LILY AND THE MIXED-UP LETTERS

A rather shallow treatment of reading difficulties is the focus of Hodge’s second work of fiction. Lily’s strength is her artistic ability, but in second grade, the emphasis is on reading, and Lily just can’t get the hang of it as “letters dance and blur in front of her eyes.” After her teacher announces that the students will be reading a page aloud on Parent’s Day, Lily finally confides in her mother. Lily’s friend Grace becomes her reading buddy, while Lily helps Grace with her painting. Lily practices her page, almost to the exclusion of all else, making songs out of the words, repeating them over and over and drawing them in the air. When it is her turn, she makes some mistakes and isn’t as fast or as smooth as the other kids, but she reads the whole page and fairly beams with pride. Brassard’s lifelike watercolors tenderly show Lily’s every emotion as she struggles with learning to read. But ultimately, Hodge’s text is missing the depth and feeling of Patricia Polacco’s Thank You, Mr. Falker (1998). (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 13, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-88776-757-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2007

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT

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

Did you like this book?

MIKE FINK

A tall-tale introduction to the ``King of the Keelboatmen,'' from the time he ran away from home at the age of two days to his literally explosive confrontation with steamboat captain Hilton B. Blathersby. The historical Fink was a cruel man who came to a violent end, but Kellogg depicts him as a friendly-looking, fun-loving youth; indeed, nearly all of the keelboatmen here- -black, white, old, and young—are smiling, clean-cut types, rather at odds with their usual roughneck image. Though Fink spends much of his time wrestling men or bears, Kellogg's description of him seems bland in comparison to his glowing, energetic illustrations, and less heroic than his other legendary figures. (Picture book/Folktale. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 1992

ISBN: 0-688-07003-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more