MY GOLDFISH

Forget about your brilliant pet cat or your amazing dog. Barroux has a goldfish that outshines them all. It’s strong, fearless, inventive, adventurous and talented. But it is also messy, it doesn’t always listen and sometimes it has nightmares. While the narrator loves it immensely, he understands that it cannot live forever and will one day be gone. Simple sentences describe these qualities, often with gentle humor, and are accompanied by strong, bright, deceptively basic illustrations. In each, heavy black outlines define the fish bowl, while the goldfish is drawn in a thin white outline within an orange paint smear laid over another smear of white, making the creature somewhat static. The very elements that make the work sophisticated and unique may be problematic for its intended audience of three- to seven-year-olds. The narration is random and an allusion to swimming “with the great white fish” as a metaphor for death is likely to be too abstract. Some of the illustrations might also be difficult for the youngest, literal-minded readers to decipher. Misses the mark. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5334-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2009

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MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS

This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure.

THE PIRATE PIG

It’s not truffles but doubloons that tickle this porcine wayfarer’s fancy.

Funke and Meyer make another foray into chapter-book fare after Emma and the Blue Genie (2014). Here, mariner Stout Sam and deckhand Pip eke out a comfortable existence on Butterfly Island ferrying cargo to and fro. Life is good, but it takes an unexpected turn when a barrel washes ashore containing a pig with a skull-and-crossbones pendant around her neck. It soon becomes clear that this little piggy, dubbed Julie, has the ability to sniff out treasure—lots of it—in the sea. The duo is pleased with her skills, but pride goeth before the hog. Stout Sam hands out some baubles to the local children, and his largess attracts the unwanted attention of Barracuda Bill and his nasty minions. Now they’ve pignapped Julie, and it’s up to the intrepid sailors to save the porker and their own bacon. The succinct word count meets the needs of kids looking for early adventure fare. The tale is slight, bouncy, and amusing, though Julie is never the piratical buccaneer the book’s cover seems to suggest. Meanwhile, Meyer’s cheery watercolors are as comfortable diagramming the different parts of a pirate vessel as they are rendering the dread pirate captain himself.

A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure. (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37544-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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