GOLDI ROCKS & THE THREE BEARS

The classic tale of a blonde house invader is given a new rock-’n’-roll spin.

Schwartz and Coulton use light verse to trace the beginnings of a hot new band. Papa Bear can play the drums, Mama Bear is great on guitar, and Baby Bear tickles the ivories, but none of them can hit the high notes they need to attract an audience. While they are out auditioning singers, Goldi stumbles upon their cottage-turned–recording studio. “ ‘A studio! Great balls of fire!’ / Amazed, Goldi raced through the door. / She forgot about food / and was now in the mood / to hurry on in and explore.” After trying out the various instruments, mics and headphones, she eventually falls asleep at the keyboard, where the bear family finds her drooling on the keys. Her startled scream is the perfect high C the band has been looking for. “Their albums now top all the rock charts. / A countrywide tour has been planned. / The fans scream and shout. / They’re crazy about… // Goldi Rocks and the Great Three Bear Band.” Wragg’s pencil-and–digital cartoon illustrations match the text but add little that’s new, and the limericklike verse doesn’t always scan well. Cute but not much more. (Fractured fairy tale. 5-8)

 

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25685-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Dec. 1, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2013

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Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization.

A PLACE FOR PLUTO

If Pluto can’t be a planet—then what is he?

Having been a regular planet for “the better part of forever,” Pluto is understandably knocked out of orbit by his sudden exclusion. With Charon and his four other moons in tow he sets off in search of a new identity. Unfortunately, that only spins him into further gloom, as he doesn’t have a tail like his friend Halley’s comet, is too big to join Ida and the other asteroids, and feels disinclined to try to crash into Earth like meteoroids Gem and Persi. Then, just as he’s about to plunge into a black hole of despair, an encounter with a whole quartet of kindred spheroids led by Eris rocks his world…and a follow-up surprise party thrown by an apologetic Saturn (“Dwarf planet has a nice RING to it”) and the other seven former colleagues literally puts him “over the moon.” Demmer gives all the heavenly bodies big eyes (some, including the feminine Saturn, with long lashes) and, on occasion, short arms along with distinctive identifying colors or markings. Dressing the troublemaking meteoroids in do-rags and sunglasses sounds an off note. Without mentioning that the reclassification is still controversial, Wade closes with a (somewhat) straighter account of Pluto’s current official status and the reasons for it.

Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68446-004-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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Zip to get this Zapped Jack book.

JACK GETS ZAPPED!

From the Jack Book series , Vol. 8

A rad addition to Barnett and Pizzoli’s early readers about Jack the rabbit, the Lady, and Rex the dog.

One rainy day, the Lady (who presents White) and Rex settle in for a nice day of reading. Jack doesn’t join them in this cozy activity, as he’s too busy enjoying his video game, “Rad Kid.” Then in a fantastic twist, lightning strikes, and, as the title foreshadows, Jack gets zapped into the game. An unlikely hero emerges as the Lady picks up the game controls and plays the game to save Zapped Jack, who, after some in-game fun, is defeated by the Boss. Pizzoli cleverly alters his illustrations for the scenes of the game within the book to make them appear pixelated, and Barnett’s funny, controlled text makes the story accessible to emergent readers. The text describing the Lady’s acquisition of gaming skills is particularly chuckleworthy: “You got this! Now go! Hop over that pit! Press A and RIGHT! / Oh. You fell in. // That’s OK! You get three lives. So you have two lives left! Just stomp on this bad guy and— / You died again.” Gaming isn’t vilified in this story, nor is reading elevated as the better activity, which makes it all the more likely that readers who prefer gaming over reading will actually enjoy this title. The backmatter gives directions for drawing Zapped Jack, and readers may well wish there were an accompanying game, too. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-13-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22.2% of actual size.)

Zip to get this Zapped Jack book. (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11401-8

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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