A sugarcoated but hardly saccharine introduction to one Hindu myth.

GANESHA'S SWEET TOOTH

Emphasizing Ganesha’s playfulness, this story is a takeoff on one legend about the elephant-headed Hindu god.

Ganesha, god of beginnings, is also a mischievous boy. Together with his sidekick, Mr. Mouse, he loves to eat candy. When he bites into “THE SUPER JUMBO JAWBREAKER LADDOO!,” he breaks his tusk. He is so angry that he throws his tusk to the moon, but he accidentally hits an old man. Not just any old man, but Vyasa, the poet who has created the Mahabharata, the Sanskrit epic. In this tale, Vyasa suggests that Ganesha be his scribe and use his tusk as a pen. In the traditional story, Ganesha starts to write with a pen, and when it breaks, he uses his tusk as his writing implement. Here, he starts right off with his tusk. The unusual conditions of the legend (that Vyasa never stop reciting the poem and that Ganesha must understand the meaning of the epic) are here, but they are presented in an unusual double-page spread in which Mr. Mouse, as lawyer, sets up a contract. The illustrator is a Pixar animator, and the digital illustrations employ a confectioner’s palette of hot pink and greenish blue, sometimes against dark backgrounds. Strong shapes and a mix of modern objects (Ganesha tries to use a stapler and tape dispenser to re-attach his tusk) with traditional designs add to the fun.

A sugarcoated but hardly saccharine introduction to one Hindu myth. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0362-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work.

SYLVIA'S SPINACH

A young spinach hater becomes a spinach lover after she has to grow her own in a class garden.

Unable to trade away the seed packet she gets from her teacher for tomatoes, cukes or anything else more palatable, Sylvia reluctantly plants and nurtures a pot of the despised veggie then transplants it outside in early spring. By the end of school, only the plot’s lettuce, radishes and spinach are actually ready to eat (talk about a badly designed class project!)—and Sylvia, once she nerves herself to take a nibble, discovers that the stuff is “not bad.” She brings home an armful and enjoys it from then on in every dish: “And that was the summer Sylvia Spivens said yes to spinach.” Raff uses unlined brushwork to give her simple cartoon illustrations a pleasantly freehand, airy look, and though Pryor skips over the (literally, for spinach) gritty details in both the story and an afterword, she does cover gardening basics in a simple and encouraging way.

Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-1-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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