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SARAH'S SLEEPOVER

A nighttime blackout allows a gathering of cousins to share for a brief spell in the blindness of a young girl. Sarah looks forward to sleepover weekend when all her female relatives come for the night. On this particular occasion, after the parents have gone for a visit to a neighbor’s house, the lights go out. Sarah, who delivers a gentle reality check, noting that being in the dark is business as usual for her, quiets the shrieks and howls of the girls. She leads everyone downstairs to the telephone to call the neighbor (whose number she knows by heart), identifies various noises that go bump in the night—birders will be dismayed to see a great horned owl called a “barn owl”—and generally defuses all the terror. Indeed, when the parents return and change the blown fuse, the girls shout to turn off the lights; all that illumination is interfering with their fun. It is a provocative notion that Rodriguez tenders here: the qualitatively different emotional response one has to the dark if it is brought about by external forces or the closing of one’s eyes. Graham’s familiar lush artwork ably conveys the dark’s unctuous feel. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-670-87750-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

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LAST DAY BLUES

From the Jitters series

None

One more myth dispelled for all the students who believe that their teachers live in their classrooms. During the last week of school, Mrs. Hartwell and her students reflect on the things they will miss, while also looking forward to the fun that summer will bring. The kids want to cheer up their teacher, whom they imagine will be crying over lesson plans and missing them all summer long. But what gift will cheer her up? Numerous ideas are rejected, until Eddie comes up with the perfect plan. They all cooperate to create a rhyming ode to the school year and their teacher. Love’s renderings of the children are realistic, portraying the diversity of modern-day classrooms, from dress and expression to gender and skin color. She perfectly captures the emotional trauma the students imagine their teachers will go through as they leave for the summer. Her final illustration hysterically shatters that myth, and will have every teacher cheering aloud. What a perfect end to the school year. (Picture book. 5-8)

None None

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-58089-046-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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I WISH YOU MORE

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity.

A collection of parental wishes for a child.

It starts out simply enough: two children run pell-mell across an open field, one holding a high-flying kite with the line “I wish you more ups than downs.” But on subsequent pages, some of the analogous concepts are confusing or ambiguous. The line “I wish you more tippy-toes than deep” accompanies a picture of a boy happily swimming in a pool. His feet are visible, but it's not clear whether he's floating in the deep end or standing in the shallow. Then there's a picture of a boy on a beach, his pockets bulging with driftwood and colorful shells, looking frustrated that his pockets won't hold the rest of his beachcombing treasures, which lie tantalizingly before him on the sand. The line reads: “I wish you more treasures than pockets.” Most children will feel the better wish would be that he had just the right amount of pockets for his treasures. Some of the wordplay, such as “more can than knot” and “more pause than fast-forward,” will tickle older readers with their accompanying, comical illustrations. The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic.

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2699-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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