STARS! STARS! STARS!

Wallace’s latest brings back Minna, who is curious about stars (Fly, Monarch, Fly!, 2008, etc.). Her mom suggests a star-themed dinner (recipes included), a trip to Star Space at the Children’s Museum and some stargazing. Minna invites four friends along. Stellan greets them, asking each what they wonder about stars. The guide then leads them through the exhibits, answering their questions by asking them a few of his own. The basics are presented in easily digestible bites accompanied by interesting factoids. Among the topics explored: stars’ composition, temperature, color, distance, how stars are named, stellar navigation, what astronomers do and constellations and galaxies. Backmatter encourages children to do many of the same things that Minna enjoyed doing. The illustrations are the author’s trademark cut-paper collages, with the addition this time of photographs and computer-generated images of the galaxies, constellations, planets and sun. Make room on the shelf for this one. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-7614-5612-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2009

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JOHNNY APPLESEED

Though she never says outright that he was a real person, Kurtz introduces newly emergent readers to the historical John Chapman, walking along the Ohio, planting apple seeds, and bartering seedlings to settlers for food and clothing. Haverfield supplies the legendary portions of his tale, with views of a smiling, stylishly ragged, clean-shaven young man, pot on head, wildlife on shoulder or trailing along behind. Kurtz caps her short, rhythmic text with an invitation to “Clap your hands for Johnny Chapman. / Clap your hands for Johnny Appleseed!” An appealing way to open discussions of our country’s historical or legendary past. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 5-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85958-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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