Good for imagination and travel, this merry bus ride has glimmers of “Little Red Riding Hood” but is entirely itself.

THE BUS RIDE

Clara (named only on the book jacket) narrates her own story of the first time she goes to Grandma’s house on the bus by herself.

Of course, she isn’t really alone. Quite a cast of characters joins her on the wide, spacious vehicle. They are all animals dressed (more or less) in people clothes and doing what people do on buses: knitting; reading the newspaper (whose headlines often relate to the action); napping. In fact, the sloth pretty much sleeps through the whole trip. Clara shares a cookie with a friendly wolf tot, is kind of freaked out by the darkness as the bus goes through a tunnel, and notes the mix-up when the knitting owl’s blue chapeau ends up on someone else’s head and the baby wolf’s binky ends up in his dad’s mouth. She even helps thwart a robbery! In delicately sketched but clear strokes Dubuc takes characters and readers through countryside and forest, and Clara reaches her destination, where her grandmother waits for her at the bus stop, looking very like Clara’s own mom but with silver hair. The exaggerated proportions of the book (6.75 inches high and 11 inches wide) echo that of the bus Clara rides in and make for dramatic double-page spreads.

Good for imagination and travel, this merry bus ride has glimmers of “Little Red Riding Hood” but is entirely itself. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-77138-209-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...

STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK

From the Stink series

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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