THE BIRTHDAY FISH

In this deceptively simple tale, a child obsessed with ponies doesn’t get one for her birthday. Cynthia is so sure that she’s already picked out a name—Marigold—and such is her disappointment when her gift turns out to be a goldfish, that she heads straight for the drain with it. But when the fish promises to grant her wish if she takes it to the lake instead, she plunks the bowl into her mini-stroller and trots off. Yaccarino creates a retro look for the accompanying art, dressing Cynthia in a school uniform–style blouse, vest and tartan skirt, and placing her in a wide suburban setting of geometrically exact houses and trees. The lake turns out to be a long way off, under a hot sun, over a bumpy sidewalk, past an intent cat and other hazards; the two arrive just in time to admire the sunset. “ ‘It’s late,’ said the goldfish. ‘Yes it is,’ replied Cynthia. ‘Let’s go home now, Marigold.’ ” The bonding falls between the lines, but thoughtful readers and listeners will understand how it happens, and really perceptive ones may even see it coming. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-8050-7493-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2005

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MERCY WATSON GOES FOR A RIDE

She’s back! Mercy, the porcine wonder, is back in all her buttered-toast eating glory. It’s Saturday, time for a ride in the pink convertible. But, does Mercy like to ride or drive? Drive! Only Mrs. Watson’s promise of extra helpings of hot buttered toast can get this clever pig to scoot across the front seat and enjoy the weekly adventure. And when next-door neighbor Baby Lincoln hankers for a little adventure of her own, the fun really begins. From the toast icons that surround the page numbers, to faux-tape spine, and hilariously gaudy over-the-top illustrations, this is a throw-back in the best sense of the word. When Mercy ends up sitting on top of Mr. Watson in the driver’s seat and Baby has to crawl over the seat to help out, it’s hard not to think of Lucy, Ethel and Ricky caught in another pickle. All’s well that ends well, of course, and that means everyone can celebrate with a stack of toast and an extra pat of butter. (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-7636-2332-6

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2006

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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