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KNOCK! KNOCK!

This take on a traditional tale promises a surprise ending but does not deliver “gotcha” that readers will expect. Witch Ella La Grimble sits at her spinning wheel wishing for company when there comes a knock knock at the door. First, great big feet arrive. “But feet are not much company.” Then, with more knocks, “teeny weeny legs,” “huge fat hips,” an “itty bitty waist” . . . all parts of a giant’s body (clad in a kilt so his hairy knees show) arrive and take their proper places. But, “a waist is not much company. . . . Shoulders are not much company.” Finally there’s a menacing and threatening person in place, but why has he come? “For YOU, witch, for you . . . to keep you company!” Watercolors portray the giant that has come as hairy and strange as one might picture, but it’s Ella, with her curly red hair, and the final picture of the giant in fuzzy pink slippers that will charm readers. And the twist will make them laugh at least once. The illustrations, with their exaggerated perspectives and spooky shadows, seal the deal. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8050-6280-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2004

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HOW TO MAKE AN APPLE PIE AND SEE THE WORLD

What if the market was closed when you wanted to bake a pie? You could embark for Europe, learn Italian en route, and pick up some semolina wheat in Italy, an egg in France, kurundu bark for cinnamon in Sri Lanka, and an entire cow in England (butter) before coming home via Jamaica (sugar) and Vermont (apples). The expertly designed illustrations in which a dark-haired lass journeys by various means to these interesting places to get her groceries are lovely and lively, and the narrative, too, travels at a spritely pace. The journey is neither quite logical enough to be truly informative nor quite bizarre enough to be satisfyingly silly, while the rich, sweet recipe that's appended will take some adult assistance. Still, fun. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 2, 1994

ISBN: 0-679-83705-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1994

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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