Celeste: A day in the Park

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Like Arthur Yorinks's Harry and Lulu, which Matje illustrated, this appealingly drawn but awkward tale features a temperamental girl and her stuffed-animal sidekick. Celeste and her teddy bear, Tim, want to escape the traffic and towering gray buildings of their "very big, very noisy city." Celeste packs a whimsical picnic of "fresh marshmallow juice and two large vanilla cucumber sandwiches," and the two resolutely march to a placid city park. However, the day and the plot go amiss when a duck steals a sandwich, and Celeste, pursuing the duck, crashes into a hulking policeman. Tiny Celeste cowers in front of the balloon-shaped cop, who is assumed to be an enemy, not a protector ("You can fight a dishonest duck BUT you can't go up against the law"). Meanwhile Tim strong-arms the duck into good behavior and even engineers a friendship by promising the duck his favorite sandwich (chocolate and sausage, to be prepared by Celeste). The elegantly simple illustrations, aided by an agile mix of hand lettering and mechanical type, flow like animated cartoons, full of motion and feeling. With seeming effortlessness they supply this petite volume with the raffish and child-friendly wit that's missing from the text. Ages 3-7. (May) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Celeste and her best friend, a stuffed bear named Tim, decide to go on a picnic in the park. The girl makes a special lunch of crunchy peanut butter and smashed cornflakes cookies, vanilla cucumber sandwiches, and marshmallow juice. They are enjoying their meal by the lake when a duck sneaks up to snitch a sandwich. Unwilling to share, Celeste chases after it and runs smack into Officer Brekkit. As she stands beneath the large man looking small and embarrassed, the text explains, "You can fight a dishonest duck BUT you can't go up against the LAW." Tim saves the day by convincing the duck to become their friend; the next day, they all share a picnic and have the duck's favorite food: chocolate-and-sausage sandwiches. This silly adventure is illustrated with Matje's retro-style gouache-and-watercolor cartoons, which are similar to those found in Arthur Yorinks's Harry and Lulu (Hyperion, 1999). Youngsters will be amused by the asides included with the pictures but some of the humor might be lost on them. Still, there is a lot to enjoy here, from the anthropomorphized behavior of the duck and bear to the creative picnic fare.-Susan M. Moore, Louisville Free Public Library, KY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A toy bear plays conflict resolution specialist in this post-modern episode from the illustrator of Eric Sanvoisin's The Ink Drinker (1998). Chasing a duck that has filched a cucumber slice from her picnic basket, Celeste bumps into a blimp-like policeman, Officer Wallace B. Brekkit; while she stands silent and blushing, her jointed ursine companion Tim uses aggression and persuasion to convince the duck that it's better to be friends. The next day, Celeste and Tim meet the duck on a grassy knoll for chocolate and sausage sandwiches. Matje integrates a present-tense text, printed in various sizes and colors, with cartoons featuring pop-eyed figures with large heads and tiny limbs. Children will respond to this with amusement, and the theme is a worthy one. (Picture book. 7-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689821004
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/13/1999
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.84 (w) x 8.82 (h) x 0.41 (d)

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