PIGS ON THE BALL

FUN WITH MATH AND SPORTS

In another entry in Axelrod’s math-concepts series (Pigs in the Pantry, 1997, etc.) Mr. and Mrs. Pig and their piglets visit a miniature golf course for Mr. Pig’s birthday, and get a crash course in simple geometry. The pigs, as always, are a jolly bunch, ever-ready to exploit the comic possibilities. In this story, Mr. Pig plays the fall guy: Even his new lucky shirt can’t save him from putting his ball out of bounds, into the water, or beneath the bushes. Of course, the other three pigs work the greens like Sam Snead, all the while offering Mr. Pig advice, much of it laced with geometry. Some of the dialogue becomes stilted (“Dad, this one is so easy. Just gently putt to the center of any of the equal sides, and the ball will land in the cup”), but the story still prattles along in a merry vein, with its subtext of lines and curves, parallels and semi- circles. (There is a quiz at the end.) McGinley-Nally shows pigs running happily amok, flashing wit, knowledge, and the electric palette of a single-minded crusade against math anxiety. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-689-81565-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1998

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

A BIKE LIKE SERGIO'S

Embedded in this heartwarming story of doing the right thing is a deft examination of the pressures of income inequality on...

Continuing from their acclaimed Those Shoes (2007), Boelts and Jones entwine conversations on money, motives, and morality.

This second collaboration between author and illustrator is set within an urban multicultural streetscape, where brown-skinned protagonist Ruben wishes for a bike like his friend Sergio’s. He wishes, but Ruben knows too well the pressure his family feels to prioritize the essentials. While Sergio buys a pack of football cards from Sonny’s Grocery, Ruben must buy the bread his mom wants. A familiar lady drops what Ruben believes to be a $1 bill, but picking it up, to his shock, he discovers $100! Is this Ruben’s chance to get himself the bike of his dreams? In a fateful twist, Ruben loses track of the C-note and is sent into a panic. After finally finding it nestled deep in a backpack pocket, he comes to a sense of moral clarity: “I remember how it was for me when that money that was hers—then mine—was gone.” When he returns the bill to her, the lady offers Ruben her blessing, leaving him with double-dipped emotions, “happy and mixed up, full and empty.” Readers will be pleased that there’s no reward for Ruben’s choice of integrity beyond the priceless love and warmth of a family’s care and pride.

Embedded in this heartwarming story of doing the right thing is a deft examination of the pressures of income inequality on children. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6649-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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