Both balletomanes and seek-and-find lovers should enjoy this performing-arts variation on a popular picture-book game.

WHERE'S THE BALLERINA?

Waltz away, Waldo—it’s a ballerina we’re looking for.

Ten full-length classical and romantic ballets—all popular and all performed today (recordings are readily available if readers are motivated to seek them out)—are the settings for a game of spot-the-dancers. Starting with Swan Lake, Claybourne and Goh succinctly retell each ballet’s basic plot using sequential panels and medallion close-ups of the main characters. This is followed by a panoramic two-page vista from the ballet that is densely populated by dancers in costume and manages, in a very busy but entertaining fashion, to capture the setting and spirit of a performance. This is the time to search for those main characters. Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, The Nutcracker, La Bayadère, Coppélia, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, and Cinderella follow. The illustrations are colorful and detailed, capturing the general atmosphere of each ballet. Those who have attended a performance will enjoy the recap and may even experience an aha moment or two. Those new to the ballets will come away with a basic feeling for the tales. A key is provided in the back of the book. Unfortunately, there is no mention of the composers or the music, a significant omission given that ballet is not a silent art form.

Both balletomanes and seek-and-find lovers should enjoy this performing-arts variation on a popular picture-book game. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-61067-515-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent.

HORTON AND THE KWUGGERBUG AND MORE LOST STORIES

Published in magazines, never seen since / Now resurrected for pleasure intense / Versified episodes numbering four / Featuring Marco, and Horton and more!

All of the entries in this follow-up to The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories (2011) involve a certain amount of sharp dealing. Horton carries a Kwuggerbug through crocodile-infested waters and up a steep mountain because “a deal is a deal”—and then is cheated out of his promised share of delicious Beezlenuts. Officer Pat heads off escalating, imagined disasters on Mulberry Street by clubbing a pesky gnat. Marco (originally met on that same Mulberry Street) concocts a baroque excuse for being late to school. In the closer, a smooth-talking Grinch (not the green sort) sells a gullible Hoobub a piece of string. In a lively introduction, uber-fan Charles D. Cohen (The Seuss, The Whole Seuss, and Nothing but the Seuss, 2002) provides publishing histories, places characters and settings in Seussian context, and offers insights into, for instance, the origin of “Grinch.” Along with predictably engaging wordplay—“He climbed. He grew dizzy. His ankles grew numb. / But he climbed and he climbed and he clum and he clum”—each tale features bright, crisply reproduced renditions of its original illustrations. Except for “The Hoobub and the Grinch,” which has been jammed into a single spread, the verses and pictures are laid out in spacious, visually appealing ways.

Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-38298-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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