Purposive but pleasing, this gentle lesson in diversity, diligence and the dignity of hard work offers an appealing balance...

READ REVIEW

WHO PUT THE COOKIES IN THE COOKIE JAR?

Shannon and Paschkis provide a charming multicultural answer to the title question, creating in the process a confection that, while it may be most appreciated by socially conscious adults, will tempt young appetites as well.

The brief text is composed of rhyming couplets that appear as two phrases on facing pages or as several short sentences across multiple pages or double-page spreads. The actions described may be quite different, but many of the simple sentences start the same way, keeping the focus squarely on the workers and their contributions: “Hands that make the cookie sheet”; “Hands that feed and milk the cow.” While some of the locations may seem exotic, the mother and child busy baking in their cozy kitchen will be familiar to many young readers. Paschkis’ folk-art–inspired gouache illustrations suit the simple language and the sentiment conveyed perfectly. Brightly colored, graphically appealing cookies on the cover invite readers to sample the story within, while the repeating motifs of sunshine, flowers, birds and butterflies that decorate the cookie jar appear again dancing in the blue sky and decorating the fertile land. Shannon ends with a recipe for sugar cookies, just in case readers are inspired to bake a few themselves.

Purposive but pleasing, this gentle lesson in diversity, diligence and the dignity of hard work offers an appealing balance of art and information. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 5, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9197-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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