Thomas and Cooper have given us, especially Californians, a moving love song.

IN THE LAND OF MILK AND HONEY

Based on her family's move from Oklahoma to California in 1948 when she was 10, Thomas tells of the train trip and her subsequent love for the "Golden State" in poetic language distinguished by strong verbs and striking images.

It was a time soon after World War II, when many people of color relocated. She relates the long train ride to the "Land of Milk and Honey" and describes the state in its varied landscapes, from deserts to the agricultural richness of the Central Valley and the people who work the crops to "the city / where the ships sit / anchored in the coastal waters / like iron mountains / docked in the bay." Cooper's art, in textured sepia with bits of color to highlight action, shows the people—all of whom are African-American—as a young person might have experienced what she saw, reinforcing the text's homey details: The narrator chases her sandwich "with Grapette soda pop / the bottle streaked with marbles of cold." His paintings expand over full openings and carry the eye with portraits of people and places from Southern California to the Golden Gate Bridge. But both text and illustration concentrate on the people who found the "Land of Milk and Honey"—and remained.

Thomas and Cooper have given us, especially Californians, a moving love song.   (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-025383-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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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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