All Year Round: A Book to Benefit Children in Need
Lisa Desimini. Scholastic Reference, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-590-36097-5
To illustrate this lamentably slim book, the collaborators either used as inspiration or reworked the art from segments that they painted as a charitable mural at a child-care center for homeless women and their children. Although each of the artists originally worked on a panel for one of the four seasons, integrating it into a single unified mural (shown in an afterword), in this book each has written text and created artwork for three spreads on his or her season, and the transitions from one to the next are disjointed. The range of artistic media and style, arguably a plus in a longer, horizontal piece, tends to translate as a jarring hodgepodge when contained between book covers. For example, Ricceri's gouache renderings of spring scenes in a natural palette introduce a boy with quite an eccentric, disproportionate face, while Schwartz's neon-hued mixed media spreads of a summer beach feature flat, primitivist characters. The rhymed verses accompanying the pictures often seem forced (e.g., Desimini's oil paintings show snowmen of various colors who ""have a frosty party/ With all of our friends,/ There are snowflakes and icicles,/ We hope it never ends!""). Though this title represents a noble gesture on the contributors' parts and supports a worthy cause, with neither a visual or narrative through line, it is less clear who will benefit from reading it. Ages 3-6. (Oct.) FYI: A portion of the proceeds from the book's sale will benefit the Robin Hood Foundation, which aids needy families.
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997