THAT’S GOOD! THAT’S BAD! IN WASHINGTON, DC

On a visit to the nation’s capitol, a boy and his class hop aboard a DC Duck. That sounds like fun; it must be good. No, it’s bad. The boy leans out too far and gets whisked away by a passing motorcycle. That sounds bad, but it’s actually good; the motorcycle is headed for the zoo. Now that sounds like fun; it must be good! etc. Cuyler tries to pump some new life into the fortunately/unfortunately convention by setting the story in Washington DC. What results is a chain of events with little or no causal connections. Garland does his best to add some fun with his sleepy-eyed, round-faced characters, but he fails as well. Even fans of the genre will likely be bored. This is only worth it if a unit on DC is a big part of your curriculum. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8050-7727-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2007

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Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun.

CLOTHESLINE CLUES TO JOBS PEOPLE DO

From the Clothesline Clues series

Heling and Hembrook’s clever conceit challenges children to analyze a small town’s clotheslines to guess the job each of their owners does. 

Close-up on the clothesline: “Uniform and cap, / an invite for you. / Big bag of letters. / What job does she do?” A turn of the page reveals a macro view of the home, van and the woman doing her job, “She is a mail carrier.” Indeed, she can be spotted throughout the book delivering invitations to all the rest of the characters, who gather at the end for a “Launch Party.” The verses’ rhymes are spot-on, though the rhythm falters a couple of times. The authors nicely mix up the gender stereotypes often associated with several of these occupations, making the carpenter, firefighter and astronaut women. But while Davies keeps uniforms and props pretty neutral (he even avoids U.S. mail symbols), he keeps to the stereotypes that allow young readers to easily identify occupations—the farmer chews on a stalk of wheat; the beret-wearing artist sports a curly mustache. A subdued palette and plain white backgrounds keep kids’ focus on the clothing clues. Still, there are plenty of details to absorb—the cat with arched back that anticipates a spray of water, the firefighter who “lights” the rocket.

Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58089-251-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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THIS IS OUR HOUSE

Nine kids drag a cardboard box into a playground, where George immediately takes over: ``This house is mine and no one else is coming in.'' The others try to get past him, but George won't let them inside—and he explains why not: ``This house isn't for girls,'' ``This house isn't for people with glasses,'' etc. After he temporarily vacates the box to go to the bathroom, he finds that the others have declared the house off-limits to ``people with red hair.'' George, who has red hair, has an epiphany: ``This house is for everyone!'' Rosen (A School for Pompey Walker, 1995, etc.) has written a persuasive and entertaining morality play. For all its cadences, the dialogue is pungently realistic, perfectly reflecting the reasoning that goes on among children. The ethnically diverse cast appears against a stark white urban background of high-rise apartment buildings. These unassuming pictures are surprisingly powerful; Graham grays some characters and leaves others in full- color to shift the spotlight from scene to scene, then further emphasizes this theatrical effect by zooming in or pulling back from the action. Overall, it's real cartoon drama. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 1996

ISBN: 1-56402-870-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1996

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