MYSTIC HORSE

Goble (Storm Maker’s Tipi, 2001, etc.) returns with another engaging Native American legend complemented by his glorious illustrations—a mix of authentic and contemporary design. An old Pawnee woman and her grandson are very poor and walk behind the tribe, as they have no horse. One day they come across a seemingly worn-out horse. The boy cares for it as if it’s the most precious one in the tribe. In return for his kindness, the horse gives the boy advice that enables him to achieve status as a brave warrior. He goes beyond where the animal has directed him, however, and the horse is killed in battle. Realizing his foolishness, the boy retreats to sit in sorrow and remorse; the Father above allows the horse to come back to life. A series of events brings an entire herd of horses to the boy, who asks his grandmother to take one and give the rest to those in need. Never again are they viewed as poor. In fact, the boy is revered as “Piraski Resaru, Boy Chief” and the horse is known as the mystic horse. Goble’s storytelling is superb; his illustrations extraordinary and filled with fascinating detail. His characteristic, stylistically flat paintings accurately portray the Native American tribe he depicts and call to mind early Native American paintings. Using a palette of browns and golds, blues and greens, he creates a magnificent world of days long ago when the Pawnees valued their horses above all else. Author’s notes citing resources used as background verify the authenticity for both the words and the illustrations and provide insights into the history of the Pawnee nation. Goble’s fans will be delighted and new readers will be inspired to read more of his work. From an exceptional talent: a sure classic. (Picture book/folktale. 6-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-06-029813-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2003

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We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face.

THE BAD GUYS

From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

Four misunderstood villains endeavor to turn over a new leaf…or a new rap sheet in Blabey's frenzied romp.

As readers open the first page of this early chapter book, Mr. Wolf is right there to greet them, bemoaning his reputation. "Just because I've got BIG POINTY TEETH and RAZOR-SHARP CLAWS and I occasionally like to dress up like an OLD LADY, that doesn't mean… / … I'm a BAD GUY." To prove this very fact, Mr. Wolf enlists three equally slandered friends into the Good Guys Club: Mr. Snake (aka the Chicken Swallower), Mr. Piranha (aka the Butt Biter), and Mr. Shark (aka Jaws). After some convincing from Mr. Wolf, the foursome sets off determined to un-smirch their names (and reluctantly curbing their appetites). Although these predators find that not everyone is ready to be at the receiving end of their helpful efforts, they use all their Bad Guy know-how to manage a few hilarious good deeds. Blabey has hit the proverbial nail on the head, kissed it full on the mouth, and handed it a stick of Acme dynamite. With illustrations that startle in their manic comedy and deadpan direct address and with a narrative that follows four endearingly sardonic characters trying to push past (sometimes successfully) their fear-causing natures, this book instantly joins the classic ranks of Captain Underpants and The Stinky Cheese Man.

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91240-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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