DON'T TOUCH THAT TOAD

& OTHER STRANGE THINGS ADULTS TELL YOU

Gleefully providing ammunition for snarky readers eager to second-guess misguided beliefs and commands of grown-ups, Rondina dishes up the straight poop on dozens of topics from the cleanliness of a dog’s mouth and the relationship (none) between French fries and acne to whether an earwig could really crawl into your ear and eat your brains. Since she cites no readily checkable sources—support for assertions comes in the form of quotations from experts in various fields, but there is no bibliography—it’s hard to tell how accurate some of her claims are—it would be nice to have a citation to the JAMA studies that debunk the sugar-hyperactivity connection, for instance—and too often she provides only an unsatisfying “You Decide” instead of a clear “True” or “False.” Still, it all makes painless reading equally suitable for casual dipping or reading straight through, and Sylvester’s pen-and-ink spot art adds further light notes to every page. An extensive closing catalog of familiar “Parentisms”—“I’m not running a taxi service,” “Because I said so, that’s why,” etc.—adds a chuckle-inducing lagniappe. (Informational ephemera. 9-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-55453-454-8

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2010

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WHEN APPLES GREW NOSES AND WHITE HORSES FLEW

TALES OF TI-JEAN

Il était une fois…” French Canada’s version of beanstalk-climbing Jack gets a rare outing in three tales refashioned from old sources by a veteran storyteller. Preserving the lightest touch of a French inflection—“Cric, crac, / Parli, parlons, parlo. / If you won’t listen, / Out you go”—Andrews sets her naïve but teachable everylad up against a trio of opponents. There is a grasping princess who tricks him out of a magic belt, moneybag and trumpet; a murderous little man who sets him on numerous impossible tasks after beating him at marbles; and a harsh seigneur who insists on chucking his intellectual daughter’s suitors into the dungeon when they prove to be less clever than she. Thanks to hard work, a little magic and a winning way with the ladies, Ti-Jean ultimately comes out on top in each episode while never allowing lasting harm to come to anyone and is ever magnanimous in victory. Illustrated with frequent scribbly, lighthearted ink-and-wash scenes and vignettes, these stories read with equal ease silently or aloud and offer a winning introduction to a universal folk character. Equally charming is the source note, in which Andrews describes the origins of the tales and how she worked with them. “Sac-à-tabac, / Sac-à-tabi. / The story’s ended, / C’est fini.(Folktales. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-88899-952-8

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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Though usually cast as the trickster, Coyote is more victim than victimizer, making this a nice complement to other Coyote...

COYOTE TALES

Two republished tales by a Greco-Cherokee author feature both folkloric and modern elements as well as new illustrations.

One of the two has never been offered south of the (Canadian) border. In “Coyote Sings to the Moon,” the doo-wop hymn sung nightly by Old Woman and all the animals except tone-deaf Coyote isn’t enough to keep Moon from hiding out at the bottom of the lake—until she is finally driven forth by Coyote’s awful wailing. She has been trying to return to the lake ever since, but that piercing howl keeps her in the sky. In “Coyote’s New Suit” he is schooled in trickery by Raven, who convinces him to steal the pelts of all the other animals while they’re bathing, sends the bare animals to take clothes from the humans’ clothesline, and then sets the stage for a ruckus by suggesting that Coyote could make space in his overcrowded closet by having a yard sale. No violence ensues, but from then to now humans and animals have not spoken to one another. In Eggenschwiler’s monochrome scenes Coyote and the rest stand on hind legs and (when stripped bare) sport human limbs. Old Woman might be Native American; the only other completely human figure is a pale-skinned girl.

Though usually cast as the trickster, Coyote is more victim than victimizer, making this a nice complement to other Coyote tales. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55498-833-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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