Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work.

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. 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012


            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978


From the My First Fairy Tales series

No substitutes for more traditional renditions—but not spoiled by the alterations, either.

Chicken Little may not be “the brightest chicken in the coop,” but he’s definitely not the only birdbrain in this version of the classic tale.

In East’s cartoon illustrations, Chicken Little leads the familiar crew of feathered followers (including Henny Penny, who often is the one to take the acorn on the noggin in other versions) in a comically frantic dash to find the king. But so badly does the decidedly shifty-looking Foxy Loxy bungle the climactic nab that not only do the birds escape, but Foxy is trucked off behind bars while the king calms the kerfuffle by pointing to the perfectly intact sky. The fox does better in the co-published Gingerbread Man, illustrated by Miriam Latimer, as he gobbles down his sugary treat—after which the lonely bakers take all the other hungry animals home for a “fantastic feast” of cakes and pastries. In Rumpelstiltskin, illustrated by Loretta Schauer, though the scraggly-bearded little man only has to spin straw into gold for one night, Alperin mostly sticks to the traditional plotline and ultimately sends him through the floor and into the royal dungeon so that baby Hugo and his parents live happily ever after. The illustrations in all three of these uniform editions share traditional settings, all-white humans, and bright, simple looks. The retellings are aimed at younger audiences, though by cutting the cumulative language in Chicken Little and Gingerbread Man to a minimum, the author drains some of the distinctive tone and character from those folk tales.

No substitutes for more traditional renditions—but not spoiled by the alterations, either. (Picture book/folk tale. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-58925-476-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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