BENNY AND PENNY IN THE TOY BREAKER

The popular and Geisel Award–winning mouse sibs (Benny and Penny in the Big No-No!, 2009) meet their greatest challenge yet when hard-playing, toy-breaking cousin Bo saunters over for a visit. Ignoring their efforts to stonewall him, Bo aggressively messes up the sandbox, snatches Benny’s homemade treasure map away and generally makes a nuisance of himself while sneering “Oh, are you going to tell your Mommy?” Eventually the tables turn when Bo needs help getting un-stuck from a hole in the fence, and by the end he shows preliminary signs of acquiring better socialization skills. All three furry playmates sport eloquent eyebrows and other easy-to-spot emotional markers in Hayes’s sunny backyard scenes—and even prereaders may note that when toys get broken here, it’s while Benny or Penny are trying to grab them out of Bo’s hands. A thought-provoking episode just right for the I Can Read set. (Graphic early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-935179-07-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: RAW Junior/TOON Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2010

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THE BEST CHEF IN SECOND GRADE

An impending school visit by a celebrity chef sends budding cook Ollie into a tailspin. He and his classmates are supposed to bring a favorite family food for show and tell, but his family doesn’t have a clear choice—besides, his little sister Rosy doesn’t like much of anything. What to do? As in their previous two visits to Room 75, Kenah builds suspense while keeping the tone light, and Carter adds both bright notes of color and familiar home and school settings in her cartoon illustrations. Eventually, Ollie winkles favorite ingredients out of his clan, which he combines into a mac-and-cheese casserole with a face on top that draws delighted praise from the class’s renowned guest. As Ollie seems to do his kitchen work without parental assistance, a cautionary tip or two (and maybe a recipe) might not have gone amiss here, but the episode’s mouthwatering climax and resolution will guarantee smiles of contentment all around. (Easy reader. 6-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-053561-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2007

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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