Knee-slappers on every page for tenderfoot readers and writers.




From “lamebrain” to “feet of clay,” a heaping handful of English idioms, similes, metaphors, and other colorful turns of phrase.

Using Street’s There’s a Frog in My Throat! 440 Animal Sayings a Little Bird Told Me (2003, illustrated by Loreen Leedy) as a model, Street and Brace group their entries by body part and pair each to a literal-minded alternative or explanation: “She knit her brows. She frowned in concentration”; “I’m hip. I know what you mean.” Brace jumps up the humor with spreads of demonstrative cartoon figures—including animals, animate internal organs, and even zombie bunnies—whose actions and comments are intended to further clarify the meanings. And they usually do, though the vomiting ticker by “heartsick” misses the boat, and having a lad shout “Holy cuss!” next to “potty mouth” is a yellow-bellied decision. If a few miscast homophones like “back to the drawing board” and “head of lettuce” tiptoe in, there are still lips zipped, buttoned, and sealed; fingers crossed, pointed, butter, light, and worked to the bone; hearts whole, half, soft and hard, black, cold, gold, and more to enrich both spoken and written tongues. Not to mention zombie bunnies biting off heads and picking brains.

Knee-slappers on every page for tenderfoot readers and writers. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2135-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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Another win for Judy and her friends.


From the Judy Moody series , Vol. 15

Determination and hard work prepare Judy Moody as she tests her knowledge of book trivia in a battle of the books.

Judy, little brother Stink, and some familiar classmates from their second and third grade classes are the Virginia Dare School Bookworms, the book quiz champions who will be representing the school in the First Ever Book Quiz Blowout at the Starlight Lanes Bowling Alley. Nervous about their competition—Braintree Academy’s Bloodsucking Fake-Moustache Defenders and their star player, Mighty Fantaskey—the team is taking every possible moment to read: on the bus, during karate class, and even at the dinner table. Stink makes a cape out of scribbled-on sticky notes on the books he’s read, and Judy tries her hand at speed-reading. Enthusiasm for reading is never lost even as the children prepare for the contest. A diverse gathering of familiar titles is referenced throughout, matching this series’ reading level (all titles mentioned are compiled in the backmatter). Building excitement propels the story up through the competition to an ultimately satisfying ending. Reynolds’ well-placed watercolor, tea, and ink illustrations break up text, allowing necessary breaks for bridging readers. Aside from teacher and coach Mr. Todd, who is black, and Mighty Fantaskey, who seems to be a child of color, all characters appear white.

Another win for Judy and her friends. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0484-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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