LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD

This favorite fairytale has enticed many an illustrator. From Paul Galdone’s standard-setter to Trina Schart Hyman’s Caldecott winner to James Marshall’s comical depiction to Beni Montressor’s sensual version, the little girl in the red hood who escapes the wolf has had an array of faces. These handsome stylized illustrations look like woodcuts but are black-and-white prints made from intricate papercut designs and hand colored with watercolors. Wisnewski sets her retelling in 19th-century New England and used the costumes and interiors at Sturbridge Village (a living-history museum in Massachusetts) as models. Strong, carved-like lines imbue the flora, fauna, fur and fabrics with texture, and the framed text is incorporated into the scenes. This story has two variations: Little Red rides on the wolf’s back to the path to Grandmother’s house, and her father, not the woodsman stranger, comes to her rescue. One puzzling detail is a black shape on the people’s cheeks, almost like an earmuff with fringe but only on one side; it’s clearly not hair, so what exactly is it? Children will ask. Overall, however, an elegant addition to the cache of existing editions. (Picture book/fairy tale. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2007

ISBN: 1-56792-303-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Godine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2006

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THE BEST CHEF IN SECOND GRADE

An impending school visit by a celebrity chef sends budding cook Ollie into a tailspin. He and his classmates are supposed to bring a favorite family food for show and tell, but his family doesn’t have a clear choice—besides, his little sister Rosy doesn’t like much of anything. What to do? As in their previous two visits to Room 75, Kenah builds suspense while keeping the tone light, and Carter adds both bright notes of color and familiar home and school settings in her cartoon illustrations. Eventually, Ollie winkles favorite ingredients out of his clan, which he combines into a mac-and-cheese casserole with a face on top that draws delighted praise from the class’s renowned guest. As Ollie seems to do his kitchen work without parental assistance, a cautionary tip or two (and maybe a recipe) might not have gone amiss here, but the episode’s mouthwatering climax and resolution will guarantee smiles of contentment all around. (Easy reader. 6-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-053561-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2007

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THIS SCHOOL YEAR WILL BE THE BEST!

On the first day of school, this primary-grade teacher encourages her students to share their hopes for the coming year. In one- or two-page spreads, the wishes unfold: for the best seat on the bus, a chocolate fountain at lunch, to kick the ball into the right goal, not to be a vegetable in the school play. The quotidian-but-nevertheless-marvelous (“at least one snow day”) mixes with the slightly ridiculous (“We’ll have Skateboard Day”) to provide a kid-level survey of anticipated fun. Andriani’s line-and-watercolor cartoons likewise mix the fanciful (one little boy brings his giant purple boa constrictor for show-and-tell) and the realistic (two girls jump double Dutch as one of them imagines making friends in her new school). A catalog more than a story, this agreeable book could act as a fruitful springboard for class brainstorming. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-525-42275-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2010

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