GO, GO AMERICA

Yaccarino sends readers whose ride aboard Peter Sís’s Train of States (2004) has only whetted an appetite for random facts, quirky laws and roadside attractions on a somewhat more leisurely car trip from Maine to Hawaii. Each state (plus Washington, D.C.) gets a page or spread strewn with snippets of eminently shareable trivia—from horse, camel, car, lizard or bathtub races to festivals highlighting the culinary delights of pickles, frog legs and roadkill. Places range from the hometowns of lawn flamingoes and miniature golf to places where it’s illegal to sleep in boots (Oklahoma) or tease a skunk (Minneapolis). Though Yaccarino provides visual links with small cartoon figures of a tourist family, plus frequent glimpses of Bigfoot, the art really takes a back seat to the multiple sizes, fonts and colors of the text. He doesn’t get all of his facts straight either—the nation’s first subway wasn’t in Boston, and it’s misleading to claim that Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds State Park is “the only place in the world where people can keep the gems they find.” Still, browsers will find this hard to put down, and more systematic sorts will linger over the closing chart of state capitals, mottos and the like. (source list) (Nonfiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-439-70338-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2008

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The book is a cute, but rather standard offering from Avi (Tom, Babette, and Simon, p. 776, etc.).

POPPY

From the Poppy series , Vol. 3

An adolescent mouse named Poppy is off on a romantic tryst with her rebel boyfriend when they are attacked by Mr. Ocax, the owl who rules over the area.

He kills the boyfriend, but Poppy escapes and Mr. Ocax vows to catch her. Mr. Ocax has convinced all the mice that he is their protector when, in fact, he preys on them mercilessly. When the mice ask his permission to move to a new house, he refuses, blaming Poppy for his decision. Poppy suspects that there is another reason Mr. Ocax doesn't want them to move and investigates to clear her name. With the help of a prickly old porcupine and her quick wits, Poppy defeats her nemesis and her own fears, saving her family in the bargain. 

The book is a cute, but rather standard offering from Avi (Tom, Babette, and Simon, p. 776, etc.). (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-531-09483-9

Page Count: 147

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1995

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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