A MILLION DOTS

Here’s a picture book that challenges the ease with which so many of us invoke “millions,” as one million tiny dots range across some 19 successive double-page spreads. Fanciful illustrations superimposed over the arrays depict the various milestones along the count-up to a million. A cow in a space helmet jumps happily over the moon, while a tiny highlight indicates the 238,857th dot, representing the distance in miles from the Earth to the moon; a chubby tern appears next to his luggage, its tiny highlighted dot indicating that, “[a]n Arctic tern will fly more than 650,000 miles during its lifetime.” Clements has done an admirable job selecting kid-friendly facts to aid in the count-up, effectively mixing the serious and the goofy. The concept begs comparison to David M. Schwartz’s How Much Is a Million? (1985), and while this offering does its predecessor one better by delivering all one million goods, it lacks some of the earlier book’s sparkle. Its clarity of design and variety of facts presented, however, make it a solid browsing book and an entertaining alternative for fact- and number-obsessed kids. (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-12)

Pub Date: July 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-689-85824-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2006

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With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating...

FRINDLE

Nicholas is a bright boy who likes to make trouble at school, creatively. 

When he decides to torment his fifth-grade English teacher, Mrs. Granger (who is just as smart as he is), by getting everyone in the class to replace the word "pen'' with "frindle,'' he unleashes a series of events that rapidly spins out of control. If there's any justice in the world, Clements (Temple Cat, 1995, etc.) may have something of a classic on his hands. By turns amusing and adroit, this first novel is also utterly satisfying. The chess-like sparring between the gifted Nicholas and his crafty teacher is enthralling, while Mrs. Granger is that rarest of the breed: a teacher the children fear and complain about for the school year, and love and respect forever after. 

With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating tale—one to press upon children, and one they'll be passing among themselves. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-689-80669-8

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1996

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AMERICAN TALL TALES

For the 90's, a handsome, well-documented collection of stories about nine uniquely American characters. In her intelligent introduction, Osborne explains their genesis ``from various combinations of historical fact, the storytelling of ordinary people, and the imagination of professional writers'' and notes that changing times put a new light on stories deriding various groups (including women and even animals). Thus her intention is to emphasize ``gargantuan physical courage and absurd humor'' and to ``bring out the vulnerable and compassionate side'' despite the stories' ``ineradicable taint of violence.'' Osborne succeeds pretty well in her intention, piecing together stories that make fine introductions to characters like Mose and Stormalong. Her approach suits Johnny Appleseed and John Henry better than it does Davy Crockett battling a panther, but she does manage to put a new slant on Pecos Bill and his bouncing bride without undermining the story (there's no question of a wife's disobedience here; Sue wants to ride Bill's horse as a test of skill). The telling is more polished than lively—Glen Rounds's irrepressible wit (Ol' Paul, the Mighty Logger, 1949) is more fun, but these versions are perfectly acceptable. McCurdy's vigorous wood engravings, tinted with lucid color, contribute a rugged frontier flavor; lively, though a bit formal in style, they suit the text admirably. Each story is introduced by source notes; a story-by-story bibliography provides a good roundup of this popular genre. (Folklore. 6-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-679-80089-1

Page Count: 116

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1991

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