THE BATTLE OF THE SNOW CONES / LA GUERRA DE LAS RASPAS

On one of the hottest weeks of the summer in Caliente, Texas, best friends Elena and Alma open competing snow-cone stands across the street from each other. As business booms and wanes, the competition gets stronger, as do the sales pitches and incentives. Extravagant decorations, puppet shows and folk dancing in traditional costume cause ever more customers to crisscross the street, until both ice machines simultaneously malfunction, pouring out colored ice shavings until a slushy rainbow ribbon of the stuff tumbles down the street, encouraging everyone to “[cascade] down the dazzling icy mound” and leaving Elena and Alma to dissolve their rivalry and renew their friendship. The full-color paintings are mostly realistic, featuring appealing, if stiff, protagonists; the rainbow-colored snow-cone slide makes for a startling and unconvincing intrusion. Lacking the charm of Strega Nona and her magical spaghetti pot, this summery, bilingual story jars with the quick flight of fancy. While the themes of friendly rivalry and work-made-fun are worthwhile, the odd deus ex machina mystifies more than it delights. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-55885-575-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Piñata Books/Arte Público

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2010

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Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work.

SYLVIA'S SPINACH

A young spinach hater becomes a spinach lover after she has to grow her own in a class garden.

Unable to trade away the seed packet she gets from her teacher for tomatoes, cukes or anything else more palatable, Sylvia reluctantly plants and nurtures a pot of the despised veggie then transplants it outside in early spring. By the end of school, only the plot’s lettuce, radishes and spinach are actually ready to eat (talk about a badly designed class project!)—and Sylvia, once she nerves herself to take a nibble, discovers that the stuff is “not bad.” She brings home an armful and enjoys it from then on in every dish: “And that was the summer Sylvia Spivens said yes to spinach.” Raff uses unlined brushwork to give her simple cartoon illustrations a pleasantly freehand, airy look, and though Pryor skips over the (literally, for spinach) gritty details in both the story and an afterword, she does cover gardening basics in a simple and encouraging way.

Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-1-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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