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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Heartwarming and illuminating.

KISIMI TAIMAIPPAKTUT ANGIRRARIJARANI / ONLY IN MY HOMETOWN

Life in a snowy northern town, from a child’s perspective and written both in Inuktitut and English

One-story houses in multiple colors sit close together beneath a cloudy blue sky, their roofs covered with snow. A little girl sits on a large metallic tube looking straight ahead. “Sitting on an elephant, always remembering what my mom said.” The next picture pulls back for a wider view; the girl is on an oil drum or water tank. Below her are some nondescript buildings and two children riding bicycles on a quiet rural road. The book’s text is a reflective poem. Stanzas end with the repeated line, “Only in my hometown.” Inside the house, so many children are playing that care needs to be taken to avoid stepping on their toys. Nearby four women share a feast of raw meat, in which the little girl is delighted to partake. Outside, blizzards can last for weeks, covering everything with snow. And then the darkness comes, enveloping the region. The northern lights dance. Everyone can be called family “in my hometown.” The sister collaborators work in harmony. Angnakuluk Friesen’s poetic text is fluid and evocative, and Ippiksaut Friesen’s illustrations, painted with watercolor and acrylic “on elephant poo paper,” then composited digitally, are lovely works of folk art. Inuktitut is rendered both in its own symbology and Romanized.

Heartwarming and illuminating. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55498-883-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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