A sweet but never cloying tale of a student witch, playfully illustrated.

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Greta's Magical Mistake

With simple rhymes and a gentle spirit, veteran children’s author Cobb (Daddy Did I Ever Say? I Love You, Love You, Every Day, 2012, etc.) offers an enjoyable story of a witch-in-training whose good intentions go awry.

Little Greta Grohm, a student at Wilhelm’s Magic Academy for “magically gifted witches, warlocks and more,” discovers a lonely cat hiding under a car one rainy day. She names him Hamlet and brings him home, confident that her bird friends, Ray and Dew, will be delighted by the new addition to the family. At their first meeting, however, the birds squawk, Hamlet hisses, and general pandemonium breaks out. What to do? Greta, an apprentice witch, waves her wand and tries a spell—and accidentally zaps Hamlet into a painting of sunflowers. She asks her talking magic book for help, and it responds, “What is it now! / Did you turn your mom / into a dog, or the / dog into a cow?” Unfortunately, Greta doesn’t listen to the spell book’s instructions carefully enough, and transports herself, Ray and Dew into the painting. Ray and Drew comfort apologetic Greta (“They flew onto her shoulders, / Ray kissed her with his beak. / Dew then wiped a tear away / as it rolled down her cheek”). The birds, who paid close attention, finally steer Greta in the right direction, and the crisis has a happily-ever-after resolution. This pleasant, engaging story provides valuable messages about friendship and the importance of good listening. Artist Pentangelo’s colorful, playfully skewed images underscore the text’s comical tone and contain numerous small details that attentive readers will enjoy: Greta’s fuzzy kitty slippers, daisy-trimmed skirt and rain boots, her umbrella’s tiny fish decorations, and sunflowers growing out of cups, books and shoes.

A sweet but never cloying tale of a student witch, playfully illustrated. 

Pub Date: April 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-0615796321

Page Count: 46

Publisher: 10 to 2 Children's Books

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2013

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I AM NOT GOING TO GET UP TODAY!

After an eight-year interval, a Beginner Book by this well-loved originator of the series is welcome; and since Seuss hasn't chosen to illustrate it himself, we are lucky to have Stevenson as alternate. In the familiar Seuss pattern of a simple premise exaggerated to comic effect, a boy declares, "My bed is warm. My pillow's deep. Today's the day I'm going to sleep"—regardless of his mother, various arguments, successive waves of reinforcements, including the Marines, and a TV crew filming the momentous event. Actually, the development of the idea is a little tame compared with Seuss' other extravaganzas (and such determined all-day slumber is more the province of teen-agers and the good doctor's contemporaries than of readers at this level); but the book is delightfully enlivened by Stevenson's vigorous illustrations, which considerably augment the text by showing the full extent of the consternation caused by the hero's stubborness. Though there is plenty of the repetition required by learning readers, there are also some unusual words like Memphis, suggesting that this is not the easiest easy reader; but it has enough appeal to keep beginners entertained.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 1987

ISBN: 0394892178

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1987

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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