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No one can beat McPhail (I Love You Because You’re You, 2001, etc.) at illustrations of bears, and Rick the bear joins a long list of the artist’s ursine charmers who can’t fail to win over young readers. In this emergent-level easy reader, Rick meets a rabbit named Jack, but unfortunately, Rick and Jack are on opposite sides of the river. The two characters use a hollow log and Rick’s jump-rope to explore the concept of cooperation, helping each other in simple but creative ways until they can join together on the same bank of the river to jump rope side by side. The text uses a question-and-answer format and just one simple sentence per page to tell the short but satisfying story, which has a real plot and real obstacles for the characters to overcome, despite the length. McPhail’s delicately shaded watercolor illustrations show rotund Rick in an orange vest and jaunty Jack in a polka-dot neckerchief, with some hilarious expressions on the animals’ faces as they struggle with the heavy log. Children who are just learning to sound out basic vocabulary will enjoy this amusing tale, one of several that McPhail has created for the Green Light easy reader series. (Easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-15-216552-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Green Light/Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2002

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From the Adventures of Otto series

In his third beginning reader about Otto the robot, Milgrim (See Otto, 2002, etc.) introduces another new friend for Otto, a little mouse named Pip. The simple plot involves a large balloon that Otto kindly shares with Pip after the mouse has a rather funny pointing attack. (Pip seems to be in that I-point-and-I-want-it phase common with one-year-olds.) The big purple balloon is large enough to carry Pip up and away over the clouds, until Pip runs into Zee the bee. (“Oops, there goes Pip.”) Otto flies a plane up to rescue Pip (“Hurry, Otto, Hurry”), but they crash (and splash) in front of some hippos with another big balloon, and the story ends as it begins, with a droll “See Pip point.” Milgrim again succeeds in the difficult challenge of creating a real, funny story with just a few simple words. His illustrations utilize lots of motion and basic geometric shapes with heavy black outlines, all against pastel backgrounds with text set in an extra-large typeface. Emergent readers will like the humor in little Pip’s pointed requests, and more engaging adventures for Otto and Pip will be welcome additions to the limited selection of funny stories for children just beginning to read. (Easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-689-85116-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2003

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Floyd and Denise update “The Tortoise and the Hare” for primary readers, captioning each soft-focus, semi-rural scene with a short, simple sentence or two. Rabbit proposes running to school, while his friend Turtle takes the bus: no contest at first, as the bus makes stop after deliberate stop, but because Rabbit pauses at a pushcart for a snack, a fresh-looking Turtle greets his panting, disheveled friend on the school steps. There is no explicit moral, but children will get the point—and go on to enjoy Margery Cuyler’s longer and wilder Road Signs: A Harey Race with a Tortoise (p. 957). (Easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-15-202679-7

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2000

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