Elliot, a squirrel who wears glasses and clothing and lives in a park with his friends, loves solving problems. When one of the park squirrels observes a human’s birthday party in which a stuffed squirrel is one of the gifts, the furry friends set out on a mission to rescue the squirrel, one Mister Nibbles. These squirrels cleverly distract humans with flashlights, dancing and rodeo-riding stunts, but, oddly, they are not smart enough to see that the unmoving Mister Nibbles is a stuffed animal who talks only when his ear is touched. Cartoonish spot drawings, reminiscent of Chip and Dale, dot many spreads, but do not raise this tale above the merely average. Choppy dialogue, short, stilted sentences and paragraphs that are rarely longer than one sentence seem designed for the new reader, but the huge number of characters and unbelievable plotline will be difficult for that reader to understand. For a much more satisfying fantasy of wildlife in a city park, read Johanna Hurwitz’s charming Pee Wee and Plush (2002). (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-545-01930-9

Page Count: 74

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2008

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In this version of the Cinderella story, the familiar structure is cleverly reworked to fit the mid-level early-reader format. An adorable pug puppy appears as Cinderella in Wu’s illustrations, while the stepmother is a haughty, white poodle and the stepsisters are an unfriendly chow and an aloof Afghan. Rather than a prince searching for a bride, a pampered princess named Bea wants a puppy for her seventh birthday. Her parents decide to have a ball for all the dogs in the kingdom so that Bea can choose her favorite as her pet. A purple-haired Fairy Dogmother helps Dogerella, providing a sparkly collar spelling out the dog’s name as well as a mini-van to get to the ball. The collar is left behind at the ball as the parallel element to the glass slipper and is of course a perfect fit for Dogerella in the conclusion. The combination of dozens of dogs, an earnest princess and a touch of magic add up to a charming whole. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 24, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-375-83393-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2008

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A sweet iteration of the “Big Bad Wolf Mellows Out” theme. Here, an old wolf does some soul searching and then learns to like vegetable stew after a half-frozen lamb appears on his doorstep, falls asleep in his arms, then wakes to give him a kiss. “I can’t eat a lamb who needs me! I might get heartburn!” he concludes. Clad in striped leggings and a sleeveless pullover decorated with bands of evergreens, the wolf comes across as anything but dangerous, and the lamb looks like a human child in a fleecy overcoat. No dreams are likely to be disturbed by this book, but hardened members of the Oshkosh set might prefer the more credible predators and sense of threat in John Rocco’s Wolf! Wolf! (March 2007) or Delphine Perrot’s Big Bad Wolf and Me (2006). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-1-58925-067-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2007

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