THE HUNTER

A CHINESE FOLKTALE

In this spare retelling of a Chinese folk tale, a hunter receives a wonderful gift that ultimately costs him his life. When Hai Li Bu rescues a small snake who turns out to be the daughter of the Dragon King of the Sea, her grateful father gives the young hunter the ability to understand the language of animals—with a warning that he will turn to stone if he ever reveals his secret. One day the animals herald the approach of a devastating storm. Hai Li Bu is unable to convince the local villagers to flee until, at last, he resolutely tells his story, turning to stone bit by bit before their horrified eyes. Against almost featureless flecked backgrounds in which warm, subtly modulated browns are the dominant colors, Young (A Pup Just For Me/A Boy Just For Me, 1999, etc.) places figures formed by strong, economically brushed outlines; their placement opens up great depth and space in each scene, and both the dragon’s spiky hugeness and Hai Li Bu’s quiet heroism are clear to see. A Chinese ideogram or two in the bottom corner of each spread adds a thematic caption, explained in a key. After the catastrophe, the chastened villagers return to rebuild, erect Hai Li Bu as his own monument, and forever after are careful to “listen to every person, even the youngest child.” As much about the changing character of Hai Li Bu’s community as about his own selflessness, this multilayered tale will leave readers moved and thoughtful. (Picture book/folk tale. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-689-82906-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2000

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An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda.

BOOKMARKS ARE PEOPLE TOO!

From the Here's Hank series , Vol. 1

Hank Zipzer, poster boy for dyslexic middle graders everywhere, stars in a new prequel series highlighting second-grade trials and triumphs.

Hank’s hopes of playing Aqua Fly, a comic-book character, in the upcoming class play founder when, despite plenty of coaching and preparation, he freezes up during tryouts. He is not particularly comforted when his sympathetic teacher adds a nonspeaking role as a bookmark to the play just for him. Following the pattern laid down in his previous appearances as an older child, he gets plenty of help and support from understanding friends (including Ashley Wong, a new apartment-house neighbor). He even manages to turn lemons into lemonade with a quick bit of improv when Nick “the Tick” McKelty, the sneering classmate who took his preferred role, blanks on his lines during the performance. As the aforementioned bully not only chokes in the clutch and gets a demeaning nickname, but is fat, boastful and eats like a pig, the authors’ sensitivity is rather one-sided. Still, Hank has a winning way of bouncing back from adversity, and like the frequent black-and-white line-and-wash drawings, the typeface is designed with easy legibility in mind.

An uncomplicated opener, with some funny bits and a clear but not heavy agenda. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-448-48239-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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TOMAS AND THE LIBRARY LADY

A charming, true story about the encounter between the boy who would become chancellor at the University of California at Riverside and a librarian in Iowa. Tom†s Rivera, child of migrant laborers, picks crops in Iowa in the summer and Texas in the winter, traveling from place to place in a worn old car. When he is not helping in the fields, Tom†s likes to hear Papa Grande's stories, which he knows by heart. Papa Grande sends him to the library downtown for new stories, but Tom†s finds the building intimidating. The librarian welcomes him, inviting him in for a cool drink of water and a book. Tom†s reads until the library closes, and leaves with books checked out on the librarian's own card. For the rest of the summer, he shares books and stories with his family, and teaches the librarian some Spanish. At the end of the season, there are big hugs and a gift exchange: sweet bread from Tom†s's mother and a shiny new book from the librarianto keep. Col¢n's dreamy illustrations capture the brief friendship and its life-altering effects in soft earth tones, using round sculptured shapes that often depict the boy right in the middle of whatever story realm he's entered. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-679-80401-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1997

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