Amusing, but probably not one children will ask for more than once.


A humorous cautionary tale of greed, wishes and hope.   

In Pokey Marsh, a “rotten-to-the-core witch” snatches a silver coin from a wise cypress and promptly loses it. Gator best friends Scarlett Starlett and Simon Greensnout happen to discover the shiny object. Each time the tree finds its coin in the hands of another, it intones, “Give me back my silver dollar and I will give you something that lasts forever….What lasts forever?” Each character chooses to keep the coin instead of what it thinks lasts forever. What ensues is a series of silly yet unfortunate events. Simon gets turned into a donkey, while Scarlett becomes a famous singer cursed with a spell that keeps her from finding anything. Most distressing is that Simon and Scarlett are no longer together. Thanks to the witch’s convenient fit of frustration, Scarlett finds herself in possession of the coin. In a scene reminiscent of Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Scarlett wishes Simon were with her, and he magically turns back into an alligator. A traditional happy-ever-after follows, and readers will already have guessed what lasts forever. Primavera’s tale reads like a modernized folk tale, and Park ably captures every emotion in her watercolor-and-ink illustrations. Due to the lengthy series of plot twists, this title is best suited for an older audience.

Amusing, but probably not one children will ask for more than once. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-85585-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Robin Corey/Random

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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An early reader that kids will want to befriend.


In an odd-couple pairing of Bear and Chipmunk, only one friend is truly happy to spend the day at the beach.

“Not me!” is poor Chipmunk’s lament each time Bear expresses the pleasure he takes in sunning, swimming, and other activities at the beach. While controlled, repetitive text makes the story accessible to new readers, slapstick humor characterizes the busy watercolor-and-ink illustrations and adds interest. Poor Chipmunk is pinched by a crab, buried in sand, and swept upside down into the water, to name just a few mishaps. Although other animal beachgoers seem to notice Chipmunk’s distress, Bear cheerily goes about his day and seems blithely ignorant of his friend’s misfortunes. The playful tone of the illustrations helps soften the dynamic so that it doesn’t seem as though Chipmunk is in grave danger or that Bear is cruel. As they leave at the end of the book Bear finally asks, “Why did you come?” and Chipmunk’s sweet response caps off the day with a warm sunset in the background.

An early reader that kids will want to befriend. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3546-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization.


If Pluto can’t be a planet—then what is he?

Having been a regular planet for “the better part of forever,” Pluto is understandably knocked out of orbit by his sudden exclusion. With Charon and his four other moons in tow he sets off in search of a new identity. Unfortunately, that only spins him into further gloom, as he doesn’t have a tail like his friend Halley’s comet, is too big to join Ida and the other asteroids, and feels disinclined to try to crash into Earth like meteoroids Gem and Persi. Then, just as he’s about to plunge into a black hole of despair, an encounter with a whole quartet of kindred spheroids led by Eris rocks his world…and a follow-up surprise party thrown by an apologetic Saturn (“Dwarf planet has a nice RING to it”) and the other seven former colleagues literally puts him “over the moon.” Demmer gives all the heavenly bodies big eyes (some, including the feminine Saturn, with long lashes) and, on occasion, short arms along with distinctive identifying colors or markings. Dressing the troublemaking meteoroids in do-rags and sunglasses sounds an off note. Without mentioning that the reclassification is still controversial, Wade closes with a (somewhat) straighter account of Pluto’s current official status and the reasons for it.

Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68446-004-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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