plains Indian Bighorn Medicine Wheel. From myths and monuments, the author moves to celebrations: Lithuanian fire wheels, Germanic bonfires, Bohemian flower wreaths, Swedish midsummer poles and Alaskan “Polar Bear” swims, ending with lawn sprinklers and beach sand. Bleck’s sprightly, colorful illustrations offer a visual celebration as they faithfully track the text. A comfortable, multidimensional investigation of the Summer Solstice that transcends time and place. (facts, activities) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-525-42237-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

GINGERBREAD BABY

In a snowbound Swiss village, Matti figures it’s a good day to make a gingerbread man. He and his mother mix a batch of gingerbread and tuck it in the oven, but Matti is too impatient to wait ten minutes without peeking. When he opens the door, out pops a gingerbread baby, taunting the familiar refrain, “Catch me if you can.” The brash imp races all over the village, teasing animals and tweaking the noses of the citizenry, until there is a fair crowd on his heels intent on giving him a drubbing. Always he remains just out of reach as he races over the winterscape, beautifully rendered with elegant countryside and architectural details by Brett. All the while, Matti is busy back home, building a gingerbread house to entice the nervy cookie to safe harbor. It works, too, and Matti is able to spirit the gingerbread baby away from the mob. The mischief-maker may be a brat, but the gingerbread cookie is also the agent of good cheer, and Brett allows that spirit to run free on these pages. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23444-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

MATH CURSE

An unsuspecting student falls victim to the Math Curse when her teacher notes that ``You can think of almost everything as a math problem.'' Suddenly, everything is: ``I wake up at 7:15. It takes me 10 minutes to get dressed, 15 minutes to eat my breakfast, and 1 minute to brush my teeth . . . if my bus leaves at 8:00, will I make it on time?'' If it's not a time problem, it's equivalents (``How many inches in a foot?''), multiplication, nondecimal numbers, money combinations, and more. What's the cure? It comes to her in a dream: A problem with an answer is no problem at all. Smith's big paintings-cum-collage are, as usual, way strange, perfectly complementing the wild, postmodern page design with concatenations of small objects, fragments, and geometric shapes and figures, all placed on dark, grainy backgrounds. Another calculated triumph from the fevered brows that brought forth The Stinky Cheese Man (1992) and other instant classics, this one with a bit of brainwork deftly woven in. Readers can check their answers on the back cover. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-670-86194-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1995

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more