Beautiful illustrations, plus birthday and Christmas together—fun.

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NOODLES’ AND ALBIE’S BIRTHDAY SURPRISE

When a penguin receives a compass for his birthday, he gets the chance to help a lost Kris Kringle.

It’s midsummer in the Antarctic, Dec. 24, and Noodles’ first birthday. Noodles the penguin enjoys playing in the snow and sliding on the ice with his friends. One pal, Albie (a fish), gives Noodles two perfect gifts: a compass and a trip to Polar Kingdom, the underwater amusement park. They have a wonderful time, though Noodles almost loses his compass on the Octowhirl, and return home to find a “plump tourist” in a sled filled with boxes, accompanied by some strange animals. Introducing himself as Kris Kringle, the tourist explains he’s lost. Noodles generously offers his new compass, and Kris flies north with his reindeer. The next morning, Noodles gets his compass back, nicely wrapped up, with a thank-you note saying, “You saved Christmas!” Though Bennett’s follow-up to Noodles & Albie: A Penguin Journey (2014) is set during Christmas, Albie has no reply when Noodles asks, “What the heck is Christmas anyway?” so parents may need to answer that one for themselves. The enchanting prospect of a birthday, an undersea amusement park, and helping Santa has great appeal, even when Noodles must (temporarily) give away his compass. Reardon’s soft pastel illustrations are charming, capturing the playful, dynamic spirit of the characters. Some details strike a wrong note, though, as when penguins are shown living in igloos, an invention of the Arctic Inuit.

Beautiful illustrations, plus birthday and Christmas together—fun.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-692-78885-1

Page Count: -

Publisher: Penguin Place

Review Posted Online: June 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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