MINNIE AND MOO MEET FRANKENSWINE

The two funniest, most winsome cows on the early-reading circuit have to be Minnie and Moo, always ready to engage any situation with a mixture of slapstick (Moo), sangfroid (Minnie), and a comical use of language. Here, the two are sleeping out under the stars when a storm blows in, bringing lightning and thunder. A bolt hits a nearby barn: “Lightning flashed. Thunder rumbled. There was a scream in the night.” The scream is that of a rooster who is convinced there is a monster in the barn. “Every chicken for himself,” the rooster squawks. Olga, a piglet, is missing, and worse still, when the animals flee to the farmhouse, it appears that the farmer’s leg has been pulled off by the monster and thrown out the window. At least it appears so to the animals; readers will notice rather quickly that the “leg” is an apple-tree branch. It takes Minnie’s sensible head to straighten things out, including the discovery of Olga, shimmering with a halo of electricity after standing too close to the milker when lightning struck. Deceptively sophisticated artwork and lively language—“ ‘Poor Olga,’ a pig wept. ‘Gone,’ cried another. ‘Gone, gone, gone,’ said Zeke. ‘Like a turkey through the corn,’ said Zack”—make this a joy for new readers to tackle. (Easy reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-06-623748-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2001

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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LAST DAY BLUES

From the Mrs. Hartwell's Classroom Adventures series

One more myth dispelled for all the students who believe that their teachers live in their classrooms. During the last week of school, Mrs. Hartwell and her students reflect on the things they will miss, while also looking forward to the fun that summer will bring. The kids want to cheer up their teacher, whom they imagine will be crying over lesson plans and missing them all summer long. But what gift will cheer her up? Numerous ideas are rejected, until Eddie comes up with the perfect plan. They all cooperate to create a rhyming ode to the school year and their teacher. Love’s renderings of the children are realistic, portraying the diversity of modern-day classrooms, from dress and expression to gender and skin color. She perfectly captures the emotional trauma the students imagine their teachers will go through as they leave for the summer. Her final illustration hysterically shatters that myth, and will have every teacher cheering aloud. What a perfect end to the school year. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-58089-046-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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