THE BOY WHO LOST HIS BELLY BUTTON

This quiet, engaging fantasy, illustrated in humorous, expressive color pencil falls flat at its sudden ending. A young boy is missing his belly button and asks all the animals about its whereabouts. Droll language emphasizes the silliness of the situation. Huge jungle animals fill the double-page spreads as the pajama-clad boy begins his journey with the giraffe. “I've lost my belly button. Do you know where it is?” “Search me,” says the giraffe. But the giraffe has had his since the day he was born. The Gorilla has one, too, “My mother gave it to me.” The boy parts the fur on a lion's belly with a large green comb and politely asks, “ ‘I was wondering if you borrowed my bellybutton?’ ‘Why would I? I've got a perfectly good one of my own,’ said the lion. ‘See?’ ” Animal after animal reports the existence of its own belly button: the zebra’s is striped, the hippopotamus’s muddy. Finally the journey concludes with a secretive crocodile sporting “something small and pink and round” and the brave, naked little boy courageously wades into the dark, forbidding swamp to retrieve his body part. Turning to the last page: “he grabbed it!” and the illustration is a close-up of the round bare tummy, belly button firmly in place. The conclusion, though in the tradition of the “gotcha!” story, is too abrupt and somewhat out of context with the charming absurdity and leisurely pace of the rest of the text. It will take a good storyteller to make it work, but it might be worth the effort. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7894-6164-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2000

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ONE BEAN

PLB 0-8027-8649-9 The simple life cycle of a bean provides a practical and understandable example of scientific observation for budding young naturalists. Starting with a hand shown holding a single bean, readers journey full circle from soaking, planting, and watering, to flowering, harvesting, and eating. Uncluttered three-dimensional artwork complements the short, simple text; each stage of the bean’s transformation from seed to vegetable is shown in large scale, drawn so realistically that the texture of the skin seems to show the strain as the bean gets ready to put down roots. This is an ideal book for classrooms where students can’t resist the temptation to keep “checking” on their bean plants. (Picture book/nonfiction. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-8027-8648-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1998

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TOO MANY TOYS

Spencer owns a multitude of toys: old toys and new ones, big toys and small ones, bath toys, wooden toys, board games, computer games, miniature cars and trucks, musical instruments, stuffed animals and action figures. They are everywhere, including on the floor where his parents can trip on them. One day, Spencer’s mom has had enough and announces that some of the toys have to go. Shaken, Spencer cries, “BUT I LOVE THEM ALL!” There’s no stopping Spencer’s mom, however, who says she will help and proves to be a worthy adversary when Spencer attempts to make deals. Snappy dialogue and an absolutely on-target understanding of the psyches of both mother and child make the negotiation scene absolutely priceless. Will they both make it through the harrowing task before them? The elaborate, child-friendly pictures perfectly capture Spencer’s world, zeroing in on the chaos with glee and then pulling back to demonstrate graphically the traumas suffered by both adults and child in the process. Shannon’s sardonic wit will strike a chord with parents and children alike. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-439-49029-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2008

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