Review: Oh, Harry! by Maxine Kumin

oh harry

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.

Review: Magic Trash by Jane Shapiro

magic trash

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.

2011 Winners of the Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards


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