DEEP IN THE JUNGLE

A blustering, self-infatuated lion takes his lumps and gains a crack at redemption in Yaccarino's (An Octopus Followed

Me Home, 1997, etc.) latest offering. The Lord of the Jungle is busy lording over it all: the monkeys fan him, the elephants provide shade, the leopards fetch his food, and the gorillas tend to his mane—or else he will eat them. Of course, as Yaccarino dryly summarizes, "The animals couldn't stand him one bit." One day a man is spied strolling through the jungle. The lion attacks, but is disarmed when the fellow says he can make him a big star. The lion obviously doesn't recognize the plaid jacket and shades as the mark of a shyster, because in no time at all, the lion is being exploited and demeaned as a circus act. Until, that is, he eats the man and makes his getaway. Back to the jungle he hurries, fully intending to take up his place of honor, but instead finds the other animals being locked into cages for shipment. The animals are not keen on the lion's reappearance (their words sting the lion), but they are unwitting about the future and what the cages represent. It falls upon our hero to work the oldest circus trick in the book, liberate the animals, and then rein in his arrogance. (They don't call it a "pride" of lions for nothing.) The droll story comes with a toothsome accompaniment of Yaccarino's retro art, with its edge of goofiness and deep-dish color. (Picture book.

4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-689-82235-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2000

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THE COOKIE-STORE CAT

There is an ineffable sweetness in Rylant’s work, which skirts the edge of sentimentality but rarely tumbles, saved by her simple artistry. This companion piece to The Bookshop Dog (1996) relates how the cookie-store cat was found, a tiny, skinny kitten, very early one day as the bakers came in to work. The cat gets morning kisses, when the bakers tell him that he is “sweeter than any cookie” and “prettier than marzipan.” Then he makes his rounds, out the screen door painted with “cherry drops and gingerbread men” to visit the fish-shop owner, the yarn lady, and the bookshop, where Martha Jane makes a cameo appearance. Back at the cookie store, the cat listens to Father Eugene, who eats his three Scotch chewies and tells about the new baby in the parish, and sits with the children and their bags of cookies. At Christmas he wears a bell and a red ribbon, and all the children get free Santa cookies. The cheerful illustrations are done in paint as thick as frosting; the flattened shapes and figures are a bit cookie-shaped themselves. A few recipes are included in this yummy, comforting book. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-54329-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1999

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SNOW BEAR

In this sweetly sentimental story set in the frozen twilight of an Arctic spring, George (Morning, Noon, and Night, p. 699, etc.) tells of an Inuit girl who goes out to hunt. Bessie Nivyek sets out with her big brother, Vincent, to hunt for food; in a twist out of McCloskey’s Blueberries for Sal, Bessie bumps into a young bear, and they frolic: climbing, sliding, somersaulting, and cuddling. Vincent spies the tracks of his little sister and follows, wary of the mother bear; the mother bear is just as wary of Vincent. Out of the water rears danger to both the child and cub—a huge male polar bear. The mother bear warns her cub; it runs away, as does Bessie. Brother and sister head back home, “to eat, go to school, and learn the wisdom of the Arctic like Eskimo children do.” The brief text is lyrical and the illustrations are striking, with an impressively varied palette of white, in blue, green, yellow, and gold. Children who note that Vincent goes home empty-handed will wonder why he didn’t hunt any of the polar bears that were within range. While children will enjoy this romantic view of Bessie and the bear, those seeking a more realistic representation of life in this harsh environment will be unsatisfied. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7868-0456-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1999

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