BERRY SMUDGES AND LEAF PRINTS

FINDING AND MAKING COLORS FROM NATURE

A dozen nature craft projects are displayed in vivid, color photographs, as the author/photographer of Hooray for Pre-K (2000) here explores finding and making colors from nature. Introducing each color, she attempts to explain where it is found, its function in nature, and how it affects us. For example, “Red is an attention getting color . . . Red flowers, berries, and fruits seem to say, ‘Look at me!’ ” She explains that the red apple or other fruit is eaten by animals who carry its seeds away to grow more trees. This explanation is somewhat limited, as it does not explain why some birds, beetles, and frogs are red. Surely not to encourage others to eat them! She notes that the color red is associated with emergencies, love, and anger. Following the introduction, she shows two crafts using red pigment: “berry smudges” (painting with red berries), and making potato-print wrapping paper with red dye made from cabbage leaves. She gives a list of materials, step-by-step directions, a warning when adult assistance is needed, and provides several photographs of young children creating projects. She also includes directions for making dyes from natural materials using heat, soaking, or “straight” methods. She offers a slim history of color used in dyeing faces and fabrics and more about the science of color, concluding with a brief bibliography. Though children will enjoy the striking full-color photographs of plants in nature, the text and project directions are more appropriate for a parent or teacher than the young crafters shown in the photos. Where additional craft titles are wanted, this is an attractive supplemental purchase. (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-525-46139-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2001

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.

WAYSIDE SCHOOL BENEATH THE CLOUD OF DOOM

Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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The book is a cute, but rather standard offering from Avi (Tom, Babette, and Simon, p. 776, etc.).

POPPY

From the Poppy series , Vol. 3

An adolescent mouse named Poppy is off on a romantic tryst with her rebel boyfriend when they are attacked by Mr. Ocax, the owl who rules over the area.

He kills the boyfriend, but Poppy escapes and Mr. Ocax vows to catch her. Mr. Ocax has convinced all the mice that he is their protector when, in fact, he preys on them mercilessly. When the mice ask his permission to move to a new house, he refuses, blaming Poppy for his decision. Poppy suspects that there is another reason Mr. Ocax doesn't want them to move and investigates to clear her name. With the help of a prickly old porcupine and her quick wits, Poppy defeats her nemesis and her own fears, saving her family in the bargain. 

The book is a cute, but rather standard offering from Avi (Tom, Babette, and Simon, p. 776, etc.). (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-531-09483-9

Page Count: 147

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1995

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