THE LION FIRST BOOK OF NURSERY STORIES

The current emphasis on early literacy has books of nursery rhymes popping up, but collections of nursery “stories” seem to be fewer in number. This one offers a nice roundup for family enjoyment.

The key to this medley of 15 tales is the folksy artwork (a blend of Tony Ross and Emma Chichester Clark), which is droll in tone but sidesteps being cartoonish. Faces have broad noses, eyes are dots, and curved lines form mouths. Visible brush strokes add swooshes of color that lend a simplified nuance to the short retellings written in a modern style. “Goldilocks was quite used to getting her own way. So she didn’t care a bit that she was not supposed to go alone into the woods.” For all its colloquialism, the text displays some fairly sophisticated vocabulary: “The wolf huffed. The wolf puffed, and his bad breath buffeted the straw house until it blew to bits.” The stories are an assortment of folk tales, fables and other favorites that range from the familiar—“The Three Billy Goats Gruff” and “the Emperor’s New Clothes,” to name just two—to some non-Western ones such as “Walnuts and Pumpkins,” a tale from Turkey, and “The Greedy Monkey,” from Pakistan. Each one is attributed to a country of origin, except, alas, for “The Man Who Never Lied,” which is from “Africa.” Elegant it’s not, but down-to-earth it is, with a high entertainment factor for reading aloud and family sharing. Storytellers should also take note. (Folklore. 5-10)

 

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7459-6341-9

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Lion/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

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 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the...

CHARLIE BUMPERS VS. THE TEACHER OF THE YEAR

From the Charlie Bumpers series , Vol. 1

Charlie Bumpers is doomed. The one teacher he never wanted in the whole school turns out to be his fourth-grade teacher.

Charlie recalls third grade, when he accidentally hit the scariest teacher in the whole school with his sneaker. “I know all about you, Charlie Bumpers,” she says menacingly on the first day of fourth grade. Now, in addition to all the hardships of starting school, he has gotten off on the wrong foot with her. Charlie’s dry and dramatic narrative voice clearly reveals the inner life of a 9-year-old—the glass is always half empty, especially in light of a series of well-intentioned events gone awry. It’s quite a litany: “Hitting Mrs. Burke in the head with the sneaker. The messy desk. The swinging on the door. The toilet paper. And now this—the shoe on the roof.” Harley has teamed once again with illustrator Gustavson (Lost and Found, 2012) to create a real-life world in which a likable kid must face the everyday terrors of childhood: enormous bullies, looming teachers and thick gym coaches with huge pointing fingers. Into this series opener, Harley magically weaves the simple lesson that people, even teachers, can surprise you.

Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the sarcasm of Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56145-732-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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