LIZARD MEETS IVANA THE TERRIBLE

This slice-of-life story concerns a timid girl who becomes friends with an outgoing classmate, a misunderstanding between them, and the lesson that “real friends find ways to make up.” Poor Lizzie Gardener—because her Coast Guard father is overseas, she has to move in with her grandmother and start a new school. Bashful and unassertive, this reticent third grader “was too shy to make a best friend” at the school she used to attend. Now seated between the beastly Brady Brootski who calls her Lizard, and a girl known as Ivana the Terrible, Lizzie knows how a mouse in a trap feels. Gossipy classmates Tiffy and Crystal befriend Lizzie and warn her to stay away from Ivana, rumored to be so tough that “she can turn you to stone with one stare.” Lizzie is happy to comply until her teacher makes Ivana her journal-writing buddy, and Lizzie discovers that she likes her unpopular classmate. The road to friendship, however, is fraught with potholes and Lizzie needs to find the courage to be a stalwart friend. Scott paints a true picture of the ups and downs of classroom life; her plot is slight and the outcome no surprise, but readers will be drawn to the jacket painting and the relaxed narrative style, peppered with humorous journal entries written from the two girls’ perspectives. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-6093-6

Page Count: 115

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1999

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ISAAC THE ICE CREAM TRUCK

Newcomer Santoro’s story of the ice cream truck that pined for a more important role in life suffers from a premise that’s well-worn and still fraying—the person or object that longs to be something “more” in life, only to find out that his or its lot in life is enough, after all. Isaac the ice cream truck envies all the bigger, larger, more important vehicles he encounters (the big wheels are depicted as a rude lot, sullen, surly, and snarling, hardly a group to excite much envy) in a day, most of all the fire trucks and their worthy occupants. When Isaac gets that predictable boost to his self-image—he serves up ice cream to over-heated firefighters after a big blaze—it comes as an unmistakable putdown to the picture-book audience: the children who cherished Isaac—“They would gather around him, laughing and happy”—weren’t reason enough for him to be contented. Santoro equips the tale with a tune of Isaac’s very own, and retro scenes in tropical-hued colored pencil that deftly convey the speed of the trucks with skating, skewed angles. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5296-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1999

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PAULINE

Pauline (32 pp.; $16.00; Oct. 5; 0-374-35758-7) The illustrator of Kate Banks’s many books (The Bird, the Monkey, and the Snake in the Jungle, p. 62, etc,) goes solo for a tale that proves children’s suspicion that bigger isn’t always better. Pauline, a fuzzy-eared weasel, is an unlikely heroine, but her courage and dramatic talents combine to save her best friend Rabusius the elephant, trapped by hunters. The thick bold lines and lush colors of the illustrations infuse the story with an excitement and immediacy that will appeal to preschoolers. The spreads are presented from a weasel’s-eye-view are particularly captivating and reinforce Pauline’s small stature and mighty impact. (Picture book. 3-6.)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 1999

ISBN: 0-374-35758-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1999

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