A community celebration for audiences that appreciate stories that are on the long side.

READ REVIEW

THE HOMEMADE CAKE CONTEST

From the Timothy and Sarah series

A community bands together to revitalize a dilapidated house so old and young can gather and socialize in this Japanese import, the first in a 13-book (so far) series to be translated into English.

When Miss Flora and Mother put their heads together to come up with a way to raise money for repairs to the old beloved community cafe, their plan to hold a homemade cake contest piques the interest of twins Timothy and Sarah, who each want to enter their own creations. While the premise may initially raise excitement in young readers and listeners, the sheer length of the text and the stilted translation will likely dampen it: “That was when they realized that they were not sure how to make cake dough. So Mother taught them and helped them make the dough.” Problems are solved almost as soon as they are identified (“And in the end, the old house stood revived all new like a wonder”), and one intriguing mystery involving an elderly man, his sick wife and the cafe they used to run is never satisfactorily resolved. Indeed, readers who aren’t paying attention may miss this reference altogether. Still, the idea of a community coming together for a cause is a popular one, and the mouthwatering spreads of cake after cake, all elaborately decorated, are hard to resist. Basho’s anthropomorphized mice are sweetly old-fashioned in their dress, mannerisms and surroundings.

A community celebration for audiences that appreciate stories that are on the long side. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-940842-02-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Museyon

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination.

TOO MANY CARROTS

When Rabbit’s unbridled mania for collecting carrots leaves him unable to sleep in his cozy burrow, other animals offer to put him up.

But to Rabbit, their homes are just more storage space for carrots: Tortoise’s overstuffed shell cracks open; the branch breaks beneath Bird’s nest; Squirrel’s tree trunk topples over; and Beaver’s bulging lodge collapses at the first rainstorm. Impelled by guilt and the epiphany that “carrots weren’t for collecting—they were for SHARING!” Rabbit invites his newly homeless friends into his intact, and inexplicably now-roomy, burrow for a crunchy banquet. This could be read (with some effort) as a lightly humorous fable with a happy ending, and Hudson’s depictions of carrot-strewn natural scenes, of Rabbit as a plush bunny, and of the other animals as, at worst, mildly out of sorts support that take. Still, the insistent way Rabbit keeps forcing himself on his friends and the magnitude of the successive disasters may leave even less-reflective readers disturbed. Moreover, as Rabbit is never seen actually eating a carrot, his stockpiling looks a lot like the sort of compulsive hoarding that, in humans, is regarded as a mental illness.

Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62370-638-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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