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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2001


A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

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. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014


A solid, small step for diversifying STEM stories.

What does Annie want to be?

As career day approaches, Annie wants to keep her job choice secret until her family sees her presentation at school. Readers will figure it out, however, through the title and clues Tadgell incorporates into the illustrations. Family members make guesses about her ambitions that are tied to their own passions, although her brother watches as she completes her costume in a bedroom with a Mae Jemison poster, starry décor, and a telescope. There’s a celebratory mood at the culminating presentation, where Annie says she wants to “soar high through the air” like her basketball-playing mother, “explore faraway places” like her hiker dad, and “be brave and bold” like her baker grandmother (this feels forced, but oven mitts are part of her astronaut costume) so “the whole world will hear my exciting stories” like her reporter grandfather. Annie jumps off a chair to “BLAST OFF” in a small illustration superimposed on a larger picture depicting her floating in space with a reddish ground below. It’s unclear if Annie imagines this scene or if it’s her future-self exploring Mars, but either scenario fits the aspirational story. Backmatter provides further reading suggestions and information about the moon and four women astronauts, one of whom is Jemison. Annie and her family are all black.

A solid, small step for diversifying STEM stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-88448-523-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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