JIMMY DABBLE

A humorous, though lightweight, plot tells of Jimmy Dabble, an extraordinary child, who faces the predictable perils of dull, unimaginative, and hardworking farm parents. Saved from their drab perspective by his own innate abilities and his beloved talking farm animals, he seizes ways to enliven everyone’s life and incidentally increase the farm’s productivity. Besides his animal friends, he is desperately alone, until the arrival of his quirky grandmother, who opens up new vistas of how to disobey his parents. Magic intrudes with a fanciful creature from the forbidden forest, but through the steady, dimensionless plot vehicles, all the characters remain undeveloped. Vischer delivers lively conversation that starts to develop insight and a well-paced story but is curtailed by the rest of the text that lacks spark, development, and expertise. The depth that he tries to invest in his characters is flawed. Even the parents’ latent ability to value anything other than work is cheapened by the politically incorrect nature of how that is foreshadowed: father’s craving for tobacco to fill his empty pipe which perpetually hangs from his mouth, and mother’s gentle appreciation for her figurine collection, which she is willing to sacrifice for the good of the farm. A nominee for the 1998 Reuben Award and an animator for Disney and DreamWorks, Vischer’s art smacks of second-rate cartoons. Despite occasionally sparkling and revealing conversation, overall this lacks smooth-flowing text and developed characterization, making it an unnecessary purchase. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: July 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-525-46671-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2001

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JUDY MOODY SAVES THE WORLD!

McDonald’s irrepressible third-grader (Judy Moody Gets Famous, 2001, etc.) takes a few false steps before hitting full stride. This time, not only has her genius little brother Stink submitted a competing entry in the Crazy Strips Band-Aid design contest, but in the wake of her science teacher’s heads-up about rainforest destruction and endangered animals, she sees every member of her family using rainforest products. It’s all more than enough to put her in a Mood, which gets her in trouble at home for letting Stink’s pet toad, Toady, go free, and at school for surreptitiously collecting all the pencils (made from rainforest cedar) in class. And to top it off, Stink’s Crazy Strips entry wins a prize, while she gets . . . a certificate. Chronicled amusingly in Reynolds’s frequent ink-and-tea drawings, Judy goes from pillar to post—but she justifies the pencil caper convincingly enough to spark a bottle drive that nets her and her classmates not only a hundred seedling trees for Costa Rica, but the coveted school Giraffe Award (given to those who stick their necks out), along with T-shirts and ice cream coupons. Judy’s growing corps of fans will crow “Rare!” right along with her. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-7636-1446-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2002

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WATCH OUT FOR SHARKS!

For shark fanciers, a look at a Los Angeles Natural History Museum exhibit, Sharks: Fact and Fantasy. Now touring the country, it includes models of large and small sharks, many of them swimming in simulated undersea settings. The text follows a group of young museum-goers as they examine shark teeth, fossil sharks, sharks in art, and a living shark embryo; shark anatomy, special adaptations, types of sharks, and some shark facts are also included. Photos are clear, colorful and engaging. Not comprehensive, but an attractive added purchase. Pronunciation guide; additional reading; index. (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 1991

ISBN: 0-395-57560-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1991

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