STRONGHEART JACK AND THE BEANSTALK

DeSpain (Eleven Turtle Tales, 1994, etc.) turns to the oldest known versions of this durable story for his retelling. Before killing the giant who ate his father, Jack meets and falls in love with Elinor, the monster's captive; Elinor dies trying to escape, but with the help of a magic harp returns to life and to Jack's arms at the end. Replete with tests, magic, and derring-do, DeSpain's tale is a long one; his language is sometimes elaborate, sometimes prosaic; his heroic characters are conventional and pale next to the vividly rendered giant, with his bestial table manners and poetic turns of phrase—``I'm off to bed. Another glorious day of disruption awaits the sun!'' Shlichta's paintings weaken the story further; Jack and Elinor are almost as ill-proportioned as the giant, and the climactic running battle gets but a single picture—and a small one at that. Gail Haley's Jack and the Bean Tree (1986) is still the best choice for readers in search of an alternative to the many tellings aimed at a younger audience. (Picture book/folklore. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-87483-414-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1995

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JUDY MOODY SAVES THE WORLD!

McDonald’s irrepressible third-grader (Judy Moody Gets Famous, 2001, etc.) takes a few false steps before hitting full stride. This time, not only has her genius little brother Stink submitted a competing entry in the Crazy Strips Band-Aid design contest, but in the wake of her science teacher’s heads-up about rainforest destruction and endangered animals, she sees every member of her family using rainforest products. It’s all more than enough to put her in a Mood, which gets her in trouble at home for letting Stink’s pet toad, Toady, go free, and at school for surreptitiously collecting all the pencils (made from rainforest cedar) in class. And to top it off, Stink’s Crazy Strips entry wins a prize, while she gets . . . a certificate. Chronicled amusingly in Reynolds’s frequent ink-and-tea drawings, Judy goes from pillar to post—but she justifies the pencil caper convincingly enough to spark a bottle drive that nets her and her classmates not only a hundred seedling trees for Costa Rica, but the coveted school Giraffe Award (given to those who stick their necks out), along with T-shirts and ice cream coupons. Judy’s growing corps of fans will crow “Rare!” right along with her. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-7636-1446-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2002

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WATCH OUT FOR SHARKS!

For shark fanciers, a look at a Los Angeles Natural History Museum exhibit, Sharks: Fact and Fantasy. Now touring the country, it includes models of large and small sharks, many of them swimming in simulated undersea settings. The text follows a group of young museum-goers as they examine shark teeth, fossil sharks, sharks in art, and a living shark embryo; shark anatomy, special adaptations, types of sharks, and some shark facts are also included. Photos are clear, colorful and engaging. Not comprehensive, but an attractive added purchase. Pronunciation guide; additional reading; index. (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 1991

ISBN: 0-395-57560-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1991

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