HENRIETTA AND THE GOLDEN EGGS

Henrietta is one of 3,333 chickens crowded together in a chicken house on a chicken farm in a space with just enough room for their feet; she is the only little one and the only one without a cough or loss of feathers. Every day the manager counts up the eggs they’ve laid. Henrietta announces she is going to lay golden eggs when she’s big, but first she’s going to learn to sing; of course, the other hens laugh at her. When she pecks a hole in the corner of the house, making it big enough for her to walk through, she sees green things for the first time. Soon the hole is big enough for all the chickens to escape and the manager has to round them up. Next Henrietta tackles learning to swim, then learning to fly and each time all of the chickens get loose. When the workers can’t round them all up, they build a great big chicken yard in the open and everyone is happier. The crisp black-and-white, pen-and-ink drawings are bordered on the square pages with images flying outside the edges. A brown chicken runs across the top of the pages accenting the page numbers. (The colorful cover and endpapers will lead readers to expect color illustrations.) The length and squarish size could make placement difficult as it looks like a chapter book—but the audience is really younger. The moral may be a stretch as the stylized art puts a sophisticated edge on this barnyard fable originally published in Germany. Kids may simply like Henrietta’s determination and cockiness when her first egg turns out to be brown and they’re sure to enjoy the escapes. Better for one-on-one reading to give the pictures (and chickens) their due. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2003

ISBN: 1-56792-210-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Godine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2003

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THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE

Like an ocean-going “Lion and the Mouse,” a humpback whale and a snail “with an itchy foot” help each other out in this cheery travelogue. Responding to a plaintive “Ride wanted around the world,” scrawled in slime on a coastal rock, whale picks up snail, then sails off to visit waters tropical and polar, stormy and serene before inadvertently beaching himself. Off hustles the snail, to spur a nearby community to action with another slimy message: “SAVE THE WHALE.” Donaldson’s rhyme, though not cumulative, sounds like “The house that Jack built”—“This is the tide coming into the bay, / And these are the villagers shouting, ‘HOORAY!’ / As the whale and the snail travel safely away. . . .” Looking in turn hopeful, delighted, anxious, awed, and determined, Scheffler’s snail, though tiny next to her gargantuan companion, steals the show in each picturesque seascape—and upon returning home, provides so enticing an account of her adventures that her fellow mollusks all climb on board the whale’s tail for a repeat voyage. Young readers will clamor to ride along. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8037-2922-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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