MIGHTY CASEY

As a writer of verse, Preller, author of Six Innings (2008), makes an excellent prose novelist. His rhymed tale of a Little League nonhitter who lights a fire in his team of total losers shows plenty of heart, if shaky scansion. Winless for the season and trailing five-zip in the first inning, it looks like just another long day for the Delmar Dogs—“Omar scraped a knee; / grape juice spilled on Lapinski’s shoe; / Ronald the runt had to pee, / and figured left field would do”—but with urging from no-hit, no-field Casey (a lefty, as it happens), the team puts on a rally, and it’s Casey’s hit with the bases loaded that brings victory within grasp. Cordell’s simply drawn cartoons of geeky, distracted children sporting oversized batting helmets suit this lightweight remake of a certain famous baseball ballad, and if the author doesn’t quite recapture the original’s tone or suspense (or ending), he may get young readers and their parents who take the game a little too seriously to lighten up a touch. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-312-36764-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2009

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Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization.

A PLACE FOR PLUTO

If Pluto can’t be a planet—then what is he?

Having been a regular planet for “the better part of forever,” Pluto is understandably knocked out of orbit by his sudden exclusion. With Charon and his four other moons in tow he sets off in search of a new identity. Unfortunately, that only spins him into further gloom, as he doesn’t have a tail like his friend Halley’s comet, is too big to join Ida and the other asteroids, and feels disinclined to try to crash into Earth like meteoroids Gem and Persi. Then, just as he’s about to plunge into a black hole of despair, an encounter with a whole quartet of kindred spheroids led by Eris rocks his world…and a follow-up surprise party thrown by an apologetic Saturn (“Dwarf planet has a nice RING to it”) and the other seven former colleagues literally puts him “over the moon.” Demmer gives all the heavenly bodies big eyes (some, including the feminine Saturn, with long lashes) and, on occasion, short arms along with distinctive identifying colors or markings. Dressing the troublemaking meteoroids in do-rags and sunglasses sounds an off note. Without mentioning that the reclassification is still controversial, Wade closes with a (somewhat) straighter account of Pluto’s current official status and the reasons for it.

Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68446-004-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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DORY STORY

Who is next in the ocean food chain? Pallotta has a surprising answer in this picture book glimpse of one curious boy. Danny, fascinated by plankton, takes his dory and rows out into the ocean, where he sees shrimp eating those plankton, fish sand eels eating shrimp, mackerel eating fish sand eels, bluefish chasing mackerel, tuna after bluefish, and killer whales after tuna. When an enormous humpbacked whale arrives on the scene, Danny’s dory tips over and he has to swim for a large rock or become—he worries’someone’s lunch. Surreal acrylic illustrations in vivid blues and red extend the story of a small boy, a small boat, and a vast ocean, in which the laws of the food chain are paramount. That the boy has been bathtub-bound during this entire imaginative foray doesn’t diminish the suspense, and the facts Pallotta presents are solidly researched. A charming fish tale about the one—the boy—that got away. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88106-075-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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