For a bare-bones retelling of the original’s plot, this has no equal. Just don’t expect any more than that.

READ REVIEW

MOBY DICK

CHASING THE GREAT WHITE WHALE

Melville’s classic gets a lush, if wildly oversimplified, retelling under its author’s generally sure hand.

Call him Ishmael. To rhyming verse, one lad’s adventures on the Pequod are retold in brief, generally accurate detail. Readers meet the harpooner Queequeg (ambiguous ethnicity and tattooed head intact), the obsessed Ahab (red eyes matching that of the titular whale’s) and the crew. Ahab challenges his men to spot the leviathan, and after much searching, they find it, marking the beginning of the end for the Pequod and its crew. Kimmel’s rhymes scan with clarity from the start, and he has a genius for synthesizing the loquacious storyline down to its plot essentials. A pity he chooses to end the retelling with the simplistic and wholly un-Melville-ian lesson, “The moral of this story is, / as my sad tale has shown: / Respect all creatures, great and small, / and leave the whales alone!” The high point of the title turns out to be Glass’ art. His oil-and-pencil illustrations create a white whale hide interlaced with the scars of countless harpooners, his sheer girth a towering mountain of angry flesh. Readers will have little difficulty understanding the awe inspired by such a creature.

For a bare-bones retelling of the original’s plot, this has no equal. Just don’t expect any more than that. (author’s note, glossary) (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-66297-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: July 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after.

RISE OF THE EARTH DRAGON

From the Dragon Masters series , Vol. 1

Drake has been selected by the king to serve as a Dragon Master, quite a change for an 8-year-old farmer boy.

The dragons are a secret, and the reason King Roland has them is a mystery, but what is clear is that the Dragon Stone has identified Drake as one of the rare few children who have a special connection with dragons and the ability to serve as a trainer. Drake’s dragon is a long brown creature with, at first, no particular talents that Drake can identify. He calls the dragon Worm. It isn’t long before Drake begins to realize he has a very strong connection with Worm and can share what seem to be his dragon’s thoughts. After one of the other Dragon Masters decides to illicitly take the dragons outside, disaster strikes. The cave they are passing through collapses, blocking the passageway, and then Worm’s special talent becomes evident. The first of a new series of early chapter books, this entry is sure to attract fans. Brief chapters, large print, lots of action, attractive illustrations in every spread, including a maplike panorama, an enviable protagonist—who wouldn’t want to be a Dragon Master?—all combine to make an entertaining read.

With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-64624-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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