THE YEAR OF NO MORE CORN

When Beanie complains that ``Dad says I'm too young to help'' plant corn, Grampa allows that ``that's funny, because he said I'm too old''—and wisely seizes the opportunity to describe the spring of 1928, when his successive plantings were destroyed by a string of disasters rivaling the plagues of Egypt: floods, wind, crows, a sun so hot the hens laid hard-boiled eggs and the corn popped. With the seed corn exhausted, Grampa says, he whittled a wooden ear (like the one he's making now), planted the kernels, and grew an extraordinary, never-to-be-duplicated crop of corn-laden trees. Ketteman's wry, folksy telling of her original tale is colorful and well paced. Parker's elegantly scribbled pen drawings are drenched in the sunny colors of the Midwest; the tender scenes of the boy and the old man together are especially lovely. A lively, likable tall tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-531-05950-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1993

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THE NAME JAR

Unhei has just left her Korean homeland and come to America with her parents. As she rides the school bus toward her first day of school, she remembers the farewell at the airport in Korea and examines the treasured gift her grandmother gave her: a small red pouch containing a wooden block on which Unhei’s name is carved. Unhei is ashamed when the children on the bus find her name difficult to pronounce and ridicule it. Lesson learned, she declines to tell her name to anyone else and instead offers, “Um, I haven’t picked one yet. But I’ll let you know next week.” Her classmates write suggested names on slips of paper and place them in a jar. One student, Joey, takes a particular liking to Unhei and sees the beauty in her special stamp. When the day arrives for Unhei to announce her chosen name, she discovers how much Joey has helped. Choi (Earthquake, see below, etc.) draws from her own experience, interweaving several issues into this touching account and delicately addressing the challenges of assimilation. The paintings are done in creamy, earth-tone oils and augment the story nicely. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 10, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-80613-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2001

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TOUGH BORIS

In Brown's swashbuckling watercolors, Boris is tough indeed — hirsute, craggy, grim — but then, "All pirates are tough." As Fox's text succinctly points out, he's also "massive," "scruffy," "greedy," and "fearless," all qualities demonstrated in the illustrations as he seizes a violin from one of his crew, threatens the whole ugly lot after it's been purloined (readers will know that the stowaway boy, who earlier watched while the pirates buried their treasure, is the real culprit). The "scary" pirates catch the boy but soften when they hear him play; and when Boris's parrot dies, the boy helps him put it in the violin case for burial at sea and Boris cries and cries — "All pirates cry." These pirates also let the boy keep the violin when they row him home. Kids are sure to enjoy puzzling out the real story from the pictures, to which, in the end, the text's childlike stereotyping makes an amusing contrast. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-15-289612-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1994

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