`Traveling Pants' Author Launches a New Series

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), February 15, 2009 | Go to article overview

`Traveling Pants' Author Launches a New Series


Byline: REVIEWS The Register-Guard

PICTURE BOOKS

The Negro Speaks of Rivers

by Langston Hughes; illustrated by E.B. Lewis

(Disney, 32 pages, $16.99); age 4 to 8

The over-sized watercolors of Caldecott Medalist E.B. Lewis offer a fresh visual rendering of a poem by a giant figure of the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes (1902-1967). It was written when he was 18 years old and is a celebration of the African-American experience. In an illustrator's note, Lewis says that for him, the poem "is as personal as a prayer."

When Louis Armstrong Taught Me Scat

By Muriel Harris Weinstein; illustrations by R. Gregory Christie

(Chronicle, 32 pages, $16.99); age 4 to 8

Children who get a kick out of nonsense words will love the idea of scat, a form of jazz singing made famous by artists such as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. In this evocative tribute to Armstrong, a young girl listens with her mother to the master's voice belting out some musical sounds on the radio: "crackity, snappity, poppity, pop," and "chew-itee, chew-itee, chew-itee, chop." That night, Armstrong appears in a dream and teaches the child exactly what she needs to know to scat herself.

The I Love You Book

By Todd Parr

(Little Brown, 32 pages, $9.99); age 3 to 7

With its timeless message of unconditional love, this is a charming little book, and a terrific value to boot.

"I love you when you sleep," the narrator says soothingly, "I love you when you don't sleep." Whether you are healthy or sick, gregarious or shy, stinky from a day's play or squeaky clean just out of the bathtub, the message is always the same. "Most of all," the child is reassured, "I love you just the way you are."

My Penguin Osbert in Love

By Elizabeth Cody Kimmel; illustrations by H.B. "Buck" Lewis

(Candlewick, 48 pages, $16.99); age 4 to 8

We first met young Joe and his feathered friend five years ago in "My Penguin Osbert," a charming pair of soul-mates if ever there was one. Their reunion is occasioned by the amiable bird's escape from the zoo - along with 20 of his pals - and an urgent request that Joe accompany them on a trip to Antarctica to view the Southern Lights.

The gentle watercolors of Buck Lewis are especially well done.

- Nicholas Basbanes, For The Register-Guard

YOUNG READER

White Sands, Red Menace

By Ellen Klages

(Penguin, 352 pages, $16.99); age 9 to 12.

It's 1946, and the war that drew scientists to Los Alamos to work on "the gadget" is over. But a new kind of war takes Dewey Kerrigan and her adopted sister, Suze, to the White Sands Missile Range, where Suze's father works on the arms race and her mother works for peace.

Against this meticulously researched backdrop, the girls confront eighth-grade dramas, gender and racial bias and the reappearance of Dewey's birth mother. This is a sequel to "The Green Glass Sea," but it is a thoughtful, original novel that stands on its own. …

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