SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE BEASTRO

Perfect for pre- or post-school lunch reading, this hilariously urbane collaboration offers a decidedly unappetizing dining experience: leading off with “sloths and slugs / Sautéed in oil with crunchy bugs,” finishing with “Bat-wing pudding, grub-chip ice, / Leech compote topped with lice,” and offering in between such delights as Roach Flambé, Pest-o Baguettes—and a former diner who has complained just a bit too vociferously to hulking Charles the Chef. Reflecting the text’s perfectly tuned mix of sophistication and silliness, the Zalbens place a cast of nonhuman diners and wait-staff made from torn paper and found materials against dim photos of an elegant old New Orleans eatery. It’s all just so grand, and readers who’ve enjoyed Stephanie Calmenson’s Dinner at the Panda Palace, illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott (1995), or the occasional Saturday Night at Hodge’s Café, by Tim Egan (1994), will be lining up for reservations. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-06-029227-X

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2004

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

GRETCHEN GROUNDHOG, IT'S YOUR DAY!

A good choice for curriculum-boosting an underrated holiday. Poor Gretchen Groundhog is very shy, but this year, it’s her turn to pop out of the hole on February 2nd to tell everyone whether there will be six more weeks of winter or an early spring. Great-Uncle Gus, too old for the job, offers Gretchen plenty of encouragement, but she just doesn’t think she can manage with all those people. Then her human friend, Hester, the town historian’s daughter, comes to visit with a box of old writings. Gretchen reads the words of other shy groundhogs from the past, e.g., Goody Groundhog who came on the Mayflower, George Groundhog who served at Valley Forge, etc. Gretchen realizes that she can face the crowds, just as her illustrious ancestors did, even before the official inauguration of Groundhog Day in 1887. Illustrations in soft pencil show appealing townspeople, an elegantly dressed little groundhog, and a charming burrow, complete with a picture window, stone fireplace, and a computer with Internet access (“You Have Mail”). Simple and sweet. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-8075-3058-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1998

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Italics and exclamation points may be overused, but this new humorous series is full of gently amusing magical surprises.

THE SUPER-SPOOKY FRIGHT NIGHT!

From the Hubble Bubble series , Vol. 1

Shades of Bewitched, the old TV show featuring a witch married to a regular guy.

This new chapter-book series stars Pandora, a white girl with two grandmas—the good witch, Granny Crow, in a patterned minidress, whose magical powers enliven any party or school outing, and Granny Podmore, in her cardigan and plaid skirt, a kind but stereotypical grandmother who cleans and cooks. Pandora’s friends include Nellie, a black girl, and Nellie’s mom is also depicted as black in the exuberant line drawings with gray washes. The three chapterlong adventures are rather tame, meant for readers who want fun rather than fright. In “The Super-Spooky Fright Night!” (all titles have exclamation points), the two grandmothers host a Halloween party. Granny Crow creates “bat-shaped cookies that hung around the bowls, and a custard cat (that actually meowed!).” Granny Podmore makes “the neatest swans” from napkins. Granny Crow conjures up musical broomsticks when Granny Podmore wants to introduce musical chairs. The evening ends happily when Granny Podmore uses Ollie, her vacuum cleaner, to suck up little pumpkins from Granny Crow’s pumpkin pop gone wild. Only Granny Crow appears in the other stories, making teddy bears come alive to give a “teddy bears’ picnic!” and causing a nasty teacher to accidentally cast a spell that turns a school swimming lesson into utter chaos.

Italics and exclamation points may be overused, but this new humorous series is full of gently amusing magical surprises. (Fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8653-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more