KNOCK!KNOCK!

Innovative design meets a classic lost-and-found story in this remarkable Japanese import.

The slipcased book initially seems like a codex bound on the right. The first scene shows a child at a door with text reading “knock! knock! / I’m home!” When opened to the first double-page spread, the recto shows the girl with her mother, both wearing concerned expressions, and the text reads “My bear….” The facing verso shows the girl looking out the window: “Is my bear there?” Next, instead of turning pages right to left, a large section of pages on the verso flips up, revealing the girl in her apartment on the verso below (now facing the initial recto “My bear…” page). Pages then continue unfolding to the right and up, to the left and up, and so on, as the girl climbs flights of stairs in search of her bear, knocking on neighbors’ doors in black-and-white scenes. Brightly colored, whimsical interiors appear behind each neighbor’s door, but the bear is missing until she reaches the rooftop and spies a bird flying with it. The bird returns it at the topmost verso, and remaining pages turn like a gatefold page to the left, creating a third facing page and initiating an eight-page downward, unfurling descent as she joyously returns home to cuddle in bed with her bear. Though its format and construction make it a challenge for library circulation, its playful stretching of the boundaries makes it a must for anyone interested in the apparently infinite possibilities of the physical book.

A wonder. (Novelty. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-93-83145-32-4

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Tara Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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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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Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work.

SYLVIA'S SPINACH

A young spinach hater becomes a spinach lover after she has to grow her own in a class garden.

Unable to trade away the seed packet she gets from her teacher for tomatoes, cukes or anything else more palatable, Sylvia reluctantly plants and nurtures a pot of the despised veggie then transplants it outside in early spring. By the end of school, only the plot’s lettuce, radishes and spinach are actually ready to eat (talk about a badly designed class project!)—and Sylvia, once she nerves herself to take a nibble, discovers that the stuff is “not bad.” She brings home an armful and enjoys it from then on in every dish: “And that was the summer Sylvia Spivens said yes to spinach.” Raff uses unlined brushwork to give her simple cartoon illustrations a pleasantly freehand, airy look, and though Pryor skips over the (literally, for spinach) gritty details in both the story and an afterword, she does cover gardening basics in a simple and encouraging way.

Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-1-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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