Thoroughly misconceived and poorly executed.



An adverbial tour from sea to shining sea.

As in Sutton’s similarly constructed I Love You Animally (illustrated by Hazel Mitchell, 2015), the repetition of “I love you” quickly transforms sweet sentiment into monotonous litany. The text darts back and forth over the continent as the author struggles, with only fitful success, to find rhyming locales to highlight: “I love you energetically like NYC. // I love you simply like the stark Mohave. / I love you anciently like the Southwestern ruins. / I love you greatly like the Colorado dunes,” etc. Most of the selected adverbs are interchangeable anyway, and many are either arbitrary (“I love you diversely like the Texas Big Bend”) or esoteric. Greenburg’s simple images help out with some of the latter, such as “I love you duckily like the Public Garden’s flowers” (think Robert McCloskey), but the illustrator depicts a cannon instead of a “Gettysburg mortar,” forces a batter into a painfully awkward swing, and closes with a perfunctory map on which only a few of the journey’s stops appear. She does use a range of pinks and browns to color in the faces of her small human figures.

Thoroughly misconceived and poorly executed. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-61067-511-6

Page Count: 30

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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            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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In what seems like a veritable golden age of beginning readers, perhaps some things are better not published. Or read.



From the Adventures of Wedgieman series , Vol. 1

Captain Underpants he ain’t.

Although some may initially associate Harper and Shea’s beginning reader with Pilkey’s popular series, it falls short with a thin story and none of the master's clever sense of subversive, ribald humor. The titular hero starts as Veggiebaby, then becomes Veggieboy, then Veggieman, his growth and development attributed to his love of vegetables. He practices his superpowers as he grows, with text and art taking cheap shots at elderly women (as he lifts “a bus filled with chattering grandmas”) and overweight people (as his X-ray vision enables him to see into a house where a rotund man stands, embarrassed and clad only in his underwear: “Some things are better not seen.”) The book ends with Veggieman getting a new name from children who see a stick stuck to his shirt, making the V into a W, and dub him Wedgieman. “We don’t care about spelling,” they assure him when he objects that the word “wedgie” has a “d” and not a double “g.” His new name is sealed when (in an odd turn of events that is, sadly, characteristic of the poorly executed text) he gives himself a wedgie.

In what seems like a veritable golden age of beginning readers, perhaps some things are better not published. Or read. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-93071-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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