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THE ALLIGATOR'S SMILE

AND OTHER POEMS

A splendid addition to the creators’ explorations of the natural world.

Fascinating facts and playful poems about the dinosaur’s smiling cousin.

Prolific, award-winning author and poet Yolen presents 13 short descriptive poems about the alligator. Touching on topics from hunting style to parenting style, from diet to habits to physical characteristics, most are sneakily informative, and all are good fun to read aloud. “You think that gator’s dozing / In the dreamy afternoon. / You’re wrong if you’re supposing / That he’s having a sweet swoon. / He’s probably just chilly. / He can’t raise his body heat— / But with the warming of the sun, / Can lumber to his feet.” Each poem is accompanied by a paragraph or two that expands on the topic highlighted in the verse. Each is also paired with a full-page, beautiful (and sometimes scary) photograph of a gator or gators taken by Yolen’s award-winning photographer son (and frequent collaborator), Stemple. Many of the photographs were taken on a monthlong fellowship-funded trip to the Everglades. The aftermatter includes additional gator facts and a short glossary as well as websites and a few book titles for further investigation.

A splendid addition to the creators’ explorations of the natural world. (Picture book/poetry. 7-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4677-5575-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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THE BAD GUYS

From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face.

Four misunderstood villains endeavor to turn over a new leaf…or a new rap sheet in Blabey's frenzied romp.

As readers open the first page of this early chapter book, Mr. Wolf is right there to greet them, bemoaning his reputation. "Just because I've got BIG POINTY TEETH and RAZOR-SHARP CLAWS and I occasionally like to dress up like an OLD LADY, that doesn't mean… / … I'm a BAD GUY." To prove this very fact, Mr. Wolf enlists three equally slandered friends into the Good Guys Club: Mr. Snake (aka the Chicken Swallower), Mr. Piranha (aka the Butt Biter), and Mr. Shark (aka Jaws). After some convincing from Mr. Wolf, the foursome sets off determined to un-smirch their names (and reluctantly curbing their appetites). Although these predators find that not everyone is ready to be at the receiving end of their helpful efforts, they use all their Bad Guy know-how to manage a few hilarious good deeds. Blabey has hit the proverbial nail on the head, kissed it full on the mouth, and handed it a stick of Acme dynamite. With illustrations that startle in their manic comedy and deadpan direct address and with a narrative that follows four endearingly sardonic characters trying to push past (sometimes successfully) their fear-causing natures, this book instantly joins the classic ranks of Captain Underpants and The Stinky Cheese Man.

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91240-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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WINNIE-THE-POOH

Pull this out whenever you or someone nearby could use some joy and clever comics.

No public-domain tomfoolery here; this adaptation is an act of love.

An innocent, shirtless bear wanders through a forest. His blank, dot-eyed face is as aimless as his gait, although he is not without purpose: the location and consumption of honey. Woodland friends Christopher Robin, Piglet, Eeyore, Owl, Kanga, Roo, and Rabbit all have encounters with this silly bear, Winnie-the-Pooh, often to lend each other a hand in friendship or in pursuit of a Woozle or Heffalump. The mixture of personalities balances the sugar-sweetness of the genteel adventures, from the morose Eeyore to the verbose Owl. Rabbit has mean intentions for Kanga and her baby Roo, but they never escalate beyond playful mischief. Christopher Robin, who’s drawn with paper-white skin, is the comparably capable human who cheerfully gets along with the many anthropomorphic animals. Dandro’s black-and-white artwork skillfully renders the forests, fields, and streams of the outdoor setting while amplifying the playful dialogue with precisely timed pauses. The inventive use of layouts and paneling makes this an adept adaptation of Milne’s text to the graphic format. That silly old bear has learned some new tricks, and they may inspire a new generation of readers to discover the delights of Milne and Ernest H. Shepard’s original volumes.

Pull this out whenever you or someone nearby could use some joy and clever comics. (Graphic fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 16, 2024

ISBN: 9781770466968

Page Count: 220

Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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