SKYROCKETS AND SNICKERDOODLES

The ever-so-slight Cobtown series (The Monster in the Shadows, 2000, etc.) arrives at the Fourth of July, and baseball, without much energy behind it. As usual, the story comes from the diary of Lucky Hart, who at age ten in 1845 is the shortstop for her town’s team. Cobtown’s disappeared from the local maps (mouse damage) and been renamed Carbuncle. No one is happy, certainly not the baseball team, now the Carbuncle Skyrockets. On the Fourth, they will face the Ploomajiggy Unbeatables (P.U., it says on their uniforms) under the newly adopted rules of “base ball.” The only way to get the town’s name back is to find the original town marker, which no one remembers ever seeing. But they do find an old recipe for snickerdoodles (duly reproduced) and Aunt Heddy promises a batch of the cookies to whoever locates the marker. A bumptious goat and a pig figure prominently in both the town’s restoration and the baseball game. The illustrations, which have the hard sheen and roundheaded geometry of computer images or bad cartoon art, perk up a bit in the small vignettes like the team rosters and the rule book. But there are long pages of handwritten text that will definitely challenge any reader. Earnest in its silliness, but ho-hum and way too much reading. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 12, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-32553-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2001

MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE

An inspiring story of young boy's compelling desire to read. As a boy of nine, Booker works in a salt mine from the dark of early morning to the gloom of night, hungry for a meal, but even hungrier to learn to read. Readers follow him on his quest in Malden, Virginia, where he finds inspiration in a man ``brown as me'' reading a newspaper on a street corner. An alphabet book helps, but Booker can't make the connection to words. Seeking out ``that brown face of hope'' once again, Booker gains a sense of the sounds represented by letters, and these become his deliverance. Bradby's fine first book is tautly written, with a poetic, spiritual quality in every line. The beautifully executed, luminous illustrations capture the atmosphere of an African-American community post-slavery: the drudgery of days consumed by back- breaking labor, the texture of private lives conducted by lantern- light. There is no other context or historical note about Booker T. Washington's life, leaving readers to piece together his identity. Regardless, this is an immensely satisfying, accomplished work, resonating first with longing and then with joy. (Picture book. 5- 8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-531-09464-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1995

THE ADVENTURES OF HENRY WHISKERS

From the Adventures of Henry Whiskers series , Vol. 1

Innocuous adventuring on the smallest of scales.

The Mouse and the Motorcycle (1965) upgrades to The Mice and the Rolls-Royce.

In Windsor Castle there sits a “dollhouse like no other,” replete with working plumbing, electricity, and even a full library of real, tiny books. Called Queen Mary’s Dollhouse, it also plays host to the Whiskers family, a clan of mice that has maintained the house for generations. Henry Whiskers and his cousin Jeremy get up to the usual high jinks young mice get up to, but when Henry’s little sister Isabel goes missing at the same time that the humans decide to clean the house up, the usually bookish big brother goes on the adventure of his life. Now Henry is driving cars, avoiding cats, escaping rats, and all before the upcoming mouse Masquerade. Like an extended version of Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Two Bad Mice (1904), Priebe keeps this short chapter book constantly moving, with Duncan’s peppy art a cute capper. Oddly, the dollhouse itself plays only the smallest of roles in this story, and no factual information on the real Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House is included at the tale’s end (an opportunity lost).

Innocuous adventuring on the smallest of scales. (Fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6575-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

Close Quickview