LITTLE WOLF'S DIARY OF DARING DEEDS

Whybrow’s (Little Wolf’s Book of Badness, 1999) second Little Wolf story includes every element needed to make an engrossing read for children: lost gold, travel, a villain, a ghost, and no parents! Little Wolf is joined by his cousin Yeller at his dead uncle’s Academy. They decide to give the Academy a new image by dubbing it the Adventure Academy and equipping it with the scariest rides that money can buy. They’re rich, you see; they have found Uncle Bigbad’s gold! As their plans progress, Little Wolf’s younger brother, Smellybreff, shows up and insists on hoarding all the gold in a safe to which only he knows the combination. Then trouble arrives. Trouble in the name of Mister Marvo, who has strangely mesmeric eyes and promises to build the best Adventure Playground ever if they give him three “wheelbarrowsful” of gold! Without doing a stitch of work, Marvo steals the safe and kidnaps Smellybreff. Thus begins an adventure over steep mountains and deep water (all carefully recorded in Little Wolf’s letters to his parents and apparently included in his diary) as our brave wolves (and a young crow) pursue the thief with only their own wily wits to rely on. Ending with a haunting twist, a lesson about greed is learned. Full of fanciful wordplay and Ross’ (Why?, 1999, etc.) amusing illustrations, this book demands to be read aloud! Peppered with phonetic spelling and lots of obvious mistakes, the format will let children revel in being smarter that Little Wolf. (map) (Fiction. 810)

Pub Date: May 16, 2000

ISBN: 1-57505-411-6

Page Count: 132

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

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Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

CARPENTER'S HELPER

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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