A charmingly naughty, monster-loving heroine; effective verse; and appealing illustrations shine in this Halloween tale.

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REAL JUNGLE TALES

A girl punished on Halloween devises a clever plan to get some treats in this picture book.  

Zara “Zee” Harerra Lago, a girl with dark skin and hair who wears square glasses and braids, can’t believe it when her parents discipline her on Halloween for some misbehavior. But they mean it, and Zee has to miss out on trick-or-treating and the next day’s classroom candy exchange. She gathers her friends to listen to her tale of how on Halloween night, she escaped from a jungle filled with dangerous beasts headed this way: “I know the jungle and this is a fact: / When people get tooken they never come back!” She’ll trade her survival secret for candy—and they’d better hurry, because a purple monster (a student named DB in costume) is already here. The two schemers enjoy their loot, but as the story ends, Zee’s parents are onto her. Byrd (Sunny Days, 2018, etc.) offers a delightful, mischievous heroine whose shenanigans are reminiscent of when Tom Sawyer bamboozles friends into whitewashing a fence. The verse is strong (although line endings don’t always correspond with the rhymes) and amusing, which keeps the book from being too scary. The animals get wonderfully original descriptions, such as the giant zebra with “skin like a barcode.” Meissner’s (Chris Drops a Bomb!, 2018) illustrations vividly depict people and animals and include good background details, such as Zee’s monster posters.

A charmingly naughty, monster-loving heroine; effective verse; and appealing illustrations shine in this Halloween tale.

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9997050-3-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Jesse Byrd Creative Inc.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2018

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CINDERELLA

This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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