A funny read-aloud with (mostly) chuckle-inducing illustrations.


She may not be allowed to, but the eponymous green-skinned, overalls-clad monster thinks of many magnificent, creative ways to open that box before dinnertime.

Ginny’s large head sports huge, white eyes with long, dark lashes, a cheerful, two-fanged grin, and two pointy ears—one of which is torn. In other words, she is undoubtedly a nonharmful sort of goblin. After the text makes it clear that Ginny is not allowed to open the box until dinnertime—but “she really wants to know what’s inside”—it asks, “What if we put the box way up on a shelf?” Next, readers learn the many (often absurdly hypothetical) things that Ginny Goblin is not allowed to do in order to reach the box, including using a rope and a grappling hook or building a catapult or poking at “scaly, scary serpents” in a “murky moat.” Needing to wait until dinnertime strikes a familiar chord with this age group and becomes an appropriate refrain. Lighthearted, cartoony artwork mostly supports the text’s tongue-in-cheek tone, leading to laughs about the outlandish suggestions. However, slapstick images of Ginny’s body slamming against a stone tower and, later, Ginny clobbering serpents may strike many as unnecessarily violent. Suspense builds when Ginny temporarily turns her attention away from opening the box. The closure of knowing what’s inside is supplemented by a punchline well understood by children who have been given boundaries by adults.

A funny read-aloud with (mostly) chuckle-inducing illustrations. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-76415-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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A kidnapped orphan races away to freedom. In an Arabian village, a little boy named Azad, who lives with his poor elderly uncle, fetches water for tea and tends to the goat before running off to play with his friends. His gymnastics skills attract the attention of a sheikh, who offers to train the boy as a camel rider. Whisked to the desert to live with a bunch of other boys, Azad competes in dangerous races and suffers brutal discipline. He and his camel Asfur become inseparable; one day, they win a race and keep going, until the men who have oppressed them are far in the distance. Boy and camel sleep curled up together under the desert moon and awake to the smiling faces of a group of Bedouins; Azad and Asfur have found a home at last. Pal's striking illustrations in watercolor and ink position sharply delineated characters in the foreground against soft, blurry desert backgrounds. Her heart-tugging tale also folds in a succinct social-studies lesson, and a brief afterword explains the controversial "sport" of camel racing. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84507-982-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2010

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Lighter-than-air fun.


A story of magic, sea voyages, and dandelions that isn’t all hot air.

Did you know that each year there’s one dandelion that’s full of magic? At least that’s what Jonah’s nana believes. She knows that it must be true because once she found one, blew away the fluffy seeds, and Jonah appeared. Today is a lucky day because Jonah has found this year’s magical dandelion! He’s going to need readers to help, though, to blow away the seeds and unlock the wonder. Readers blow, conjuring pirate ships, dragons, and pizza as Jonah sails for adventure. Thankfully, Super-Nana is nearby to help solve the spiraling problems that magic can sometimes create. Readers will blow, roar, and (best of all) make rude noises to help activate the magic and guide the fun. The interactive invitations are hardly new, but the story is both amusing and guided by convincingly childlike logic, and the right storyteller will have listeners laughing with anticipation for the next gag. Although the text is perfect for group sharing, the low contrast in the soft pastel illustrations suggests a relatively small group for best results. Readers close enough to take in Tatsukawa’s textured details will be beguiled. Jonah and his nana both have pale skin. His hair is shaggy and brown; hers is worn in a neat white bun. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.5-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Lighter-than-air fun. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11290-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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