EARTHQUAKE

Early on the morning of April 18, 1906, an earthquake shook the city of San Francisco, collapsing buildings and igniting fires that raged for days. In the straightforward words of the girl who was her mother, Lee (Nim and the War Effort, 1997) tells the story. Her family—grandmother, parents, and brothers—were thrown from their beds in San Francisco’s Chinatown that morning, and quickly packed not only food and clothing but also the precious portraits of their ancestors and the statue of the Goddess of Mercy Kwan Yin. They loaded a cart and pushed and pulled it through the city to Golden Gate Park. (Lee explains that the bound feet of mother and grandmother made it impossible for them to walk very far.) There, from tents, they watched the city burn. The illustrations’ sculptured forms and geometric shapes make a pattern of stability against dark vistas of smoke, fire, and destruction. The strength of the figures stands in contrast to the fear and hunger the child describes, enabling young readers to take in the scene and still find reassurance and comfort. A good way to introduce the youngest of readers to a calamitous event. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2001

ISBN: 0-374-39964-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT

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?

No Comments Yet

THE BEST CHEF IN SECOND GRADE

An impending school visit by a celebrity chef sends budding cook Ollie into a tailspin. He and his classmates are supposed to bring a favorite family food for show and tell, but his family doesn’t have a clear choice—besides, his little sister Rosy doesn’t like much of anything. What to do? As in their previous two visits to Room 75, Kenah builds suspense while keeping the tone light, and Carter adds both bright notes of color and familiar home and school settings in her cartoon illustrations. Eventually, Ollie winkles favorite ingredients out of his clan, which he combines into a mac-and-cheese casserole with a face on top that draws delighted praise from the class’s renowned guest. As Ollie seems to do his kitchen work without parental assistance, a cautionary tip or two (and maybe a recipe) might not have gone amiss here, but the episode’s mouthwatering climax and resolution will guarantee smiles of contentment all around. (Easy reader. 6-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-053561-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2007

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more