For high drama, look elsewhere—but a diverse cast and contemporary setting set this book apart from other volcano books.

PUANANI AND THE VOLCANO

After the 2018 eruption of the Kilauea volcano, a young girl organizes a beach cleanup in this debut illustrated chapter book for kids ages 5 to 8.

Puanani, a brown-skinned Hawaiian elementary schooler who loves turtles, is feeling nervous about giving a science presentation to her class. Then a mysterious earthquake interrupts the day’s lessons. After the students emerge from under their desks, school ends for the day. Puanani and her brother, Kua, learn from the night’s news reports that Kilauea is erupting and sending lava into the sea. Both of them are afraid until their parents talk with them about how to stay safe if another earthquake strikes. Puanani gives her science presentation without a hitch the next day, but she’s sad when a park ranger at Volcano Park later tells her that Kilauea’s lava kills sea life, including the turtles she loves, as it spills into the sea. She’s also unhappy to hear that people cause more harm to the sea than volcanoes—she wants turtles and other creatures to have “a clean place to live”—and sees refuse like fish hooks and partial fishnets along a shoreline that she and her family visit. Puanani begins to pick up trash and eventually gets help from her parents and a hui wa’a (canoe club) after she plucks up the nerve to speak to its board. Very little conflict occurs in the book’s 11 quick chapters; while Puanani is afraid of public speaking, she prepares copiously and encounters no significant difficulties in the moment. Young readers interested in sea life and volcanic activity will appreciate paragraphs detailing lava flow, and others may enjoy learning the italicized Hawaiian words that occur throughout the text and are defined in a box at the beginning of each short chapter. Bright, full-color illustrations depict key scenes; most adults and children are shown with different shades of brown skin and dark hair.

For high drama, look elsewhere—but a diverse cast and contemporary setting set this book apart from other volcano books. (glossary, discussion questions)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-949711-05-9

Page Count: 68

Publisher: Bluewater Publications

Review Posted Online: March 22, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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

STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK

From the Stink series

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. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work.

SYLVIA'S SPINACH

A young spinach hater becomes a spinach lover after she has to grow her own in a class garden.

Unable to trade away the seed packet she gets from her teacher for tomatoes, cukes or anything else more palatable, Sylvia reluctantly plants and nurtures a pot of the despised veggie then transplants it outside in early spring. By the end of school, only the plot’s lettuce, radishes and spinach are actually ready to eat (talk about a badly designed class project!)—and Sylvia, once she nerves herself to take a nibble, discovers that the stuff is “not bad.” She brings home an armful and enjoys it from then on in every dish: “And that was the summer Sylvia Spivens said yes to spinach.” Raff uses unlined brushwork to give her simple cartoon illustrations a pleasantly freehand, airy look, and though Pryor skips over the (literally, for spinach) gritty details in both the story and an afterword, she does cover gardening basics in a simple and encouraging way.

Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-1-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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