Friday, November 09, 2012

Adoring the Reviews

Seems like time to do a little rounding up of reviews.  Kirkus has called When I Was Small adorable, while Publisher's Weekly says that adorable is a word to be used advisedly (and then goes ahead and uses it!)

I was very pleased to see the Henry books included on uber-blogger Design Mom's Gift List  and to see the kindly mention by Say Yes to Hoboken's Liz Stanley on the lovely Small Fry.


Publishers Weekly:  In earlier offerings by this team, When You Were Small and Where You Came From, Henry's parents told their son about life when he was "literally" small, walking his pet ant and sleeping in his father's slipper (this duo has Marcel the Shell beat by several years). "Tell me about when you were small, too," Henry now asks his mother. "When I was small," she begins, "my name was Dorothea. But because the name was too big for me, everyone called me Dot." Twentysome solemn primary-school students appear opposite in a class photo; one is a girl in a red dress no bigger than a potted plant. Readers might miss the tiny figure, but they'll catch on within pages: "I went swimming in the birdbath," Henry's mother continues. "I played jump rope with a piece of yarn." The humor in Morstad's pen-and-ink drawings lies in their seriousness; she draws the cocktail umbrella Henry's mother stands under and the mitten she sleeps in with the care of a botanical illustrator. "Adorable" is a word to be used advisedly, but it's applicable in this case.


Kirkus:  The third of the Henry books (When You Were Small, 2006; Where You Came From, 2008) continues the adorable journey but doesn’t veer from the path.
  Henry wants to know about when his mother was small. She responds by telling him her name was Dorothea, but “because the name was too big for me, everyone called me Dot.” The picture on the facing page shows a class of really cute children inked in black and white, an equally cute teacher and Henry’s doll-sized mom in bright red. She went swimming in the birdbath, could “feast on a single raspberry” and wore a daisy for a sunhat. The text for each spread floats on a pure white page, and on the opposite page Morstad’s beautiful, clear drawings characterized by the spot use of color float on the same white space. The endpapers are full of similarly fanciful images of tiny Dot standing under a toadstool, leaping over a daisy or sporting butterflies as headgear. “In stories we can be small together,” his mother says, ending this quiet mother-and-son idyll.The third of the Henry books (When You Were Small, 2006; Where You Came From, 2008) continues the adorable journey but doesn’t veer from the path.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the blogosphere, AmoXcalli says:  There is something about children’s literature that just oozes joy and wonder when a book is done well. Simple illustrations and spare but eloquent writing can convey so much. When I Was Small does this beautifully.  And Books my Boys Love writes:  I like it how they have interpreted “small” as in ‘tiny’. The mother’s fantastical stories about sleeping in a mitten, swimming in a bird bath, feasting on a single raspberry, and wearing the same size shoes as her doll are fun and whimsical and pique children’s curiosity.

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