OLD CRICKET

Wheeler and Goembel follow up their inspired Sailor Moo (2002) with another sidesplitting animal story, this one with a folkloric, Southern flavor. His “missus” wants Old Cricket to fix the leaky roof, but when he complains of a creak in his knee, she sends him off to Doc Hopper instead. Along the way, Old Cricket avoids more work by suddenly acquiring a crick in the neck and a crack in his back—none of which slows him down when hungry Old Crow happens by. The ensuing merry chase brings Old Cricket right to Doc Hopper’s door, his imputed infirmities now all too real. Viewing the action from bug’s-eye level, Goembel outfits her big, finely detailed insects in country clothing; Old Cricket, with one antenna broken off, has a crotchety, canny look—as does the missus, who reminds him of the task at hand when he strolls back home. The figures in this original tale seem ready to spring off the pages, and the text, laced with creaks and cracks, is a natural for reading aloud. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-689-84510-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2003

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A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure.

THE PIRATE PIG

It’s not truffles but doubloons that tickle this porcine wayfarer’s fancy.

Funke and Meyer make another foray into chapter-book fare after Emma and the Blue Genie (2014). Here, mariner Stout Sam and deckhand Pip eke out a comfortable existence on Butterfly Island ferrying cargo to and fro. Life is good, but it takes an unexpected turn when a barrel washes ashore containing a pig with a skull-and-crossbones pendant around her neck. It soon becomes clear that this little piggy, dubbed Julie, has the ability to sniff out treasure—lots of it—in the sea. The duo is pleased with her skills, but pride goeth before the hog. Stout Sam hands out some baubles to the local children, and his largess attracts the unwanted attention of Barracuda Bill and his nasty minions. Now they’ve pignapped Julie, and it’s up to the intrepid sailors to save the porker and their own bacon. The succinct word count meets the needs of kids looking for early adventure fare. The tale is slight, bouncy, and amusing, though Julie is never the piratical buccaneer the book’s cover seems to suggest. Meanwhile, Meyer’s cheery watercolors are as comfortable diagramming the different parts of a pirate vessel as they are rendering the dread pirate captain himself.

A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure. (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37544-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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DORY STORY

Who is next in the ocean food chain? Pallotta has a surprising answer in this picture book glimpse of one curious boy. Danny, fascinated by plankton, takes his dory and rows out into the ocean, where he sees shrimp eating those plankton, fish sand eels eating shrimp, mackerel eating fish sand eels, bluefish chasing mackerel, tuna after bluefish, and killer whales after tuna. When an enormous humpbacked whale arrives on the scene, Danny’s dory tips over and he has to swim for a large rock or become—he worries’someone’s lunch. Surreal acrylic illustrations in vivid blues and red extend the story of a small boy, a small boat, and a vast ocean, in which the laws of the food chain are paramount. That the boy has been bathtub-bound during this entire imaginative foray doesn’t diminish the suspense, and the facts Pallotta presents are solidly researched. A charming fish tale about the one—the boy—that got away. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88106-075-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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