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The legendary Lord Mayor of London’s story is here resurrected for a picture-book audience, the straightforward retelling receiving dramatic treatment. Dick Whittington is a resolute boy, alone in the world but determined to make something of himself, even to the point of giving up his beloved cat when it is his only thing to offer in trade when his master’s ship sails for Barbary. Hodges makes the most of the classic underdog-against-bully relationship Dick endures with his master’s cook, and when he shares his eventual riches with her, readers will cheer his good-heartedness. Equally well-established is the basis for Dick’s good deeds as Lord Mayor, his direct observations of London’s squalor as a boy leading him to ameliorate it as a man. The bells of Bow Church provide aural punctuation to the story, complementing Potter’s stylized ink-and-gouache illustrations, which present a series of tableaux, in the manner of a theatrical pageant. Dick wears his emotions on his sleeve, his despair at losing his cat writ just as large as his satisfaction at his ultimate success. An author’s note rounds out this happy foray into legend. (Picture book/folklore. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2006

ISBN: 0-8234-1987-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2006

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The wriggly narrator of Diary of a Worm (2003) puts in occasional appearances, but it’s his arachnid buddy who takes center stage here, with terse, tongue-in-cheek comments on his likes (his close friend Fly, Charlotte’s Web), his dislikes (vacuums, people with big feet), nervous encounters with a huge Daddy Longlegs, his extended family—which includes a Grandpa more than willing to share hard-won wisdom (The secret to a long, happy life: “Never fall asleep in a shoe.”)—and mishaps both at spider school and on the human playground. Bliss endows his garden-dwellers with faces and the odd hat or other accessory, and creates cozy webs or burrows colorfully decorated with corks, scraps, plastic toys and other human detritus. Spider closes with the notion that we could all get along, “just like me and Fly,” if we but got to know one another. Once again, brilliantly hilarious. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-000153-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2005

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From the Henry and Mudge series

Rylant (Henry and Mudge and the Sneaky Crackers, 1998, etc.) slips into a sentimental mode for this latest outing of the boy and his dog, as she sends Mudge and Henry and his parents off on a camping trip. Each character is attended to, each personality sketched in a few brief words: Henry's mother is the camping veteran with outdoor savvy; Henry's father doesn't know a tent stake from a marshmallow fork, but he's got a guitar for campfire entertainment; and the principals are their usual ready-for-fun selves. There are sappy moments, e.g., after an evening of star- gazing, Rylant sends the family off to bed with: ``Everyone slept safe and sound and there were no bears, no scares. Just the clean smell of trees . . . and wonderful green dreams.'' With its nice tempo, the story is as toasty as its campfire and swaddled in Stevenson's trusty artwork. (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-689-81175-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1998

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