This fresh new version will soon have young listeners and readers telling the story themselves.

GRANDMA AND THE GREAT GOURD

Retelling a story from her childhood, well-known Bengali-American writer Divakaruni uses lively language, nonsense syllables and traditional rhythms.

When Grandma sets out to visit her daughter and grandchildren, she must cross the jungle in between their villages. She leaves her faithful dogs home to tend her garden. Along the way, she meets a fox, a bear and a tiger that all want to eat her, but she persuades the predators that she will be fatter, plumper and juicier on her way back. She approaches her return journey with trepidation, but the inventive mother and daughter create a plan for a safe trip. The old woman is soon ensconced inside a giant, hollowed-out gourd. When the daughter has sealed her in with stitches and rice glue, she starts the gourd rolling toward her mother’s village. First the tiger and then the bear approach the gourd in hopes of finding something to eat. They are each fooled by the grandma singing out and asking for a push. At last, the crafty fox realizes the trick, but by then, Grandma is so close to home the dogs are able to rescue her. The storyteller’s voice is augmented by frequent repetition and onomatopoeia, making this story a pleasure to read aloud. Intensely colored and patterned collages on glossy paper boldly advance the plot.

This fresh new version will soon have young listeners and readers telling the story themselves. (Picture book/folktale. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 5, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59643-378-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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