THE LITTLEST GRAPE STOMPER

A fey piece of whimsy takes a lighthearted look at child labor. The village of Ear, nestled in the Your Valley, is famed for the excellence of its hand—er, foot—stomped grape juice. Into Ear is born Sixto, named because he has six toes on each foot. When Boss Nova Boombatz spies those extra toes, he quickly sees their possibilities and puts polite little Sixto (who would really rather play) to work as a grape stomper, building ever-bigger vats to nudge Sixto’s efforts into the record books. Potter has fun with the text, giving Boombatz a distinctly Mafioso air and dyeing Sixto and the other grape stompers a delicate shade of purple. All the characters wear her trademark old-people faces, giving all the Earians an appealingly ageless appearance. Madison’s resolution is as silly as the premise itself: A deluge of juice, stomped by Sixto in an enormous cistern, floods the Your Valley, creating the Grape Lakes and sweeping Boombatz away. Kids will enjoy both Sixto’s triumph and the overall goofiness of this small tall tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2007

ISBN: 0-375-83675-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2007

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ROOM ON THE BROOM

Each time the witch loses something in the windy weather, she and her cat are introduced to a new friend who loves flying on her broom. The fluid rhyming and smooth rhythm work together with one repetitive plot element focusing young attention spans until the plot quickens. (“Is there room on the broom for a blank such as me?”) When the witch’s broom breaks, she is thrown in to danger and the plot flies to the finish. Her friends—cat, dog, frog, and bird—are not likely to scare the dragon who plans on eating the witch, but together they form a formidable, gooey, scary-sounding monster. The use of full-page or even page-and-a-half spreads for many of the illustrations will ensure its successful use in story times as well as individual readings. The wart-nosed witch and her passengers make magic that is sure to please. Effective use of brilliant colors set against well-conceived backgrounds detail the story without need for text—but with it, the story—and the broom—take off. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8037-2557-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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