ROOSTER'S REVENGE

Picking up where The Chicken Thief (2010) left off, this companion follows Hen’s erstwhile friends Rabbit, Bear and jilted Rooster as they make their way back home.

As the trio wordlessly traverses much the same scenery they traveled in the first book, only in reverse, readers will notice Rooster’s overweening disgruntlement. (Kids will need familiarity with the first book to understand his funk.) He brightens up only when he discovers a large egg next to very large skeleton in a cave where the friends take shelter. Through various surreal landscapes they pass, all spread out in the same super-wide format as The Chicken Thief and this book’s parallel story, Fox and Hen Together (2011). Rooster all the while cackles maniacally with pride in his egg even as he juggles it rather injudiciously (Bear adopts a glowing newt in a more understated expression of the parental urge). Readers will not be at all surprised by what hatches, and all (finally) live happily ever after. Taken all together, the three books give children a look at adult feelings and the emotional negotiation that goes with them. Will they understand everything? Probably not. But the snapshot, presented so very whimsically, may help give them some intuitive sense of the emotional currents that swirl around them. Plenty to look at and much to think about in this complex and funny trilogy conclusion. (Picture book. 5-8)

 

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58270-112-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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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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