A great pep-talk for nervous newcomers to school, and some reassurance that even teachers can worry about the first day.

READ REVIEW

BACK TO SCHOOL TORTOISE

In the tradition of back-to-school books that focus on the teacher, such as Julie Danneberg’s First Day Jitters (2000), this outing demonstrates that they are human, with the same fears and worries that their students face.

George cleverly leads readers to believe that Tortoise is just another kid worrying about school. He flies kites, wears a backpack and tends to trip a lot. And on the first day of school, after getting dressed and eating a good breakfast, the what-ifs start to plague him. “What if he tripped and fell? Or he didn’t like lunch? Or the kids were mean to him?” Worse yet, what if all three happened at the same time? The what-ifs paralyze him on the steps of the school, where he sits pondering. But some positive thinking turns those what-ifs around: “What if it was fun? Or lunch was his favorite? Or he made lots of new friends?” Or better yet, all three. He wouldn’t want to miss that! He bravely opens the door, greets everyone, and it is finally revealed that this is Mr. Tortoise, the teacher, who was so worried. Light colors and simple details mark Eyckerman’s illustrations, which keep George’s true professorial identity a secret right until the very end. Her characters embody the charm and innocence of young children.

A great pep-talk for nervous newcomers to school, and some reassurance that even teachers can worry about the first day. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8075-0510-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

Did you like this book?

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

  • Caldecott Honor Book

CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more