THE ENCHANATED STORKS

The tales of Wilhelm Hauff (18021827)—almost unknown in the U.S.—belong on every child's shelf. Shepard retells ``The Caliph Stork,'' a stylized imitation of the Arabian Nights that has become a part of Middle Eastern folklore. A merchant sells the Calif[sic] of Baghdad a magic snuffbox, which contains a powder that transforms him and his vizier into storks. But the magic word that is to turn them back into humans has no effect, and they find themselves trapped in their new forms. Wandering through the woods, the two storks meet a woodpecker who tells them that she is a princess put under the spell by a sorcerer. When they follow her to the sorcerer's hide-out, they discover that he is none other than the merchant who sold them the snuffbox. They overhear him bragging about his trick, whereupon he reveals the real magic word that will transform them. The Gothic overtones of Hauff's KunstmÑrchen have been removed in Shepard's simplified version (for example, in the original, the storks more tragically forget the magic word), but the story still works. In his first work, Dianov, with rich, ornately three- dimensional watercolors, displays his sensitivity to the oriental charms of the tale, paying as much attention to the details of costume and architecture as to the characters themselves. Everything has a cartoon-like plasticity, or unrealness; his colorful pictures, full of beards, turbans, and minarets, look as if they were made out of candy. (Picture book/folklore. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 24, 1995

ISBN: 0-395-65377-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1995

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Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work.

SYLVIA'S SPINACH

A young spinach hater becomes a spinach lover after she has to grow her own in a class garden.

Unable to trade away the seed packet she gets from her teacher for tomatoes, cukes or anything else more palatable, Sylvia reluctantly plants and nurtures a pot of the despised veggie then transplants it outside in early spring. By the end of school, only the plot’s lettuce, radishes and spinach are actually ready to eat (talk about a badly designed class project!)—and Sylvia, once she nerves herself to take a nibble, discovers that the stuff is “not bad.” She brings home an armful and enjoys it from then on in every dish: “And that was the summer Sylvia Spivens said yes to spinach.” Raff uses unlined brushwork to give her simple cartoon illustrations a pleasantly freehand, airy look, and though Pryor skips over the (literally, for spinach) gritty details in both the story and an afterword, she does cover gardening basics in a simple and encouraging way.

Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-1-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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THE BEST CHEF IN SECOND GRADE

An impending school visit by a celebrity chef sends budding cook Ollie into a tailspin. He and his classmates are supposed to bring a favorite family food for show and tell, but his family doesn’t have a clear choice—besides, his little sister Rosy doesn’t like much of anything. What to do? As in their previous two visits to Room 75, Kenah builds suspense while keeping the tone light, and Carter adds both bright notes of color and familiar home and school settings in her cartoon illustrations. Eventually, Ollie winkles favorite ingredients out of his clan, which he combines into a mac-and-cheese casserole with a face on top that draws delighted praise from the class’s renowned guest. As Ollie seems to do his kitchen work without parental assistance, a cautionary tip or two (and maybe a recipe) might not have gone amiss here, but the episode’s mouthwatering climax and resolution will guarantee smiles of contentment all around. (Easy reader. 6-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-053561-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2007

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