A fun, well-illustrated book for newly independent readers to enjoy on their own or for lap readers to enjoy with a grown-up.


Who's New

A return to the wild, Seussian world of Helms (Outside, Inside, 2015) with a silhouette-guessing game featuring a refrain that will have youngsters chiming in.

Someone new has arrived in Ponderville (population 19). Two of the town’s tiny, winged residents find a gift from the newcomer, AlphaBetty, to their friend Birdie (who appeared in Helms’ last book). It’s a silhouette portrait, and the pair decide to see if they can find out who it is—“who’s new.” They compare the picture to the silhouette of a real-life creature, asking readers the refrain, “Is this Who’s New?” That first character is quickly revealed to be Mumu, one of Ponderville’s residents. Mumu joins the two small creatures as they repeat the game, and they soon add wobbly-looking creature Orand to the quest. Readers of Outside, Inside will recognize the next character: it’s Birdie, the recipient of the gift, who joins the search. The team approaches a wall where the rest of Ponderville’s residents sit, and they’re all shown in silhouette to give readers a chance to compare them to the gift. Although younger readers may struggle to sound out all the strange names (such as “Verdge,” “Mariochi,” and “Poxi”), they’re fun enough to say that they’re likely to giggle. The characters despair of ever finding the new resident until Hap points out a new house and a matching silhouette appears in the door under the repeated refrain. Young readers can then sort through the strange characters’ celebratory phrases, including a grouchy “HUMPH.” Overall, the text in this book is a little denser than in Helms’ previous offering, but the large-sized words, set aside in boxes, and the repeating vocabulary will be encouraging to newly independent readers. The illustrations, though, are the true draw here, and the fun black silhouettes are marvelously offset by their colorful matches. The friendly looking characters are all wonderfully weird, and Helms’ imaginative landscape will be appealing enough for youngsters that they’ll want to visit it over and over again.

A fun, well-illustrated book for newly independent readers to enjoy on their own or for lap readers to enjoy with a grown-up.

Pub Date: April 14, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9963397-2-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Set Free Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

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The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and...


Inspired by Colombian librarian Luis Soriano Bohórquez, Brown’s latest tells of a little girl whose wish comes true when a librarian and two book-laden burros visit her remote village.

Ana loves to read and spends all of her free time either reading alone or to her younger brother. She knows every word of the one book she owns. Although she uses her imagination to create fantastical bedtime tales for her brother, she really wants new books to read. Everything changes when a traveling librarian and his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, arrive in the village. Besides loaning books to the children until his next visit, the unnamed man also reads them stories and teaches the younger children the alphabet. When Ana suggests that someone write a book about the traveling library, he encourages her to complete this task herself. After she reads her library books, Ana writes her own story for the librarian and gives it to him upon his reappearance—and he makes it part of his biblioburro collection. Parra’s colorful folk-style illustrations of acrylics on board bring Ana’s real and imaginary worlds to life. This is a child-centered complement to Jeanette Winter’s Biblioburro (2010), which focuses on Soriano.

The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and “iii-aah” adding to the fun.   (author’s note, glossary of Spanish terms) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-353-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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