SUNDAY LOVE

Tipping her hat to the old riddle theme “black and white and red all over,” Paul supplies an action-packed story that founders in visual chaos. The simple, exciting plot has a black-and-white–clad robber busting out of jail and causing merry bedlam. Desolate about his prison food and mooning over a snapshot that readers can’t see, he tunnels out of the big house and races—ball and chain no hindrance, apparently—through a soccer field, village and bullfighting arena, pursued by old-fashioned constables, nuns and a cupid. The action’s a free-for-all, turning everything topsy-turvy, though the convict eventually lands back in jail (with a surprise perk). The pen-and-ink–and-watercolor illustrations use a comic-book structure but suffer from mediocre representation and a lack of visual gesture, rendering plot details oddly difficult to follow, especially without textual narration (words are limited, comic-style: Thwack! Crash! Halt!). This is a forgettable young cousin of David Macaulay’s brilliant postmodern Black and White, without that classic’s depth and artistry. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-618-99184-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2009

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Take strength from the dreamers before you and follow your dreams. Or maybe just roll the dice.

LITTLE JOE CHICKAPIG

Is it a book about aspirations or the backstory for the board game?

Chickapig is defined as “an animal hybrid that is half-chicken and half-pig” and is depicted in yellow, two-legged chick shape with pink pig snout and ears. Young Joe Chickapig lives on a farm that was his grandfather’s dream, but it’s getting Joe down. He dreams of adventure but needs the “courage to follow his heart. / But how could he do it? How could he start?” In a bedtime story, Joe’s mother shares the influential characters that helped Joe’s sailor grandfather “follow his heart against the tide.” It seems that “Grandpa had heard a story told / Of a great big bear who broke the mold. / The bear was tired of striking fear”—so he became a forest doctor and a friend to all. And the bear’s inspiration? “A mouse who went to space.” The mouse, in turn, found hope in a “fierce young dragon” who joined a rock band. And coming full circle, the dragon found courage from a Chickapig warrior who “tired of shields and swords to wield” and established a farm. Chickapig game fans will appreciate this fanciful rhyming tale illustrated in attention-grabbing colors, but readers coming to it cold will note a distinct absence of plot. Mouse and dragon present female; all others are male.

Take strength from the dreamers before you and follow your dreams. Or maybe just roll the dice. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7944-4452-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Printers Row

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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PEANUT AND PEARL’S PICNIC ADVENTURE

Peanut and Pearl, next-door neighbors and best friends, decide to go on a picnic together. Peanut packs a passel of corn cakes, and Pearl brings a plum pie. When both critters—and, since these are mammals of unreported species, we can only call them that—lead the way in opposite directions, both end up lost. While easygoing Peanut relaxes with his picnic fare, vigilant Pearl looks for her lost buddy, behind the smallest tree, behind the biggest tree and finally by the lake, where she finds Peanut wiping sleep out of his eyes. With very predictable plot and vocabulary, readable font and a humorous situation, Dotlich’s latest is just what new readers need to build their confidence. Alley’s comical illustrations add to the text, helping the new reader figure out any challenging words. An excellent addition to the classic I Can Read series, this is one that will be read over and over. (Easy reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-054920-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2007

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