UNDER THE MISHMASH TREES

Another short, cozy animal (to use the term loosely) tale from the master of same. Here a polite, peaceable “slobbadunk” named Tumblerum Wollycobble—portrayed in Bruel’s many scenes and spots as a purple glob with blubbery lips and one big eye—forms a long association with married couple Og and Ut and their offspring, who are many-legged “gombrizils.” So grateful is Tum after Ut (the wife and, of course, the brains of the couple) cures its rumbustious digestion by adding meat (in the form of fat “swoots”) to its vegetarian diet and performs other favors, that it volunteers to tend both her own egg and the two that her daughter Okay lays years afterward. That’s about it for plot, but the names are so silly, and Bruel does such a masterful job of depicting the blobby cast (in spots the gombrizils look like proto-Simpsons) that early-reader graduates can’t help but break out in giggles. (Fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-59643-325-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2008

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THUNDER ROSE

Nolen and Nelson offer a smaller, but no less gifted counterpart to Big Jabe (2000) in this new tall tale. Shortly after being born one stormy night, Rose thanks her parents, picks a name, and gathers lightning into a ball—all of which is only a harbinger of feats to come. Decked out in full cowboy gear and oozing self-confidence from every pore, Rose cuts a diminutive, but heroic figure in Nelson’s big, broad Western scenes. Though she carries a twisted iron rod as dark as her skin and ropes clouds with fencing wire, Rose overcomes her greatest challenge—a pair of rampaging twisters—not with strength, but with a lullaby her parents sang. After turning tornadoes into much-needed rain clouds, Rose rides away, “that mighty, mighty song pressing on the bull’s-eye that was set at the center of her heart.” Throughout, she shows a reflective bent that gives her more dimension than most tall-tale heroes: a doff of the Stetson to her and her creators. (author’s note) (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-15-216472-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Silver Whistle/Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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HORRIBLE HARRY AT HALLOWEEN

Every year since kindergarten, Harry’s Halloween costume has gotten scarier and scarier. What’s it going to be this year? He’s not telling. His classmates are all stunned when he shows up, not as some monster or a weird alien (well, not really)—but as neatly dressed Sgt. Joe Friday of Dragnet fame, wielding a notebook and out to get “just the facts, ma’am.” As she has in Harry’s 11 previous appearances (15, counting the ones his classmate Song Lee headlines), Kline (Marvin and the Mean Words, 1997, etc.) captures grammar-school atmosphere, personalities, and incidents perfectly, from snits to science projects gone hilariously wrong. She even hands Harry/Friday a chance to exercise his sleuthing abilities, with a supply of baby powder “fairy dust” gone mysteriously missing. As legions of fans have learned to expect, Harry comes through with flying colors, pinning down the remorseful culprit in 11 minutes flat. No surprises here, just reliable, child-friendly, middle-grade fare. Illustrations not seen. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-670-88864-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2000

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