THE EMPTY CREEL

Grandpa pulls up to Lucy's house early on a Saturday morning. He's got fishing on his mind. Lucy grabs her gear and they beat feet to the local river. Motoring their boat to a favorite haunt, Lucy nabs a sizeable salmon, but the fish shakes loose and Lucy returns home with an empty creel and full heart. Pope's tale is redolent of a springtime fishing jaunt, all electric and expectant. Lucy wishes she had landed the brute, wishes her picture was nailed up on the tackle shop wall, but readers will know that the real story was the chase. In his first book, Cunningham's b&w block prints chart the course of Lucy's adventure; their bold outlines and 1940s feel are a good match. At times the chunky style doesn't suit what is depicted: the swirls of mist and clouds look leaden. Otherwise, the prints vividly conjure the north woods, and Grandpa is conjured best: Kindly, unshaven, and vaguely disreputable, he's the perfect fishing companion. Mossy and transporting, this book provides an opportunity to delve into the whole hunting/fishing conundrum. (Picture book. 6- 10)

Pub Date: July 20, 1995

ISBN: 1-56792-044-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Godine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1995

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THE DOG THAT DUG FOR DINOSAURS

This easy reader for children reading at the fluency level recounts the story of a girl named Mary Ann Anning and her dog, Tray. They lived on the coast of England in the early 1800s, although the time frame is given only as “a long, long time ago.” Mary Ann and Tray became famous for their discoveries of fossils, including dinosaur bones. They discovered the first pterodactyl found in England, and the name was assigned to their fossil. The story focuses a little too much on the dog, and the title misses a great opportunity to completely acknowledge a girl accomplishing something important in the scientific world, especially in a much earlier era and without formal training or education. Despite this drawback, both Mary Ann and Tray are appealing characters and the discovery of the fossils and subsequent notice from scientists, collectors, and even royalty is appealing and well written. Sullivan’s illustrations provide intriguing period details in costumes, tools, and buildings, as well as a clever front endpaper of fossil-strewn ground covered with muddy paw prints. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85708-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2004

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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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