Marvelously mismatched Marisol McDonald brings her unique perspective to the exploration of the universal topic of fear.

MARISOL MCDONALD Y EL MONSTRUO / MARISOL MCDONALD AND THE MONSTER

When Marisol McDonald hears a bump in the night, her imagination goes wild, making her certain there must be a monster beneath her bed.

As Marisol explores her fright, she is surrounded by a loving and supportive family. Her parents both reassure her she is safe and provide her the necessary independence to face her fear. After several sleepless nights, Marisol applies her signature pluck to the monster situation, finding a creative way to confront her anxiety head on. Palacios’ mixed-media illustrations temper Marisol’s jitters with whimsy, keeping the imagery on the light side of scary. One drawback to the text is that the effort to emphasize various words that begin with the letter “m” in both English and Spanish strays into didacticism, though the “m” words selected do display great care both from Brown and translator Dominguez, which lovers of words will appreciate. Marisol’s mixed Peruvian and Scottish-American heritage is, as always, a vibrant part of who she is, but cultural identity is not the focus of this work. Marisol is a confident, bicultural girl who brings all parts of herself to the table to overcome a very common worry faced by children the world over.

Marvelously mismatched Marisol McDonald brings her unique perspective to the exploration of the universal topic of fear. (author's note, bilingual glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-89239-326-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...

STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK

From the Stink series

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work.

SYLVIA'S SPINACH

A young spinach hater becomes a spinach lover after she has to grow her own in a class garden.

Unable to trade away the seed packet she gets from her teacher for tomatoes, cukes or anything else more palatable, Sylvia reluctantly plants and nurtures a pot of the despised veggie then transplants it outside in early spring. By the end of school, only the plot’s lettuce, radishes and spinach are actually ready to eat (talk about a badly designed class project!)—and Sylvia, once she nerves herself to take a nibble, discovers that the stuff is “not bad.” She brings home an armful and enjoys it from then on in every dish: “And that was the summer Sylvia Spivens said yes to spinach.” Raff uses unlined brushwork to give her simple cartoon illustrations a pleasantly freehand, airy look, and though Pryor skips over the (literally, for spinach) gritty details in both the story and an afterword, she does cover gardening basics in a simple and encouraging way.

Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-1-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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