LUKE ON THE LOOSE

Leaving his oblivious father deep in “(boring dad talk)” with a passerby, little Luke scuttles off in pursuit of a flock of pigeons. The merry chase takes him out of the park, across streets, over the Brooklyn Bridge, up an apartment building’s fire escape and, at last, onto the roof of a water tower where he decides to sack out. Relating the escapade in sequential panels featuring dialogue balloons, blurgits and other cartooning conventions (plus a cameo by Popeye’s Olive Oyl), Bliss sends his brown-skinned ex-toddler speeding through and over scenes of urban chaos, until he is delivered at last by firefighters into the arms of his relieved parents. The next-day final scene is much like the first—except that the errant lad is held in check by a leash. Luke’s ruckus seems low-key next to the general havoc wreaked in The Cat in the Hat, or more recently Jennifer Armstrong’s Once Upon A Banana, illustrated by David Small (2006), but that will make it easier for fledgling readers and prereaders to follow his trail. Only figuratively, one hopes. (Graphic early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 6, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-935179-00-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: RAW Junior/TOON Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2009

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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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THE BEST CHEF IN SECOND GRADE

An impending school visit by a celebrity chef sends budding cook Ollie into a tailspin. He and his classmates are supposed to bring a favorite family food for show and tell, but his family doesn’t have a clear choice—besides, his little sister Rosy doesn’t like much of anything. What to do? As in their previous two visits to Room 75, Kenah builds suspense while keeping the tone light, and Carter adds both bright notes of color and familiar home and school settings in her cartoon illustrations. Eventually, Ollie winkles favorite ingredients out of his clan, which he combines into a mac-and-cheese casserole with a face on top that draws delighted praise from the class’s renowned guest. As Ollie seems to do his kitchen work without parental assistance, a cautionary tip or two (and maybe a recipe) might not have gone amiss here, but the episode’s mouthwatering climax and resolution will guarantee smiles of contentment all around. (Easy reader. 6-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-053561-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2007

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