A winningly good-natured version of a familiar favorite. (Picture book/folk tale. 5-8)

PEACH GIRL

Can peach dumplings save the world?

In this picture-book adaptation of the popular Japanese folk tales about Momotaro (usually translated as Peach Boy), a little girl springs out of a large peach found by “a farmer and her husband” outside their door. The girl soon is dressed in clothes made out of the peach skin by the farmer. The husband creates a helmet and shield from the peach pit. The girl declares that everything is “Peachy” and that her mission is “to make the world a better place.” She immediately sets off to find an ogre who is reputed to eat small children. Armed with only her wits, her courage and some delicious peach dumplings cooked by the farmer, she meets a monkey, a dog and a pheasant who, lured by the dumplings, accompany her on her quest. After they sail to the ogre’s island, the animals are too scared to approach its palace, but Momoko has no fear. She offers the Shrek-like ogre some dumplings, and they share them over tea. He even says “Peachy” when Momoko offers to come back with her parents. The acrylic paintings feature a winsome girl, three friendly animals and a jolly green giant whose friendliness belies the tales told of him. Despite its somewhat arbitrary use of American slang of an earlier decade, this story has a satisfying ring and a tasty ending.

A winningly good-natured version of a familiar favorite. (Picture book/folk tale. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-927485-58-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...

STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK

From the Stink series

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work.

SYLVIA'S SPINACH

A young spinach hater becomes a spinach lover after she has to grow her own in a class garden.

Unable to trade away the seed packet she gets from her teacher for tomatoes, cukes or anything else more palatable, Sylvia reluctantly plants and nurtures a pot of the despised veggie then transplants it outside in early spring. By the end of school, only the plot’s lettuce, radishes and spinach are actually ready to eat (talk about a badly designed class project!)—and Sylvia, once she nerves herself to take a nibble, discovers that the stuff is “not bad.” She brings home an armful and enjoys it from then on in every dish: “And that was the summer Sylvia Spivens said yes to spinach.” Raff uses unlined brushwork to give her simple cartoon illustrations a pleasantly freehand, airy look, and though Pryor skips over the (literally, for spinach) gritty details in both the story and an afterword, she does cover gardening basics in a simple and encouraging way.

Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-1-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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