It’s a tantalizing glimpse into a harsh climate and the culture it nurtures, one that will prompt discussion and may well...

THE BLIND BOY & THE LOON

Cels from an animated film illustrate this abbreviated retelling of an Inuit folk tale.

Aranaquq-Baril opens the book with an introduction to “Lumaajuuq,” a lengthy epic that is “one of the most ancient and commonly told in Inuit history.” From there, readers meet “a cruel mother” and her daughter and son, who is blind. The daughter she raises with love, warmth and bear meat; the son she forces to live outside and feeds only dog meat. In spring, when the ice is melted, he seeks out a loon—they are known for their keen eyesight. The loon tells the boy it was his own mother who blinded him and then restores his vision, diving with him into the depths of the lake three times until he “can see as well as a loon.” Now “blinded by revenge,” the young man tricks his mother into a whale hunt, allowing the beast to drag her into the sea—where she becomes a narwhal, forever “a reminder that every act of revenge is a link in a chain that can only be broken by forgiveness.” The moody illustrations employ a palette of grays and blues, the stark white faces of human characters and the loon’s red eyes startling in contrast.

It’s a tantalizing glimpse into a harsh climate and the culture it nurtures, one that will prompt discussion and may well send readers searching for the full story. (Picture book/folk tale. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-927095-57-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Inhabit Media

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...

STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK

From the Stink series

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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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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