Thin though the plot may be, the art makes the trip well worth the time.

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LUDWIG THE TIME DOG

Returning a mysterious, outsized egg to its home takes a veteran canine traveler on an unexpectedly long journey.

Ludwig adds a fourth dimension to his 3-D adventures as a …Space Dog (2016) and a …Sea Dog (2017) when the egg—which is nearly as big as he is—turns out not to belong to any modern birds or reptiles. Into a mammoth tome titled The Entire History of the World he dives. After a consultation with Mary Anning (unnamed but recognizable at least to readers familiar with the history of paleontology) and quick stops in several earlier eras, he fetches up in a spooky forest to be surrounded, with the opening of a double gatefold, by huge, smiling dinosaurs. When the egg hatches, there is mommy dino, a big, green sauropod, to welcome it and to start Ludwig on his safe return with a boost back into his biblio-tunnel. Even more than in previous outings, the plot is just a pretext for the 3-D pictures. These feature cutout figures and artful shadows that seem to float even without the supplied cardboard eyewear; with it, they acquire a beguiling shimmer as well as a convincing depth of field for the flocks of birds bursting up in one scene, charging medieval knights in another, and the climactic prehistoric landscape. Ludwig has a multispecies circle of bookish friends (some literally bookish, such as a certain familiar hatter), but humans, including a set of leopard-skin–clad cave artists, are white throughout.

Thin though the plot may be, the art makes the trip well worth the time. (Novelty picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61067-864-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

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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