While new readers will giggle at details such as the teacher’s name (Miss Slime) or the rat-liver sandwich Lulu eats for...


From the I Can Read! series

Lulu Witch is excited to begin witch school—that is, until a know-it-all classmate spoils the experience. Will the two witches ever get along?

This reissue of O’Connor’s 1990 title features updated illustrations from Sinclair. Her pictures have a retro appeal that gives this quaint tale for beginning readers a classic touch. When children are not busy practicing their reading skills, they will have fun spotting the bugs, mouse, lizard or scorpion in each of the spot illustrations. The author deftly utilizes repetition and familiar sight words to create a story about a situation most kids will recognize. Lulu is ready to learn and make new friends, but Sandy Witch boasts about what she has and what she already knows how to do. (She may be a bit jealous of Lulu’s skill on the broom or the compliment Lulu receives from the teacher about her new dress.) Sandy makes fun of Lulu and continually tries to outdo her. When Lulu wakes up with lizard pox and cannot go to school, she’s at first glad to be away from Sandy Witch but then quickly gets bored. While Lulu walks to school on her first day back, she decides to not let Sandy Witch’s comments about her spots unnerve her. But when Sandy Witch comes to class with her own set of spots, the two girls finally begin to mend their relationship.

While new readers will giggle at details such as the teacher’s name (Miss Slime) or the rat-liver sandwich Lulu eats for lunch, mostly they will appreciate the story, which resonates with their own experience. (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-223351-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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Only for dedicated fans of the series.


From the How To Catch… series

When a kid gets the part of the ninja master in the school play, it finally seems to be the right time to tackle the closet monster.

“I spot my monster right away. / He’s practicing his ROAR. / He almost scares me half to death, / but I won’t be scared anymore!” The monster is a large, fluffy poison-green beast with blue hands and feet and face and a fluffy blue-and-green–striped tail. The kid employs a “bag of tricks” to try to catch the monster: in it are a giant wind-up shark, two cans of silly string, and an elaborate cage-and-robot trap. This last works, but with an unexpected result: the monster looks sad. Turns out he was only scaring the boy to wake him up so they could be friends. The monster greets the boy in the usual monster way: he “rips a massive FART!!” that smells like strawberries and lime, and then they go to the monster’s house to meet his parents and play. The final two spreads show the duo getting ready for bed, which is a rather anticlimactic end to what has otherwise been a rambunctious tale. Elkerton’s bright illustrations have a TV-cartoon aesthetic, and his playful beast is never scary. The narrator is depicted with black eyes and hair and pale skin. Wallace’s limping verses are uninspired at best, and the scansion and meter are frequently off.

Only for dedicated fans of the series. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4894-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area.


A pair of cardinals is separated and then reunited when their tree home is moved to New York City to serve as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

The male cardinal, Red, and his female partner, Lulu, enjoy their home in a huge evergreen tree located in the front yard of a small house in a pleasant neighborhood. When the tree is cut down and hauled away on a truck, Lulu is still inside the tree. Red follows the truck into the city but loses sight of it and gets lost. The birds are reunited when Red finds the tree transformed with colored lights and serving as the Christmas tree in a complex of city buildings. When the tree is removed after Christmas, the birds find a new home in a nearby park. Each following Christmas, the pair visit the new tree erected in the same location. Attractive illustrations effectively handle some difficult challenges of dimension and perspective and create a glowing, magical atmosphere for the snowy Christmas trees. The original owners of the tree are a multiracial family with two children; the father is African-American and the mother is white. The family is in the background in the early pages, reappearing again skating on the rink at Rockefeller Center with their tree in the background.

A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7733-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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