ALPHABET MYSTERY

Twenty-five lowercase letters go in search of the runaway Little x in the sequel to Alphabet Adventure (2001) by this mother-and-son team. They find him in a castle inhabited by the menacing Master M. “A little x is just a worthless letter back home,” Little x explains to his pals while dancing on a xylophone for the Master’s amusement. “At least here I have a job.” Readers will notice that the other letters employ words that begin with their names all the time (“ ‘This is terrible,’ Little T said”). All ends happily, but the story is nothing more than a feeble excuse for the art. The younger Wood’s digital illustrations are deliciously crisp and bright. The 3-D–style images pop with detail, giving young readers plenty of opportunity to match letters and objects. Still, it may be a stretch to call this a concept book. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-439-44337-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2003

TRASHY TOWN

Part of a spate of books intent on bringing the garbage collectors in children’s lives a little closer, this almost matches...

Listeners will quickly take up the percussive chorus—“Dump it in, smash it down, drive around the Trashy town! Is the trash truck full yet? NO”—as they follow burly Mr. Gilly, the garbage collector, on his rounds from park to pizza parlor and beyond.

Flinging cans and baskets around with ease, Mr. Gilly dances happily through streetscapes depicted with loud colors and large, blocky shapes; after a climactic visit to the dump, he roars home for a sudsy bath.

Part of a spate of books intent on bringing the garbage collectors in children’s lives a little closer, this almost matches Eve Merriam’s Bam Bam Bam (1995), also illustrated by Yaccarino, for sheer verbal and visual volume. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 30, 1999

ISBN: 0-06-027139-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

ALL BY MYSELF!

Essentially a follow-up to Robert Kraus’s Leo the Late Bloomer (1971) and like tales of developing competency, this follows an exuberant child from morning wash-up to lights out at night, cataloguing the tasks and skills he has mastered. Activities include dressing himself and joining in school activities, choosing his own books, helping with dinner and other household responsibilities, and taking a bath alone before bedtime. In Aliki’s sunny, simplified pictures, it’s a child’s world, seen from low angles and with adults putting in only occasional appearances. Like the lad, the fitfully rhymed text gallops along, sometimes a little too quickly—many illustrations are matched to just a word or two, so viewers aren’t always given much time to absorb one image before being urged on to the next—but underscoring the story’s bustling energy. Young readers and pre-readers will respond enthusiastically to this child’s proud self-assurance, and be prompted to take stock of their own abilities too. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2000

ISBN: 0-06-028929-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

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