Books by Shen Roddie

YOU’RE TOO SMALL! by Shen Roddie
Released: March 1, 2004

Tad, a mouse, wants to help the other animals on the farm. Each time he offers, though, he's told he's too small. Only slightly discouraged, he decides to try again tomorrow when maybe he'll be bigger. He arrives home to find all his friends locked out and hungry. Only a small mouse can squeeze through a crack to let them in. It's certainly not nice of him to eat part of a pie while his friends watch hungrily through the window, but he does let them in to share the rest of the pies. Roddie's story is one everyone has heard before, but Lavis's sweet, pudgy critters in oversized watercolor illustrations would win anyone over. Nothing new, but not bad. (Picture book. 2-7)Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 15, 2004

In this arch variation on Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears (1975), a parrot named Godfrey gets "such a flutter!" from fomenting fights and arguments among the jungle's animals with invidious "tittle-tattle." Lion finally tricks him into making a fool of himself, but when at last Godfrey's victims turn on him, the worst threat they can mount is the announcement that he can't be their friend any more. Godfrey's remorse lasts about a sentence—after which he flies off laughing. Terry gives this rainbow-hued talebearer an oversized head and zeroes in on the annoyed expressions of Godfrey's various targets; even very young viewers will have no trouble seeing the effect of his maliciousness. The pleasures of gossip seem to outweigh its hazards here, though. (Picture book. 5-7)Read full book review >
SANDBEAR by Shen Roddie
by Shen Roddie, illustrated by Jenny Jones
Released: June 1, 2001

Hare builds a bear out of sand, but doesn't take much effort to do it right—he gives his Sandbear a tiny mouth, a strand of grass for a hand (only one), small bumps for legs, driftwood for a nose, and no clothes. When Hare goes home for lunch, Sandbear gets cold and tries to shuffle into the forest to get warm; then gets hungry and tries unsuccessfully to pick up and eat a carrot with his grass hand and pinhole mouth. When Sandbear discovers that Hare has fallen into a hole, he sacrifices himself by jumping into the hole to make a pile of sand big enough for Hare to use to climb out of the hole. Overcome with remorse at seeing only sand, grass, and pebbles remaining in the hole, Hare resolves to rebuild his friend more completely and give him some clothes this time. The scenes of poor Sandbear shuffling along and trying to eat with one ineffective hand are a bit disturbing, and even more so when Hare pulls the grass hand off trying to get out of the hole. Although the initial premise of playing in the sand and creating an imaginary playmate provide appeal, kids may feel pity for Sandbear and dislike for Hare rather than relating to either one. Painterly illustrations featuring beach colors of sandy yellow and the aqua of the sea and sky are appealing and evoke the feeling of the seashore, but don't quite make up for the strange, sad story. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
NOT NOW, MRS. WOLF! by Shen Roddie
Released: Aug. 1, 2000

A ravenous wolf and a duckling become an unlikely pair in this humorous tale about best-laid plans that have gone wildly awry. Mrs. Wolf is in the mood for a bite of duck when she discovers a duck's egg in the road. With eyes on a bigger meal, she discards the notion of scrambled eggs and decides to hatch the duckling instead; perching on the egg until the little guy emerges. Like all hatchlings, the first thing the duck sees becomes imprinted as its mother; in this case it's a very surprised Mrs. Wolf. The sly wolf concocts a dastardly plan to fatten up the fowl. The ever-building suspense reaches its peak when the now plump Funny Feet asks the fateful question, "What's for dinner?" " ‘Guess!' said Mrs. Wolf . . .‘A potato?' asked Funny Feet. ‘ No fatter and juicier,' said Mrs. Wolf, reaching for Funny Feet." However, the joke's on the readers as the clever duckling races out to retrieve a juicy watermelon from the garden for their evening meal. Older children will appreciate the wry humor of the food-oriented pet names Mrs. Wolf bestows on Funny Feet, such as "my little sugar puff" and "my little muffin." Young's cartoon-style illustrations are free from any menacing overtones. Mrs. Wolf, stylishly attired in a green cardigan and a homey, blue-checked apron, is as harmless-looking as an exuberant puppy. The sunlit watercolors depicting cozy pastoral scenes portray the ever-increasing size of Funny Feet and the growing affection between Mrs. Wolf and her protégé. Humorous touches in the illustrations, like the delectably devious thoughts of Mrs. Wolf, comically captured in thought-clouds suspended overhead, will keep readers howling. The book also includes suggestions for read-aloud sessions and extension activities for parents and caregivers to enrich the child's reading experience. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1998

Roddie addresses the need for sanctuary by deploying that not exactly original, but always trusty, garden hedge. Hippo and Pig are neighbors and pals. They visit each other on alternating days, sharing doughnuts and mud baths. Then one day Hippo trims the hedge between their homes. Pig witnesses Hippo chewing on his toenails and slobbering into his soup pot, Hippo spies Pig stuffing herself with pastries and then popping the buttons of her tutu. They are so disgusted by each other that they cut off all communication. When the hedge grows back, they can get on with their friendship—and their minor indiscretions—again. While the story is neither clever nor groundbreaking, it is both tender and true, and children will appreciate the finer points made about friends and privacy—good hedges make good neighbors. Handsome illustrations by Lambert add to the big-heartedness. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
Released: June 16, 1997

A takeoff of the Ruth Krauss and Maurice Sendak classic A Hole Is to Dig (1952) that revives the same snappy childlike style of defining words that so charmed generations of early listeners. From the first yawn of morning to the last kiss goodnight, Roddie goes through meals, playtime, a visit to the park, dressing up, and more with simple one-liners describing favorite behaviors and feelings. ``Morning is for waking up . . . milk is to give some to the cat . . . and a mirror is for making faces'' are just a few examples of the cuddly sentiments expressed with joy. Exuberant Helen Oxenburyish expressions enliven scenes of two siblings trying on oversized shoes, seesawing, building tents of blankets, emptying purses, and other typical discoveries. Chipper colors add to the free-spirited frolic found in the pages of this early concept book. (Picture book. 2-5) Read full book review >
ANIMAL STEW by Shen Roddie
Released: March 1, 1992

A deceptively simple cumulative tale about an enormous giant (Eva) who collects bigger and bigger animals and puts them into a sack, where a flap reveals them becoming increasingly crowded and scared. Then, it's into the pot; but while Eva is grinding the pepper, ``Frog ate the caterpillar, Fox ate the frog,'' and so on until everybody's inside Bear. The pepper makes Bear sneeze; ``out shot Crocodile,'' also sneezing, and soon all five animals are out the door, leaving hungry Eva to dine on pepper soup. Both the lighthearted text and the broadly comic cartoons are truly funny—this is a flap book that offers an appealing story and makes unusually creative use of its popular format. The bold, cartoon-style illustrations are perfect for group sharing. (Picture book. 2-6) Read full book review >