Jackson Magnet School is having a talent show and Howardina Geraldina Paulina Maxina Gardenia Smith is determined to be the star. Howie, Pa Lia, and Calliope have been practicing and planning for the talent show for weeks. Pa Lia is going to play the thaj chij, a traditional Hmong instrument; Calliope is going to perform tricks with her dog, Woof; and Howie is all set to sing. Everything is going as planned: Howie’s new, shiny dress is almost ready; her bow is perfected; and she is especially excited about the party. Unfortunately, just as she gets ready to sing at the final rehearsal, she freezes. No words come out of her mouth; she begins feeling cold and clammy, and her feet refuse to move. Howie seriously begins to doubt whether she will be able to perform in front of everyone at the talent show, especially when TV cameras will be there to capture the big event. Luckily, Howie finds some strength and wisdom within herself to follow through with her dream. Simple line and shade illustrations rendered in ink and gouache break up the text on nearly every page, making this a perfect chapter book for beginning readers. An author’s note detailing more strategies for overcoming stage fright follows the text. (Easy reader. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-15-216403-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2002

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


A repressive teacher almost ruins second grade for a prodigy in this amusing, if overwritten, tale. Having shown a fascination with great buildings since constructing a model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa from used diapers at age two, Iggy sinks into boredom after Miss Greer announces, throwing an armload of histories and craft projects into the trash, that architecture will be a taboo subject in her class. Happily, she changes her views when the collapse of a footbridge leaves the picnicking class stranded on an island, whereupon Iggy enlists his mates to build a suspension bridge from string, rulers and fruit roll-ups. Familiar buildings and other structures, made with unusual materials or, on the closing pages, drawn on graph paper, decorate Roberts’s faintly retro cartoon illustrations. They add an audience-broadening element of sophistication—as would Beaty’s decision to cast the text into verse, if it did not result in such lines as “After twelve long days / that passed in a haze / of reading, writing and arithmetic, / Miss Greer took the class / to Blue River Pass / for a hike and an old-fashioned picnic.” Another John Lithgow she is not, nor is Iggy another Remarkable Farkle McBride (2000), but it’s always salutary to see young talent vindicated. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8109-1106-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

Did you like this book?