An old English folktale gets a Texas makeover. Desert Rose is one plucky Texan pig farmer. When she finds a gold nugget, she uses it to procure a pig. She picks a pig sure to win first prize at the state fair. The problem is that she picks a picky pig, a highfalutin’ hog that will not drink up the water in the creek so they can make their way to the fair. She pleads for help from many desert animals, but none will help her until she strikes a bargain with an ambitious armadillo with attitude. Hooooooeeeeeey! This partic’lar offering combines regional dialogue and a sophisticated vocabulary in the name of tongue-twisting, folksy fun. Graves’s rich and vibrant acrylic illustrations add to the charm by giving all the characters, human and animal alike, plenty of personality. The plot, lifted nearly lock, stock and barrel from Joseph Jacobs’s “The Old Woman and the Pig,” is pretty bare bones, but readers will be so focused on the prose and on plucky Desert Rose, they probably won’t notice. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-8027-9883-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2009


A charming, true story about the encounter between the boy who would become chancellor at the University of California at Riverside and a librarian in Iowa. Tom†s Rivera, child of migrant laborers, picks crops in Iowa in the summer and Texas in the winter, traveling from place to place in a worn old car. When he is not helping in the fields, Tom†s likes to hear Papa Grande's stories, which he knows by heart. Papa Grande sends him to the library downtown for new stories, but Tom†s finds the building intimidating. The librarian welcomes him, inviting him in for a cool drink of water and a book. Tom†s reads until the library closes, and leaves with books checked out on the librarian's own card. For the rest of the summer, he shares books and stories with his family, and teaches the librarian some Spanish. At the end of the season, there are big hugs and a gift exchange: sweet bread from Tom†s's mother and a shiny new book from the librarianto keep. Col¢n's dreamy illustrations capture the brief friendship and its life-altering effects in soft earth tones, using round sculptured shapes that often depict the boy right in the middle of whatever story realm he's entered. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-679-80401-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1997


At ``Step 2'' in the useful ``Step into Reading'' series: an admirably clear, well-balanced presentation that centers on wolves' habits and pack structure. Milton also addresses their endangered status, as well as their place in fantasy, folklore, and the popular imagination. Attractive realistic watercolors on almost every page. Top-notch: concise, but remarkably extensive in its coverage. A real bargain. (Nonfiction/Easy reader. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-679-91052-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1992

Close Quickview