Next book

The Gnomes in the Trees

A JACKY FOSTER ADVENTURE

A clever, cheerful rhyming adventure that caregivers may want to combine with other, more diverse titles, such as Janay...

On his eighth birthday, a boy uses his math and writing skills to help a group of gnomes please their prince in Collyer’s debut children’s picture book.

Jacky Foster lives on a farm with his parents, sister, Josie, and dog, and they keep a garden-gnome statue on their porch. After Jacky’s birthday party, he’s relaxing when suddenly the gnome comes to life and asks him for help. Jacky doesn’t hesitate: he grabs his backpack and he and his dog, Sparky, head into the forest to assist the gnomes. The “younger” gnomes initially greet Jacky with distrust, but he soon learns their problem: the prince has commanded them to count and describe all the animals in the land of Gnomia, but none of the gnomes can write or count. Luckily, Jacky is up to the task (after the one female gnome makes a meal for all of them): he teaches the gnomes to use their fingers and toes to count. Once they’ve mastered that, they go to tally up the animals and Jacky records their descriptions. Not long afterward, Jacky suddenly appears back home, and although he vaguely wonders whether his adventure was all a dream, he finds a note by his porch chair thanking him for his help—and the garden-gnome statue disappears. Thankfully, Jacky points out the oddness of the note (after all, the gnomes can’t write), but he looks forward to further adventures. It’s nice that the boy’s skills at math, reading, writing, and teaching others save the day, and Collyer’s rhyming text scans beautifully (“My name’s Jacky Foster, I’m just a young lad. / I live on a farm with my mom and my dad”). Kinra’s mixed-media illustrations depict the little fellows very traditionally, closely sticking to the classic versions in Rien Poorvliet and Wil Huygen’s 1977 book Gnomes. The problem with this choice, though, is that it leaves little room for diversity; the gnomes here are all, save for one, white-skinned and white-bearded, and only one little-seen female gnome is included.

A clever, cheerful rhyming adventure that caregivers may want to combine with other, more diverse titles, such as Janay Brown-Wood’s Imani’s Moon (2014) or Ashley Bryan’s Can’t Scare Me (2013).

Pub Date: May 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9973303-0-4

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Inspirion2

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2016

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating

  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating

  • New York Times Bestseller

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

Next book

TALES FOR VERY PICKY EATERS

Broccoli: No way is James going to eat broccoli. “It’s disgusting,” says James. Well then, James, says his father, let’s consider the alternatives: some wormy dirt, perhaps, some stinky socks, some pre-chewed gum? James reconsiders the broccoli, but—milk? “Blech,” says James. Right, says his father, who needs strong bones? You’ll be great at hide-and-seek, though not so great at baseball and kickball and even tickling the dog’s belly. James takes a mouthful. So it goes through lumpy oatmeal, mushroom lasagna and slimy eggs, with James’ father parrying his son’s every picky thrust. And it is fun, because the father’s retorts are so outlandish: the lasagna-making troll in the basement who will be sent back to the rat circus, there to endure the rodent’s vicious bites; the uneaten oatmeal that will grow and grow and probably devour the dog that the boy won’t be able to tickle any longer since his bones are so rubbery. Schneider’s watercolors catch the mood of gentle ribbing, the looks of bewilderment and surrender and the deadpanned malarkey. It all makes James’ father’s last urging—“I was just going to say that you might like them if you tried them”—wholly fresh and unexpected advice. (Early reader. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-547-14956-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

Close Quickview