Vivid artwork, a lively, endearing heroine and a warm, loving look at a pivotal experience give this one classic potential.

MOOSHKA, A QUILT STORY

Like the beautiful quilt showcased on glowing endpapers and throughout this tale, a preschooler’s active imagination (probably) and an exciting (or not) addition are pieced together with family stories to create a new-baby/favorite-blanket story that’s likely to become an old favorite.

Karla loves her quilt, which she calls Mooshka. Mooshka comforts her on cold and scary nights and, at least according to Karla, can talk. Whether Mooshka is actually magical is left open to interpretation. It’s possible, after all, that the vignettes of earlier activities (mom’s jump from a cherry tree or an aunt’s turn as a fortune-teller) are actually memories based on conversations with Karla’s grandmother as she sewed the quilt and shared family history. And maybe Mooshka’s fondness for pancakes simply reflects Karla’s early-morning cravings. Bordered in rectangles and triangles of vibrant patterns in a kaleidoscope of colors, both text and illustrations carry Paschkis’ plot. Indeed, young listeners may be as disconcerted as Karla at the appearance of a baby sister, but careful examination of an earlier picture reveals a hint of things to come. After initial, if mild, hostility, Karla finds it in her heart to comfort little Hannah by sharing both Mooshka and the story of her own contribution.

Vivid artwork, a lively, endearing heroine and a warm, loving look at a pivotal experience give this one classic potential. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-56145-620-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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Who ya gonna call? A different snowplow book.

SCOOPER AND DUMPER

Friends don’t let friends expire in snowdrifts.

Convoluted storytelling and confusing art turn a cute premise into a mishmash of a book. Scooper’s a front loader that works in the town salt yard, replenishing the snowplows that arrive. Dumper’s her best friend, more than happy to plow and salt the roads himself. When the big city calls in Dumper to help with a snow squall, he brushes off Scooper’s concerns. Yet slippery roads and a seven-vehicle pileup launch poor Dumper onto his side in a snowbank. Can Scooper overcome fears that she’s too slow and save the day? Following a plot as succinct as this should be a breeze, but the rhyming text obfuscates more than it clarifies. Lines such as, “Dumper’s here— / let’s rock ’n’ roll! / Big city’s callin’ for / some small-town soul” can prove impenetrable. The art of the book matches this confusion, with light-blue Dumper often hard to pick out among other, similarly colored vehicles, particularly in the snowstorm. Speech bubbles, as when the city calls for Scooper’s and Dumper’s help, lead to a great deal of visual confusion. Scooper is also featured sporting long eyelashes and a bow, lest anyone mistake the dithering, frightened truck as anything but female. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 16.8% of actual size.)

Who ya gonna call? A different snowplow book. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9268-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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