FIELD DAY FRIDAY

Caseley (Mickey’s Class Play, not reviewed, etc.) continues the (mis)adventures of Mickey, in a poignant tale about winning and losing. Best friends Mickey and Longjohn are inseparable. Despite their physical differences, they are well-matched during races. “Mickey was short and sturdy and quick. Longjohn was tall and thin and speedy.” When Field Day arrives, they are ecstatic to be on the same team together. Caseley captures all the excitement of these elementary school Olympics; the thrills and spills, covering classic events such as egg-and-spoon, crab walk, and the hallowed 50-yard dash. Through each event, the friends are unerringly supportive of each other, lightly brushing aside any mishaps. An untied shoelace, however, proves to be Mickey’s undoing during the dash. When Longjohn wins the coveted medal, Mickey suffers the pangs of loss. A homemade medal saluting him as a “First Place Brother” and friend from his sister and Longjohn helps Mickey refocus on the important things. While the tale doesn’t exactly portray an inspiring message about losing gracefully, Caseley addresses a prickly issue with honesty—sometimes you lose and feel bad about it. It’s this truthfulness that will appeal to readers, who can commiserate with Mickey. The brightly colored illustrations feature a multicultural collection of children, all eagerly participating in the events. Caseley’s vivid drawings highlight the suspenseful action and humor of the text. Despite his setback, Mickey learns a vital lesson about winning, losing, and the true value of friends. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 31, 2000

ISBN: 0-688-16761-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

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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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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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