TUTUS AREN’T MY STYLE

Emma, whose immediate literary ancestors include Pippi Longstocking and Eloise, is flamboozled when the mailman brings a package from Uncle Leo and it’s a ballerina outfit. Emma’s taste runs more to pirate hats and lizards, but she gamely tries to float and flitter, following the advice of the mailman and stuffy Mrs. Gurkin with bumpy results in the out-of-doors. Inside, supplying her own music with a kazoo, she fares little better, but when Uncle Leo arrives she rolls like a tumbleweed, does cartwheels and taps in her cowboy boots. He’s delighted—and nonplussed, because he meant to send her a safari outfit! Wilsdorf’s watercolor-and–China ink pictures have a lively line, spreading out over double pages and employing sequential vignettes with equal assurance and verve. If the message is a little heavy handed, leaping cats, a peripatetic garden gnome and the red-cowboy-booted Emma’s irrepressible bounce lift it up. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3212-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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THE BEST CHEF IN SECOND GRADE

An impending school visit by a celebrity chef sends budding cook Ollie into a tailspin. He and his classmates are supposed to bring a favorite family food for show and tell, but his family doesn’t have a clear choice—besides, his little sister Rosy doesn’t like much of anything. What to do? As in their previous two visits to Room 75, Kenah builds suspense while keeping the tone light, and Carter adds both bright notes of color and familiar home and school settings in her cartoon illustrations. Eventually, Ollie winkles favorite ingredients out of his clan, which he combines into a mac-and-cheese casserole with a face on top that draws delighted praise from the class’s renowned guest. As Ollie seems to do his kitchen work without parental assistance, a cautionary tip or two (and maybe a recipe) might not have gone amiss here, but the episode’s mouthwatering climax and resolution will guarantee smiles of contentment all around. (Easy reader. 6-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-053561-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2007

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RAIN SCHOOL

It takes a village to make a school. In Chad, big brothers and sisters lead the way for younger children on the first day of school. Little Thomas is full of questions. When he and the other children arrive, there are no classrooms and no desks. But the teacher's there, holding a trowel. "We will build our school," she declares. Everyone sets to work, making mud bricks that dry in the sun and a roof out of grass and saplings. Thomas loves his lessons; every day he learns something new. At the end of the school year, the minds of the students "are fat with knowledge." And just in time: The rainy season arrives and makes short work of the schoolhouse. Come September, they'll start all over. Rumford's illustrations make great use of color, dark brown skin and bright shirts, shorts and dresses against golden backgrounds, the hues applied in smudgy layers that infuse each scene with warmth—until the gray rains arrive. It's a nifty social-studies lesson tucked into a warm tale of community. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-24307-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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