THE SAILOR'S ALPHABET

Some time in the 19th century, a sailor created this sea chantey, a rhythmic song to keep him and his mates working in tandem to keep a ship afloat. McCurdy (Trapped by the Ice!, 1997, etc.) has adapted the chantey into a picture book, with one line on each page—“Oh, A is the anchor and that you all know”—a scratchboard illustration, and a definition of terms below the picture. He makes a mighty effort toward clarity in describing and illustrating this US Navy frigate, although sometimes the vocabulary runs away with him, e.g., “Capstan: A large, spool-shaped winch . . . turned by sailors using capstan bars.” The function of chanteys is explained in a preface, and the whole chantey is reproduced at the end and keyed to an illustration of the full frigate, so all the parts can be seen together. The rectilinear geometry of the scratchboard illustrations is softened by watercolors to resemble old prints, and by the elegant angles found in various perspectives. The sailors in water-blue uniforms are young and rosy, or old and grizzled, and word-buffs and nautical enthusiasts will find plenty to pore over—halyards and lanyards, jibs and vangs. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-395-84167-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1998

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Thank you, Gerald and Piggie. We’ll miss you

THE THANK YOU BOOK

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Piggie is “one lucky pig,” and she’s determined to make sure she thanks “everyone who is important to” her in this, the final Elephant & Piggie book.

Gerald is sure his friend will forget someone—“someone important”—but Piggie assures him, “It will be a THANK-O-RAMA!” Piggie proceeds to thank the Squirrels for their great ideas, Snake for playing ball, and the Pigeon “for never giving up.” Piggie thanks and thanks: “I am a thanking machine!” She thanks character after character, even the Flies (“Any time, dude!”), as Gerald continues to interject that she’ll forget “someone VERY important.” Finally Piggie runs out of thanks, and by this time Gerald is steamed. “I goofed,” Piggie says in itty-bitty type, before lavishing thanks on Gerald. But that’s not whom Piggie forgot to thank! A classic Willems tantrum later, Gerald reveals the “someone important”: “Our reader.” Of course. “We could not be ‘us’ without you,” says Gerald, earnestly looking out from the page, and Piggie chimes in, “You are the best!” As Elephant & Piggie books go, this isn’t one of the strongest, but it is a validating valediction to fans of the two characters, who have won Willems two Geisel Medals and five Honors. Yes, Gerald and Piggie have ushered countless readers into literacy, but as they rightly note, reading is a collaborative act.

Thank you, Gerald and Piggie. We’ll miss you . (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7828-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2016

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One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

AFTER ALL I'VE DONE

A middle-aged woman sidelined by a horrific accident finds even sharper pains waiting on the other side of her recuperation in this expert nightmare by Hardy, familiar to many readers as Megan Hart, author of All the Secrets We Keep (2017), etc.

Five months ago, while she was on her way to the hospital with an ailing gallbladder, Diana Sparrow’s car hit a deer on a rural Pennsylvania road. When she awoke, she was minus her gallbladder, two working collarbones (and therefore two functioning arms), and her memory. During a recovery that would’ve been impossible without the constant ministrations of Harriett Richmond, the mother-in-law who’s the real reason Diana married her husband, Jonathan, Diana’s discovered that Jonathan has been cheating on her with her childhood friend Valerie Delagatti. Divorce is out of the question: Diana’s grown used to the pampered lifestyle the prenup she’d signed would snatch away from her. Every day is filled with torments. She slips and falls in a pool of wine on her kitchen floor she’s sure she didn’t spill herself. At the emergency room, her credit card and debit card are declined. She feels that she hates oppressively solicitous Harriett but has no idea why. Her sessions with her psychiatrist fail to heal her rage at her adoptive mother, an addict who abandoned her then returned only to disappear again and die an ugly death. Even worse, her attempts to recover her lost memory lead to an excruciatingly paced series of revelations. Val says Diana asked her to seduce Jonathan. Diana realizes that Cole, a fellow student in her watercolor class, isn’t the stranger she’d thought he was. Where can this maze of deceptions possibly end?

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64385-470-0

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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A delight for kids who have graduated from Hervé Tullet’s work and such classics as There’s a Monster at the End of This Book

THE SCARIEST BOOK EVER

Shea’s ghost is too scared to leave the house and venture into the scary forest. But readers can go see what it’s like and come back and tell it all about it.

The fourth wall is so broken it doesn’t even exist in this tale. On the first text page, the ghost points out the scary woods a few pages back and then says, “Hope I don’t spill this orange juice on my nice white— / Whoops!” The ghost is “naked” for the rest of the book, perhaps purposefully, but no matter. It stays home to clean the toilet and eat too many doughnuts while trying to convince readers to keep it company. But every other double-page spread reveals what they see when they venture out to see what the forest creatures are up to. The dark, scary hole disgorges a rabbit who delivers party invitations to a bird, an alligator, a beaver, a bear, and a sentient stump (the pumpkins also have legs and faces). They gather to do some crafts, eat some cupcakes, and pick pumpkins before scaring the ghost, who has finally been convinced by readers that it’s safe to venture out. Shea’s Warhol-esque illustrations in orange, blue, yellow, and pink pop off the pages, and his characters appear inspired by Japanese cartoons.

A delight for kids who have graduated from Hervé Tullet’s work and such classics as There’s a Monster at the End of This Book . (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: July 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-3046-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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