Kids will readily warm to this gentle giant from the frozen North.

READ REVIEW

ON THE SHOULDER OF A GIANT

“Inukpak was huge, even for a giant.”

He can cover the breadth of the Arctic in just a few days and wades into the ocean to fish for whales. One day Inukpak happens upon a lone hunter on the tundra, and mistaking the man for a lost child, he scoops the tiny human up and continues on his walk. Christopher effectively plays the extreme size differential for laughs, as when Inukpak catches a bowhead whale but calls it a small fish. Exhibiting a great deal of equanimity, the hunter decides he might as well just accept his genial new “father,” and the two live happily ever after. Nelson’s paintings also milk the size disparity for humor; Inukpak is usually painted as if from a low vantage, foreshortening emphasizing the giant’s humongous feet. The enormous bone necklace he wears bears silent witness to the “very large” polar bears he’s accustomed to, explaining how he mistakes a regular-sized one for a lemming. A foreword introduces Christopher’s interest in the tales of the Inuit in general and this oft-repeated one in particular; an afterword provides further information about Inukpak’s kin, the great giants, as well as the lesser giants and the colossal polar bears they have hunted almost to extinction.

Kids will readily warm to this gentle giant from the frozen North. (Picture book/folk tale. 5-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-7722-7002-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Inhabit Media

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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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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In contrast to the carbs and desserts pictured, though sweet, this is unlikely to stick with readers.

BAGEL IN LOVE

A romance for carb (and pun!) lovers who dance to their own drummers and don’t give up on their dreams.

Bagel is a guy who loves to dance; when he’s tapping and twirling, he doesn’t feel plain. The problem is, he can’t find a partner for the Cherry Jubilee Dance Contest. Poppy says his steps are half-baked. Pretzel, “who was at the spa getting a salt rub…told him his moves didn’t cut the mustard.” He strikes out in Sweet City, too, with Croissant, Doughnut, and Cake. But just when he’s given up, he hears the music from the contest and can’t help moving his feet. And an echoing tap comes back to him. Could it be a partner at last? Yep, and she just happens to smell sweet and have frosting piled high. Bagel and Cupcake crush the contest, but winning the trophy? That “was just icing on the cake,” as the final sentence reads, the two standing proudly with a blue ribbon and trophy, hearts filling the space above and between them. Dardik’s digital illustrations are pastel confections. Sometimes just the characters’ heads are the treats, and other times the whole body is the foodstuff, with tiny arms and legs added on. Even the buildings are like something from “Hansel and Gretel.” However, this pun-filled narrative is just one of many of its ilk, good for a few yuks but without much staying power.

In contrast to the carbs and desserts pictured, though sweet, this is unlikely to stick with readers. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2239-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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