ONCE UPON A SATURDAY

A little girl awakens brimming with weekend plans only to be thwarted by her chore list. Contemplating her looming responsibilities with a disgruntlement only a youngster facing tedious tasks can muster, the girl quickly makes a keen discovery. In the spirit of Mary Poppins, she realizes a clever application of imagination can start her soaring through her to-do list. Lammle offers readers an ingenious peek at life from a child’s inventive perspective. She deftly conveys this in her watercolor illustrations, with alternating panels depicting both humdrum reality and June’s flights of fancy. Readers will agree—unsavory oatmeal at breakfast that suddenly morphs into a reclining reptile lurking below the surface is infinitely more fun to dispatch than plain old porridge. June sports a pink frock and flight helmet with goggles; there’s no doubt that she can take on just about anything that gets in her way, with style. While the concept is not new, this sprightly tale underscores the importance of approaching life’s less-than-thrilling necessities with good humor. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-06-125190-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2008

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THE EARTH BOOK

Parr adds to his successful series of easy-to-understand, vibrantly illustrated stories with this ecologically themed offering for younger children. He uses a simple, repetitive structure written in first person: “I [do this worthwhile activity] / and [this one] because… // I love [this aspect of nature] / and I want [this to happen].” This structural format works well to bring complex issues such as global warming into a simple context that kids can connect with. The text reads smoothly and poetically, but children may need some additional explanation from an adult to understand the logic behind the actions and resulting benefits. The cheerful illustrations include children of all colors (real and make-believe) and recognizable animals with wildly imaginary color schemes. A concluding note from the author offers encouraging words about taking care of the environment, and the reverse of the book jacket includes a list of ten ways to save the Earth. His approach to this complex topic is simple but not simplistic, and this introduction to the subject is both useful and entertaining. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-316-04265-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2010

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Formulaic but not stale…even if it does mine previous topical material rather than expand it.

HOW DO DINOSAURS SHOW GOOD MANNERS?

From the How Do Dinosaurs…? series

A guide to better behavior—at home, on the playground, in class, and in the library.

Serving as a sort of overview for the series’ 12 previous exercises in behavior modeling, this latest outing opens with a set of badly behaving dinos, identified in an endpaper key and also inconspicuously in situ. Per series formula, these are paired to leading questions like “Does she spit out her broccoli onto the floor? / Does he shout ‘I hate meat loaf!’ while slamming the door?” (Choruses of “NO!” from young audiences are welcome.) Midway through, the tone changes (“No, dinosaurs don’t”), and good examples follow to the tune of positive declarative sentences: “They wipe up the tables and vacuum the floors. / They share all the books and they never slam doors,” etc. Teague’s customary, humongous prehistoric crew, all depicted in exact detail and with wildly flashy coloration, fill both their spreads and their human-scale scenes as their human parents—no same-sex couples but some are racially mixed, and in one the man’s the cook—join a similarly diverse set of sibs and other children in either disapprobation or approving smiles. All in all, it’s a well-tested mix of oblique and prescriptive approaches to proper behavior as well as a lighthearted way to play up the use of “please,” “thank you,” and even “I’ll help when you’re hurt.”

Formulaic but not stale…even if it does mine previous topical material rather than expand it. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-36334-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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