BUD

A sweetly anthropomorphic Rhino family learns to appreciate their child’s unique interests through surprising support from an unexpected source. Bud Sweet-William is a mystery to his staid parents. They are “proper, sensible” and preternaturally neat. Bud has adored dirt since he was a toddler. While they prefer tidy silk flower arrangements and counsel Bud to color inside the lines, the ebullient Bud likes to “cut loose” when he paints. He is happiest digging, composting, and growing a backyard garden and reveling in the growing jungle of indoor plants that are rapidly over-running his room. Carefully cultivated family equilibrium is soon threatened by a visit from Bud’s paternal grandfather—a neatnick of the first order. How to keep Grandfather away from and unaware of Bud’s gardening? Upon arrival, Grandfather takes charge. He gives the house a thorough cleaning and reorganizing (even the canned goods in alphabetical order). A violent overnight thunderstorm wreaks havoc in Bud’s garden. When grandfather and grandson survey the remains the next morning, Bud learns that far from being dismayed, Grandfather is instead impressed with the garden and organizes its cleanup. Author-illustrator O’Malley’s (Leo Cockroach . . . Toy Tester, not reviewed, etc.) well-sized, sweet-natured, cartoony watercolors are full of the right kid pleasing details that add to the low-key fun. A delightful springboard for budding gardeners and an opportunity to share their enthusiasm with family and friends. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-8027-8718-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference.

SOFIA VALDEZ, FUTURE PREZ

From the Questioneers series

Sofia Valdez proves that community organizers of any age can have a positive impact.

After a trash-heap eyesore causes an injury to her beloved abuelo, Sofia springs into action to bring big change to her neighborhood. The simple rhymes of the text follow Sofia on her journey from problem through ideas to action as she garners community support for an idyllic new park to replace the dangerous junk pile. When bureaucracy threatens to quash Sofia’s nascent plan, she digs deep and reflects that “being brave means doing the thing you must do, / though your heart cracks with fear. / Though you’re just in Grade Two.” Sofia’s courage yields big results and inspires those around her to lend a hand. Implied Latinx, Sofia and her abuelo have medium brown skin, and Sofia has straight brown hair (Abuelo is bald). Readers will recognize Iggy Peck, Rosie Revere, and Ada Twist from Beaty’s previous installments in the Questioneers series making cameo appearances in several scenes. While the story connects back to the title and her aptitude for the presidency in only the second-to-last sentence of the book, Sofia’s leadership and grit are themes throughout. Roberts’ signature illustration style lends a sense of whimsy; detailed drawings will have readers scouring each page for interesting minutiae.

Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3704-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

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IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT

A repressive teacher almost ruins second grade for a prodigy in this amusing, if overwritten, tale. Having shown a fascination with great buildings since constructing a model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa from used diapers at age two, Iggy sinks into boredom after Miss Greer announces, throwing an armload of histories and craft projects into the trash, that architecture will be a taboo subject in her class. Happily, she changes her views when the collapse of a footbridge leaves the picnicking class stranded on an island, whereupon Iggy enlists his mates to build a suspension bridge from string, rulers and fruit roll-ups. Familiar buildings and other structures, made with unusual materials or, on the closing pages, drawn on graph paper, decorate Roberts’s faintly retro cartoon illustrations. They add an audience-broadening element of sophistication—as would Beaty’s decision to cast the text into verse, if it did not result in such lines as “After twelve long days / that passed in a haze / of reading, writing and arithmetic, / Miss Greer took the class / to Blue River Pass / for a hike and an old-fashioned picnic.” Another John Lithgow she is not, nor is Iggy another Remarkable Farkle McBride (2000), but it’s always salutary to see young talent vindicated. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8109-1106-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

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