COUNT YOUR WAY THROUGH GREECE

Learning to count in Greek is now as easy as one, two, three, in this entry in the Count Your Way series; Haskins and Benson use the numbers one through ten to expound on Greek history and culture. An introductory note explains the history of the Greek alphabet and its influence on contemporary English, then it's on to the digits. Each number is written in Greek and phonetically in English. While some of the subjects relate directly to the number assigned (five, for example, represents the circles that make up the Olympic symbol), others are more arbitrary. One represents Greek Orthodoxy—the only official religion of Greece; six stands for the ``most important'' Greek deities (on whose list?), and ten represents ``ten animals featured in Aesop's fables.'' (Aesop included more.) The structure works well as a means for presenting a smattering of Greek culture, but will be confusing if readers assume the number is intrinsically linked with the subject depicted. Porter's impressionistic illustrations aptly reflect the powdery whites of limed walls and the soothing blues of the Aegean. This book's like a whiff of moussaka: tantalizing, but leaves one craving more. (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: July 2, 1996

ISBN: 0-87614-875-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1996

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IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT

A repressive teacher almost ruins second grade for a prodigy in this amusing, if overwritten, tale. Having shown a fascination with great buildings since constructing a model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa from used diapers at age two, Iggy sinks into boredom after Miss Greer announces, throwing an armload of histories and craft projects into the trash, that architecture will be a taboo subject in her class. Happily, she changes her views when the collapse of a footbridge leaves the picnicking class stranded on an island, whereupon Iggy enlists his mates to build a suspension bridge from string, rulers and fruit roll-ups. Familiar buildings and other structures, made with unusual materials or, on the closing pages, drawn on graph paper, decorate Roberts’s faintly retro cartoon illustrations. They add an audience-broadening element of sophistication—as would Beaty’s decision to cast the text into verse, if it did not result in such lines as “After twelve long days / that passed in a haze / of reading, writing and arithmetic, / Miss Greer took the class / to Blue River Pass / for a hike and an old-fashioned picnic.” Another John Lithgow she is not, nor is Iggy another Remarkable Farkle McBride (2000), but it’s always salutary to see young talent vindicated. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8109-1106-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

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THE BEST CHEF IN SECOND GRADE

An impending school visit by a celebrity chef sends budding cook Ollie into a tailspin. He and his classmates are supposed to bring a favorite family food for show and tell, but his family doesn’t have a clear choice—besides, his little sister Rosy doesn’t like much of anything. What to do? As in their previous two visits to Room 75, Kenah builds suspense while keeping the tone light, and Carter adds both bright notes of color and familiar home and school settings in her cartoon illustrations. Eventually, Ollie winkles favorite ingredients out of his clan, which he combines into a mac-and-cheese casserole with a face on top that draws delighted praise from the class’s renowned guest. As Ollie seems to do his kitchen work without parental assistance, a cautionary tip or two (and maybe a recipe) might not have gone amiss here, but the episode’s mouthwatering climax and resolution will guarantee smiles of contentment all around. (Easy reader. 6-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-053561-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2007

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