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BACK-TO-SCHOOL RULES

Unfortunately, his negatively-phrased list of rules are full of don’ts. Among them: Don't be late or impolite, don’t forget...

Young Percy Isaac Gifford offers 10 rules for students to follow so that an “A+” will be guaranteed.

Unfortunately, his negatively-phrased list of rules are full of don’ts. Among them: Don't be late or impolite, don’t forget to have fun, don’t contradict your teacher or take forever to say something, don’t cry often or without a reason and “when in doubt, don’t.” Repeated readings of all these don'ts, especially when accompanied by all of Percy’s lists of specific things not to do, may well permanently fix the “naughty” behaviors in readers’ minds. In addition, Percy’s rules are lacking in the why department, never connecting how following his rules will lead to good grades…nor does he ever suggest that studying and doing homework are a good route to that end, too. The rhyming verse, while rollicking, is sometimes forced, resulting in clunky phrasing: “An important rule to follow: / Don’t forget to use your brain. / That means leave your plans at home / That qualify as insane!” Murfin’s artwork employs collaged papers and muted tones for a retro feel. Her rosy-cheeked children clearly illustrate each don’t, along with some others that aren’t spelled out in the text.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7613-6070-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2011

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HORTON AND THE KWUGGERBUG AND MORE LOST STORIES

Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent.

Published in magazines, never seen since / Now resurrected for pleasure intense / Versified episodes numbering four / Featuring Marco, and Horton and more!

All of the entries in this follow-up to The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories (2011) involve a certain amount of sharp dealing. Horton carries a Kwuggerbug through crocodile-infested waters and up a steep mountain because “a deal is a deal”—and then is cheated out of his promised share of delicious Beezlenuts. Officer Pat heads off escalating, imagined disasters on Mulberry Street by clubbing a pesky gnat. Marco (originally met on that same Mulberry Street) concocts a baroque excuse for being late to school. In the closer, a smooth-talking Grinch (not the green sort) sells a gullible Hoobub a piece of string. In a lively introduction, uber-fan Charles D. Cohen (The Seuss, The Whole Seuss, and Nothing but the Seuss, 2002) provides publishing histories, places characters and settings in Seussian context, and offers insights into, for instance, the origin of “Grinch.” Along with predictably engaging wordplay—“He climbed. He grew dizzy. His ankles grew numb. / But he climbed and he climbed and he clum and he clum”—each tale features bright, crisply reproduced renditions of its original illustrations. Except for “The Hoobub and the Grinch,” which has been jammed into a single spread, the verses and pictures are laid out in spacious, visually appealing ways.

Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-38298-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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