DAVEY’S BLUE-EYED FROG

Girls of all species drive Davey crazy. Seems like the girls in his life are bound to boss him around. If it isn’t bossy Becky, his neighbor and friend from third grade, it’s Amy, the new girl frog he’s found by the lake. Amy has a specific demand: a kiss from a boy that will break a spell and return her to her former princess form. And Amy wants the kiss NOW, before the spell becomes permanent. Davey doesn’t believe in spells or in kissing a girl, even to save her from an amphibian’s life. But Davey’s a good boy with a fine heart and he can’t bear to see someone suffer. Despite the fantastic situations presented in this light tale for new readers, Easton’s characters grow and learn from their new challenges. Amy returns to her human form and is transformed by her amphibious experience; Davey, rethinking his fondness for capturing wild animals, frees the wild critters he is keeping in the many smelly cages and containers in his room. Wohnoutka’s light, cartoony pencil illustrations keep the story hopping along. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 21, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-18185-7

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2003

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Ironically, by choosing such a dramatic catalyst, the author weakens the adventure’s impact overall and leaves readers to...

ESCAPE FROM BAXTERS' BARN

A group of talking farm animals catches wind of the farm owner’s intention to burn the barn (with them in it) for insurance money and hatches a plan to flee.

Bond begins briskly—within the first 10 pages, barn cat Burdock has overheard Dewey Baxter’s nefarious plan, and by Page 17, all of the farm animals have been introduced and Burdock is sharing the terrifying news. Grady, Dewey’s (ever-so-slightly) more principled brother, refuses to go along, but instead of standing his ground, he simply disappears. This leaves the animals to fend for themselves. They do so by relying on their individual strengths and one another. Their talents and personalities match their species, bringing an element of realism to balance the fantasy elements. However, nothing can truly compensate for the bland horror of the premise. Not the growing sense of family among the animals, the serendipitous intervention of an unknown inhabitant of the barn, nor the convenient discovery of an alternate home. Meanwhile, Bond’s black-and-white drawings, justly compared to those of Garth Williams, amplify the sense of dissonance. Charming vignettes and single- and double-page illustrations create a pastoral world into which the threat of large-scale violence comes as a shock.

Ironically, by choosing such a dramatic catalyst, the author weakens the adventure’s impact overall and leaves readers to ponder the awkward coincidences that propel the plot. (Animal fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-33217-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS

This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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