A clever introduction to sleuthing for young readers, with plenty of context in the illustrations to offset some unfamiliar...

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS FISH?

A boy investigates the disappearance of a fish in this debut picture book.

Jamie, a freckle-faced child with a poof of curly brown hair, is dismayed to get home from school and discover that Fritz is missing from his fishbowl. Jamie’s first step in locating the beloved Fritz is putting up lost-pet posters, a move sure to start preschool readers giggling. When a helpful local gumshoe—decked out in a Holmes-ian hat and trench coat and bizarrely walking a sweater-wearing squirrel on a leash—calls Jamie’s problem a mystery, the boy approaches Fritz’s vanishing like a detective. Clues lead to a feline suspect, but other hints send Jamie all the way to a water treatment facility. Although he fails to find Fritz, the fish shows up in the most unexpected place for a happy ending. Ball’s text and Özcan’s (Köse Bucak Safranbolu, 2016, etc.) illustrations work in perfect sync to expand the story in a way neither could accomplish alone. The cartoonish images include plenty of silly and absurd details sure to delight young readers, who may spot a missing bird and frog featured on posters. (Jamie’s race is unclear in the pictures.) Ball’s first-person, tongue-in-cheek narration is accessible despite several challenging words and phrases (“alibied,” “key witness”). And Jamie’s efforts are worthy of the big win at the tale’s conclusion.

A clever introduction to sleuthing for young readers, with plenty of context in the illustrations to offset some unfamiliar vocabulary.

Pub Date: May 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73373-750-0

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Writing Times Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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CINDERELLA

This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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