An odd but not at all unlikable fable.



Big cat makes a surprise appearance, prompting a brother and sister to come out and play.

Early one morning, just as the birds are preparing to sing, Ollie and Ali are awakened by a beastly snore in their backyard. Ollie looks out the window and sees what looks like a giant carrot or pumpkin but, after rubbing his eyes, realizes that it's a tiger. Ali names the tiger Louis and says he looks like he came from the sea, a suspicion that's confirmed when the duo opens the window and smells seaweed and saltwater. Though their parents are a bit reticent (and hide behind a tree), the children get into their bathing suits, prepare a big bucketful of food for Louis and hurry outside. A roar from Louis sends the whole family running back to the house. Louis calmly follows them in and settles on a big purple rug right in front of the fireplace. Mother runs a bath for the beast, which seems to enjoy it. But the problem remains; the family puts its heads together and comes up with a creative solution for luring Louis back into the sea. Kozlowski's story is appealing, but readers will need to surrender to the goofy surrealism to enjoy it. Walker contrasts the tiger, majestic and realistic, with the more cartoonish family to nice effect.

An odd but not at all unlikable fable. (Picture book. 3-6) 

Pub Date: June 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-55451-257-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2011

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Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun.


From the Clothesline Clues series

Heling and Hembrook’s clever conceit challenges children to analyze a small town’s clotheslines to guess the job each of their owners does. 

Close-up on the clothesline: “Uniform and cap, / an invite for you. / Big bag of letters. / What job does she do?” A turn of the page reveals a macro view of the home, van and the woman doing her job, “She is a mail carrier.” Indeed, she can be spotted throughout the book delivering invitations to all the rest of the characters, who gather at the end for a “Launch Party.” The verses’ rhymes are spot-on, though the rhythm falters a couple of times. The authors nicely mix up the gender stereotypes often associated with several of these occupations, making the carpenter, firefighter and astronaut women. But while Davies keeps uniforms and props pretty neutral (he even avoids U.S. mail symbols), he keeps to the stereotypes that allow young readers to easily identify occupations—the farmer chews on a stalk of wheat; the beret-wearing artist sports a curly mustache. A subdued palette and plain white backgrounds keep kids’ focus on the clothing clues. Still, there are plenty of details to absorb—the cat with arched back that anticipates a spray of water, the firefighter who “lights” the rocket.

Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58089-251-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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