GUS & GERTIE AND THE LUCKY CHARMS

Multiple Edgar Award–winning Nixon plunges her penguin sleuths (Gus & Gertie and the Missing Pearl, 2000) into a chilly new case. Clad in complementary flowered, rubber swim caps, Gus and Gertie make their way through a tent crowded with feathered and furred athletes to register for the Animal Winter Olympics—only to discover that synchronized swimming is not a winter event. Worse yet, Gertie’s lucky fish pin vanishes in the hubbub—as do all of the contenders’ lucky charms. Sharp-eyed camera bug Gus fingers (okay, flippers) the culprits—a pair of pack rats named Mugs and Thugs—thanks to a set of revealing Polaroids, then joins Gertie in a wild chase down snow-covered slopes to recover the loot. Not only are deGroat’s brightly colored illustrations just as action-packed as the plot, but she strews them with visual clues for alert young detectives to pick out. Gus and Gertie may not achieve their Olympian dream, but they’ll give Nate the Great, or Cam Jansen, a run for their money any day. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-58717-099-X

Page Count: 48

Publisher: SeaStar/North-South

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2001

RAFI AND ROSI MUSIC!

From the Rafi and Rosi series

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape.

The fourth installment in Delacre’s early-reader series centers on the rich musical traditions of Puerto Rico, once again featuring sibling tree frogs Rafi and Rosi Coquí.

Readers learn along with Rafi and Rosi as they explore bomba, plena, and salsa in three chapters. A glossary at the beginning sets readers up well to understand the Spanish vocabulary, including accurate phoneticization for non-Spanish speakers. The stories focus on Rafi and Rosi’s relationship within a musical context. For example, in one chapter Rafi finds out that he attracts a larger audience playing his homemade güiro with Rosi’s help even though he initially excluded her: “Big brothers only.” Even when he makes mistakes, as the older brother, Rafi consoles Rosi when she is embarrassed or angry at him. In each instance, their shared joy for music and dance ultimately shines through any upsets—a valuable reflection of unity. Informational backmatter and author’s sources are extensive. Undoubtedly these will help teachers, librarians, and parents to develop Puerto Rican cultural programs, curriculum, or home activities to extend young readers’ learning. The inclusion of instructions to make one’s own homemade güiro is a thoughtful addition. The Spanish translation, also by Delacre and published simultaneously, will require a more advanced reader than the English one to recognize and comprehend contractions (“pa’bajo-pa-pa’rriba”) and relatively sophisticated vocabulary.

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape. (Early reader. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-89239-429-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

ACOUSTIC ROOSTER AND HIS BARNYARD BAND

Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look...

Winning actually isn’t everything, as jazz-happy Rooster learns when he goes up against the legendary likes of Mules Davis and Ella Finchgerald at the barnyard talent show.

Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look good—particularly after his “ ‘Hen from Ipanema’ [makes] / the barnyard chickies swoon.”—but in the end the competition is just too stiff. No matter: A compliment from cool Mules and the conviction that he still has the world’s best band soon puts the strut back in his stride. Alexander’s versifying isn’t always in tune (“So, he went to see his cousin, / a pianist of great fame…”), and despite his moniker Rooster plays an electric bass in Bower’s canted country scenes. Children are unlikely to get most of the jokes liberally sprinkled through the text, of course, so the adults sharing it with them should be ready to consult the backmatter, which consists of closing notes on jazz’s instruments, history and best-known musicians.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58536-688-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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