A whimsical delight with well-written verse, excellent illustrations, and appealing characters.



An aristocratic but abandoned bathtub is taken home by a family of bears in this amusing illustrated children’s book.

As told in rhymed verse, an old bathtub left to molder in the forest is taken home by a family of three bears, who are very proud of this acquisition, dubbing it Sir Reginald Tubb—although they aren’t sure of its use. Garbage bin? Peony planter? Kettledrum? Poor Sir Reginald endures many uncomfortable, undignified moments, but at last the plumber-bear arrives and connects the pipes. The bear family greatly enjoys their new bathtub, especially the cub. His imaginative games, like pretending the tub is a magic ship, please Sir Reginald as well: “For this the tub was born and bred, / His life had never been nicer.” When the drain clogs, the tub fears being discarded in the forest again, but the plumber comes to the rescue, and now Sir Reginald lives “splashily ever after.” Everything works in Schacker’s debut book. His rollicking verse is clever, fresh, appealing, and very funny. Serious matters underlie the fun, such as the tub’s loneliness and his existential dilemma (what is his purpose in life?), giving the book unexpected depth. The charming illustrations (with color by Faber) are well-detailed and dynamic as well as expressive. Seemann (Desdemona Saves the Day, 1992) manages to make a bathtub one of the book’s most animated characters. The book’s moral is a useful one: “Have faith—and call the plumber.”

A whimsical delight with well-written verse, excellent illustrations, and appealing characters.

Pub Date: April 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5450-8182-2

Page Count: 38

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached.


A little girl in a town of white snow and soot-blackened chimneys opens a small box and discovers a never-ending gift of colorful yarn.

Annabelle knits herself a sweater, and with the leftover yarn, she knits one for her dog, and with the yarn left over from that, she knits one for a neighbor and for her classmates and for her teacher and for her family and for the birdhouse and for the buildings in town. All and everything are warm, cozy and colorful until a clotheshorse of an archduke arrives. Annabelle refuses his monetary offers, whereupon the box is stolen. The greedy archduke gets his just deserts when he opens the box to find it empty. It wends its way back to Annabelle, who ends up happily sitting in a knit-covered tree. Klassen, who worked on the film Coraline, uses inks, gouache and colorized scans of a sweater to create a stylized, linear design of dark geometric shapes against a white background. The stitches of the sweaters add a subdued rainbow. Barnett entertained middle-grade readers with his Brixton Brothers detective series. Here, he maintains a folkloric narrative that results in a traditional story arc complete with repetition, drama and a satisfying conclusion.

A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-195338-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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A repressive teacher almost ruins second grade for a prodigy in this amusing, if overwritten, tale. Having shown a fascination with great buildings since constructing a model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa from used diapers at age two, Iggy sinks into boredom after Miss Greer announces, throwing an armload of histories and craft projects into the trash, that architecture will be a taboo subject in her class. Happily, she changes her views when the collapse of a footbridge leaves the picnicking class stranded on an island, whereupon Iggy enlists his mates to build a suspension bridge from string, rulers and fruit roll-ups. Familiar buildings and other structures, made with unusual materials or, on the closing pages, drawn on graph paper, decorate Roberts’s faintly retro cartoon illustrations. They add an audience-broadening element of sophistication—as would Beaty’s decision to cast the text into verse, if it did not result in such lines as “After twelve long days / that passed in a haze / of reading, writing and arithmetic, / Miss Greer took the class / to Blue River Pass / for a hike and an old-fashioned picnic.” Another John Lithgow she is not, nor is Iggy another Remarkable Farkle McBride (2000), but it’s always salutary to see young talent vindicated. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8109-1106-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

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