This tale of self-esteem and the challenges of school has some serious logic problems.

READ REVIEW

CLUCKY AND THE MAGIC KETTLE

A doting mother hen’s special stew provides a generous and much-needed serving of community support for her brood.

Clucky the Hen usually takes her three children to Aviary School on her big sturdy tricycle. Hide-and-go-seek is their favorite recess game, and they also work on reading and painting and singing. But some of the other birds at the school have strange ideas, and they plant doubts in the tiny chicks’ tiny heads. Mr. Goose suggests that the featherbrained Clucky might simply forget about them one day and abandon them. The big blue peacock chick warns them to stay away from the duck, lest their beaks turn twisty like his. The pigeon “and his little bunch” ridicule the chicks because they were supposedly born upside down, very different from the other birds. Each tale sends the three chicks crying home to their mother for comfort. Her supportive words are just a quick, temporary fix, but she also has a secret weapon: her magic kettle. In the quiet of night, she fills it...with spite, envy, “nasty feelings” and just a shake of stardust. She puts her special stew into jars and slaps on a label: “Yuk!!” And magically, envy turns to admiration. Huh?

This tale of self-esteem and the challenges of school has some serious logic problems. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-84-15619-44-4

Page Count: 30

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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Good bedtime reading.

POLAR BEAR ISLAND

Only polar bears are allowed on Polar Bear Island, until Kirby, a friendly, creative penguin, arrives on the scene.

On the verso of the first double-page spread, large white lettering proclaims against an azure sky: “Polar Bear Island was peaceful and predictable. Parker, the mayor, planned to keep it that way.” Below, Parker—paint can in left paw—can be seen facing his sign: “Welcome to Polar Bear Island. No Others Allowed.” On the recto, Kirby floats into view on an ice floe, with hat, scarf, and overstuffed suitcase. When Kirby arrives, Parker grudgingly allows her an overnight stay. However, she soon proves her worth to the other bears; she has invented Flipper Slippers, which keep extremities warm and reverse from skates to snowshoes. Now Kirby is allowed to stay and help the bears make their own Flipper Slippers. When her family shows up with more inventions, Parker feels compelled to give them a week. (Presumably, the penguins have made the 12,430-mile-trip from the South Pole to the North Pole, characterized merely as “a long journey.”) A minor crisis permanently changes Parker’s attitudes about exclusivity. The text is accessible and good fun to read aloud. The weakness of the ostensible theme of granting welcome to newcomers lies in the fact that all the newcomers are immediately, obviously useful to the bears. The cartoonlike, scratchboard-ish graphics are lighthearted and full of anthropomorphic touches.

Good bedtime reading. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2870-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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