Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Hasta luego, New York . . . Hola Bermuda, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and, last but definitely not least, Puerto Rico!!! So psyched to sail the seas on this for ten days!
See you back here in July, mis amigos!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Wishing all you awesome dad's a very happy day!
(illustration from WHAT HAPPENS ON WEDNESDAYS)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

More nice ALFIE reviews!

From Booklist, June 1st issue:
"Picture-book shelves overflow with stories of furious young kids who protest injustice by packing up their essentials (snacks, stuffed animals) and running away, often making it only as far as the backyard before setting up camp. In his debut picture book, Cadow borrows familiar elements, but what feels fresh here is the child’s reason for leaving. Instead of sibling rivalry or the struggle to be heard, it’s young Alfie’s frustration and sorrow over his own growing up that sends him out the door. After his mother tells Alfie to part with a favorite pair of outgrown sneakers, he explodes, announces his departure plans, and assembles his supplies. His gentle, understanding mother helps and even tucks an imaginary hug into his bag. Alone in the backyard, Alfie slowly accepts that his shoes need to go, and in a warm conclusion, finds a new home for them. Young children will easily recognize Alfie’s frustrated feelings of powerlessness, as well as his fears of independence. Castillo’s expressive illustrations sensitively reinforce this tender, reassuring story’s elemental emotions." — Gillian Engberg


From The Horn Book, July/August issue:

"Alfie already has a significant list of grievances-taking baths, making his bed, eating potatoes-so when his mother wants to give away his favorite shoes just because they've gotten a little small, Alfie decides he's had enough. The headstrong emotions of a young runaway are humorously portrayed in the dialogue ("'May I give you a hug?' asked his mother. 'You may let me keep my shoes,' said Alfie") and in the art (Alfie's dignified expression as his mother helps him pack a bag). At his clever mother's suggestion, Alfie takes a lot of supplies; he can't get far with his heavy pack, and, after unloading everything in the backyard, takes off his favorite, too-tight shoes and puts them on his stuffed animal companion, Buddy Bear. With perfect timing-Alfie is just starting to feel homesick-his mom comes out with the welcome-home hug he is looking for. The subdued colors in Castillo's old-fashioned yet unsentimental illustrations highlight the red shoes and match the reassuring, low-key tone of Cadow's text. Alfie himself comes up with the solution-he realizes the shoes will always fit Buddy Bear-that ends this satisfying picture book." — JENNIFER M. BRABANDER

Friday, June 11, 2010

First two ALFIE reviews!

Thanks to Publisher's Weekly and School Library Journal for saying such nice things about little Alfie!

From Publisher's Weekly:

Alfie Runs Away
Kenneth M. Cadow, illus. by Lauren Castillo
FSG/Foster, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-374-30202-3

"Cadow debuts with a perceptively written story about a power struggle between a mother and her small son. Alfie's mother proposes to give away his favorite red shoes--they're too small--and he responds by announcing that he's running away. The conflict unfolds in slow motion: Alfie's rebellion doesn't involve yelling or tears, and his mother honors his feelings without backing down. "May I give you a hug?" she asks, as he prepares to leave. "You may let me keep my shoes," says Alfie stiffly. "I will put a hug in your bag," she replies. Castillo's (What Happens on Wednesdays) spreads, comfortingly rendered in muted colors, are just right for Cadow's even-tempered narration. The figures are edged with soft black lines, echoing the sense that Alfie is surrounded by secure boundaries. When Alfie discovers, on his blanket out in the backyard, that his red shoes fit his teddy bear ("Those shoes will never get too small for you," he reassures Buddy Bear), readers will feel the value of the thinking Alfie's done for himself. A fine first outing for Cadow." Ages 4–8. (May)


From School Library Journal:

"K-Gr 2–There are several things Alfie doesn’t like about living in his household, but when his mom decides to give away his favorite too-small shoes, he’s had enough. “I’m going to run away,” he declares. His very accommodating mother helps him pack for the journey: flashlight, batteries, water bottle, snacks, pillow, blanket, stuffed bear, and books. When he gets as far as the backyard, however, the pack is so heavy that he empties everything out and has a picnic. And just when Alfie discovers a way to avoid parting with his shoes forever, his mom comes running with a sorely missed hug. Endpapers feature broad outline drawings of Alfie’s treasures, color visible only on his beloved red shoes. The mixed-media illustrations are large and heavily outlined in black. They depict a very determined child, hair sticking up, hands on hips, and foot tapping as he makes his ominous announcement. He prances out of the house while Mom calmly looks on, his bravado dampening only when he begins to realize what he has left behind. Youngsters will enjoy hearing the story of Alfie’s short-lived adventure along with that of another small runaway in Elissa Haden Guest’s Harriet’s Had Enough! (Candlewick, 2009)."–Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT