LIZARD’S GUEST

The latest installment of Lizard’s adventures (Lizard’s Home, 1999, etc.) begins with Lizard exuberantly dancing and singing, until he stomps on Skunk’s toes by accident. Wily Skunk plays on Lizard’s guilty conscience, convincing Lizard to wait on him hand and foot until Lizard catches on. Once he discovers that Skunk’s toes are perfectly healthy, Lizard must find a crafty way to quit being at Skunk’s beck and call, since he doesn’t want to risk Skunk’s stink by making him angry. On his last errand for Skunk, Lizard ventures further and further away, and Skunk must follow him in order to get his demands met. It’s soon apparent that the toes have completely healed, and Lizard throws a party to celebrate Skunk’s “newfound” health and distract Skunk from the fact that he’s been tricked. Young readers will quickly spot Skunk’s duplicity, and will cheer Lizard’s ingenious solution to making Skunk reveal himself. The simple, bright illustrations, full of life and outlined in thin black, perfectly convey the sweetness of the animals’ friendship. Lizard’s indefatigable joviality is hard to resist, and his song—“Sing zing-a-ling. / Sing a zoli-o. / Follow me / And around we’ll go!”—will inspire readers and listeners to sing and leap along with him. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-06-009083-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2003

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A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught...

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM?

A child struggles with the worry and anxiety that come with an unexpected problem.

In a wonderful balance of text and pictures, the team responsible for What Do You Do With an Idea (2014) returns with another book inspiring children to feel good about themselves. A child frets about a problem that won’t go away: “I wished it would just disappear. I tried everything I could to hide from it. I even found ways to disguise myself. But it still found me.” The spare, direct narrative is accompanied by soft gray illustrations in pencil and watercolor. The sepia-toned figure of the child is set apart from the background and surrounded by lots of white space, visually isolating the problem, which is depicted as a purple storm cloud looming overhead. Color is added bit by bit as the storm cloud grows and its color becomes more saturated. With a backpack and umbrella, the child tries to escape the problem while the storm swirls, awash with compass points scattered across the pages. The pages brighten into splashes of yellow as the child decides to tackle the problem head-on and finds that it holds promise for unlooked-for opportunity.

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught situations, this belongs on the shelf alongside Molly Bang’s Sophie books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943-20000-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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This earnest Latino first-grader who overcomes obstacles and solves mysteries is a winning character

PEDRO, FIRST-GRADE HERO

From the Pedro series , Vol. 1

The creators of the Katie Woo series turn their focus to a peripheral character, first-grader Pedro—Katie’s friend and schoolmate.

Four short chapters—“Pedro Goes Buggy,” “Pedro’s Big Goal,” “Pedro’s Mystery Club,” and “Pedro For President”—highlight a Latino main character surrounded by a superbly diverse cast. At times unsure of himself, Pedro is extremely likable, for he wants to do his best and is a fair friend. He consistently comes out on top, even when his younger brother releases all the bugs he’s captured for a class assignment or when self-assured bully Roddy tries to unite opposition to Pedro’s female opponent (Katie Woo) in the race for first-grade class president. Using a third-person, past-tense narrative voice, Manushkin expands her repertoire by adding a hero comparable to EllRay Jakes. What is refreshing about the book is that for the most part, aside from Roddy’s gender-based bullying, the book overcomes boy-girl stereotypes: girls and boys play soccer, boys and girls run for president, girls and boys hunt for bugs, all setting a progressive standard for chapter books. With mixed-media illustrations featuring colorful bugs, soccer action, a mystery hunt, and a presidential campaign, Lyon’s attention to detail in color and facial expressions complements the story nicely.

This earnest Latino first-grader who overcomes obstacles and solves mysteries is a winning character . (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5158-0112-2

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Picture Window Books

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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