Youngsters will laugh along with the lovable lamb in this Wile E. Coyote prototype.

READ REVIEW

THE HUNGRY WOLF

From the Animal Stories series , Vol. 3

There’s nothing as tasty as lamb for dinner….

A determined and rather hungry wolf meets a lovable and very crafty lamb in this North American trickster tale retold just for early readers. As with the other offerings in the series, this selection is right on target, with charming, colorful illustrations; crisp, clear sentences; memorable and entertaining characters; and a laugh-out-loud plot. In each chapter, the clever lamb thwarts yet another of the wolf’s attempts to eat her for dinner, using her wits in innovative and surprising ways. She persuades the wolf her relatives are nearby, tells him she’s not yet fat enough and convinces him she must be accompanied by cheese. The writing features repetition to help youngsters practice—and succeed—as well as vocabulary nicely selected for readers who have just passed the rookie stage. Though a bit more information about the origin of the story would have been a nice addition, readers will thoroughly enjoy this selection and root wholeheartedly for the heroic lamb. A nice twist at the end shows a sheep who lives to laugh another day and helps her own lambs do so as well. Excellent for home and school reading.

Youngsters will laugh along with the lovable lamb in this Wile E. Coyote prototype. (Early reader/folktale. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-84686-872-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2013

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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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