THE SECRET MESSAGE

Based on a poem by the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi that Iranian-born Javaherbin heard from her father as a bedtime story, this adaptation offers an environmental message that will resonate with today’s readers. The colorful parrot featured in Whatley’s attractive, stylized illustrations has brought attention and thus good fortune to his owner, a Persian merchant. Not surprisingly, the fact that his cage is spacious and made of gold does little to assuage the parrot’s sadness over being confined. When the merchant travels to India, the parrot devises a clever plan to find a way to win his freedom. The text is lengthy but straightforward and well-paced, and the acrylic paintings include amusing details and appealing textures, providing plenty to pore over. While this may never reach a wide audience, it’s a great choice for adults interested in discussing philosophical issues and/or exploring diverse cultures with young listeners. Unusual and thought-provoking. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4231-1044-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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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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MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS

This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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