A charming entry in the ongoing saga of Tallulah.

READ REVIEW

TALLULAH'S TOE SHOES

From the Tallulah series , Vol. 3

Toe shoes are de rigueur for ballerinas, and Tallulah wants them—now!

Tallulah is one determined ballet student. She wanted a tutu and got it. She wanted a starring role in a student performance and almost got it, appearing instead in the corps de ballet. Now it’s toe shoes. Her teacher explains that she can wear them when her feet stop growing. This is not a sufficient deterrent, however. Tallulah sneakily retrieves a pair discarded by an older student and takes them home. Sore feet, sore toes, inability to balance and her little brother’s exasperation after trying to help finally make her realize her teacher’s wisdom. Singer once again wisely presents a quandary faced by many little ballerinas and any other child who is told to postpone immediate gratification. Boiger’s delicate watercolors featuring bright reds and blues winningly capture Tallulah’s loving family, her dramatic if unsuccessful struggle to stand on point and her surety of future success. A double-page-spread depiction of a ballet step, échappé en pointe or demi-pointe, performed respectively by an older girl and by Tallulah, makes an excellent reference point. Little girls in tutus and little girls who dream big will find that Tallulah is a kindred spirit. A glittery cover adds to the appeal.

A charming entry in the ongoing saga of Tallulah. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 19, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-48223-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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Aims high but falls flat.

WILD SYMPHONY

Through 20 short poems, Maestro Mouse invites readers to meet a series of animals who have lessons to impart and a symphony to perform.

Brown, author of The DaVinci Code (2003) and other wildly popular titles for adults, here offers young listeners a poetry collection accompanied by music: a “symphony” performed, for readers equipped with an audio device and an internet connection, by the Zagreb Festival Orchestra. From the introduction of the conductor and the opening “Woodbird Welcome” to the closing “Cricket Lullaby,” the writer/composer uses poems made of three to eight rhyming couplets, each line with four strong beats, to introduce the animals who will be revealed in the final double gatefold as the players in an all-animal orchestra. Each poem also contains a lesson, reinforced by a short message (often on a banner or signpost). Thus, “When life trips them up a bit, / Cats just make the best of it” concludes the poem “Clumsy Kittens,” which is encapsulated by “Falling down is part of life. The best thing to do is get back on your feet!” The individual songs and poems may appeal to the intended audience, but collectively they don’t have enough variety to be read aloud straight through. Nor does the gathering of the orchestra provide a narrative arc. Batori’s cartoon illustrations are whimsically engaging, however. They include puzzles: hard-to-find letters that are said to form anagrams of instrument names and a bee who turns up somewhere in every scene.

Aims high but falls flat. (Complete composition not available for review.) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12384-3

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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A snort-inducing lesson of both bravery and preparation.

THE BEAR MUST GO ON

Four woodland animal friends put on a show.

Rabbit, Squirrel, and aptly named Other Squirrel (who has slightly redder fur than Squirrel) are a flurry of activity. They are going to put on a show. “A BIG show.…The BEST show!” It will have hats (tall ones), tickets (shiny ones), and a curtain (red—no, green). There are many decisions to be made. Bear, however, does not want to be part of it. He is too shy. He would prefer to be the note taker. Rabbit, Squirrel, and Other Squirrel fire off ideas, amending one another’s at furious speed, and Bear writes them all down. Scribbles appear in the white space surrounding the boulderlike ursine’s head. The ideas pile up; debut illustrator Todd deftly covers an entire page while Bear hunches in the middle, furiously writing. He hums a tune to keep himself calm. On the night of the performance, everything seems ready. Everything except…the show! They were so bogged down with the details, no one figured out what the show would be. The title gives away the ending from the very start, but Bear’s pluck is nevertheless laudable. Petty’s comedic quips are echoed in the frenzied art, with Bear looming large yet timid to ground it all. Limited, skilled use of panels helps to control the pacing.

A snort-inducing lesson of both bravery and preparation. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-3747-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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