MOLLY LIMBO

Hodges (Comus, p. 135, etc.) draws on various sources of English and Scottish folklore to create this beguiling story of a house haunted by Molly Limbo, wife of a pirate and currently inhabiting a room at the top of the house. To miserly Mr. Means, the house, charmingly depicted in watercolors with borders painted to look like aged paper, is priced right. He doesn't mind living with a ghost he doesn't believe in. He moves in, buries his money, then hires Mrs. Handy, the widow next door, to cook and clean for him. Her first day of work leaves her bone-tired, but makes only a dent in the mess. She can hardly believe her eyes when she arrives the next day to find the house spotless. Apparently another housekeeper has lent a ghostly hand. When she finishes that day, Mrs. Handy sets out a cupcake and milk to thank Molly. Mr. Means soon decides one housekeeper is enough and fires Mrs. Handy; that night, Molly creates disorder in the house, leaving a pertinent note in flour she's scattered on the kitchen floor. Mr. Means takes the message to heart, rehiring Mrs. Handy and soon acquiring genuine affection for her and her children. Masterful handling of intriguing material, accompanied by visuals that recall Arthur Rackham's work; this is an entertaining read bolstered by positive values. (Picture book/folklore. 5-8.)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-689-80581-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1996

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LAST DAY BLUES

From the Mrs. Hartwell's Classroom Adventures series

One more myth dispelled for all the students who believe that their teachers live in their classrooms. During the last week of school, Mrs. Hartwell and her students reflect on the things they will miss, while also looking forward to the fun that summer will bring. The kids want to cheer up their teacher, whom they imagine will be crying over lesson plans and missing them all summer long. But what gift will cheer her up? Numerous ideas are rejected, until Eddie comes up with the perfect plan. They all cooperate to create a rhyming ode to the school year and their teacher. Love’s renderings of the children are realistic, portraying the diversity of modern-day classrooms, from dress and expression to gender and skin color. She perfectly captures the emotional trauma the students imagine their teachers will go through as they leave for the summer. Her final illustration hysterically shatters that myth, and will have every teacher cheering aloud. What a perfect end to the school year. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-58089-046-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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THE BEST CHEF IN SECOND GRADE

An impending school visit by a celebrity chef sends budding cook Ollie into a tailspin. He and his classmates are supposed to bring a favorite family food for show and tell, but his family doesn’t have a clear choice—besides, his little sister Rosy doesn’t like much of anything. What to do? As in their previous two visits to Room 75, Kenah builds suspense while keeping the tone light, and Carter adds both bright notes of color and familiar home and school settings in her cartoon illustrations. Eventually, Ollie winkles favorite ingredients out of his clan, which he combines into a mac-and-cheese casserole with a face on top that draws delighted praise from the class’s renowned guest. As Ollie seems to do his kitchen work without parental assistance, a cautionary tip or two (and maybe a recipe) might not have gone amiss here, but the episode’s mouthwatering climax and resolution will guarantee smiles of contentment all around. (Easy reader. 6-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-053561-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2007

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