Amusing, well-crafted rhyme and meter make this a bouncy, fun take on a familiar story.

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The famous fairy tale gets a fresh outing in verse in this illustrated children’s book for young readers.

In The Golden Ball (2011), Sinclair offered a retelling of the Brothers Grimm’s story “The Frog Prince,” in rhyming, iambic-tetrameter couplets. Here, the author again retools a traditional tale, this time using rhyming anapestic tetrameter, which has the da-da-DUM rise-and-fall rhythm of a waltz. In Sinclair’s version, the first pig builds a straw shack on the beach; the second, a log cabin in the woods; and the third, a brick house on top of a hill. In a kindly twist on the original, however, the pigs escape rather than being eaten, and the wolf runs away instead of being boiled alive. The flat illustrations are sometimes overly geometrical, like construction-paper cutouts. However, they still add color and charm to the overall story, and the pigs are especially cute. Sinclair’s choice of meter scans well—with no thrown-in words just to make the pattern come out right—and it works perfectly with the story’s familiar refrain, which is nicely elaborated: “ ‘Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down!’ said the terrible wolf with a terrible frown.” Passages like these beg to be read aloud, and the author even appends a guide to doing so for parents, which explains the poetic form and includes a link to Sinclair’s website and her own out-loud reading. The story also very much lends itself to parents and children adding their own wolfy snarls, piggy squeals and other sound effects. Some vocabulary may be challenging for young readers, but not overly so: “In no time I’ll dine on all three of you most uncooperative swine!”

Amusing, well-crafted rhyme and meter make this a bouncy, fun take on a familiar story.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1937186777

Page Count: 46

Publisher: Chthonicity Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 29, 2014


The Buehners retell the old familiar tale with a jump-roping, rhyme-spouting Goldilocks. When their porridge proves to be too hot to eat, the bear family goes for a stroll. Meanwhile, Goldilocks comes knocking to find a jump-roping friend. This Goldilocks does not simply test out the chairs: “Big chair, middle chair, little chair, too, / Somebody’s here to bounce on you!” And so continues the old favorite, interspersed with Goldilocks’s jump-rope verse. When she escapes through the bedroom window, none of the characters are sure what sort of creature they have just encountered. The Buehner’s homey illustrations perfectly capture the facial expressions of the characters, and lend a particular kind of mischief to Goldilocks. Readers may miss the message on the copyright page, but hidden within each picture are three creatures, instantly adding challenge and appeal. Cute, but there’s not quite enough new here to make it a must. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8037-2939-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2007


The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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