A rousing read-aloud begging for enthusiastic performers.

READ REVIEW

PAR-TAY!

DANCE OF THE VEGGIES (AND THEIR FRIENDS)

Greenfield invites children to imagine what a fridge full of veggies might do once their people leave for the evening.

They dance, of course—once Cabbage summons them forth as the family departs. Greenfield’s beginning and ending passages are in free verse. In between, syncopated rhymes introduce the fruits and vegetables, many of whom take up instruments to “make a mighty music / for the party that’s to come.” After turns by Zucchini and Hip-Hop String Bean, “The baby limas wobble-dance, / can hardly stand at all, / their mamas run / and catch them, / the moment they start to fall.” Next up: hot chili peppers and a stately waltz from Mr. Corn and Ms. Arugula. “Then, / the sweet potato sisters / dance as sweet as pie, / pirouette and flit / and flutter, / curtsy with a sigh.” After working up a sweat, it’s time to slow-dance back into the “delicious coldness” of the fridge, “(sweet potatoes to the bin),” all contemplating “their / fantabulous / PAR-TAY. / YEAHHHH.” The gifted Tate’s illustrations resemble loose, translucent watercolors contoured by wide, waxy lines. Aside from some pink tutus for the sweet potato sisters and Mr. Corn’s neat mustache, the visual focus is on the veggies’ hip exuberance rather than gender stereotypes.

A rousing read-aloud begging for enthusiastic performers. (author’s note, references) (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9977720-2-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Alazar Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun.

CLOTHESLINE CLUES TO JOBS PEOPLE DO

From the Clothesline Clues series

Heling and Hembrook’s clever conceit challenges children to analyze a small town’s clotheslines to guess the job each of their owners does. 

Close-up on the clothesline: “Uniform and cap, / an invite for you. / Big bag of letters. / What job does she do?” A turn of the page reveals a macro view of the home, van and the woman doing her job, “She is a mail carrier.” Indeed, she can be spotted throughout the book delivering invitations to all the rest of the characters, who gather at the end for a “Launch Party.” The verses’ rhymes are spot-on, though the rhythm falters a couple of times. The authors nicely mix up the gender stereotypes often associated with several of these occupations, making the carpenter, firefighter and astronaut women. But while Davies keeps uniforms and props pretty neutral (he even avoids U.S. mail symbols), he keeps to the stereotypes that allow young readers to easily identify occupations—the farmer chews on a stalk of wheat; the beret-wearing artist sports a curly mustache. A subdued palette and plain white backgrounds keep kids’ focus on the clothing clues. Still, there are plenty of details to absorb—the cat with arched back that anticipates a spray of water, the firefighter who “lights” the rocket.

Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58089-251-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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THE GRUFFALO

The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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