An exhilarating dive propelled by deft and clever use of its optical trick.



Though eager to help his friend Peter the Penguin, whose submarine has stalled, Ludwig is stymied by the fact that, being paper himself and having been raised in a “world of books,” all he knows of real water is from pictures of ponds and fish.

Following an accident with a glass of water, he’s left to dry flat between the pages of a collection of fairy tales, where he meets, along with some familiar characters (“Don’t eat Red Riding Hood’s grandmother. It won’t end well for you,” he solemnly informs a wolf), a fairy queen who grants his wish to make the ocean real in a copy of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It’s off to the rescue—and to encounters, in a dazzling climactic double gatefold, with schools of swimming sausages and other nautical wonders. Even without the cardboard “sea goggles” Löhlein’s illustrations are lively and at least mostly sharp. With the 3-D enhancement, Ludwig and his animal friends (all of whom are portrayed as cutout figures) float convincingly among piles of closed and open volumes, dense swarms of fish and multitentacled creatures, droplets of water, and long trails of bubbles—so much so that for many viewers the actual surfaces of the pages will vanish. The white, blonde fairy queen is the only human figure in the pictures.

An exhilarating dive propelled by deft and clever use of its optical trick. (Novelty picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-61067-708-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.


From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.


A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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