An odd but not at all unlikable fable.

LOUIS THE TIGER WHO CAME FROM THE SEA

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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THE GRUFFALO

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 Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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Perhaps youngsters who think they are more interested in football than reading will take the message to heart.

THE MAGICIAN'S HAT

New England Patriot and literacy advocate Mitchell proves to have a touch of magic as an author as well as on the field.

It’s Family Fun Day at the library, and families of many sizes, constellations, and skin tones are participating. Amid book scavenger hunts and storytelling, a magician arrives. He is white and lanky, sporting a purple polka-dot vest and a bright yellow ascot. But most importantly, he has a very large, mysterious hat. He tells the children how he came to Family Fun Day when he was younger and read his very first book about magic in the library. Turning the pages and getting lost in the words inspired him to become a magician. He realized that it wasn’t just about spells and potions, but that books themselves are magical. Three children reach into the hat and find books about their future professions—Amy, a white girl, is a dentist; Matt, a bespectacled black boy, is a football player; and Ryan, a white boy, is an astronaut. The magician then turns the hat to readers, asking, “What are your dreams?” Previously self-published, the work gets a new look from Lew-Vriethoff’s bustling library and bright swirls of magic and bookish motivation. As an entry in the books-are-awesome genre, it’s mostly distinguished by the author’s clear belief in his message.

Perhaps youngsters who think they are more interested in football than reading will take the message to heart. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-11454-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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