SURF WAR!

A FOLKTALE FROM THE MARSHALL ISLANDS

This third collaboration between author and illustrator (Conejito, 2006, and Go to Sleep, Gecko!, 2007) derives from Micronesia, specifically the Marshall Islands. Little Sandpiper and great Whale have a surf war over territory. Each claims there is more of their kind; Whale calls forth his whale brothers and Sandpiper calls her sisters. More birds or more whales? Impossible to tell, so they next call for their cousins. Whale has an idea: If the whales eat up all the land, there will be no place for the birds to perch. Sandpiper has an idea: If the birds drink up all the sea, there will be no water for the whales. But, drying up the sea will also dry up the birds’ food source, so they spit back the water and the whales spit back the island; the bragging contest ends in sharing “surf and turf.” The telling is rich with a storyteller’s voice and sound effects, while Valério’s bright blues and yellows span the spreads with broad, brush strokes that mirror the setting of this symbiotic, ecology folktale. (source notes) (Picture book/folktale. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-87483-889-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: August House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2009

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JOHN PHILIP DUCK

Edward and his father work for the Peabody Hotel in Memphis since the Depression has brought hard times for so many. On weekends they return to their farm in the hills and it’s there Edward finds John Philip Duck, named for the composer whose marches Edward listens to on the radio. Edward has to look after the scrawny duckling during the week, so he risks the ire of the hotel manager by taking John Philip with him. The expected occurs when Mr. Shutt finds the duckling. The blustery manager makes Edward a deal. If Edward can train John Philip to swim in the hotel fountain all day (and lure in more customers), Edward and the duck can stay. After much hard work, John Philip learns to stay put and Edward becomes the first Duck Master at the hotel. This half-imagined story of the first of the famous Peabody Hotel ducks is one of Polacco’s most charming efforts to date. Her signature illustrations are a bit brighter and full of the music of the march. An excellent read aloud for older crowds, but the ever-so-slightly anthropomorphic ducks will come across best shared one-on-one. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-399-24262-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2004

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THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE

Like an ocean-going “Lion and the Mouse,” a humpback whale and a snail “with an itchy foot” help each other out in this cheery travelogue. Responding to a plaintive “Ride wanted around the world,” scrawled in slime on a coastal rock, whale picks up snail, then sails off to visit waters tropical and polar, stormy and serene before inadvertently beaching himself. Off hustles the snail, to spur a nearby community to action with another slimy message: “SAVE THE WHALE.” Donaldson’s rhyme, though not cumulative, sounds like “The house that Jack built”—“This is the tide coming into the bay, / And these are the villagers shouting, ‘HOORAY!’ / As the whale and the snail travel safely away. . . .” Looking in turn hopeful, delighted, anxious, awed, and determined, Scheffler’s snail, though tiny next to her gargantuan companion, steals the show in each picturesque seascape—and upon returning home, provides so enticing an account of her adventures that her fellow mollusks all climb on board the whale’s tail for a repeat voyage. Young readers will clamor to ride along. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8037-2922-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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