Wit, humor and a resourceful heroine come together in an irresistible folk tale for early readers and young listeners to...

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MASHA AND THE BEAR

From the Animal Stories series , Vol. 4

Who’s afraid of a big bad bear?

This new addition to the fresh, new Animal Stories early reader series presents young readers with another folkloric delight. When young Masha enters a Russian forest to gather berries for her hungry brothers and sisters, she goes a little too far and gets very, very lost. A seemingly helpful bear offers to take her home, but unfortunately, he means to his home! Trapped in a cave and forced to sweep the floor and make pies, the very resourceful Masha must devise a plan to outsmart the bear and find her way back to her family. An excellent choice for early readers with some confidence, this selection also makes a fine read-aloud, though a bit of background on the tale would add to the whole experience. Stylized, colorful illustrations brim with appeal, and occasional speech bubbles echo the story’s gentle humor. Controlled vocabulary, with just enough repetition to help young readers along, blends nicely here with the accessible plot, pitch-perfect timing, and clever, satisfying ending. Will Masha manage to return to her family? Will the bear have to learn to bake his own pies? Tune in to this cheery, engaging tale to find out!

Wit, humor and a resourceful heroine come together in an irresistible folk tale for early readers and young listeners to savor. (Early reader/folk tale. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-84686-874-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2013

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A culturally intricate slice of a lupine courier’s life.

¡VAMOS! LET'S GO TO THE MARKET

From the ¡Vamos! series

Little Lobo and his dog, Bernabé, journey through a Mexican mercado delivering diverse goods to a variety of booths.

With the aid of red words splattered throughout the spreads as labels, Raúl the Third gives an introduction to Spanish vocabulary as Little Lobo, an anthropomorphic wolf, leaves his house, fills his cart with objects from his warehouse, and delivers them to the market’s vendors. The journey also serves as a crash course in Mexican culture, as the images are packed with intertextual details such as food, traditional games, and characters, including Cantinflas, Frida Khalo, and Juan Gabriel. Readers acquainted with Raúl the Third’s characters from his Lowriders series with author Cathy Camper will appreciate cameos from familiar characters. As he makes his rounds, Little Lobo also collects different artifacts that people offer in exchange for his deliveries of shoe polish, clothespins, wood, tissue paper, paintbrushes, and a pair of golden laces. Although Raúl the Third departs from the ball-pen illustrations that he is known for, his depiction of creatures and critters peppering the borderland where his stories are set remains in his trademark style. The softer hues in the illustrations (chosen by colorist Bay) keep the busy compositions friendly, and the halftone patterns filling the illustrations create foregrounds and backgrounds reminiscent of Roy Lichtenstein’s pointillism.

A culturally intricate slice of a lupine courier’s life. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-55726-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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