WHAT TEACHERS CAN’T DO

Following in the tradition of What Fathers Can’t Do (2001) and What Mothers Can’t Do (2000), Wood moves on to present a tongue-in-cheek look at the shortcomings of teachers. It is well-known that teachers are not allowed to be tardy and that they cannot ride skateboards to school, but readers might be surprised to discover that teachers cannot buy their own apples or that they “can’t teach best without flowers on their desk.” It’s amazing that with all their knowledge they can’t seem to spell the word “cat” or remember the solution to two plus two. Perhaps they are distracted by the fact that “they can’t use that hall pass to go to the bathroom;” maybe it’s that “teachers can’t go down the tube slide at recess. . . .” But whatever their shortcomings, it’s the things they can do that seem to matter. Hilarious and brightly colored drawings of the dinosaur teachers with pearls and glasses and dinosaurs preschoolers with backpacks and pigtails accompany the text. It seems that even after having paint on their clothes and chalk dust in their hair and lungs, teachers “can’t wait to come back to school tomorrow.” Somewhat saccharine, but worthy praise for an under-appreciated profession. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-689-84644-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2002

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UNICORN WINGS

The can’t-miss subject of this Step into Reading series entry—a unicorn with a magic horn who also longs for wings—trumps its text, which is dry even by easy-reader standards. A boy unicorn, whose horn has healing powers, reveals his wish to a butterfly in a castle garden, a bluebird in the forest and a snowy white swan in a pond. Falling asleep at the edge of the sea, the unicorn is visited by a winged white mare. He heals her broken wing and she flies away. After sadly invoking his wish once more, he sees his reflection: “He had big white wings!” He flies off after the mare, because he “wanted to say, ‘Thank you.’ ” Perfectly suiting this confection, Silin-Palmer’s pictures teem with the mass market–fueled iconography of what little girls are (ostensibly) made of: rainbows, flowers, twinkly stars and, of course, manes down to there. (Easy reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2006

ISBN: 0-375-83117-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2006

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SKELETON HICCUPS

Who hasn’t shared the aggravation of a whole day’s worth of bone-rattling hiccups? Poor Skeleton wakes up with a deadly case that he can’t shake, and it’s up to his friend Ghost to think of something to scare them away. Cuyler (Stop, Drop, and Roll, 2001, etc.) cleverly brings readers through the ups and downs of Skeleton’s day, from shower to ball-playing. Home folk remedies (holding his breath, eating sugar) don’t seem to work, but Ghost applies a new perspective startling enough to unhinge listeners and Skeleton alike. While the concept is clever, it’s Schindler’s (How Santa Lost His Job, 2001, etc.) paintings, done with gouache, ink, and watercolor, that carry the day, showing Skeleton’s own unique problems—water pours out of his hollow eyes when he drinks it upside down, his teeth spin out of his head when he brushes them—that make a joke of the circumstances. Oversized spreads open the scene to read-aloud audiences, but hold intimate details for sharp eyes—monster slippers, sugar streaming through the hollow body. For all the hiccupping, this outing has a quiet feel not up to the standards of some of Cuyler’s earlier books, but the right audience will enjoy its fun. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-689-84770-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2002

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