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Amid great pomp, Giuseppe Giaweeni left Italy to look for China." Instead, he discovered Miami, which is inhabited by "a lost tribe of dancing giants! The Mishbookers of Miami!" "Tutto Amazing!" says Giaweeni. Yorinks (Whitefish Will Rides Again!, 1994, etc.) and Sendak (We Are All In the Dumps With Jack and Guy, 1993, etc.) have thrown together Renaissance Italy, Jewish Miami Beach, and fin-de-siécle Paris (where Giaweeni—a Gulliver/Marco Polo type—takes one of the Mishbookers to show off as "the eighth wonder of the world), and peopled them with big and little characters with outrageous postures and facial expressions. The text, strewn with Italianisms and Yiddishisms, is distributed between the narrator (a sentence or two per page) and the characters (in speech-bubbles) in such a way that there is a constant back-and-forth between the two, each one using the other as a straight man. The result is a free-spirited burlesque. With its big text and big pictures, the book looks like an overstuffed suitcase, but it's obvious that nothing in it could have been left behind. It's a mish-mash to please both jolly giants and little people alike. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 1995

ISBN: 0-06-205068-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1995

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Trickling, bubbling, swirling, rushing, a river flows down from its mountain beginnings, past peaceful country and bustling city on its way to the sea. Hooper (The Drop in My Drink, 1998, etc.) artfully evokes the water’s changing character as it transforms from “milky-cold / rattling-bold” to a wide, slow “sliding past mudflats / looping through marshes” to the end of its journey. Willey, best known for illustrating Geraldine McCaughrean’s spectacular folk-tale collections, contributes finely detailed scenes crafted in shimmering, intricate blues and greens, capturing mountain’s chill, the bucolic serenity of passing pastures, and a sense of mystery in the water’s shadowy depths. Though Hooper refers to “the cans and cartons / and bits of old wood” being swept along, there’s no direct conservation agenda here (for that, see Debby Atwell’s River, 1999), just appreciation for the river’s beauty and being. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7636-0792-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

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From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

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

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. 10, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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