BATTER UP WOMBAT

“The Champs weren’t,” writes Lester, introducing Munsinger’s hairy, delightful baseballers. Concisely so, but only from the vantage point of runs scored. Into their unsuspecting, winless ranks marches a hairy, delightful wombat (a sturdily built Australian marsupial, for those as clueless about wombats as this wombat is about baseball). The sport may bewilder the wombat, but the Champs think his name is powerfully suggestive—“Wham! Bat!”—and the wombat is tickled by baseball’s allusive jargon, literally interpreting such items as “a pitcher stands on a mound,” “the catcher wears a mask” and, best of all, “the hitter hits a foul,” with the image coming to his mind of a chicken getting clobbered by a boxing glove. While the wombat doesn’t deliver the big hits the Champs expected, he does dig them a storm cellar into which they retreat (it seems the Champs are forever retreating into one cellar or another) when a tornado invades their playing field. Comically absurd wordplay and Munsinger’s typically goofy art make this an unbeatable combination. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2006

ISBN: 0-618-73784-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walter Lorraine/Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2006

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Sincere and wholehearted.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

I PROMISE

The NBA star offers a poem that encourages curiosity, integrity, compassion, courage, and self-forgiveness.

James makes his debut as a children’s author with a motivational poem touting life habits that children should strive for. In the first-person narration, he provides young readers with foundational self-esteem encouragement layered within basketball descriptions: “I promise to run full court and show up each time / to get right back up and let my magic shine.” While the verse is nothing particularly artful, it is heartfelt, and in her illustrations, Mata offers attention-grabbing illustrations of a diverse and enthusiastic group of children. Scenes vary, including classrooms hung with student artwork, an asphalt playground where kids jump double Dutch, and a gym populated with pint-sized basketball players, all clearly part of one bustling neighborhood. Her artistry brings black and brown joy to the forefront of each page. These children evince equal joy in learning and in play. One particularly touching double-page spread depicts two vignettes of a pair of black children, possibly siblings; in one, they cuddle comfortably together, and in the other, the older gives the younger a playful noogie. Adults will appreciate the closing checklist of promises, which emphasize active engagement with school. A closing note very generally introduces principles that underlie the Lebron James Family Foundation’s I Promise School (in Akron, Ohio). (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 15% of actual size.)

Sincere and wholehearted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-297106-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

MY LUCKY DAY

It’s become predictable, this story of the pig outfoxing the fox, but Kasza’s version does sport his lively art and a measure of dry humor. When a piglet comes knocking on Mr. Fox’s door, the fox can’t believe his luck; he’s not used to delivery service. The piglet is just about to be tucked in the oven, when he suggests a few improvements to Mr. Fox. Wouldn’t he taste better if he were washed first—“Just a thought, Mr. Fox”—and plumped up and perhaps massaged to tenderize the meat? The fox agrees that he would, rushing madly about scrubbing, feeding, and working the piglet’s tissues, and promptly falling into an exhausted swoon. The pig is last seen back in his pen, thumbing through his address book—Mr. Bear, Mr. Wolf, Mr. Coyote—getting ready to work the same ruse on another carnivore. Fun enough, though no self-respecting four-year-old will be very worried about this little porker’s fate. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-399-23874-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2003

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more