MONKEY

A TRICKSTER TALE FROM INDIA

Monkey wants some mangoes and Crocodile wants some monkey—and neither is about to give up in this traditional Indian trickster tale. McDermott’s bright and funny text coupled with his equally colorful and lively collage illustrations ably depict the mischievous, nimble primate and his greedy reptilian foe on a glowing background of energetic orange. In an effort to reach the island where the mangoes grow, Monkey accepts a ride from Crocodile and in mid-journey discovers that Crocodile is craving a snack—him! Can Monkey escape? Using his wits, he explains that the monkey heart Crocodile so craves is hidden on shore in a tree—one that, as it turns out, the croc cannot possibly climb. Next, stealthy Crocodile sees that Monkey has discovered a path of rocks that leads to the island. After gathering a load of mangoes, Monkey scampers back only to recognize a suspiciously green rock that is able to speak when prodded. But Monkey still needs to get back home. Can he outmaneuver Crocodile a second time? Readers will laugh out loud at Monkey’s escapades and sigh in relief when he manages to get to safety. This final volume in McDermott’s sextet of trickster tales is as full of kid appeal and entertaining as the rest and, like them, will power many an energetic read-aloud. (Picture book/folktale. 5-10)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-15-216596-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...

STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK

From the Stink series

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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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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