THE LIMA BEAN MONSTER

Yaccarino (Oswald, p. 670, etc.) is a champion of the tomfool and he is in fine form in this little piece of ridiculousness that concerns a young boy, Sammy, who can’t stomach lima beans. Literally. He tries to hide them under the mashed potatoes, shovel them to the dog under the table (no dice, says Blackie), secret them in his napkin. His mother always finds them, and serves up even more. A solution comes via Sammy’s socks, where he deposits the beans and his mother fails to look. His mother happily assumes he’s eaten them and Sammy makes a beeline for a vacant lot where he buries the offending item. A friend notices Sammy at work and helps him by tossing in some broccoli; soon other kids are contributing failed school tests and ugly sweaters and yet more vegetables. Judgment Day comes when a bolt of lightning hits the now sizable mound, transforming the dump into a horrible lima bean monster—big, green, covered with bits of broccoli, an accordion, and that sweater. The monster is about to munch Sammy when the smart lad points out that his science teacher, who is trying to make a fast getaway, would make a bigger and better meal. Soon the monster has grabbed every grown-up around. Salvation comes when the kids decide to eat their vegetables—the monster—lima beans included (but not the ugly sweater). The admonition to “eat your vegetables” gets the drubbing every kid feels it richly deserves; vegetables really are as evil as they think. Bug-eyed, jazzed-up art invests the cockamamie story with all the zest it can handle, starting with a plate of very angry-looking beans on the title page. A little forced, but the theme has definite appeal. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8027-8776-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2001

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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