THE LOST TOOTH CLUB

A book with an expected ending—a tooth falls out—that unintentionally reaffirms the value of pure conformity. Olivia repeatedly claims to have lost a tooth to gain entrance to the exclusive Lost Tooth Club all her friends have been allowed to join. Efforts to dupe the members include blackening her loose tooth with a marker, covering it with black licorice and trying to pass off a white pebble as a missing tooth, all in the name of belonging. The insistent club members, bordering on mean-spirited, catch her; when Olivia stumbles over her tooth after declaring that she is going to start a “loose tooth” club, the tooth flies out and she is welcomed into the clubhouse. The first tooth incident is funny, but the humor wears thin. Still, Johnson excels at animal expressions, as in her boisterous dream sequence depicting a gap-toothed menagerie, presided over by a moon with a missing tooth; Olivia’s flyaway red hair forms a centerpiece to most of the soft-toned pastel compositions. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 24, 1998

ISBN: 1-883672-55-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1998

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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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NOT A BOX

Dedicated “to children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes,” this elemental debut depicts a bunny with big, looping ears demonstrating to a rather thick, unseen questioner (“Are you still standing around in that box?”) that what might look like an ordinary carton is actually a race car, a mountain, a burning building, a spaceship or anything else the imagination might dream up. Portis pairs each question and increasingly emphatic response with a playscape of Crockett Johnson–style simplicity, digitally drawn with single red and black lines against generally pale color fields. Appropriately bound in brown paper, this makes its profound point more directly than such like-themed tales as Marisabina Russo’s Big Brown Box (2000) or Dana Kessimakis Smith’s Brave Spaceboy (2005). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-112322-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2006

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