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DORA'S BOX

paper 0-679-97642-6 A lyrical recasting of the Pandora myth with multiple pathways into the heart of the story. A man and woman free a witch trapped in the forest; she promises them three wishes in gratitude, but cautions them that they cannot have all three at once. Soon they have their first wish, a child, and they name her Pandora—Dora for short. Into a box the witch gives them they place all troublesome things in the world and prevent them from hurting their daughter, fulfilling their second wish. Bee stings, berry brambles, and hot coals are among those items tucked away. When a strange lost boy visits the family, Dora’s mother steals his tears, so that Dora will not know sadness. Dora is confused by the boy’s sorrow, and at his request opens the box where the tears are kept to release them. The witch appears in the boy’s place, the parents are horrified, but Dora herself will fulfill their third wish, that she be loved by all, because knowing sorrow will bring her compassion. The solid, geometric shapes of Negrin’s figures and objects are very beautiful in their composition on the page; color and pattern are used to great effect. The magical box lets loose feathery tendrils of light when opened; hair and clothing become abstract, elemental designs. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-679-87642-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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DIARY OF A SPIDER

The wriggly narrator of Diary of a Worm (2003) puts in occasional appearances, but it’s his arachnid buddy who takes center stage here, with terse, tongue-in-cheek comments on his likes (his close friend Fly, Charlotte’s Web), his dislikes (vacuums, people with big feet), nervous encounters with a huge Daddy Longlegs, his extended family—which includes a Grandpa more than willing to share hard-won wisdom (The secret to a long, happy life: “Never fall asleep in a shoe.”)—and mishaps both at spider school and on the human playground. Bliss endows his garden-dwellers with faces and the odd hat or other accessory, and creates cozy webs or burrows colorfully decorated with corks, scraps, plastic toys and other human detritus. Spider closes with the notion that we could all get along, “just like me and Fly,” if we but got to know one another. Once again, brilliantly hilarious. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-000153-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2005

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WHERE DO FROGS COME FROM?

The lifecycle of the frog is succinctly summarized in this easy reader for children reading at the late first-grade level. In just one or two sentences per page, Vern details the amazing metamorphosis of the frog from egg to tadpole to adult, even injecting a little humor despite the tight word count. (“Watch out fly! Mmmm!) Large, full-color photographs on white backgrounds clearly illustrate each phase of development. Without any mention of laying eggs or fertilization, the title might be a bit misleading, but the development from black dot egg to full-grown frog is fascinating. A simple chart of the three main lifecycle steps is also included. Lifecycles are part of the standard curriculum in the early elementary grades, and this will be a welcome addition to school and public libraries, both for its informational value and as an easy reader. (Nonfiction/easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-15-216304-2

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Green Light/Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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