In all, though, a visual and interpretive feast bringing timeless tales to a young audience.

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ECHO ECHO

REVERSO POEMS ABOUT THE GREEK MYTHS

Poetic portraits of well-known figures from Greek mythology.

Picking up where they left off with their “reverso” renderings of classic fairy tales (Follow Follow: A Book of Reversos, 2013, etc.), poet Singer and illustrator Masse take on Greek myth, choosing some of the most famous legends to explore from multiple perspectives. In 2010, Singer created the provocative reverso form, in which—not unlike an extended palindrome—a lyric poem presents a portrait and then recasts it backward, line by line, in a companion poem. The complicated fates of the dozen mythic figures portrayed here, among them Arachne, Midas, Demeter, and Persephone, lend themselves particularly well to this reflective form, and Masse’s gorgeous acrylics, richly stylized in blues and gold, effectively capture the dualistic nature of the reverso form. Here, curious Pandora, forever blamed for unleashing untold evils into the world when she “opened that darn box,” gets a sympathetic reprieve when the story flips: “She let loose those evils, / but / she didn’t collect them. / She gets the blame. / No matter that / it might have been great Zeus’s game.” The myth of “Eurydice and Orpheus,” though, again hinging on succumbing to desire, here relies rather too heavily on the narrative note at the bottom of the page to convey the tragic plot to young readers.

In all, though, a visual and interpretive feast bringing timeless tales to a young audience. (Picture book/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3992-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.

WAYSIDE SCHOOL BENEATH THE CLOUD OF DOOM

Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Pippi is an inspired creation knit from daydreams.

PIPPI LONGSTOCKING

A fresh delicious fantasy that children will love.

In the character of 9-year-old Pippi Longstocking, who was lucky to have no parents to tell her what to do, is a juvenile Robin Hood with the authority of Mammy Yokum and a Mighty Mouse. Pippi- red headed, in longstockings (one black and one brown), and the strongest girl in the world was the friend of Tommy and Annika. Calmly and ingeniously she put down the enemy forces of the adult world — with a serene efficiency. The teacher was baffled by her logic in pointing out the futility of learning arithmetic; bullies she hoisted on trees; at the circus Pippi rode bareback, walked the tightrope, and wrestled the wrestling champ; cream and sugar flowed (on the floor) when Pippi attended a ladies' coffee party where she revealed "horrid things" with the complacency of Eliza Doolittle. Champion of fun, freedom and fantasy and long happy thoughts,

Pippi is an inspired creation knit from daydreams.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 1950

ISBN: 978-0-14-030957-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1950

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