A sweet sibling outing, in both senses of the word.

READ REVIEW

LOUISE LOVES BAKE SALES

Art-loving Louise and her little brother, Art, cook up creative treats for the first-grade bake sale in this early-reader offering.

Throughout the book, which features a first-person text with controlled vocabulary, an unmentioned black cat accompanies bespectacled Louise and her robot-costumed brother, adding visual interest to the pictures. The opening spreads depict Louise with Art as she expresses her love for art of all kinds. “I see art in everything!” she exclaims while reading a baking cookbook. The next page depicts a notice on the refrigerator for contributions to a bake sale to fund a field trip. The children, who are both depicted as white with light skin, set out to bake and decorate “a rainbow of cupcakes.” They start with primary colors for the frosting and then mix them together for more options, but the process goes awry when Art combines too many colors and they end up with big bowls of gray frosting. “At least they taste good, even if they don’t look like art,” Louise generously states. Her eureka moment arrives when she repeats the phrase “Look like Art,” and a first-person visual perspective shows her comparing the gray-frosted cupcakes with the gray-helmeted Art. Inspired, Louise adds confectionary embellishments to the cupcakes, which make them look like little robots, too, and the “ROBO CAKES” are a hit at the bake sale.

A sweet sibling outing, in both senses of the word. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-236366-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            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

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In what seems like a veritable golden age of beginning readers, perhaps some things are better not published. Or read.

WEDGIEMAN

A HERO IS BORN

From the Adventures of Wedgieman series , Vol. 1

Captain Underpants he ain’t.

Although some may initially associate Harper and Shea’s beginning reader with Pilkey’s popular series, it falls short with a thin story and none of the master's clever sense of subversive, ribald humor. The titular hero starts as Veggiebaby, then becomes Veggieboy, then Veggieman, his growth and development attributed to his love of vegetables. He practices his superpowers as he grows, with text and art taking cheap shots at elderly women (as he lifts “a bus filled with chattering grandmas”) and overweight people (as his X-ray vision enables him to see into a house where a rotund man stands, embarrassed and clad only in his underwear: “Some things are better not seen.”) The book ends with Veggieman getting a new name from children who see a stick stuck to his shirt, making the V into a W, and dub him Wedgieman. “We don’t care about spelling,” they assure him when he objects that the word “wedgie” has a “d” and not a double “g.” His new name is sealed when (in an odd turn of events that is, sadly, characteristic of the poorly executed text) he gives himself a wedgie.

In what seems like a veritable golden age of beginning readers, perhaps some things are better not published. Or read. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-93071-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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