THE WITCH’S CHILD

A bit of TLC accomplishes what a mighty witch’s powers cannot in this pointed melodrama. When malign Rosina fails to bring Rosalie, the manikin she constructs from leaves and hair, to life, she spitefully puts a spell on her fields that transforms all the local children who play in them into twisted brambles. That spell is only broken after young Lina finds the discarded Rosalie and lovingly repairs her; suddenly animate, Rosalie pulls Lina away from Rosina’s vicious attack, and the witch falls into a fire. Lina’s parents welcome Rosalie into the family, and all the brambles revert to children whose own parents “were thankful for them and properly cared for them, as,” Yorinks concludes, “they should.” In his realistic, sharply drawn illustrations, Smith sends a memorably scary-looking, black-clad witch drifting over desolate countryside to work mischief, but renders the children as a multicultural bunch in modern dress—a contrast that should give young readers an extra shiver or two. Pair this with Audrey Wood’s Heckedy Peg (1987), illustrated by Don Wood, for an effective fright-fest. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8109-9349-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2007

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT

A repressive teacher almost ruins second grade for a prodigy in this amusing, if overwritten, tale. Having shown a fascination with great buildings since constructing a model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa from used diapers at age two, Iggy sinks into boredom after Miss Greer announces, throwing an armload of histories and craft projects into the trash, that architecture will be a taboo subject in her class. Happily, she changes her views when the collapse of a footbridge leaves the picnicking class stranded on an island, whereupon Iggy enlists his mates to build a suspension bridge from string, rulers and fruit roll-ups. Familiar buildings and other structures, made with unusual materials or, on the closing pages, drawn on graph paper, decorate Roberts’s faintly retro cartoon illustrations. They add an audience-broadening element of sophistication—as would Beaty’s decision to cast the text into verse, if it did not result in such lines as “After twelve long days / that passed in a haze / of reading, writing and arithmetic, / Miss Greer took the class / to Blue River Pass / for a hike and an old-fashioned picnic.” Another John Lithgow she is not, nor is Iggy another Remarkable Farkle McBride (2000), but it’s always salutary to see young talent vindicated. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8109-1106-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more