THE NUTQUACKER

Auch (Eggs Mark the Spot, 1996, etc.) offers up an audacious tale starring a unusual band of anthropomorphic creatures. Clara, a young farm duck about to experience her first winter, becomes insatiably curious when she hears the other barnyard animals discussing Christmas. Impatient and determined to solve the mystery surrounding this event, she sets out on her own, which leads to a series of funny encounters, mistaken identities, and even some danger. After a narrow escape from a hungry fox, Clara returns home to find the holiday festivities in full swing. Amidst cows and sheep in tutus, Clara learns that Christmas is about being surrounded by loved ones. Auch’s illustrations provide droll counterpoints to the text: Clara’s mountain at the top of the world is really a haystack in a field, the ferocious beast with large eyes is an abandoned farm vehicle, etc. Those who revel in Auch’s unique brand of quips, jests, and irreverent humor will not be disappointed, and newcomers will just laugh themselves silly. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-8234-1524-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1999

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THE WATERFALL

London (Ice Bear and Little Fox, 1998, etc.) describes a family’s trip into the mountains to backpack up a creek. There’s strenuous hiking through chest-deep cold water, worry-free skinny-dipping on a sunny day, a cookout under the stars, a dangerous encounter with a mountain lion, and a final feat—climbing a waterfall. Kastner’s brilliantly colored oil paintings fill every page, pulling readers into the trip to experience nature’s wonders. Together, the family does the very thing “that cannot be done”—they climb the side of a steep waterfall to its peak, rejoicing in a polished piece of driftwood to take home as a souvenir. A poetic appreciation of the beauty of nature and respect for its awesome force. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-670-87617-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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SECTOR 7

From levitating frogs to giant vegetables that take wing, Wiesner resuscitates his fondness for flying in another stretch of his imagination. In a wordless story told through picture panels and murals, a young boy is overtaken by fog on a class field trip to the top of the Empire State Building. He befriends a snowmanlike cloud who dons the boy’s red cap and scarf and wings him to an ominous factory in the sky. Dubbed Sector 7, this imposing, industrial hunk of machinery is a Grand Central Station for clouds, from which they’re all dispatched. The boy learns that clouds can freely take on various shapes, and soon has them twisting and stretching themselves into fish, to the dismay of the grim, uniformed workers. In a showy display, the clouds invade Manhattan, surprising cats at windows and children below. Wiesner’s fans will rediscover all his favorite motifs—dreams overlapping reality, metamorphosing creatures, and more—rendered in precise watercolors with tilted perspectives. Others will find themselves scratching their heads as to his purpose, other than indulging in elliptical displays and in pointlessly defying convention. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-74656-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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