LIZZIE AND LOU SEAL

An amusing if slight addition to beach reading.

Lizzie’s companion is a big, blue inflatable seal named Lou.

The water toy is bigger than the impish, little white girl, but Lizzie manages to carry and drag Lou Seal out of the family’s beach trailer down to the shore. There’s one problem: the seal has lost its “puff.” Lizzie never noticed that the animal has been pierced by a sharp piece of wood. She was busy pulling her polka-dot flip-flop, named Dottie One, off a wad of gum stuck to the boardwalk. As Lizzie pulls Lou Seal along, other items puncture her exterior: “Purple shells! Seaglass! Starfish!” When Lizzie is ready to swim, the toy looks deflated, but the resilient girl knows what to do. She drags the toy back to the trailer, discovers holes, patches them with stickers, and blows Lou Seal up. Since she has lost Dottie Two in the sea, she finds her flippers and carries the seal back to the waves, proudly showing off their matching accessories. Lizzie’s independence is refreshing, but some readers will note the absence of an adult supervising swimming in such heavy surf. Mixed-media pictures are at their most exciting when painterly waves crash against the shore, and onomatopoeic words in display type (“step thwack” when Lizzie has only one flip-flop, and “scooch scooch scooch” as Lou Seal travels through the sand) add to the fun in reading aloud.

An amusing if slight addition to beach reading. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5107-0630-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

CINDERELLA

From the Once Upon a World series

A nice but not requisite purchase.

A retelling of the classic fairy tale in board-book format and with a Mexican setting.

Though simplified for a younger audience, the text still relates the well-known tale: mean-spirited stepmother, spoiled stepsisters, overworked Cinderella, fairy godmother, glass slipper, charming prince, and, of course, happily-ever-after. What gives this book its flavor is the artwork. Within its Mexican setting, the characters are olive-skinned and dark-haired. Cultural references abound, as when a messenger comes carrying a banner announcing a “FIESTA” in beautiful papel picado. Cinderella is the picture of beauty, with her hair up in ribbons and flowers and her typically Mexican many-layered white dress. The companion volume, Snow White, set in Japan and illustrated by Misa Saburi, follows the same format. The simplified text tells the story of the beautiful princess sent to the forest by her wicked stepmother to be “done away with,” the dwarves that take her in, and, eventually, the happily-ever-after ending. Here too, what gives the book its flavor is the artwork. The characters wear traditional clothing, and the dwarves’ house has the requisite shoji screens, tatami mats and cherry blossoms in the garden. The puzzling question is, why the board-book presentation? Though the text is simplified, it’s still beyond the board-book audience, and the illustrations deserve full-size books.

A nice but not requisite purchase. (Board book/fairy tale. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7915-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

THE GRUFFALO

The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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