Themes of creativity and inclusion come through strongly in this adventure despite the shifting rhyme scheme.

BEN'S ADVENTURES

UNDER THE BIG TOP!

A boy with cerebral palsy imagines his early childhood classroom as a circus in this sequel.

In narration that sometimes utilizes rhyming stanzas, a boy named Ben, a triplet who uses a wheelchair, describes the fun of going to preschool: “There is SOOO much happening...that sometimes it’s like a CIRCUS.” He envisions his teacher as a ringmaster and a friend and himself as clowns. He transforms into a tiger tamer and a juggler, and his friends take turns clowning and riding elephants. When Ben’s imagination brings him back to his classroom, his teacher reads a picture book about circuses. Ben’s creativity is the focus of Gerlach’s (Ben’s Adventures: Day at the Beach, 2018) story, and many of the rhyming couplets flow smoothly for reading aloud. Yet others have interjected sentences or descriptions with no rhymes. Ben’s wheelchair is obvious in the classroom illustrations, providing a window into a different lifestyle, but it does not appear in the circus scenes, which may confuse young readers. Debut illustrator Hider skillfully replicates the style of the first installment of this picture-book series in her cartoon images of a diverse cast. The author’s choice of making Ben’s next escapade feature war play (which is teased at the end of the story) may be off-putting to some parents.

Themes of creativity and inclusion come through strongly in this adventure despite the shifting rhyme scheme.

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73270-342-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: CharleyHouse Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2019

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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