Steadfast and quietly amusing, Shaina is a girl to admire.

A HEN FOR IZZY PIPPIK

When Shaina discovers an unusual hen sporting “emerald green feathers with golden speckles,” she strives to find its rightful owner.

Although her hungry family wants to make chicken soup, Shaina insists they restore the newfound hen to Izzy Pippik, who has left town. By the time he returns, the hen has given birth to a multiplying flock of chickens. The chickens have overrun the town, and people are mad, but then the merchants realize that the freely ranging chickens have brought prosperity back because everyone wants to visit. Shaina is overjoyed when Pippik shows up. She tries to return Yevka, the original hen, and the whole flock, but Izzy matches her honesty with his generosity by allowing all to stay. Shocked, Shaina tells him he can’t. “If they’re mine to have,” he says, “they’re mine to give,” and the poverty-stricken townspeople have been saved by an upright girl and an altruistic gentleman. Retro, droll pencil illustrations colored in Photoshop show a European town in the 1930s. Shaina and Yevka echo each other as they walk along, with red bow and comb, black braid and tail feather bouncing in the breeze, green-and-white pinafore dress and feathers.  Although no specific sources are stated, the author/storyteller has drawn upon Talmudic and Islamic folklore.

Steadfast and quietly amusing, Shaina is a girl to admire. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-55453-243-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...

STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK

From the Stink series

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work.

SYLVIA'S SPINACH

A young spinach hater becomes a spinach lover after she has to grow her own in a class garden.

Unable to trade away the seed packet she gets from her teacher for tomatoes, cukes or anything else more palatable, Sylvia reluctantly plants and nurtures a pot of the despised veggie then transplants it outside in early spring. By the end of school, only the plot’s lettuce, radishes and spinach are actually ready to eat (talk about a badly designed class project!)—and Sylvia, once she nerves herself to take a nibble, discovers that the stuff is “not bad.” She brings home an armful and enjoys it from then on in every dish: “And that was the summer Sylvia Spivens said yes to spinach.” Raff uses unlined brushwork to give her simple cartoon illustrations a pleasantly freehand, airy look, and though Pryor skips over the (literally, for spinach) gritty details in both the story and an afterword, she does cover gardening basics in a simple and encouraging way.

Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-1-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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