DON'T GO NEAR THAT RABBIT, FRANK!

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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Teachers will certainly find themselves wishing for their own arsenal of supplies to help them with their grading, and...

THE LITTLE RED PEN

Obviously inspired by "The Little Red Hen," this goes beyond the foundation tale's basic moral about work ethic to explore problem solving, teamwork and doing one’s best.

Nighttime at school brings the Little Red Pen out of the drawer to correct papers, usually aided by other common school supplies. But not this time. Too afraid of being broken, worn out, dull, lost or, worst of all, put in the “Pit of No Return” (aka trash), they hide in the drawer despite the Little Red Pen’s insistence that the world will end if the papers do not get corrected. But even with her drive she cannot do it all herself—her efforts send her to the Pit. It takes the ingenuity and cooperation of every desk supply to accomplish her rescue and to get all the papers graded, thereby saving the world. The authors work in lots of clever wordplay that will appeal to adult readers, as will the spicy character of Chincheta, the Mexican pushpin. Stevens’ delightfully expressive desk supplies were created with paint, ink and plenty of real school supplies. Without a doubt, she has captured their true personalities: the buck-toothed stapler, bespectacled scissors and rather empty-headed eraser.

Teachers will certainly find themselves wishing for their own arsenal of supplies to help them with their grading, and students may take a second glance at that innocuous-looking red pen on the teacher’s desk. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 18, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-15-206432-7

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: April 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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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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