ARMADILLY CHILI

Little Red Hen goes to Texas. A Blue Norther puts Miss Billie Armadilly in the mood for some chili, but when she asks Tex the tarantula, Mackie the bluebird, and Taffy the horned toad to help gather the requisite beetles, jalapeños, and prickly pear, they make excuses. So, it’s “No cookin’ with Billie, no sharin’ the chili!” when the dish’s scent draws the miscreants to her door. But despite its savor, the chili tastes “flat as a Texas prairie” to Miss Billie—until her now-repentant buddies reappear, bearing dishes of their own, to share it. Terry debuts with big Southwestern scenes, laid out in swirls and curls of rich color, through which his characters, decked out in western wear (that’s a Stetson and four pairs of boots for Tex), saunter stylishly until gathering at Billie’s hacienda to chatter the chilly night away. Despite the lack of a recipe—with or without beetles—here’s a tale guaranteed to warm the bones on a cold night. (Picture book/folktale. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8075-0457-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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THE RECESS QUEEN

Positing that bullies only act that way because they’re lonely, O’Neill (Loud Emily, 1998) puts seemingly meek, new classmate Katie Sue up against aggressive Mean Jean, swaggering boss of the playground. Knowing but one way to deal with challengers (“she’d push ’em and smoosh ’em, / lollapaloosh ’em, / hammer ’em, slammer ’em, / kitz and kajammer ’em . . .”), Mean Jean roughly tries to set Katie Sue straight on the pecking order. But Katie Sue stands up to her with a cheeky, “How DID you get to be so bossy?” and pulls out a jump rope, inviting Mean Jean to jump along. Presto change-o, a friendship is born. Huliska-Beith’s (The Book of Bad Ideas, 2000, etc.) rubbery-limbed figures, rolling perspectives, and neon-bright colors reflect the text’s informality as well as its frenzied energy. Though the suggested strategy works far more easily here than it would in real life, young readers will be caught up by Katie Sue’s engaging, fizzy exuberance. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-439-20637-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2001

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DAVID GOES TO SCHOOL

The poster boy for relentless mischief-makers everywhere, first encountered in No, David! (1998), gives his weary mother a rest by going to school. Naturally, he’s tardy, and that’s but the first in a long string of offenses—“Sit down, David! Keep your hands to yourself! PAY ATTENTION!”—that culminates in an afterschool stint. Children will, of course, recognize every line of the text and every one of David’s moves, and although he doesn’t exhibit the larger- than-life quality that made him a tall-tale anti-hero in his first appearance, his round-headed, gap-toothed enthusiasm is still endearing. For all his disruptive behavior, he shows not a trace of malice, and it’ll be easy for readers to want to encourage his further exploits. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-48087-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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