Teachers looking for a new way to start off the school year will eat this one up.

THE GINGERBREAD MAN LOOSE IN THE SCHOOL

In Murray’s children’s debut, when a gingerbread man made by schoolchildren gets left behind at recess, he decides he has to find his class: “I’ll run and I’ll run, / As fast as I can. / I can catch them! I’m their / Gingerbread Man!”

And so begins his rollicking rhyming adventure as he runs, limps, slides and skips his way through the school, guided on his way by the friendly teachers he meets. Flattened by a volleyball near the gym, he gets his broken toe fixed by the kindly nurse and then slides down the railing into the art teacher’s lunch. Then it’s off to the principal’s office, where he takes a spin in her chair before she arrives. “The children you mentioned just left you to cool. / They’re hanging these posters of you through the school.” The principal takes him back to the classroom, where the children all welcome him back. The book’s comic-book layout suits the elementary-school tour that this is, while Lowery’s cartoon artwork fits the folktale theme. Created with pencil, screen printing and digital color, the simple illustrations give preschoolers a taste of what school will be like. While the Gingerbread Man is wonderfully expressive, though, the rather cookie-cutter teachers could use a little more life.

Teachers looking for a new way to start off the school year will eat this one up. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25052-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

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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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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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