A homespun story from Conrad (This Mess, p. 400, etc.), billed as a retelling of a campfire favorite. The single problem that forms the plot is Old Man Hoover’s prize rabbit. When Philip and his sister Kooch move into the neighborhood that was once Old Man Hoover’s potato field with their new puppy, Frank, he makes his message loud and clear from the start, “If that dog comes anywhere near my prize rabbit, I’ll load my rifle and shoot him dead.” His words reverberate in the children’s minds as Frank becomes a full-grown dog. Then one rainy night, Frank appears with a muddy, rain-soaked rabbit in his teeth. Philip, despite Kooch’s hesitation, shampoos and blow-dries the rabbit, and surreptitiously slips it back into its hutch; in a predictable, yet satisfying ending, Old Man Hoover, certain he had already buried his dead rabbit, puzzles over how his prize pet could have returned to its hutch. The children laugh at hearing about the dilemma; nothing is made of the potential spookiness of a dead rabbit’s returning to its hutch, and Old Man Hoover, as far as readers know, is never enlightened. Interspersed among every short episode are full-color pictures, more dark and dreamlike than real, with the feeling of faded wallpaper, adding mood if not mystery. (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 30, 1998

ISBN: 0-06-021514-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1998

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Charmed by her new baby brother, Elizabeti decides that she wants a baby of her own; she picks up a smooth rock, names it Eva and washes, feeds, and changes her, and carries her about in her cloth kanga. Hale dresses Elizabeti and her family in modern, brightly patterned clothing that practically glows against the earth-toned, sketchily defined Tanzanian village in which this is set. Although Eva appears a bit too large for Elizabeti to handle as easily as she does, the illustrations reflect the story’s simplicity; accompanied by an attentive hen, Elizabeti follows her indulgent mother about, mimicking each nurturing activity. The object of Elizabeti’s affection may be peculiar, but the love itself is real. Later, she rescues Eva from the fire pit, tenderly cleans her, then cradles the stone until she—Elizabeti—falls asleep. Stuve-Bodeen’s debut is quirky but believable, lightly dusted with cultural detail, and features universal emotions in an unusual setting. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 1-880000-70-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1998

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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...


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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