A compressed but engaging invitation to think of dreams as fine adventures.

DREAM BOATS

In this rich if not very restful outing, drowsy children worldwide float into a succession of luxuriantly detailed mythscapes.

Bar-El provides a skimpy key to his cultural references at the end, but most young listeners would be better advised just to go with the flow. In terse free verse, the author sends young Maiqui on a voyage beneath Andean “maker of light” Viracocha, Aljuu to the shores of Haida Gwaii, Parvati beneath a shower of diamonds from Ganesh’s trunk. Likewise, other children enjoy quick encounters with figures and rituals from their respective traditions. In illustrations that hark back to Charles Mikolaycak’s dazzling, flat-perspective explosions of color and form, Wakelin portrays smiling children individually or collectively riding a canoe, reed boat, Russian frigate or other water craft into kaleidoscopic swirls of stars, flowers, supernatural animals or other figures, and welcoming family members. Those magical realms vanish with the sun and a final crowd of laughing children, but for dreamers who might wish to go back, the poet offers reassurance: “Would you remember the way? / Not to worry. Dream Boats remember. / Call them and they will come.”

A compressed but engaging invitation to think of dreams as fine adventures.   (instructions for origami boat on endpapers) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 29, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-897476-87-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simply Read

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2013

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This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...

STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK

From the Stink series

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work.

SYLVIA'S SPINACH

A young spinach hater becomes a spinach lover after she has to grow her own in a class garden.

Unable to trade away the seed packet she gets from her teacher for tomatoes, cukes or anything else more palatable, Sylvia reluctantly plants and nurtures a pot of the despised veggie then transplants it outside in early spring. By the end of school, only the plot’s lettuce, radishes and spinach are actually ready to eat (talk about a badly designed class project!)—and Sylvia, once she nerves herself to take a nibble, discovers that the stuff is “not bad.” She brings home an armful and enjoys it from then on in every dish: “And that was the summer Sylvia Spivens said yes to spinach.” Raff uses unlined brushwork to give her simple cartoon illustrations a pleasantly freehand, airy look, and though Pryor skips over the (literally, for spinach) gritty details in both the story and an afterword, she does cover gardening basics in a simple and encouraging way.

Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-1-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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