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Rosa, a bouncy poppet with cowgirl boots and a little backpack, is on her way to school when the wind takes her red sun hat away in this Southwest-set tale inspired by the Ukrainian folktale “The Mitten.”

In the cactus-filled desert landscape, the hat settles, and a mouse comes by to shelter from the sun under it. Soon, the mouse is joined by a hare, then a roadrunner, then other beasts as the skies darken and the rain comes down. The sun hat shelters them all: “Move over, mouse. / Share, hare. / Make room, roadrunner. / Amble aside, tortoise. / Be quick, quail. / Find a spot, fox!” The rain stops; the wind takes the sun hat again; the animals scatter; and Rosa, on the way back from school, finds her hat in somewhat different shape. The lines occasionally burst into versifying internal rhymes, the smooth scansion of which creates a nicely paced rhythm. Some of the word use is a bit problematic: The sun hat is described as “red as rubies, / soft as sand”; rubies seem an odd choice (apples? tomatoes?), and sand is often harsh and irritating. Sisson’s large forms and broad strokes delineate landscape and animals, the bright red sun hat, the tawny sand and the bright blue sky all showing off to best advantage. Rosa loves her sun hat in any form it takes, and readers will appreciate it as well. (Picture book. 5-8)


Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-933855-78-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Rio Nuevo

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity.

A collection of parental wishes for a child.

It starts out simply enough: two children run pell-mell across an open field, one holding a high-flying kite with the line “I wish you more ups than downs.” But on subsequent pages, some of the analogous concepts are confusing or ambiguous. The line “I wish you more tippy-toes than deep” accompanies a picture of a boy happily swimming in a pool. His feet are visible, but it's not clear whether he's floating in the deep end or standing in the shallow. Then there's a picture of a boy on a beach, his pockets bulging with driftwood and colorful shells, looking frustrated that his pockets won't hold the rest of his beachcombing treasures, which lie tantalizingly before him on the sand. The line reads: “I wish you more treasures than pockets.” Most children will feel the better wish would be that he had just the right amount of pockets for his treasures. Some of the wordplay, such as “more can than knot” and “more pause than fast-forward,” will tickle older readers with their accompanying, comical illustrations. The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic.

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2699-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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From the Stink series

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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