The engaging storyteller, who visited Iran both before and after the Islamic Revolution, gives some historical and political background in her introduction, but her focus is rightly on the people and their tales. Overall, the stories have little Islamic content, although “The Prophet Khizir” has a religious tone, and they share motifs with many stories around the world. “The Giant Okab” can be seen as a Beauty and the Beast variant, and “Miss Cockroach and Mr Mouse” is an older version of “Perez and Martina,” a Puerto Rican story that first traveled from the Middle East to Spain. Readers who have had broad exposure to folktales will have great fun comparing and contrasting the stories with those of other places; those new to folk literature will just enjoy them. Adl, who grew up in Iran, creates collages with quirky characters, a naïve folk quality and a modern artistic sensibility. General sources of stories from Persia (Iran’s prior name) are listed. A wonderful blend of traditional stories and original art that reflects the customs of this country. (Folktales. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84507-912-3

Page Count: 62

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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This genuinely clever math book uses rhyming couplets and riddles, as well as visual cues to help the reader find new ways to group numbers for quick counting. It’s a return to number sets, with none of those boring parentheses and <>signs. Here the rhyme gives a clue to the new ways of grouping numbers. For example: “Mama mia, pizza pie, / How many mushrooms do you spy? / Please don’t count them, it’s too slow, / This hot pie was made to go! / Let me give you some advice, / Just do half and count it twice.” A quick look at the pizza, and the reader can see each slice has the same number of mushrooms. Count by threes for half the pie, and double it. Each rhyme is given a double-page spread. The extra-large, brightly colored images leap off the page but never distract from the author’s intent. Some riddles are very challenging, but the author provides all the solutions in the back. Once the reader has seen the answers, the strategy is obvious and can be applied to other situations. Great fun for math enthusiasts and creative thinkers, this might also teach adults some new tricks. A winning addition. (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-439-21033-X

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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Though this has more of a religious bent than most biographies, children should gain an understanding of the new pope as a...



Beginning with the emigration of Jorge’s grandparents from Italy to Argentina, this biography traces Bergoglio’s life, concluding with his attendance at World Youth Day in July 2013, as Pope Francis.

This is a much more personal biography (meant for a slightly younger audience) than Pope Francis by Stephanie Watson (2013). Only briefly mentioning Argentina’s “Dirty War” and entirely leaving out the scandals of the Catholic Church and the more publicized examples of Bergoglio’s humility, Monge and Wolfe focus instead on the experiences that shaped Bergoglio’s faith and led him to the priesthood. The text’s lack of a bibliography may lead readers (or their parents) to wonder how the more intimate details of Bergoglio’s life were uncovered, especially with regard to the rather stilted and unnatural-sounding dialogue and internal monologues. Simple, short sentences make this accessible for young readers, though more contextual definitions (or a glossary) would have been helpful, especially for those unfamiliar with the Catholic faith. Also, commas that could help young readers with comprehension are frequently missing, and there are some awkward sentence constructions: “There was always studying or homework to do for school, or help needed around the house.” Kizlauskas’ illustrations are quite realistic looking (if stiff), though they do not always appear on the same spread as the text that accompanies them.

Though this has more of a religious bent than most biographies, children should gain an understanding of the new pope as a person. (Biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8198-4006-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Pauline Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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