THE FRIGHTFUL STORY OF HARRY WALFISH

For his first solo outing, Floca (illustrator of Avi's Poppy, 1995) has created a whopper that operates on a number of levels: as a zoological exploration, as a wry cautionary tale, and as a story of just deserts. Rambunctious young Harry Walfish, whose legend lives on in the tale delivered by Ms. Leonard-Brakthurst to her rowdy charges at the Natural History Museum, made an extraordinary pest of himself when his class visited that very same institution. Harry, following a day of havoc, is inadvertently locked in the museum when it closes for the night; the exhibits come to life and scare the willies out of him. When he is finally rescued, he is a new Harry—a quiet Harry, permanently humbled. Ms. Leonard- Brakthurst's class, not surprisingly, shifts into a quiet mode, too. Floca drolly insinuates a wonderful bestiary into the story—from the rufous-rumped woodhewer (``Xiphorhynchus erythropygius, I believe,'' notes Ms. Leonard-Brakthurst) to a pygmy marmoset (Callithrix pygmaea), while his crisp, animated watercolors add to the fun. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-531-30008-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1997

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LAST DAY BLUES

From the Mrs. Hartwell's Classroom Adventures series

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)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-58089-046-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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THE BEST CHEF IN SECOND GRADE

An impending school visit by a celebrity chef sends budding cook Ollie into a tailspin. He and his classmates are supposed to bring a favorite family food for show and tell, but his family doesn’t have a clear choice—besides, his little sister Rosy doesn’t like much of anything. What to do? As in their previous two visits to Room 75, Kenah builds suspense while keeping the tone light, and Carter adds both bright notes of color and familiar home and school settings in her cartoon illustrations. Eventually, Ollie winkles favorite ingredients out of his clan, which he combines into a mac-and-cheese casserole with a face on top that draws delighted praise from the class’s renowned guest. As Ollie seems to do his kitchen work without parental assistance, a cautionary tip or two (and maybe a recipe) might not have gone amiss here, but the episode’s mouthwatering climax and resolution will guarantee smiles of contentment all around. (Easy reader. 6-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-053561-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2007

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