THE SEVEN CHAIRS

Ostensibly paying homage to the illustration “The Seven Chairs” from Chris Van Allsburg’s The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (1984), Lanteigne explores the destiny of the seven chairs a man created during his life. Lanteigne’s chairs act as an analogy for the man’s growth and development. Cyclical in nature, the book begins and ends with two crooked three-legged stools: one made in the early years of the man’s life and one created in old age, both becoming the property of a calico cat. In the ensuing years the man produces a chair with a heart carved into it to express his love, as well as a child-sized one for his daughter. The destination of his fifth chair is Paris, though Van Allsburg wasn’t so specific (“The fifth one ended up in France”). There is humor to be found in the destinies of the various chairs, e.g., his masterpiece ends up as “the prop that held open the screen door of Miss Maybelle Jenkins’s Beauty and Tea Parlor.” Kovalski creates heavily pigmented pictures with lush images that lend an appropriate other-era, other-worldly feeling to the journeys of the chairs. A great book to inspire children to ponder the “lives” of the objects around them. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-531-30110-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1998

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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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THIS SCHOOL YEAR WILL BE THE BEST!

On the first day of school, this primary-grade teacher encourages her students to share their hopes for the coming year. In one- or two-page spreads, the wishes unfold: for the best seat on the bus, a chocolate fountain at lunch, to kick the ball into the right goal, not to be a vegetable in the school play. The quotidian-but-nevertheless-marvelous (“at least one snow day”) mixes with the slightly ridiculous (“We’ll have Skateboard Day”) to provide a kid-level survey of anticipated fun. Andriani’s line-and-watercolor cartoons likewise mix the fanciful (one little boy brings his giant purple boa constrictor for show-and-tell) and the realistic (two girls jump double Dutch as one of them imagines making friends in her new school). A catalog more than a story, this agreeable book could act as a fruitful springboard for class brainstorming. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-525-42275-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2010

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