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From the I Can Read! series

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

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 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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From the How To Catch… series

Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses.

An elusive new quarry leads the How To Catch… kids on a merry chase through a natural history museum.

Taking at least a step away from the “hunters versus prey” vibe of previous entries in the popular series, the racially diverse group of young visitors dashes through various museum halls in pursuit of the eponymous dino—whose quest to “spread kindness and joy ’round the world” takes the form of a mildly tumultuous museum tour. In most of Elkerton’s overly sweet, color-saturated scenes, only portions of the Loveosaurus, who is purple and covered with pink hearts, are visible behind exhibits or lumbering off the page. But the children find small enticements left behind, from craft supplies to make cards for endangered species to pictures of smiley faces, candy heart–style personal notes (“You Rock!” “Give Hugs”), and, in the hall of medieval arms and armor, a sign urging them to “Be Honest Be Kind.” The somewhat heavy-handed lesson comes through loud and clear. “There’s a message, he wants us to think,” hints Walstead to clue in more obtuse readers…and concluding scenes of smiling people young and otherwise exchanging hugs and knuckle bumps, holding doors for a wheelchair rider, and dancing through clouds of sparkles indicate that they, at least, have gotten it. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 9781728268781

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2023

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A solid introduction to the holiday’s history and traditions for the youngest audience.

An African American child celebrates Juneteenth with her family.

The unnamed young narrator awakens to the smell of Daddy’s brisket cooking. She and her family pull up chairs and watch as a parade of dancers and musicians proceed down their street. Later, they go to Granddaddy’s house, which is decorated with flags commemorating the occasion. As family members arrive, more voices are added to the mix. Some play basketball; others listen to music. After prayers, the family enjoys a meal full of food; the child notes the numerous red items there, and backmatter explores the significance of the color to Juneteenth and in West African cultures. Granddaddy discusses the day’s historical importance and explains why they must remember those who came before them and who struggled and persevered. The final spreads proclaim that Juneteenth is an American holiday for all: “Juneteenth is all of us. We are America.” Told from the perspective of a child finding joy and wonder in her family’s traditions, this story strikes a balance between the celebratory aspects of the holiday and its historical origins. The strength of family and the power of community come through clearly. O’Brien’s lively and colorful digital illustrations enhance the tale.

A solid introduction to the holiday’s history and traditions for the youngest audience. (bibliography) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 9, 2024

ISBN: 9781797216805

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2024

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