Friday, August 17, 2012

Picture book mini-reviews, part 13

Ruth and the Green Book
by Calvin Alexander Ramsey, illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Carolhoda Books
November 2010

Lengthy, this is a picture book for older readers. Soft (digitally altered?) illustrations in muted tones depict Ruth and her family traveling by car from Chicago to Alabama in the late 1950's. They find many establishments will not do business with African-Americans, and rely on "The Green Book" to guide them to friendly vendors. This story was based on historical facts, but fictionalized. The book is appended with an informative afterword with more information The Green Book. This was an interesting slice of history that I might otherwise not known about.

I borrowed this book from the library.

The Little Piano Girl: The Story of Mary Lou Williams
by Ann Ingalls & Maryann Macdonald, illustrated by Giselle Potter
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
January 2010

This was a wordy, but lyrical story of jazz legend, Mary Lou Williams. Gouache illustrations looked a little flat to me. There's a brief afterward with additional biographical information about her. Without enough money for shoes to wear to school, little girl Williams plays piano for a neighbor, who, very impressed, gives her a little money. In that way, she's able to gradually stash away some savings. Williams later became very influential in the jazz scene, playing with Charlie Parker, Thelonius Monk and Dizzy Gillespie.

I borrowed this book from the library.

Interrupting Chicken
by David Ezra Stein
Candlewick Press
August 2010

I didn't love this on the first read, but it really grew on me. Illustrations of the dark green bedroom made me think a little of Goodnight Moon, as Papa reads bedtime stories to Little Chick and is constantly interrupted by with short, happy endings. This story captures the cozy feel of a bedtime ritual, and intersperses lots of book/literature references. I liked the alternating style of the story-within-a-story quasi-Paul Galdone inspired "storybook" illustrations. This is a very nice father/daughter story (Little Chicken is a girl) although wasn't it a little weird to see them sleeping in the same bed at the end? I think this would have lots of kid appeal.

I borrowed this book from the library.

Pout Pout Fish
by Deborah Diesen, illustrated by Dan Hanna
Farrar, Strauss Giroux
March 2008

With attractive art, and a catchy refrain, "I'm a pout-pout fish/with a pout-pout face/so I spread the dreary-wearies/All over the place./Blub/Bluuuub/Bluuuuuuub" this is certain to have a lot of kid-appeal. Featuring a lonely blue fish, this book felt like a kinder, gentler take on The Rainbow Fish. After recieving a kiss from a silver shimmering fish, the Pout Pout Fish decides he's a "kiss-kiss fish" and cheers everyone up by planting kisses wherever he goes. "Smooch, smooch, smooch."

I borrowed this book from the library.


  1. Thank you for reviewing The Pout-Pout Fish!

    Best Fishes,
    Debbie Diesen (author of The Pout-Pout Fish)

  2. Hey, the Pout-Pout fish is always a winner at storytime! Thanks for stopping by my blog!



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