THE SANDWICH SWAP

Like all best friends, Lily and Salma do everything together: They draw pictures, play on the swings, jump rope and eat lunch together. But Lily eats a peanut-butter–and-jelly sandwich while Salma eats a hummus-and-pita sandwich. Each girl thinks the other’s looks yucky! When they say so, the friendship splits, schoolkids take sides and someone yells FOOD FIGHT! Salma and Lily feel ashamed, especially when they are called into the principal’s office. The next day they sample each other’s sandwiches and declare them delicious. They go to the principal’s office again, this time with an idea to share—a gatefold depicts a long picnic table overflowing with ethnic food and happy kids. Tusa’s whimsical illustrations spice up the story. Her large, vivacious drawings contribute character and comic touches, especially to the food fight, but there is one notable omission in this story of cultural understanding: Absent from the picnic table’s array of flags identifying ethnicities (which include Iceland, Greece and Mexico among others, in addition to the United States and Jordan) is the Israeli flag—a hugely sad missed opportunity. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 27, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4231-2484-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Triumph Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2010

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A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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FLETCHER AND THE FALLING LEAVES

Fletcher is a young fox concerned about his favorite tree. “I think my tree is sick,” he tells his mother, in reference to its brown leaves. His mother tells him not worry, that it’s only autumn. Comforted, Fletcher pats his tree and reassures it. But as leaves begin to fall, Fletcher’s worry increases, and he vows to collect all of the leaves and reaffix them. Despite his best efforts—he even tries to keep other animals from removing the leaves—Fletcher awakes one morning to find that the tree is bare, save one leaf that he brings home for safekeeping. When Fletcher next returns to visit the tree, he is met with a glorious sight: Glittering icicles adorn it. Awed, Fletcher asks if the tree is all right, and a breeze softly shakes its branches, causing them to nod and emit soft laughter. Softly glowing illustrations, evocative and full of depth, are perfectly matched with the warm and lyrical text. A poetic tribute to winter and fall, Fletcher’s story is sure to resonate with young readers. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-113401-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2006

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