Oh, Harry! by Maxine Kumin, illustrated by Barry Moser
Harry the horse did not have the lean lines of the other horses at the Adams & Son farm. He wasn’t jittery or temperamental like the others either. Instead, he was gentle, kind and calm. When any other horse got out of line, Harry was brought in to calm the situation down. He didn’t have a stall like the others either, instead he was allowed to move from spot to spot in the barn as he liked. But then Algernon Adams, aged 6, arrived at the farm. He ran around, yelled and scared the horses. Until one evening, when he got shut in the grain bin. All the people had left, only the horses were in the barn, including Harry. And now Harry had a decision to make about the naughty young Algernon.
Kumin’s verse is playful and jaunty. This is not poetry of a serious sort, but rather the type that skips along telling a story. The rhymes read aloud well, moving the entire story along at a brisk pace.
Moser’s art offers a lot of range here. His paintings show quiet moments of beautiful horses together. They also show silly moments with Harry and Algernon. They have deep colors placed again white space that really make the images pop.
A winning combination of engaging verse and art, this picture book will be appreciated by horse lovers of any age. Appropriate for ages 4-7.
Reviewed from library copy.
Magic Trash: A Story of Tyree Guyton and His Art by J. H. Shapiro, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
This is the life story of Tyree Guyton. Tyree grew up in Detroit in a large family. He was always picking up stray objects and creating things with them. At age nine, Tyree decided he wanted to be an artist. But as the years passed, he worked many jobs, none of them artistic. When he returned back home, his street has changed from a bustling neighborhood into a stretch of dilapidated houses. So Tyree went to work, painting everything he could find. Houses got polka dots, bright colors were everywhere, found objects were incorporated. But not everyone loved Tyree’s work, they considered it garbage. Houses were knocked down by the city, until finally after years, Tyree’s art was safe. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Heidelberg Project, certainly something to celebrate!
Shapiro has written this book with a sparkle and jazz that suits the subject. Her storytelling is impressive as she creates moods that change from one page to the next as the story progresses. She weaves in rhyming lines at times, adding to the distinctive feel of her words.
Brantley-Newton’s art is done in mixed media, incorporating found objects, torn pages filled with words, painting, pattern and texture. Her art is bright, beautiful and vibrant. Against the distinctive backgrounds, her characters stand out with great charm.
A look at street art that is part of the street, this book will be enjoyed by art teachers and budding young artists alike. Appropriate for ages 6-9.
Reviewed from copy received from Charlesbridge.
The Children’s Book Council of Australia has announced the winners of their 2011 awards.
Older Readers Book of the Year
The Midnight Zoo by Sonya Hartnett
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
The Life of a Teenage Body-Snatcher by Doug MacLeod
Younger Readers Book of the Year
The Red Wind by Isobelle Carmody
Just a Dog by Michael Gerard Bauer
Violet Mackerel’s Brilliant Plot by Anna Branford, illustrated by Sarah Davis
Early Childhood Book of the Year
Maudie and Bear by Jan Ormerod, illustrated by Freya Blackwood
The Tall Man and the Twelve Babies by Tom Niland Champion and Kilmeny Niland, illustrated by Deborah Niland
Look See, Look at Me by Leonie Norrington, illustrated by Dee Huxley
Picture Book of the Year
Mirror by Jeannie Baker
Hamlet by Nicki Greenberg
Why I Love Australia by Bronwyn Bancroft
My Uncle’s Donkey by Tohby Riddle
Eve Pownall Book of the Year
The Return of the Word Spy by Ursula Dubosarsky, illustrated by Tohby Riddle
Drawn from the Heart: A Memoir by Ron Brooks
Our World: Bardi Jaawi: Life at Ardiyooloon