PATCHES AND SCRATCHES

SIMPLY SARAH

Sarah—the “Idea Girl”—Simpson uses her trademark ingenuity to solve a tricky problem for a friend in this third installment of the series. When her best friend Peter pines for a pup to call his own, Sarah takes on Mr. Gurdy, her building’s curmudgeonly superintendent, as well as Peter’s grandmother’s misgivings, in an attempt to help her pal. However, it soon appears that Sarah may have finally come across an insurmountable problem when Peter stoutly refuses her substitute offerings of a goldfish and a turtle and the super won’t bend on the building’s “no dogs” rule. It is the timely arrival of an orphan animal in need that proves to be just the impetus for Sarah to unleash, as it were, her creative problem-solving abilities and discover the perfect solution. Ramsey’s ink-and-wash illustrations complement the tale, adding humorous details to spark the reader’s imaginations. The universal appeal of Sarah and her friend’s kindhearted compassion, combined with her dogged determination to resolve dilemmas, will keep readers anticipating further adventures of the ever-resourceful Sarah. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-7614-5347-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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DIARY OF A SPIDER

The wriggly narrator of Diary of a Worm (2003) puts in occasional appearances, but it’s his arachnid buddy who takes center stage here, with terse, tongue-in-cheek comments on his likes (his close friend Fly, Charlotte’s Web), his dislikes (vacuums, people with big feet), nervous encounters with a huge Daddy Longlegs, his extended family—which includes a Grandpa more than willing to share hard-won wisdom (The secret to a long, happy life: “Never fall asleep in a shoe.”)—and mishaps both at spider school and on the human playground. Bliss endows his garden-dwellers with faces and the odd hat or other accessory, and creates cozy webs or burrows colorfully decorated with corks, scraps, plastic toys and other human detritus. Spider closes with the notion that we could all get along, “just like me and Fly,” if we but got to know one another. Once again, brilliantly hilarious. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-000153-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2005

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Inspiration, shrink wrapped.

WHAT THE ROAD SAID

From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2021

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