LEMUEL THE FOOL

Uhlberg (Mad Dog McGraw, 2000, etc.) presents a properly poker-faced retelling of a popular European folktale. Lemuel the fisherman finally makes good on his dream of visiting a magical town he is sure sits just over the horizon. Aiming his boat in the direction of the red scarf he's tied to the bow, he is caught up in a storm and temporarily loses consciousness. No matter, the scarf still points the way. But when he arrives, he's astonished to discover that the streets, buildings, and people look just like those in his native village. Even more amazing, there's a boy who looks just like his son Sol and a woman who could not only be his wife Essie's twin, but she even knows his name! It's all too weird; Lemuel sneaks away that night, and after falling asleep in mid-voyage, "returns" to his own home. The tale's mild humor is picked up nicely in Lamut's airy paintings; nearly all of her neatly drawn people go about their business cheerfully among well-kept, tile-roofed houses, and despite her sharp-sounding words, Essie always greets her foolish husband with a fond smile. This rib-tickler should induce many a young armchair traveler to pay a visit to Chelm or Gotham. (Picture book/folktale. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-56145-220-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2001

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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

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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